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No. 1 Ohio State has been making a statement every week, but we thought this was going to be different against Wisconsin, a team with a stout defense that had four shutouts on the season already.

It didn’t matter to the Buckeyes, who sliced and diced the Badgers through the raindrops to win easily 38-7. They are, in my opinion, still the best team in the country.

Penn State and Minnesota stayed unbeaten to stay and No. 2 and No. 3. Both are off this week, then have a huge showdown in Minneapolis on Nov. 9.

This weekend coming up migh just be the worst November Saturday in Big Ten history. Because everyone has two byes this year, there are six teams that are off next winning, including five of the top six teams in our rankings, and six of eight.

Here are my rankings after the games of Oct. 26, with last week’s ranking and this week’s opponent included:

1. Ohio State (8-0)      ***      Last week: 1

Last week: Beat Wisconsin 38-7

This week: Bye week

The skinny: This is an Ohio State team with no real weaknesses for what they put on the field. Wisconsin is very good, and the Buckeyes thrashed them anyway. Ohio State’s has been exceptional, but what’s been getting overlooked too often is how great their defense is. Chase Young had four sacks and showed the world he’s the best player in the country.

2. Penn State (8-0)      ***      Last week: 2

Last week: Beat Michigan State 28-7

This week: Bye week

The skinny: Penn State got a big win in East Lansing, beating the struggling Spartans handily. The big doesn’t come from the result itself as much as it does in erasing some demons against Michigan State. The Nittany Lions are unbeaten, and they get to rest up for the gauntlet — 8-0 Minnesota, 6-2 Indiana and 8-0 Ohio State in consecutive weeks. Wow!

3. Minnesota (8-0)      ***      Last week: 3

Last week: Beat Maryland 52-10

This week: Bye week

The skinny: OK, Gophers, you got me. I’m a believer now. Minnesota just keeps rolling along, and now they’re just crushing people every week. Maryland was a breeze, and now the Gophers have won their last three games by a combined score of 128-24. Row that boat, baby.

4. Michigan (6-2)       ***      Last week's ranking: 5

Last week: Beat Notre Dame 45-14

This week: Michigan at Maryland (3-5), Noon ET (TV: ABC)

The skinny: Michigan is notoriously horrible under Jim Harbaugh against top-10 teams, but the Wolverines completely dominated Notre Dame from start to finish in the rain on Saturday night. We saw the Michigan defense play the way we expected, and the offense looked sharp, which is hard to do on a rainy day. They were my preseason No. 1, and I’m not going there again, but they are showing signs of getting better. Of the four teams at 6-2, I think they’re still the best.

5. Iowa (6-2)      ***      Last week: 6

Last week: Beat Northwestern 20-0

This week: Bye week

The skinny: Iowa’s defense figured to be able to handle Northwestern’s struggling offense, and it did just that. The Wildcats only had 202 yards of offense and never even made it into the red zone. It was a nice bounce-back win after two tough losses to Michigan and Penn State.

6. Wisconsin (6-2)      ***      Last week: 4

Last week: Lost to Ohio State 38-7

This week: Bye week

The skinny: Wisconsin falls two more spots this week, and it’s not just because they lost to Ohio State. Everyone’s doing that. But it’s how the Badgers have played the last two weeks in losses to Illinois and the Buckeyes. Where have the wide receivers gone? What’s up with all these missed tackles? Playoffs? Forget it. This team is regressing in a hurry.

7. Indiana (6-2)      ***      Last week: 7

Last week: Beat Nebraska 38-31

This week: Northwestern (1-6) at Indiana 7 p.m. ET (TV: BTN)

The skinny: Indiana gets back-to-back road wins, which never happens, and I’ve still got them at No. 7? No bump up? I thought long and hard about it, but just looked at this foursome at 6-2 and couldn’t see pushing them above Michigan, Iowa or Wisconsin. Not yet. But major kudos to the Hoosiers for being in the mix. They’re aren’t done yet.

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8. Michigan State (4-4)      ***     Last week: 8

Last week: Lost to Penn State 28-7

This week: Bye week

The skinny: The gap between the top seven teams in the league and the bottom seven is substantial. Michigan State’s offense is really a mess. The Spartans have really struggled in this stretch against quality opponents, only scoring 17 points total in three games against Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State. After the bye week, they get Illinois and Michigan, so there’s trouble still to come.

9. Nebraska (4-4)      ***      Last week: 9

Last week: Lost to Indiana 38-31

This week: Nebraska at Purdue (2-6), Noon ET (TV: FOX)

The skinny: Nebraska’s cocky attitude tells you all you need to know that they feel like they should NEVER lose to Indiana in football, but, to be honest, Indiana is just better right now. They offense showed some signs of life, but the Huskers are still making too many mistakes to be contenders. Scott Frost still has a lot of work to do.

Nebraska coach Scott Frost (USA TODAY)

Nebraska coach Scott Frost (USA TODAY)

10. Illinois (4-4)      ***      Last week: 11

Last week: Beat Purdue 24-6

This week: Rutgers (2-6) at Illinois, Noon ET (TV: BTN)

The skinny: Two weeks and two huge wins for the Illini, first upsetting unbeaten Wisconsin and then completely dominating Purdue on the road in an easy 24-6 win. This team is coming, and now bowl eligibility looks like an option, something I never would have mentioned until this week. With Rutgers, Iowa, Michigan State and Northwestern still to go, who’s to say seven wins aren’t out of the question.

11. Purdue (2-6)     ***      Last week: 10

Last week: Lost to Illinois 24-6

This week: Nebraska (4-4) at Purdue, Noon ET (TV: FOX)

The skinny: The Boilermakers didn’t do a single thing well in that ugly loss to Illinois. They haven’t been able to run the ball all year, so I’m not surprised when that doesn’t happen, but the passing game was a huge disgrace on Saturday, too. Sure, it’s easy to blame the weather, but we won’t. Getting Nebraska at home means finding a way to play better fast.

12. Maryland (3-5)     ***     Last week: 12

Last week: Lost to Minnesota 52-10

This week: Michigan (6-2) at Maryland, Noon ET (TV: ABC)

The skinny: Maryland simply had no answer for Minnesota on Saturday, and its spirit was busted early. The Terrapins gave up 321 yards rushing, and with their quarterback situation a mess, they gained only 202 yards all day. It doesn’t get any easier this week, either. Michigan seems to be finding its groove.

13. Northwestern (1-6)     ***     Last week: 13

Last week: Lost to Iowa 20-0

This week: Northwestern at Indiana (6-2) 7 p.m. ET (TV: BTN)

The skinny: Northwestern’s offense is the worst I’ve ever seen during the Pat Fitzgerald era. They have lost all five of their Big Ten games, and have scored only 38 points total in those five losses. That’s crazy. Indiana’s defense has struggled a bit at times the past few weeks, so it’s going to be interesting if they can put anything together in Bloomington next Saturday night.

14. Rutgers (2-6)      ***      Last week 14

Last week: Beat Liberty 44-34

This week: Rutgers at Illinois (4-4), Noon ET (TV: BTN)

The skinny: You have to be happy for interim coach Nunzio Campanile and the Rutgers players, who finally got a win Saturday against Liberty. And do say “it’s just Liberty’’ because they were actually favored by a touchdown over the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers probably won’t win any more games, so it’s nice to have one Saturday of fun.

What do you think about our power rankings? Please feel free to comment below and share this story with your friends.

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