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Detroit News Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 14

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Big Ten rankings

1. Ohio State (10-1, 7-0): The Buckeyes were not sharp and had plenty of trouble handing the ball over to Indiana. But in the end they proved to be far too talented against a team that beat Missouri this year but has been awful in conference play. All that's left now for OSU is a fairly anticlimactic game with Michigan. Last week: 1.

2. Michigan State (9-2, 6-1): The Spartans scored touchdowns on five consecutive first-half possessions and never looked back in a rout of Rutgers. They'll have a shot at another double-digit win season next week at Penn State as they continue to work toward a spot in a major bowl game. Last week: 2.

3. Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1): The Badgers weren't outstanding in their victory over Iowa but they got the job done on the legs of running back Melvin Gordon once again. Now they get a chance to face Minnesota for a spot in the conference title game for the third time in four years. Last week: 3.

4. Minnesota (8-3, 5-2): The Gophers came away with an improbable victory at Nebraska and now will have a chance to reach the conference championship game if it can beat Wisconsin. They'll need running back David Cobb, who left the Nebraska game with a bad hamstring. Last week: 6.

5. Iowa (7-4, 4-3): The Hawkeyes saw their long shot chance at winning the West division dashed with their loss against Wisconsin. Iowa played well, rolling up more than 400 yards of total offense and erasing a 16-point deficit, but the 311 passing yards from Jake Rudock weren't enough. Last week: 4.

6. Maryland (7-4, 4-3): The Terrapins became the latest team to take advantage of the sinking ship at Michigan, rallying in the second half to knock off the Wolverines on the road. Maryland now faces fellow first-year conference member Rutgers in the finale. Last week: 9.

7. Nebraska (8-3, 4-3): The Huskers have lost two straight and have officially been eliminated from the race in the West. They'll close the season against Iowa in a battle of two teams that fell far short of expectations this season. Last week: 5.

8. Penn State (6-5, 2-5): The downward spiral for the Nittany Lions continued as they lost their fifth conference game in the last six, the latest defeat coming against lowly Illinois. The finale will be no picnic as No. 10 Michigan State comes to Happy Valley. Last week: 7.

9. Rutgers (6-5, 2-4): The Scarlet Knights have now lost four of five and were awful in a one-sided loss to Michigan State. They are bowl eligible, but defensively they are struggling and lack any real playmakers on offense. Last week: 8.

10. Northwestern (5-6, 3-4): The Wildcats have managed to come within a victory of being bowl eligible and did so by beating Purdue despite losing quarterback Trevor Siemian to an injury. A win next week would give the Wildcats three straight to close the season. Last week: 11.

11. Illinois (5-6, 2-5): The Illini have been awful most of the season, but a second improbable Big Ten victory, this time over Penn State, has led them to the brink of becoming bowl eligible. They'll have to win on the road next week, but it's at least a spot many didn't think they'd reach. Last week: 13.

12. Michigan (5-6, 3-4): The Wolverines have reached the point where they are merely playing out the string. A season could be somewhat salvaged with one more win, but considering that would have to come at No. 7 Ohio State, the odds couldn't be longer for this underachieving bunch. Last week: 10.

13. Purdue (3-8, 1-6): At one point this season, the Boilermakers were a .500 football team. Since then, they've lost five straight and will need to beat Indiana on the road in the finale to try and gain some type of momentum heading into next season. Last week: 12.

14. Indiana (3-8, 0-7): The Hoosiers gave it a good effort against Ohio State, but it's obvious the highlight to this season was their win over Missouri on Sept. 20. The question now is if coach Kevin Wilson survives to see a fifth season. Last week: 14.