Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 18, 2012

Some high drama on Saturday, headed by Ohio State?s 21-14 overtime win at Wisconsin. But no upsets. What?s it all mean? My weekly power rankings didn?t change much as we head toward the last week of the regular-season. But there?s still time for some chaos next Saturday!

1. Ohio State. The beat goes on for the Buckeyes, who moved to 11-0 with a 21-14 overtime win at Wisconsin. And what really was impressive was the fact Ohio State escaped Madison despite not playing well on offense.
Last week: 1
Next: Michigan

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2. Nebraska. The 38-14 win over Minnesota makes it five wins in a row for the Cornhuskers since the 63-38 loss at Ohio State. With a victory next week at Iowa, Nebraska will punch its ticket to the Big Ten championship game.
Last week: 2
Next: at Iowa

3. Michigan. The Wolverines have gone on a roll ever since Devin Gardner has taken over at quarterback three games ago. This is a dangerous team that?s as hot as any in the Big Ten, as Michigan is 14-0 at home under Brady Hoke following a 42-17 win vs. Iowa.
Last week: 3
Up next: at Ohio State

4. Penn State. Matt McGloin continues to cement his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks in school history after a 45-22 victory vs. Indiana. The Nittany Lions look to finish the season on a roll vs. Wisconsin at home next week.
Last week: 5
Next: Wisconsin

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5. Wisconsin. The Badgers? hopes of forging a share of the Leaders Division title are over following the 21-14 overtime loss to Ohio State. But Wisconsin can take solace in knowing it still is headed to the Big Ten title game.
Last week: 4
Next: at Penn State

6. Northwestern. The Wildcats showed they can hang on to a second-half lead by winning at Michigan State, 23-20. With a victory next week vs. Illinois, Northwestern may be in line for a New Year?s Day bowl berth.
Last week: 6
Up next: Illinois

7. Michigan State. The beat goes on for a team that can?t win the close game. The Spartans? five Big Ten defeats have come by a combined 13 points, the latest close defeat being a 23-20 home loss to Northwestern. Michigan State must win at Minnesota to go to a bowl.
Last week: 7
Up next: Minnesota

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8. Minnesota. The Gophers aren?t ready to trade punches with a program like Nebraska. (Witness the 38-14 loss in Lincoln.) That day will come. For now, it?s all a building process for the program in its second year under Jerry Kill.
Last week: 8
Up next: Michigan State

9. Purdue. Not long ago, things looked bleak during a five-game losing skid that threatened to derail the season. Now, two wins later-the latest a 20-17 victory at Illinois–the Boilermakers have bowl dreams dancing in their heads. Beat the Hoosiers, and Purdue is in a bowl for a second season in a row.
Last week: 9
Next: Indiana

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10. Indiana. The Hoosiers put up more fight this week at Penn State but still fell, 45-22. And the loss means that Indiana can?t go to a bowl for a fifth season in a row. But a win next week at Purdue would cure a lot of ills and make people smile in Bloomington.
Last week: 10
Up next: at Purdue

11. Iowa. The Hawkeyes continues to sink, having now lost five games in a row after a 42-17 setback at Michigan. And the loss in Ann Arbor guarantees that Iowa won?t go to a bowl this season, ending a five-year postseason run.
Last week: 11
Up next: Nebraska

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12. Illinois. The tough times continue, as the latest setback is a 20-17 loss to Purdue. That?s eight losses in a row-and 13 Big Ten defeats in succession-with no end in sight with a trip to Northwestern next.
Last week: 12
Up next: at Northwestern senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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