1. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0)
Ohio State deserves some recognition — going into Camp Randall at night and beating that Wisconsin defense is impressive. This is still a young Ohio State squad that should only get better as the season goes on. Unfortunately for them, it’ll be another tough test next week as they travel to Happy Valley for a Whiteout under the lights.
2. Michigan (6-0, 3-0)
The Wolverines were off this week. They’ll host Illinois next week.
3. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2)
You really can’t ask for much more out of the Badgers. The defense came to play, they had a strong offensive game plan, but Wisconsin still fell to Ohio State 30-23 in OT. Despite its two losses, I think it’s fair to say the Badgers are the class of the Big Ten West.
4. Nebraska (6-0, 3-0)
The Cornhuskers survived in Bloomington against a good Hoosiers defense. They’ll have Purdue next week before going on the road to face Wisconsin and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks.
5. Penn State (4-2, 2-1)
Penn State had a bye week as it prepares for a primetime showdown with the Buckeyes.
6. Indiana (3-3, 1-2)
This might seem high for a team that has two losses in a row, but I’ve been impressed with the Hoosiers despite their losses. They finish the year with: @Northwestern, Maryland, @Rutgers, Penn State, @Michigan, and Purdue. It wouldn’t be surprising in the least if Indiana finished 5-1 and 8-4 overall.
7. Northwestern (3-3, 2-1)
Props to Pat Fitzgerald and this Northwestern team. After falling to Western Michigan and Illinois State to start the season, the Wildcats have preserved to beat Iowa and Michigan State on the road. A bowl game is definitely possible for the Wildcats, something that didn’t seem likely a month ago.
8. Iowa (5-2, 3-1)
I’m still not sure what to make of Iowa. Both its offense and defense runs hot and cold, so you’re never sure what you’re going to get. Regardless, we’ll learn a lot about the Hawkeyes in the season’s final five games, as they’ll face off with Wisconsin, @Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska.
9. Minnesota (4-2, 1-2)
Even without quarterback Mitch Leidner, the Golden Gophers made easy work of Maryland. With Rutgers, @Illinois, and Purdue in the next three weeks, Minnesota should find itself at 7-2 in November.
10. Maryland (4-2, 1-2)
The loss to the Golden Gophers obviously doesn’t end Maryland’s hopes of getting into a bowl game, but it certainly makes the road that much tougher. Next week the Terrapins will host Michigan State in a game that both teams will desperately need to win if they want to land in a bowl game.
11. Michigan State (2-4, 0-3)
Giving up 54 points to a very average Northwestern offense? The Spartans lost a lot from their Big Ten Championship team, but things really shouldn’t be this bad. Michigan State hosts Michigan in two weeks and I advise you, if you have children, don’t let them watch that game because what Jim Harbaugh is going to do to the Spartans isn’t going to be PG rated.
12. Purdue (3-3, 1-2)
The Boilermakers can’t stop the run, and because of it, Darrell Hazell lost his job. Curious to see who Purdue goes after.
13. Illinois (2-4, 1-2)
Congratulations Illinois, you are not the weakest link in the Big Ten.