Wisconsin finds itself ranked second once again this week, but I'm not sure that's a good thing for Wisconsin. As the Badgers themselves can tell you, being second in these power rankings usually leads to a drop in the rankings. That's where the Badgers were before losses to Arizona State and Ohio State, it's where Iowa was before losing to Michigan State, and that's where Michigan was last week before heading to Happy Valley.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Brady Hoke left his balls back in Ann Arbor, or they might still be in second place today.
However, overall there wasn't a ton of movement in the rankings this week, which is typically the case when we have a lot more data to work with. The swings just aren't as drastic.
TEAM (RECORD, LAST WEEK) -- POINTS
1. Ohio State (6-0, 1) - 156 -- Ohio State not only remains on top this week despite taking the week off, but they actually increased their point total from 152, even if the gap between them and second place got a bit smaller. Still, while I'm not quite so sure that Ohio State is actually the third or fourth best team in the country depending on your favorite poll, I do think they're the best team in the Big Ten. And I don't think that fact will be changing any time soon. This Week: vs. Iowa
2. Wisconsin (4-2, 3) - 140 -- You know, I thought that Wisconsin was going to beat Northwestern, and even though I picked Northwestern to cover the spread, I did mention the possibility of the Badgers ground game steamrolling the Wildcats. Even so, I didn't think it'd be as bad as it was on Saturday. I hope they wore themselves out in the process. This Week: at Illinois
3. Nebraska (5-1, 4) - 136 -- Remember when the Nebraska defense couldn't stop anybody and Bo Pelini was totally going to get fired? Yeah, about that... Suddenly here are the Cornhuskers ranked in the top third after crushing a terrible Purdue team like it was supposed to. We should have known all along that the cure for Nebraska's defensive ills would be Big Ten offenses. This Week: Bye
4. Michigan (5-1, 2) - 124 -- I know I mentioned this in the TCR Top 40 yesterday, but I find it amusing how many writers I saw take umbrage with the fact Michigan was ranked #24 in the Coaches Poll this week. Is Michigan a Big Ten title contender? No, probably not, but I'm not ready to rule them out yet, either. Still, even with the struggles against UConn and Akron, this is a team that's 5-1 and its only loss came on the road in four overtimes. And ranking them #24 is too high!? I know it's Michigan and you just want to hate it, but come on. This Week: vs. Indiana
5. Michigan State (5-1, 5) - 119 -- While Michigan State's offensive numbers are improving with each week, they were so far behind everybody else to start the season that they just haven't totally caught up yet. And that's why they're still in fifth. Though, like I said with Nebraska, we all should have known that the cure for Michigan State's offensive woes would be Big Ten defenses. Because, after all, Michigan State doesn't have to play Michigan State. This Week: vs. Purdue
6. Iowa (4-2, 6) - 113 -- Iowa stays put after a bye week. Iowa is kind of the poor man's Michigan State in that its offense is really struggling the last few weeks, but it's playing pretty good on defense. And right now being good at something is good enough to get you up to sixth in these rankings. This Week: at Ohio State
7. Penn State (4-2, 9) - 95 -- As I mentioned last week, when you're playing a true freshman at quarterback there are going to be highs and lows. There's losing to Indiana, and then there's coming back when all hope seemed lost to beat Michigan. I won't be surprised when we see Penn State suffer another strange loss and follow it up with another unexpected win. This Week: Bye
8. Indiana (3-3, 7) - 91 -- Indiana doesn't fall that far, and in reality, it shouldn't. The final score against Michigan State looked a bit worse for Indiana than it actually was. I mean, we probably shouldn't ignore the fact that the Hoosiers offense did manage to put up 28 points against the Michigan State defense. That makes Indiana the first team to reach 20 against Michigan State this season. Hell, it's only the fifth time anybody has managed at least 27 points against the Michigan State defense since the start of the 2011 season, and Indiana was one of those other teams, putting up 27 on Sparty last year. So, maybe other teams should study what Indiana is doing. This Week: at Michigan
9. Northwestern (4-2, 8) - 82 -- As I said last week, statistically, Northwestern really hasn't been very good this season when compared to its Big Ten counterparts. Early on it was the 4-0 start that was holding them up in the top half, but since they've now lost two in a row they're falling down these rankings pretty quick. Now, the drop from eighth to ninth isn't huge, but last week Northwestern was in eighth with 101 points. This week it only has 82. This Week: vs. Minnesota
10. Illinois (3-2, 10) - 77 -- The Illini are still in tenth, but their lead over Minnesota has shrunk, and they've got a very tough game against Wisconsin this week. Im not exactly optimistic heading into this week's game, but coming off a bye maybe we can put together the kind of performance Wisconsin had off a bye last week, and the kind Nebraska had off a bye against us last week. Or maybe we can give up 500 rushing yards to Wisconsin. We'll see! This Week: vs. Wisconsin
11. Minnesota (3-2, 11) - 73 -- I have a hard time believing Minnesota is going to be able to improve much over the rest of the season given all that's going on with Jerry Kill right now. It's just not a good situation for anybody there to be in, but should Northwestern be without both Venric Mark and Kain Colter this week, I suppose an upset is possible. This Week: at Northwestern
12. Purdue (1-5, 12) - 25 -- It's not just that Purdue is a bad team. We all know that. What's remarkable about this team is that it's really not good at anything. Of the 13 stat categories I use to put together these rankings every week the highest Purdue ranks in any of them is ninth in the Big Ten. And it sure as hell doesn't get any easier this week for the Boilermakers. This Week: at Michigan State
Last week's rankings can be found here.