Last week: won vs. No. 9 Michigan State 24-3
Grrrrrrrr. Well, somebody's got to top this list. This week, it's got to be the team that, you know, lost by 31 and was genuinely uncompetitive against a team lower on this list. And then, yes went out and trounced the team that beat the team that hammered Nebraska ... but that was basically football's version of "The Hangover 3: Lost in Lincoln."
Next: vs. Northwestern, 2:30 p.m. BTN
2) No. 19 Wisconsin (6-2, 2-2 Leaders); LW, 1
Last week: lost at Ohio State 33-29
The Columbus Dispatch proclaims the Badgers "should stick to playing day games at home against nonconference cupcakes." Well, except for the nonconference part, Wisconsin is going to do just that this coming weekend. Perfect scheduling on the part of Bret Bielema! Although, really any team from the state of Indiana would have qualified as a cupcake. Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Valparaiso, the Colts, whomever. (Those teams are a combined 10-31.) Well, not any team. Nationally-ranked Warren Central out of Indianapolis is No. 1 in the IHSAA Class 5A poll, has won five state championships this decade and has the most rings of any Indiana big-school program. Bucky best steer clear of the Warriors.
Next: vs. Purdue, 2:30 p.m. ESPN2
3) No. 15 Michigan State (6-2, 3-1 Legends); LW, 2
Last week: lost at No. 13 Nebraska 24-3
Didn't put Sparty above UW after Hail Mary: Bucky's Nightmare, Part I. Not gonna budge when the Spartans get their lunch handed to them on the road and UW at least was in a position to win in the Horseshoe. Still believe UW wins the hypothetical rematch next week on a neutral field by two touchdowns.
Next: vs. Minnesota, 11 a.m. BTN
4) No. 13 Michigan (7-1, 3-1 Legends); LW, 4
Last week: won vs. Purdue 36-14
No question, the Wolverines caught Purdue in its "fat and happy" stage. That's how you explain a guy named Fitzgerald Toussaint - which sounds like a fabricated name utilized in a Family Guy 17th-century cutaway - runs for a buck-70 and a pair. However, the much-improved defense continues to be taken very seriously - would you believe Michigan has the second-best scoring defense in the conference?
Next: at Iowa, 11 a.m. ESPN
5) No. 16 Penn State (8-1, 5-0 Leaders); LW, 5
Last week: won vs. Illinois 10-7
Only team stingier on D than UM is the Nittany Lions. The 10-7 slobberknocker was a fitting way to make Joe Paterno the winningest Division-I coach ever. For Bielema to reach that figure, he'd have to average 10 wins a year - not easy to do in the least - until shortly before his 77th birthday in the 2046 season. Which is fitting, because that's about when Wisconsin fans will be emotionally prepared to see another last-second Hail Mary.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 9 Nebraska
6) RV Ohio State (5-3, 2-2 Leaders); LW, 7
Last week: won vs. No. 12 Wisconsin 33-29
This would be the appropriate time to chide an entire student section/fan base for rushing the field against the No. 12 team in the nation when the winning team has historically been egads more successful. But hey, that would just be beating a dead horse, right? So good job, Ohio State. Way to channel Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State with the out-of-place celebration. Gold star for you.
Next: vs. Indiana, 11 a.m. BTN
7) Iowa (5-3, 2-2 Legends); LW, 6
Last week: lost at Minnesota 22-21
One of those crazy rallies where Iowa allows a seemingly-harmless touchdown, then can't recover the last-ditch onside kick, and just like that, you're on the losing side. The Hawkeyes say they didn't overlook Minnesota - which inexplicably beat Iowa last year too - which means the only viable remaining explanation is lack of talent.
Next: vs. No. 13 Michigan, 11 a.m. ESPN
8) Purdue (4-4, 2-2 Leaders); LW, 8
Last week: lost at No. 17 Michigan 36-14
Saw an ‘lol' tweet Saturday: "BREAKING NEWS: Purdue is still Purdue." And pretty much any team that picks up a win over previously 6-0 Illinois no longer gets brownie points. The Boilermakers drew the short straw as the sacrificial lamb probably watching Wisconsin drop 70 out of spite.
Next: at No. 19 Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m. ESPN2
9) Northwestern (3-5, 1-4 Legends); LW, 10
Last week: won at Indiana 59-38
Six hundred and sixteen yards - cue the low whistle ... whewwwwwwww - to erase the five-game skid. Still, the great start is a distant memory, and the Wildcats' defense is still far too greasy-handed to compete with its next opponent.
Next: at No. 9 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. BTN
10) Illinois (6-3, 2-3 Leaders); LW, 9
Last week: lost at No. 21 Penn State 10-7
The first-half schedule wasn't THAT loaded with cupcakes, was it? Yes, the opponents got a little tougher in late October, but Ohio State, Purdue and Penn State hardly comprise a murderer's row. The Illini went from averaging over 35 points a game, to scoring 48 points in three losses.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 13 Michigan
11) Minnesota (2-6, 1-3 Legends); LW, 12
Last week: won vs. Iowa 22-21
See, now if the Gophers played Iowa every week, Jerry Kill might be worth that preposterous extension. Minnesota is 2-0 against the Hawkeyes since the 2009 Insight Bowl, and 3-16 against everybody else.
Next: at No. 15 Michigan State, 11 a.m. BTN
12) Indiana (1-8, 0-5 Leaders); LW, 11
Last week: lost vs. Northwestern 59-38
First Damario Belcher was suspended, now his Hoosier career is over after being booted for violation of team rules. The big receiver was looking to bust all kinds of James Hardy school marks, which just robs all of us of an incredibly compelling race for the record books. (Or not.)
Next: at Ohio State, 11 a.m. BTN
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