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Big Ten rankings: Michigan State, Ohio State on collision course


Everyone in the Big Ten is just killing time until next week's mega-showdown in East Lansing between Michigan State and Ohio State. This week's league schedule isn't all that appealing, as Iowa-Northwestern looks to be the best matchup. And nothing against the Hawkeyes or Wildcats, but that one just does not get the blood boiling.

» MSU, FSU top first CFB Playoff rankings

1. Michigan State (7-1, 4-0)

Up next: vs. Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: Michigan State bulldozed Michigan last week, and now has a week off to prepare for a season-defining game with the Buckeyes.

2. Ohio State (6-1, 3-0)

Up next: vs. Illinois, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: You could forgive the Buckeyes if they look past the Illini and already are anticipating the Nov. 8 showdown at Michigan State. Thing is, they can overlook the Illini and still win big this week.

3. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1)

Up next: vs. Purdue, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Senior TB Ameer Abdullah already has had four 200-yard games this season. Given that the Boilermakers' run defense isn't that good, he could be in line for his fifth Saturday.

» Heisman Watch: Abdullah moving up fast

4. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1)

Up next: at Rutgers, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Abdullah ran for 225 yards against Rutgers last week. That gives Badgers TB Melvin Gordon something to aim for.

» Bowl projections: Gordon vs. Gurley in Citrus?

5. Minnesota (6-2, 3-1)

Up next: vs. Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 8
The skinny: The Golden Gophers fell to Illinois last week. That, friends, is what can be termed "a bad loss."

6. Iowa (5-2, 2-1)

Up next: vs. Northwestern, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: The tough part of the Big Ten schedule begins this week, and games with Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin loom.

7. Maryland (5-3, 2-2)

Up next: at Penn State, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: The Terps got run over by Wisconsin last week. Good news: Penn State can't run over anybody.

8. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2)

Up next: at Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Saturday's game is the last tough league game of the season for Northwestern. Unlike most teams in the West Division, the Wildcats' league schedule had all the tough games early.

9. Penn State (4-3, 1-3)

Up next: vs. Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: The defense did its job last week against Ohio State, but the offense still has a ton of room for improvement. Perhaps it starts making strides this weekend.

10. Rutgers (5-3, 1-3)

Up next: vs. Wisconsin, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Rutgers has given up 98 points in its past two league games, and Wisconsin could roll up a big points total, too.

11. Purdue (3-5, 1-3)

Up next: at Nebraska, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: The Boilermakers' offense has the potential to cause some trouble this weekend. Unfortunately for Purdue, its defense is going to get trampled.

12. Illinois (4-4, 1-3)

Up next: at Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Beating Minnesota at home is one thing. Beating the Buckeyes in Columbus is another thing entirely.

13. Michigan (3-5, 1-3)

Up next: vs. Indiana, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: As bad as things are going for the Wolverines, they won't lose to Indiana. Or will they?

14. Indiana (3-4, 0-3)

Up next: at Michigan, Saturday, Nov. 1
The skinny: Indiana has lost 18 in a row to Michigan and hasn't won in Ann Arbor since 1967. If ever there were a season in which to get the Wolverines, though, this is it.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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