Spartan Digest Big Ten Power Rankings #3

The third week of Big Ten play is now in the books giving fans an even better understanding of where the conference stands. Here is our third B10 Power Rankings for 2011.

#1. Wisconsin– There is no question the Badgers are at the top of the Big Ten with first year senior quarterback transfer Russell Wilson getting a lot of praise. However, while Wilson may be the media darling, the Badgers is still a running team as proven by the performance of Montee Ball who rushed for 142 yards and three scores against Indiana. However, the Badgers return to the scene of last year's only conference loss Michigan State for a primetime battle and possible preview of the first Big Ten Championship game.

#2. Michigan State – The Spartans win over previous unbeaten Michigan showed the Wolverines still have a ways to go before pushing for a conference title. Pat Narduzzi has the defense dialed up having posted 17 sacks in their past two games. The offense may not be a thing of beauty to look at right now but it is enough for the Spartans to continue winning games. The defense will need to rise up again this week as the Spartans host Wisconsin in a possible preview of the first Big Ten Championship game.

#3. Nebraska – An off week to heal wounds and Minnesota should help keep the Huskers pushing for the top of the Legends Division. However, Michigan State looms just around the corner.

#4. Michigan – The Wolverines loss to Michigan State showed Brady Hoke must still count on the super play of Denard Robinson for his team to have a chance to win. While Michigan played well enough to win, they couldn't stop the Spartans when it mattered most and showed there are still some holes to fill. We'll keep the Wolverines in the Top Five but also have concerns. A week off and Purdue should help them stay above the rest of the conference.

#5. Penn State – The Nittany Lions may not look pretty doing it but Joe Pa has his team sitting with a 3-0 conference mark early. A trip to Northwestern against a struggling Wildcats team for Home Coming could surprise the Nittany Lions and give them their first Big Ten loss of the season.

#6. Ohio State – The Buckeyes rebounded and beat Illinois showing there is still life in the football program in Columbus. While many still have the Buckeyes doomed for this season, they still can bring some defensive heat.

#7. Illinois – Despite the loss to Ohio State, Ron Zook has his team playing better than it has the past few seasons. A trip to Purdue this weekend should get Zook's team back on the winning side of things. If not, look out because things have a chance to unravel.

#8. Iowa – The Hawkeyes are trying to hand tough in the Power Poll as they now moved to .500 in conference play after beating Northwestern. This weekend could help the Hawkeyes to find their grove as they host Indiana.

#9. Northwestern – Things are hard for the Wildcats who will now turn around and host Penn State this weekend. No one expected this season to see Northwestern with an overall record of 2-4 and already three losses in conference play.

#10. Purdue – We still feel Danny Hope is on the hot seat following this season. The Boilermakers played Penn State tough on the road but came up on the short side of the scoreboard. Now they'll have a chance to show if Illinois deserves to be where there at in our Power Poll.

#11. Indiana – Welcome Kevin Wilson to the powers of the Big Ten. Saturday's 59 – 7 drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin is now followed by a road trip to Iowa for their home coming game.

#12. Minnesota – The Golden Gophers did not lose this past week. Again, they did not play, so while not losing was a good thing up next is Nebraska and a sure beat down from the Huskers is expected.

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