It was a weekend of separation for a few teams in the conference. The Ohio State Buckeyes looked like they were in serious trouble but came roaring back in the second half against Wisconsin. The Badgers also showed they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Nebraska may have proved it's an upper tier team with a gritty road at Indiana. How does this impact the rankings this week? Let's run it down.
1- Ohio State (6-0, 3-0)
Last week: Defeated Wisconsin 30-23 (OT)
This week: @ Penn State
- It's hard not to be impressed with Ohio State's resolve in an extremely difficult road environment. J.T. Barrett led the OSU attack in the second half to beat a very good Badger defense. Now, on to Happy Valley against another team that had some extra prep time.
2- Michigan (6-0, 3-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Illinois
- Michigan had the week off to zero in on the home stretch with a few tricky games before the season finale against rival, Ohio State. This weekend will not be one of those challenges.
3- Nebraska (6-0, 3-0)
Last week: Defeated Indiana 27-22
This week: vs. Purdue
- Nothing pretty about Nebraska's win over the Hoosiers but the defense continues to show big improvement and the Huskers finally got out to a good start. NU is 6-0 for the first time since 2001. Injuries remain a bit of a concern this week.
4- Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2)
Last week: Lost to Ohio State 30-23 (OT)
This week: @ Iowa
- The Badgers nearly pulled off the victory that nobody thought they could but as it stands they are 1-2 in conference play. Wisconsin needs a win badly at Iowa on Saturday to stay alive in the West.
5- Penn State (4-2, 2-1)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Ohio State
- Penn State entered the bye week with two victories and plenty of momentum. It will be a "white-out" at Beaver stadium for Ohio State but can the Nittany Lions do enough to keep this one competitive?
6- Indiana (3-3, 1-2)
Last week: Lost to Nebraska 27-22
This week: @ Northwestern
- The Hoosiers continue to show the conference that they will be a tough out no matter who they play but a slow start cost them against Nebraska. Now it's a road game against one of the hotter offenses in the conference.
7- Northwestern (3-3, 2-1)
Last week: Defeated Michigan State 54-40
This week: vs. Indiana
- The Wildcats are on fire with their offense clicking on all cylinders. Northwestern will have a great challenge this week at home with Indiana but can inch closer to a bowl game and stay in the division race.
8- Iowa (5-2, 3-1)
Last week: Defeated Purdue 49-35
This week: vs. Wisconsin
- The Iowa offense gained plenty of confidence as they ran through Purdue. Is Iowa figuring it out? This Saturday's game against Wisconsin will tell you plenty.
9- Minnesota (4-2, 1-2)
Last week: Defeated Maryland 31-10
This week: vs. Rutgers
- An impressive road win and a very favorable 3 game stretch should keep the Gophers alive in the West division. Defense dominated the Terps in Maryland.
10- Maryland (4-2, 1-2)
Last week: Lost to Minnesota 31-10
This week: vs. Michigan State
- After 2 losses, Maryland is struggling mightily on both sides of the football. The good news is they play a Michigan State team that is so far gone at this point that the Terps should have a legit chance this weekend.
11- Michigan State (2-4, 0-3)
Last week: Lost to Northwestern 54-40
This week: @ Maryland
- Uh... I at least thought Sparty could play some D but now that looks broken too. Michigan State's struggles continue to be the biggest surprise in the conference this year. This was thought to be one of Dantonio's best defensive units in a long line of good ones.
12- Purdue (5-2, 3-1)
Last week: Lost to Iowa 49-35
This week: @ Nebraska
- Purdue will now play with the distraction of having a coach fired mid-season. Not ideal for a group that already struggles to stop basically any opponent's offense.
13- Illinois (2-4, 1-2)
Last week: Defeated 24-7
This week: @ Michigan
- With a huge win over mighty Rutgers, the Illini are poised for an upset in Ann Arbor. Oh come on! I thought it was a funny statement. Yeah it won't be pretty against a rested Wolverine squad.
14- Rutgers (2-5, 0-4)
Last week; Lost to Illinois 24-7
This week: @ Minnesota
- Rutgers is not good. That is all.