1. Wisconsin Badgers: 9-0 (6-0)
Well look at who we have here? Still undefeated, and after what what can only be described as the Big Ten’s wildest week of the season, Wisconsin finds themselves at the top of the conference power complex. Say what you will about the schedule (actually, maybe we can give it a rest for a day or two?), Paul Chryst and his staff continue to churn out wins, despite their patented slow starts. The defense has shown incredible depth, specifically at linebacker, but there needs to be real urgency in response to the devastating injury to Quintez Cephus. Everybody and their brother is curious about how good Wisconsin actually is, they’ll finally find out when a ruthless Hawkeye team rolls into Madison.
Last Week: Win at Indiana (45-17)
Up Next: vs No. 20 Iowa
2. Penn State Nittany Lions: 7-2 (4-2)
There are some who wont agree with the Nittany Lions at the second spot this week, especially coming off of back to back conference loses. Still, this Penn State team reminds me of the 2011-2012 Wisconsin team; despite their elite talent on offense, they lose back to back heartbreaks — ironically, each coming against Ohio State and Michigan State. Their loss to the Spartans was a classic, and included a massive delay; the ultimate curve ball, and some might claim, asterisk. James Franklin’s team is a couple of bad breaks away from being undefeated, their talent sneaks them into the second spot.
Last Week: Loss at No. 24 Michigan (24–27)
Up Next: at No. 13 Ohio State
3. Michigan State Spartans: 7-2 (5-1)
The Spartans bounce back in a massive way, proving they still have some of that home field magic in their proverbial bag of tricks. This is a team capable of what they did last Saturday, especially when their rising sophmore QB, Brian Lewerke, goes for 400 yards and a couple touchdowns. Their matchup at Ohio State in week 11 is the most impact contest they’ve been involved with in quite some time.
Last Week: Win vs. No. 7 Penn State (27-24)
Up Next: at No. 13 Ohio State
4. Ohio State Buckeyes: 7-2 (5-1)
You just dont see an Urban Meyer lead Buckeye team lay an egg in a big time conference game like they did against Iowa. This team is better than that, but it’s also clear they weren’t ready for a primetime contest. J.T. Barrett’s Heisman hopes, and Ohio State’s CFP chances, came crashing down after their week 10 embarrassment in Iowa City. There is still a lot to play for in Columbus; rivalries still count for a lot, folks.
Last Week: Loss at Iowa (24-55)
Up Next: vs No. 12 Michigan State
5. Iowa Hawkeyes: 6-3 (3-3)
The Hawkeyes are the best 3 loss team in the country, as each loss has come to a top 25 opponent, while also coming down to the final drive. This is a classic Hawkeye team with grit, yet the play of their QB is what can make this team special. One question reminds - can Iowa play top tier football away from Kinnick?
Last Week: Win vs. No. 6 Ohio State (55-24)
Up Next: at No. 8 Wisconsin
6. Northwestern Wildcats: 6-3 (5-2)
Pat Fitzgerlad has done a wonderful job and has turned this team around midseason. Four straight wins, including two against top 20 competition, have Northwestern looking darn good, and they can thank the reemergence of Justin Jackson for that.
Last Week: Win at Nebraska (31-24)
Up Next: vs Purdue
7. Michigan Wolverines: 7-2 (5-2)
Let’s get this out of the way: Michigan is not a top ten team in the country, and that’s okay. This is a good team; the Wolverines have a dynamic rushing attack, a work in progress at QB, and seriously talented defense. There is a big difference between this spot and the bottom half of the conference.
Last Week: Win vs. Minnesota (33-10)
Up Next: at Maryland
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers: 5-4 (3-3)
The Huskers have played better recently, but they are still playing worse than their talent would suggest.
Last Week: Loss vs. Northwestern (24-31)
Up Next: at Minnesota
9. Purdue Boilermakers: 4-5 (2-4)
The conference has become a bit of a toss up at this point, Purdue’s defense allows them to sneak into the ninth position.
Last Week: Win vs Illinois (29-10)
Up Next: at No. 25 Northwestern
10. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: 4-5 (3-3)
It may seem a bit odd to put Rutgers this high on the list, but they have won 3 of 4, including last week against the team below them on this list.
Last Week: Win vs. Maryland (31-24)
Up Next: at Penn State
11. Maryland Terrapins: 4-5 (2-4)
After a nice start to the season, things have steadily gone down hill for Maryland, it doesn’t help that they’re on their 3rd string QB.
Last Week: Loss at Rutgers (24-31)
Up Next: vs Michigan
12. Indiana Hoosiers: 3-6 (0-6)
The Hoosiers shouldn’t be this far down on this list, they’re more talented than this listing. Still, at 0-5 in the Big Ten, ya can’t put ‘em much higher.
Last Week: Loss vs Wisconsin (45-17)
Up Next: at Illinois
13. Minnesota Gophers: 4-5 (1-5)
P.J. Fleck became a meme this past week trying to convince Gopher faithful that time is needed for success, and he’s not wrong, Minnesota has been dreadful thus far in 2017.
Last Week: Loss vs Michigan (10-33)
Up Next: vs Nebraska
14. Illinois Illini: 2-7 (0-6)
There is no doubt about who is the worst team in the Big Ten, the youthful Illini appear solidified at the bottom of the conference from here on out.
Last Week: Loss at Purdue (10-29)
Up Next: vs Indiana