Last week: Idle
If college football were NASDAQ, the University of Wisconsin would be one of the highest stocks on the board at this moment. You might say it's time for the coaches to "sell high", and not in a jump-off-the-bandwagon kind of way. You just know Bret Bielema and his assistants took advantage of the bye to do some scouting, attend a few high school games around the country and sell prep coaches and top-flight prospects on how high Wisconsin is flying right now.
Next: vs. Indiana, 11 a.m. ESPN2
2) No. 11 Michigan (6-0, 2-0 Legends); LW, 5
Last week: won at Northwestern 42-24
Just a well-oiled machine on offense, with at least four touchdowns in each of the Wolverines' six wins. Eighteen total touchdowns for Denard Robinson are being mildly overlooked not just by Russell Wilson's Heisman candidacy, but also Robinson's nine interceptions.
Last week: won vs. Ohio State 34-27
In an 82-minute span lasting from late in the first quarter in Madison to early in the third quarter against Ohio State, the Cornhuskers simply forgot to play football, getting outscored 75-16. That's right: a minus-59 margin in about five-and-a-half quarters of football. Thanks to OSU's great collapse on the road, Nebraska avoids a humiliating first impression by splitting its first two primetime games, but there's cause for concern entering the bye week.
Next: Oct. 22 at Minnesota
4) No. 23 Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Legends); LW, 4
Last week: Idle
A gritty win at Ohio State was greeted with a well-timed off week, before Sparty welcomes Michigan and Wisconsin followed by a trip to Lincoln. MSU's schedule is seriously front-loaded, which serves a chance to move up quickly in the ranks.
Next: vs. No. 11 Michigan, 11 a.m. ESPN
5) No. 16 Illinois (6-0, 2-0 Leaders); LW, 6
Last week: won at Indiana 41-20
Kind of an under-the-radar squad to open the year, and yet the Illini haven't done anything too special - they've only played in Memorial Stadium all year (five in its own digs, and last week in hardly-hostile Bloomington's version). But they have just won, baby. Three manageable road games and three home showdowns against tough opponents remain. Illinois' chances of running the table are somewhere between 1 and 10 percent, but that figure ain't zero.
Next: vs. Ohio State, 2:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN
6) Iowa (3-2, 0-1 Legends); LW, 3
Last week: lost at Penn State 13-3
Turns out that no-huddle isn't a no-brainer. Penn State's got a fine defense, but the Hawkeyes are lucky their home fans weren't around to see that in person. Now they get a night game against a nemesis who Iowa's struggled to figure out.
Next: vs. Northwestern, 6 p.m. BTN
7) RV Penn State (5-1, 2-0 Leaders); LW, 9
Last week: won vs. Iowa 13-3
The Nittany Lions did enter the coaches poll at No. 25, which serves as a reminder the Big Ten is actually a pretty deep conference compared to its nationwide neighbors. Little fun fact for you: six Big Ten teams ranked by the coaches. Just four SEC teams.
Next: vs. Purdue, 11 a.m. BTN
8) Ohio State (3-3, 0-2 Leaders); LW, 7
Last week: lost at No. 14 Nebraska 34-27
Neither of the Buckeyes' quarterbacks is getting it done consistently enough, and the defense is showing its inexperience. It's not unreasonable to suggest Ohio State could actually miss a bowl game ... is it?
Next: at No. 16 Illinois, 2:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN
9) Purdue (3-2, 1-0 Leaders); LW, 10
Last week: won vs. Minnesota 45-17
Gotta love those booming legs. Cody Webster punted for 66 yards and Carson Wiggs booted a 50-plus yard field goal, clearly the difference in a four-TD pounding of the Golden Gophers.
Next: at Penn State, 11 a.m. BTN
10) Northwestern (2-3, 0-2 Legends); LW, 8
Last week: lost vs. No. 12 Michigan 42-24
Is there some mystique to the Wildcats' recent run of success over somewhat-rival Iowa - five wins in six tries? The Wildcats are reeling, so perhaps there's no better opponent to face right now.
Next: at Iowa, 6 p.m. BTN
11) Indiana (1-5, 0-2 Leaders); LW, 11
Last week: lost vs. No. 19 Illinois 41-20
Gambling is rarely mentioned in these rankings, but the spread's pushing 40 on Saturday's game. More surprisingly, the over-under is 60 points. Is that for the whole game or just the home team?
Next: at No. 4 Wisconsin, 11 a.m. ESPN2
12) Minnesota (1-5, 0-2 Legends); LW, 12
Last week: lost at Purdue 45-17 See, Minnesota truly can't catch a break this year. The only two Big Ten teams not on its schedule are Indiana - which would be a winnable game - and Ohio State - which would give Minnesota fans to say, "hey, it could be worse."
Next: Oct. 22 vs. No. 14 Nebraska