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Big Ten rankings

1. Michigan State (7-1, 4-0): The Spartans continued to point toward their matchup with Ohio State in two weeks by rolling over Michigan for the sixth time in seven years. The passing game wasn't as efficient, but the running game was impressive and the defense was suffocating. Last week: 1.

2. Ohio State (6-1, 3-0): The Buckeyes escaped with a victory in double-overtime at Penn State and in the process remained alive in the East and in the national playoff picture. Quarterback J.T. Barrett struggled for the first time in weeks, but the defensive front was big again for the Buckeyes. Last week: 2.

3. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1): Ameer Abdullah continues to roll up the yards for the Cornhuskers, who now are tied for first place in the West. They'll have a shot to lock up the division over the final four weeks with games against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, all teams vying to reach Indianapolis. Last week: 3.

4. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1): The Badgers had one of their most complete games of the season, dismantling Maryland and keeping their hopes alive in the West. They still have a meeting with Nebraska, which means they'll at least have a shot as long as the two-quarterback system keeps working. Last week: 5.

5. Iowa (5-2, 2-1): The Hawkeyes had the week off and now prepare for a stretch with five games against division teams. They have yet to be impressive this season, but they have a shot in the West if they can take care of business on the field. Last week: 7.

6. Minnesota (6-2, 3-1): The Gophers haven't played well the last two weeks and it caught up with them in a loss to Illinois. The problem for Minnesota is that the schedule gets more difficult with a crossover with Ohio State before closing at Nebraska and Wisconsin. Last week: 4.

7. Rutgers (5-3, 1-3): The Scarlet Knights have lost two straight, but when everyone loses or doesn't play, you gotta rank somebody seventh. They did little to stop the running attack of Ameer Abdullah but did show some fight in scoring 24 points on the road. Last week: 8.

8. Penn State (4-3, 1-3): The Nittany Lions showed plenty of fight in eliminating a 17-0 deficit against Ohio State and got the short end of the stick on a couple of calls, but they still came up short for the third straight time as they continue to watch a possible bowl berth fade away. Last week: 9.

9. Maryland (5-3, 2-2): Somebody had to drop, and when you lose 52-7 — even on the road against a good Wisconsin team — that results in a significant move. The Terrapins had won five straight on the road, but in their first visit to Madison they managed just 175 total yards. Last week: 6.

10. Purdue (3-5, 1-3): The Boilermakers had the week off but had played two straight solid games, albeit with both resulting in losses. They trailed Michigan State by a touchdown in the fourth quarter and lost by one at Minnesota, definite progress for a program that has been mired at the bottom of the Big Ten. Last week: 11.

11. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2): The Wildcats had the week off after losing two straight, a streak that could continue to grow over the final five weeks of the season with games at Iowa and Purdue as well as a home game against Michigan. Last week: 12.

12. Michigan (3-5, 1-3): The same old problems continued to hurt the Wolverines in their loss at Michigan State, including turnovers and an anemic offense. But the defense also got run over, giving up 219 yards on the ground. Last week: 9

13. Illinois (4-4, 1-3): Don't look now, but Illinois could actually become bowl eligible. That seems difficult to imagine, but after the upset victory over Minnesota, the Illini have four chances to pick up two more wins, with two games against Penn State and Northwestern. Last week: 14.

14. Indiana (3-4, 0-3): The Hoosiers have lost two straight, including three in a row in the Big Ten and don't have a lot of prospects for wins down the road. It sets up a potential finish that could lead to coach Kevin Wilson polishing his resume. Last week: 13.

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