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Big Ten Power Rankings — Week 12

Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin continue to lead the pack.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ohio State (10-1, 7-1)

The Buckeyes survived Michigan State, and will now return home to host Michigan for a chance to win the Big Ten East — that is, if Penn State loses to the Spartans. But even if the Nittany Lions win, it’s hard to see the College Football Playoff committee keeping an 11-1 Ohio State team out of the playoffs, even without a conference title on its resume.

2. Michigan (10-1, 7-1)

Michigan has an elite defense that will keep it in any game, but that offense is really struggling at the wrong time. The Wolverines opened as 6.5-point underdogs against the Buckeyes.

3. Penn State (9-2, 7-1)

Make it seven in a row. It wasn’t the cleanest victory you’ll ever see, but the Nittany Lions dominated Rutgers in every facet of the game. Just a 3-8 Michigan State squad stands in the way of Penn State’s first double-digit win season since 2009.

4. Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2)

The Badgers coasted to another victory, this time on the road against Purdue. Minnesota will visit Camp Randall next Saturday, and it’s pretty simple for Wisconsin — win and you’re in the Big Ten Championship.

5. Nebraska (9-2, 6-2)

Nebraska looked good against Maryland, beating the Terrapins 28-7. The Cornhuskers will now go on the road to Iowa, a game it needs to win to have any shot at a Big Test West crown.

6. Iowa (7-4, 5-3)

No letdown for the Hawkeyes on Saturday, as they beat Illinois handily. Next up is Nebraska on Friday afternoon, which is slowly becoming a fun, little rivalry.

7. Minnesota (8-3, 5-3)

Credit to Minnesota for beating Northwestern, a win that is probably the Golden Gophers’ most impressive victory this season. A probable loss awaits next week against Wisconsin, but an 8-4 year is still a very solid season for Tracy Claeys’ program.

8. Northwestern (5-6, 4-4)

The Wildcats fell to Minnesota, finding themselves still a game shy of bowl eligibility. They should get that sixth win next week though as they host Illinois.

9. Indiana (5-6, 3-5)

The Hoosiers led Michigan late in the third quarter in an ugly game, but the Wolverines proved too much for Indiana and Tom Crean Kevin Wilson.

10. Maryland (5-6, 2-6)

We’ve talked about this before, but if Maryland wins next Saturday, it will be going bowling because of these six victories: Howard, FIU, UCF, Purdue, Michigan State, and Rutgers. Those six teams have a combined record of 20-49.

11. Illinois (3-8, 2-6)

At least Illinois’ basketball team is off to a 4-0 start.

12. Michigan State (3-8, 1-7)

I understand the angst from Penn State fans who are worried about Michigan State. On one hand, the Spartans are much more talented than their record indicates, and they’ve proven they can play really good teams (Michigan and Ohio State) close. On that same token, this Michigan State team loss on the road to Maryland and Illinois.

13. Purdue (3-8, 1-7)

Positives: Purdue also has a pretty good basketball team.

14. Rutgers (2-9, 0-8)