Melanie Maxwell / MLive.com
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vs Big 12
vs Big 12
1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0): Style points galore, but still no budge in the BCS rankings. The Buckeyes continue to steamroll the Big Ten and hope for someone ahead of them to stumble.
2. Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1): Quietly winning away. BCS at-large bound if they can beat BYU(???), Indiana, Minnesota and Penn State. All winnable, but Indiana and Minnesota could be closer than at first blush.
3. Michigan State (8-1, 5-0): Best defense in the country, hands down. If they played like this more consistently, they'd be an undefeated top 10 team for sure. Will be very interested to see this team play Ohio State for the Big Ten title.
4. Michigan (6-2, 2-2): Still have 4 games left to resurrect at least a respectable "failure" of a season. The next three games are all very winnable, although they need to forget the Michigan State game as quickly as possible. They should beat Nebraska this week to extend the home winning-streak to 20 games, thus they stay 1 ahead of the Huskers.
5. Nebraska (6-2, 3-1): A hail-mary to beat Northwestern at home was a fun way to win. These next two weeks against Michigan and Michigan State will define the season for the Huskers...which makes me anxious because teams often define their seasons with dramatic victories against Michigan. Sigh.
6. Minnesota (7-2, 3-2): Minnesota everybody! Seven wins and they're working their way up the bowl-projections to the Gator Bowl. You could argue that no team is benefitting more from a terrible Big Ten than the Gophers. They should beat Penn State and could give Wisconsin a good game in two weeks...both home games.
7. Iowa (5-4, 2-3): Played well in the first half against Wisconsin, but fell apart in the second. Three games left at Purdue, Michigan and at Nebraska. I think two of those games are victories (please not us, please not us, please not us).
8. Indiana (3-5, 1-3): Crazy game against Minnesota last week. They played both great and awful at the same time. They're a just a bad team that needed a win last week to inch closer to bowl eligibility. They need 3 wins in their last 4 games (Illinois, @Wisconsin, @Ohio State and Iowa) to make a bowl. At this point, who knows...it's Indiana. I know I wouldn't want to play them again.
9. Penn State (5-3, 2-2): Every week that passes the worse Michigan's loss to Penn State looks. Penn State is not good at all. They were taken to wire by Illinois and barely escaped with a win, at home...the same home field that felt nothing like it did when Michigan played there.
10. Northwestern (4-5, 0-5): Just when you thought the season couldn't get any worse...
Might be enough to save Bo Pelini's job, at least for another week. Btw, what's up with the orange lights Nebraska? That's always bothered me.
11. Illinois (3-5, 0-4): Fought the good fight in Happy Valley, but lost in overtime. Eighteen straight B1G losses...and counting.
12. Purdue (1-7, 0-4): 56-0 loss to the Buckeyes is probably the low-water mark of this program. No where else to go here but up. Right? Guys?