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October 21, 2013Ohio State remained undefeated with a tough fought win over Iowa, and thus remains No. 1 in this week's power rankings. The list:
1. Ohio State (7-0, 3-0, Beat Iowa 34-24): The Buckeyes pushed their winning streak to 10 games, overcoming a halftime deficit to beat a plucky Iowa team. They just find ways to win, and they'll continue to. This group will likely be undefeated when it comes to the Big House Nov. 30 to face Michigan.
2. Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1, Beat Illinois): The Badgers roll into a bye week after a 56-32 win over Illinois, another dominant performance on the ground. Wisconsin's only somewhat tough remaining game should be Nov. 2 at Iowa, but the Badgers won't win a Big Ten title after having lost to Ohio State.
3. Nebraska (5-1, 2-0, Bye): The Cornhuskers' schedule still includes games with Michigan and MSU and one at Penn State, which proved tricky for Michigan. We won't even concede them a road game at Minnesota this week or a home game with Iowa. Michigan gets slammed as one of the 'worst one-loss teams,' but we predict Nebraska slides down this list perhaps sooner than later.
4. Michigan State (6-1, 3-0, Beat Purdue 14-0): Another week, another ugly win. The defense has been impressive, but the MSU offense looked less than pedestrian against Purdue, not scoring until late in the game. Still, the defense will carry this team for the rest of the season and give it a legitimate chance to win a Legends Division title.
5. Michigan (6-1, 2-1, Beat Indiana 63-47): The offense had a field day against the Hoosiers, but the Michigan defense continues to struggle at times. Indiana picked U-M apart in racking up 500-plus yards, and though the Spartans have struggled on offense, they'll have some tricks up their sleeves in a few weeks. U-M's championship hopes ride on a win in East Lansing, where it's been a while since the Wolverines played well. They have two weeks to prepare.
6. Iowa (4-3, 1-2, Lost at Ohio State 34-24): The Hawkeyes had a halftime lead before losing to the Buckeyes on the road and will be hard to beat at home. This is an up and down team that is physical and will bring it each game. Like Northwestern, they're hurt by one of the Legends Division's tougher schedules. Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska are still to come. Even the Wildcats could give them trouble this week.
7. Penn State (4-2, 1-1, Bye): Penn State opened as a two-touchdown underdog at Ohio State, and we'd bet the farm the Nittany Lions lose by much more than that. Michigan choked one away in Happy Valley, but a freshman quarterback in that environment? And that defense against Braxton Miller? Blowout.
8. Indiana (3-4, 1-2, lost to Michigan 63-47): The Hoosiers can score on anyone, but they can't stop anyone. Thus, this is a team that will finish either a game over or under .500 with a schedule that still includes back-to-back road games at Wisconsin and Ohio State.
9. Minnesota (5-2, 1-2, Beat Northwestern 20-17): The Golden Gophers now have bowl aspirations after a gutsy win at depleted Northwestern and host Nebraska Saturday in what can be called a winnable game. They played inspired football in head coach Jerry Kill's absence and have just enough talent to be a nuisance.
10. Northwestern (4-3, 0-3, lost to Minnesota 20-17): No Kain Colter, no Venric Mark - still no excuse for losing to Minnesota at home. Many believe the schedule would be the Wildcats' downfall, but they'd probably be 2-1 in the Big Ten had they held on to beat Ohio State at home. They let that one get away, and the season has gone with it.
11. Illinois (3-3, 0-2, lost to Wisconsin 56-32): At time this team seems like it should be better than its record, especially with an offense that can move the ball. The Illini have some talent and need a win against Michigan State this weekend at home to turn the season around. That could be an interesting game.
12. Purdue (1-6, 0-3, lost at Michigan State 14-0): The Boilermakers were done when MSU scored its first points (with the defense, of course). It's hard to tell whether the defense played well or if the Spartans' offense was just that inept.