Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, October 19, 2014

The ?Big Three? remain atop the Big Ten, as my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, feature little movement. A case could be made for moving Ohio State on top above Michigan State. But the Spartans continue to hum along despite some glitches and deserve to stay No. 1.


1. Michigan State (6-1, 3-0). For a second week in a row, it wasn?t always pretty. But the Spartans found a way to survive and advance. Should we be worried about the defense? The offense is just fine, averaging 47 points per game.
Last week: 1
Up next: Michigan

2. Ohio State (5-1, 2-0). The Buckeyes are on a roll, coming off demolitions of Maryland and Rutgers (108-41) in its first two Big Ten games. It isn't crazy to think this could be the Big Ten's top team.
Last week: 2
Up next: at Penn State

3. Nebraska (6-, 2-1). The Cornhuskers impressed on both sides of the ball at Northwestern. If QB Tommy Armstrong keeps playing well, this will be a tough team to beat.
Last week: 3
Up next: Rutgers

4. Minnesota (6-1, 3-0). A great gut-check win by the Golden Gophers showed the toughness of this team and the acumen of the coaches. Before the 39-38 comeback win, Minnesota had never won after trailing at the half under Jerry Kill.
Last week: 5
Up next: at Illinois

5. Maryland (5-2, 2-1). The Terps are ?thisclose? to being 6-1, as a huge win over Iowa has energized this program and made it a factor in the East. C.J. Brown must stay healthy, though.
Last week: 9
Up next: at Wisconsin


6. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1). The Badgers were off, presumably giving the staff time to figure out how to manage a less-than-ideal quarterback situation. The visit from Maryland is huge.
Last week: 7
Up next: Maryland

7. Iowa (5-2, 2-1). A 38-31 loss at Maryland ended a three-game winning streak and re-opened questions about the quarterback spot. How good is this team?
Last week: 4
Up next: off; Northwestern, Nov. 1

8. Rutgers (5-2, 1-2). The Scarlet Knights got a big taste of reality with its visit to Ohio State. Let?s chalk this up to ?growing pains.?
Last week: 6
Up next: at Nebraska

9. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2). Unless the Wildcats find some offensive mojo, they will struggle to stay relevant in the West. Imagine what Justin Jackson could do with a prolific passing game?
Last week: 8
Up next: off; at Iowa, Nov. 1

10. Purdue (3-5, 1-3). For a second week in a row, victory just eludes the quickly improving Boilermakers. You get the feeling this team has a win or two left in it.
Last week: 12
Up next: off; at Nebraska, Nov. 1

11. Michigan (3-4, 1-2). The bye week came at the perfect time, fresh off a much-needed win and right before traveling to rival and Big Ten frontrunner Michigan State.
Last week: 10
Up next: at Michigan State

12. Penn State (4-2, 1-2). The Nittany Lions never may patch up an offensive line that continues to struggle. How will PSU block this monster Ohio State d-line on Saturday?
Last week: 11
Up next: Ohio State

13. Indiana (3-4, 0-3). The Hoosiers showed fight vs. Michigan State behind first-time starting quarterback Zander Diamont. The bye week comes at a good time, allowing the offense time to develop.
Last week: 13
Up next: off; at Michigan, Nov. 1

14. Illinois (3-4, 0-3). The Fighting Illini were off, giving the staff time hopefully to fix a defense that has myriad leaks and figure out what to do at quarterback.
Last week: 14
Up next: Minnesota

About Tom Dienhart 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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