1) No. 9 Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten; last week, 1)
And they're off to the Roses! You can imagine that Saturday's win over "that team up north" was anything but meaningless to Ohio State.
2) No. 13 Iowa (10-2, 6-2; last week, 2)
Got to see the Hawkeye defense in person for the second time this season on Saturday. What a terrific, terrific unit that is. Iowa will be a tough out for any bowl opponent, whether in the BCS or another prestigious New Year's Day game.
3) No. 12 Penn State (10-2, 6-2; last week, 4)
Well, the Nittany Lions may have earned themselves a BCS bid after all. Helps to win on the road, by 28, against a decent program (albeit the Spartans are playing poorly), in one of those nationally-televised afternoon time slots. Iowa fans should be nervous.
4) Northwestern (8-4, 5-3; last week, 5)
What a fine three weeks Northwestern put together: beating ranked powers Iowa and Wisconsin, and cooling down a hot Illinois squad. The ‘Cats put themselves in fine position for either the Outback or Alamo Bowl.
5) Wisconsin (8-3, 5-3; last week, 3)
I warned you, Badgers. So much for entering the BCS conversation … now that Alamo assignment everyone wanted last season may be arriving a year late, unless the Outback people decide they do want Wisconsin's fans over Northwestern's bandwagon.
6) Minnesota (6-6, 3-5; last week, 7)
Was that really a former all-Big Ten second-team quarterback I saw out there at Kinnick Stadium, Adam Weber? Fierce Iowa defense or not, you've got to complete more than 35 percent of your passes.
7) Michigan State (6-6, 4-4; last week, 6)
So much for a top-three finish in the conference, as was predicted in August. The Spartans might not even leave their own state to go bowling. Hello, Little Caesars.
8) Purdue (5-7, 4-4; last week, 9)
Finished an up-and-down year with a win at rival Indiana. Not a terrible debut season for Danny Hope.
9) Illinois (3-7, 2-6; last week, 8)
Idle this week, with two games to go at Cincinnati (BCS buster buster?) and then home for Fresno State. Good thing the Illini aren't 4-6, or that could seriously mess up the Big Ten's bowl situation, since they still would have been eligible.
10) Indiana (4-8, 1-7; last week, 10)
Almost put the Hoosiers above Illinois, since IU did beat UI. But losing five straight, and eight of nine, isn't very convincing.
11) Michigan (5-7, 1-7; last week, 11)
Just two years, but is Rich-Rod's seat already getting toasty? What a dreadful season for Big Blue.