Big Ten Power Rankings: Wisconsin Badgers making a move up

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Power Rankings: Wisconsin Badgers making a move up

Not much movement this week in my Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. One thing remains constant: Michigan State, Ohio State and Nebraska are the best of the bunch. Wisconsin may have a chance to join the “elite” club.

1. Michigan State (7-1, 4-0). The Spartans have won six in a row, rolling on both sides of the ball. MSU is off next week. Then comes Ohio State in the biggest Big Ten game of the year.
Last week: 1
Up next: off; Ohio State

2. Ohio State (6-1, 3-0). The Buckeyes are coming off a workmanlike double-overtime win at Penn State. This team continues to get better, and it will get a shot to prove it’s the Big Ten’s best on Nov. 8.
Last week: 2
Up next: Illinois

3. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1). The Cornhuskers looked dominant in dispatching Rutgers. This is the best team in the West, and white-hot Ameer Abdullah might be the best player in the Big Ten.
Last week: 3
Up next: Purdue

4. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1). The Badgers look to be peaking at the right time, as the already stout defense is getting healthy and the QBs seem to be making progress.
Last week: 6
Up next: at Rutgers

5. Minnesota (6-2, 3-1). Few, if any, expected Minnesota to flop at Illinois. It did, ending the team’s four-game winning streak, and now a killer November schedule threatens to derail the season.
Last week: 4
Up next: off; Iowa

6. Maryland (5-3, 2-2). The Terps are 2-2 in their first Big Ten season, but the two losses (Ohio State, 52-24; Wisconsin, 52-7) show just how far they have to come before being a Big Ten contender.
Last week: 5
Up next: at Penn State

7. Iowa (5-2, 2-1). The Hawkeyes needed the bye this past Saturday. The chances of this still being a special season are dwindling. The line play has disappointed.
Last week: 7
Up next: Northwestern

8. Rutgers (5-3, 1-3). That 5-1 start is a distant memory, thanks to a relentless second-half schedule. The Scarlet Knight have been outscored 98-41 the last two weeks in road losses to Ohio State and Nebraska. Also, how badly is QB Gary Nova hurt?
Last week: 8
Up next: Wisconsin

9. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2). Northwestern, which was idle in Week 9, needs to improve its offense. It also must win three of its final five games to become bowl eligible.
Last week: 9
Up next: at Iowa

10. Penn State (4-3, 1-3). Too bad this defense doesn’t get more support from the offense. Schedule relief is coming, so the three-game losing streak may end soon.
Last week: 12
Up next: Maryland

POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY
ArcelorMittal

11. Purdue (3-5, 1-3). The Boilermakers are among the Big Ten leaders in “moral” victories. But this team may taste “real” victory at least one more time this year.
Last week: 10
Up next: at Nebraska

12. Illinois (4-4, 1-3). The Fighting Illini got a much-needed win, their first Big Ten home victory since 2011. Can Illinois build on the upset of Minnesota and win two more games to make a bowl?
Last week: 14
Up next: at Ohio State

13. Michigan (3-5, 1-3). The Wolverines continue to search for answers on offense, while the defense plays well. If you’re counting at home, the Wolverines have lost six of their last meetings with rival Michigan State.
Last week: 11
Up next: Indiana

14. Indiana (3-4, 0-3). The Hoosiers were off on Saturday. But questions still loom for an offense that is down to its third-string quarterback. Bowl hopes are slipping away.
Last week: 13
Up next: at Michigan

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, 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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