Last week: def. Indiana 38-10
The Buckeyes will really only get two true tests this year in the Big Ten. Welcome to Part I. Ohio State has had Wisconsin's number in past years, but now it'll have to deal with a Gameday crowd.
Next: at No. 18 Wisconsin, Sat. 6 p.m. (ESPN)
2) No. 15 Iowa (4-1, 1-0); LW, 2
Last week: Idle
What an advantage for the Hawkeyes, to receive a pair of weeks to deal with gameplanning against Denard Robinson. Not to mention the Spartans just showed Big Ten cohorts how to deal with the previous Heisman darling.
Next: at Michigan, Sat. 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
3) No. 13 Michigan State (6-0, 2-0); LW, 3
Last week: def. No. 18 Michigan 34-17
Speaking of which, what a couple of statement victories for Mark Dantonio's team. Throw in the coach's health issues and the ridiculous Notre Dame ending, and the Spartans figure to be one of those proverbial ‘America's Team' figures once we head into bowl season.
Next: vs. Illinois, Sat. 11 a.m. (BTN)
4) No. 18 Wisconsin (5-1, 1-1); LW, 5
Last week: def. Minnesota 41-23
So this weekend figures to be pretty boring in Madison. Not much going on at all. Yes, that was dripping in sarcasm. Part of growing up as a program is putting the Axe away quickly and moving on to much bigger fish. Minnesota's program is a disgrace right now; Ohio State's is the complete opposite.
Next: vs. No. 1 Ohio State, Sat. 6 p.m. (ESPN)
5) Michigan (5-1, 1-1); LW, 4
Last week: lost to No. 17 Michigan State 34-17
Not quite a fraudulent effort against the in-state rival, but Saturday showed Rich Rodriguez's crew has a little work to do yet to consider itself a conference elite. Interesting that Rodriguez owns as many Big Ten victories in the Big House - two - as his rival to the east, Dantonio, since 2008.
Next: vs. No. 15 Iowa, Sat. 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
6) Illinois (3-2, 1-1); LW, 8
Last week: def. Penn State 33-13
Who ordered a bounceback year in Champaign? (Patting self on back.) More specifically, the Illini bounced back in Happy Valley, an intensely difficult place to win. Pair that with a strong effort against the nation's now-No. 1, and Illinois is officially back on the Big Ten radar as a serious foe.
Next: at No. 13 Michigan State, Sat. 11 a.m. (BTN)
7) Penn State (3-3, 0-2); LW, 6
Last week: lost to Illinois 33-13
Who ordered a down year in Happy Valley? (Patting self on opposite side of back.) This was the worst possible way for the Lions to head into the bye, winless in conference play and still trying to find the offense.
8) Purdue (3-2, 1-0); LW, 10
Last week: def. Northwestern 20-17
Give the Boilermakers this, they always seem to churn out some exciting endings to ball games, and they actually won a close one against a nearby rival. One more winnable game approaches this week, before a slew of hot teams hits in late October and November.
Next: vs. Minnesota, Sat. 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
9) Northwestern (5-1, 1-1); LW, 7
Last week: lost to Purdue 20-17
Recognize, this was the Wildcats' first slip-up. But their overall efforts have been uninspiring so far, and getting exposed by Purdue is not a good way to make a case for a marquee bowl.
10) Indiana (3-2, 0-2); LW, 9
Last week: lost to No. 2 Ohio State 38-10
Any good feelings created by holding Michigan close two weekends ago have been marred by Indiana's blowout to the Buckeyes (not to mention Michigan's downfall). No more ranked opponents until November, though.
Next: vs. Arkansas State, Sat. 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
11) Minnesota (1-5, 0-2); LW, 11
Last week: lost to No. 20 Wisconsin 41-23
Bret Bielema probably screwed up. A coach's mind trains him to go by his card, and my guess is Bielema and his staff just had what clinicians refer to as a "brain fart." Their bad, and the Badgers should have taken accountability. But Tim Brewster doesn't need to stir up the pot with some sour grapes. A 25-point margin is large, yes, but the game wasn't for certain over. And as Dan Hawkins proclaimed, it's Division I football. If the Gophers don't like it, go play intramurals, brother.
Next: at Purdue, Sat. 11 a.m. (ESPN2)