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Big Ten Power Rankings — Week 8

Penn State jumps in the rankings following a 24-21 victory over Ohio State.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

1. Michigan (7-0, 4-0)

Jim Harbaugh and company continue to take care of business, making easy work of Illinois on Saturday. Next week they’ll travel to East Lansing to take on the Spartans, and goodness gracious the Wolverines are going to do horrible things to Michigan State.

2. Ohio State (6-1, 3-1)

Let’s be honest — Ohio State is still a very good football team, and a team that is still probably in the College Football Playoff if it wins out. But goodness I won’t ever stop watching this. Or this.

3. Penn State (5-2, 3-1)

There are arguments to be made for who should be at No. 3 — Penn State, Wisconsin, or Nebraska? We’re putting the Nittany Lions here BECAUSE PENN STATE BEAT THE NUMBER TWO TEAM IN THE LAND! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

4. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2)

The Badgers avoided a let down, going on the road and picking up a 17-9 victory over Iowa in the most Big Ten game ever. Wisconsin will now host Nebraska next week in a game the Badgers need to win if they want to win the Big Ten West.

5. Nebraska (7-0, 4-0)

The Cornhuskers are undefeated, and they deserve to be commended for winning the games they should. But Nebraska again looked uninspiring against a below-average opponent, beating Purdue 27-14. The next two weeks will tell us a lot of this Nebraska team, as it heads out on the road for back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

6. Northwestern (4-3, 3-1)

Make it three in a row for the Wildcats, who are 4-1 since starting the year 0-2. With Illinois and Purdue still on the schedule, it’s hard to see Northwestern not getting to at least six wins, something that didn’t seem at all possible about a month ago.

7. Iowa (5-3, 3-2)

Iowa couldn’t get anything going offensively, falling to Wisconsin at home. The Hawkeyes will now regroup with a bye week before heading on the road to take on Penn State.

8. Minnesota (5-2, 2-2)

The Golden Gophers were nearly upset at home by Rutgers, but a late field goal gave Minnesota the 34-32 victory.

9. Indiana (3-4, 1-3)

The Hoosiers lost a tough one to Northwestern, making it their third loss in a row, and all of a sudden things aren’t looking as promising in Bloomington. Indiana will need to go 3-2 against Maryland, @Rutgers, Penn State, @Michigan, and Purdue to make a bowl game.

10. Maryland (5-2, 2-2)

Beating Michigan State and ending their two-game skid, the Terrapins are now in a prime position to make a bowl game in D.J. Durkin’s first year as head coach.

11. Michigan State (2-5, 0-4)

There’s really nothing else left to say. Unless a complete miracle happens, the Spartans won’t be going to a bowl game this year.

12. Purdue (3-4, 1-3)

The first game of the post-Darrell Hazell era went about as expected — Purdue lost.

13. Illinois (2-5, 1-3)

No shame in losing to a Michigan squad that is firing on all cylinders, but the rebuild at Illinois looks like it will certainly be a long one.

14. Rutgers (2-6, 0-5)

All things being considered, Rutgers deserves a lot of props for nearly knocking off Minnesota. After getting trounced by Ohio State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks, and then losing to Illinois at home, I don’t think anybody expected the Scarlet Knights to play the way they did Saturday. So while it still wasn’t a win, at least Rutgers is showing it won’t quit.