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November 12, 2013

Big Ten Power Poll: Week 11





It's time to update the BadgerBlitz.com Big Ten Power Poll, where Jon McNamara, Jon Gorman, Zack Miller and I will rank the Big Ten teams from 1 to 12 every week.

I complied the list in a traditional power poll style- a first place vote was good for 12 points, a second place one for 11, and so on.

1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) - 48 points (4 1st place votes)
Weekly change: None
Last game: BYE

Ohio State stays at the top after a bye week, giving them a little rest before their final three games of the regular season. However, it's unlikely that they'll be really challenged again until the Big Ten Championship Game, where they'll likely take on Michigan State, or possibly Nebraska. That should be an interesting game to watch.

2. Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) - 44 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: defeated BYU 27-17

The Badgers took care of business against the best team left on their schedule, defeating BYU 27-17 in a game that wasn't particularly that close. The Badgers rely on excellent defense and a steady offense to grind out their opponents, and so far it's been working pretty well. The big question now is whether they can make a BCS game if they run the table. Right now I think that's unlikely.

3. Michigan State (8-1, 5-0) - 40 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: BYE

Michigan State stays static at No. 3 in our poll after a bye week that they definitely needed after a physical matchup with Michigan. A game with Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship would be fascinating, and I think the Spartans could really give the Buckeyes a game. This could be the year Sparty heads back to Pasadena.

T-4. Iowa (6-4, 3-3) - 34 points
Weekly change: +1
Last game: defeated Purdue 38-14

Iowa benefits from Michigan losing to Nebraska at home, but the Hawkeyes took care of their own business on Saturday with a 38-14 win over Purdue on the road. Wins over Purdue are not exactly hard to come by, but the Hawkeyes still have an underrated defense and two more chances to prove themselves against Michigan and Nebraska.

T-4. Minnesota (8-2, 4-2) - 34 points
Weekly change: +2
Last game: defeated Penn State 24-10

Minnesota ground out another efficient win over a Big Ten team on Saturday, beating Penn State for the first time in a while and breaking their rivalry trophy in the process. The Gophers have a bye week before hosting Wisconsin, with a chance that both teams will be 8-2 when they meet in TCF Bank Stadium.

6. Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) - 28 points
Weekly change: +1
Last game: defeated Michigan 17-13

Nebraska held the Wolverines in check on the road, which is pretty impressive considering how horribly their defense has played at times this year. Michigan's not the team that people expected them to be, but the Cornhuskers are still in a position where they can win their division if they beat the Spartans at home this week. For all the crap they've taken this year that's not too bad.

7. Michigan (6-2, 3-1) - 24 points
Weekly change: -3
Last game: lost to Nebraska 17-13

Like I said, Michigan's just not the team people expected them to be this season. The Wolverines have lost to both of their top division rivals this year and are now out of the running for a division title. I wouldn't say that Brady Hoke is in trouble just yet, but Michigan's fan base isn't known for its patience.

8. Penn State (5-3, 2-2) - 20 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: lost to Minnesota 24-10

Penn State's chances to beat Minnesota on the road virtually slipped away on their first offensive play when they botched the quarterback-to-running back handoff and the Gophers recovered deep in Penn State's territory. They ran the ball well, but just aren't deep enough to gut out a road win against a solid but unspectacular team. It's probably going to get worse before it gets better.

T-9. Indiana (4-5, 2-3) - 14 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: defeated Illinois 52-35

Indiana doesn't have much margin for error left. They have one game left against Purdue, but they'll need to upset one of Wisconsin or Ohio State to get to six wins and a bowl berth. They have enough firepower on offense to g et two more wins, but I don't think their defense can keep their opponents from having an even better offensive day. Indiana won't make a bowl game until their defense can get keys stops when they need them.

T-9. Northwestern (4-5, 0-5) - 14 points
Weekly change: +1
Last game: Bye

The good news for Northwestern is they didn't lose last week. They didn't win either, but no game is better than playing one at this point. The bad news is that the Wildcats have to play Michigan and Michigan State in back-to-back weeks. This is when the Wildcats were supposed to assert their claim on the Legends division- now they're just looking for their first win since September.

11. Illinois (3-6, 0-5) - 8 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: lost to Indiana 52-35

Illinois' loss to Indiana all but eliminated them from playing in a bowl game. They have a game left against Purdue, but do you see them beating both Ohio State and Northwestern? One is possible, the other far-fetched. The question now is if Tim Beckman gets his first Big Ten win this year or next year.

12. Purdue (1-8, 0-5) - 4 points
Weekly change: None
Last game: lost to Iowa 38-14

Sorry Purdue, but my gut says the Boilermakers will have to wait until next year for another win.

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.



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