It starts with Michigan and then goes on to Ohio State.
But there’s a debate forming for No. 3 between Wisconsin and Penn State when it comes Big Ten power rankings. The 2-loss teams both lost to Michigan (Wisconsin by only 7, Penn State by 39), but on Oct. 22 Penn State stunned then-No. 2 Ohio State 24-21 with a blocked field goal for a touchdown one week after the Badgers lost to the Buckeyes in overtime. The Nittany Lions also lost to Pitt, but Penn State has won five in a row.
But it seems momentum is growing for the Nittany Lions.
Bennett on Penn State:
Many people doubted whether the Nittany Lions deserved the No. 12 ranking bestowed upon them by the playoff selection committee last week. Maybe it was too low. But Penn State might well be in the top 10 this week, after a thorough 41-14 destruction of Iowa.
Bennett isn’t the only ESPN voter to think highly of Penn State, either. In Sunday’s newest national power rankings, the Nittany Lions jumped 12 spots to No. 10. Ohio State is No. 5 in ESPN’s national power rankings, though Michigan is the Big Ten’s best at No. 3.
It’s all adding up to a thrilling November. Michigan and Ohio State have the league’s best hopes of making the CFP, but Wisconsin is also building a case and is now in control to win the West Division. Penn State has also suddenly joined the national conversation in the past few weeks.
Here’s how ESPN and the Big Ten Network rank the 14 Big Ten teams. Michigan State’s fall continues to be sharp and stunning, from the College Football Playoff a season ago to 2-7 this season (with games against Ohio State and Penn State still to come):
Michigan: No. 1 ESPN/No. 1 Big Ten Network
Ohio State: No. 2/No. 2
Wisconsin: No. 3/No. 3
Penn State: No. 4/No. 4
Nebraska: No. 5/No. 5
Northwestern: No. 6/No. 7
Iowa: No. 7/No. 8
Minnesota: No. 8/No. 6
Indiana: No. 9/No. 9
Maryland: No. 10/No. 10
Purdue: No. 11/No. 12
Illinois: No. 12/No. 11
Michigan State: No. 13/No. 13
Rutgers: No. 14/No. 14