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Big Ten rankings: Michigan State is most complete league team

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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller's injury changed things in the Big Ten. The biggest change: It made Michigan State, not the Buckeyes, the team to beat, and so far, the Spartans have lived up to billing. The West Division race was thought to be a jumbled mess, and it is. Nebraska looks to be the best team, but that race is going to go to the last weekend.

1. Michigan State (4-1, 1-0)

Up next: at Purdue, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: Michigan State is the most complete team in the league and, frankly, shouldn't be tested by anyone left on the schedule except Ohio State.

2. Ohio State (4-1, 1-0)

Up next: vs. Rutgers, Saturday, Oct. 18
The skinny: The offense has made vast strides of late under redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett.

3. Nebraska (5-1, 1-1)

Up next: at Northwestern, Saturday, Oct. 18
The skinny: TB Ameer Abdullah has been ultra-productive behind a better-than-expected offensive line, and the Huskers -- right now, at least -- look to be the best team in the West Division.

4. Iowa (4-1, 1-0)

Up next: vs. Indiana, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: Neither line has been as good as it should be and playing two quarterbacks seems a risky proposition, but, man, the schedule really isn't that difficult until the end.

5. Northwestern (3-2, 2-0)

Up next: at Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: The Wildcats looked to be dead in the water in mid-September, but all of a sudden, they're in the hunt for the West Division title.

6. Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1)

Up next: vs. Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: RB Melvin Gordon is awesome, but the passing attack is pitiful.

7. Minnesota (4-1, 1-0)

Up next: vs. Northwestern, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: The Gophers can run the ball and they play OK defense, but the lack of a passing attack is going to catch up to them eventually.

8. Penn State (4-1, 1-1)

Up next: at Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: The running game and the offensive line have been disaster areas. The defense, for the most part, has held up, though.

9. Maryland (4-2, 1-1)

Up next: vs. Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 18
The skinny: The defense has been a disappointment. The good news is that there aren't many high-powered offenses left on the schedule.

10. Rutgers (5-1, 1-1)

Up next: at Ohio State, Saturday, Oct. 18
The skinny: Raise your hand if you thought Rutgers would be one win away from bowl eligibility after six games.

11. Indiana (3-2, 0-1)

Up next: at Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: As usual, the offense is prolific and fun to watch. And, as usual, the defense is hide-your-eyes bad.

12. Michigan (2-4, 0-2)

Up next: vs. Penn State, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: This is the season from hell in Ann Arbor. (But folks in Columbus and East Lansing, among other places, sure are enjoying it.)

13. Purdue (3-3, 1-1)

Up next: vs. Michigan State, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: A quarterback change paid off the Boilermakers. Then again, the opponent was Illinois, so ...

14. Illinois (3-3, 0-2)

Up next: at Wisconsin, Saturday, Oct. 11
The skinny: Your kid's Pop Warner team could score on the Illini's "defense." And QB Wes Lunt's injury hurts the offense.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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