Big Ten power rankings: Week 8

Editor’s note: Every week, The Daily Illini football staff ranks the football teams in the Big Ten 1-12 and compiles the lists into its own Big Ten power rankings.

1. Ohio State (Last week: 1)

2. Wisconsin (4)

Wisconsin made a statement Saturday with a convincing 35-6 win over Northwestern, and may have become the first team that really deserves the second spot on The Daily Illini’s Big Ten power rankings. All season long it has been a question which team will fill the slot behind Ohio State, this week it was never in doubt. The Badgers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) boast the Big Ten’s best offense, in terms of total yards, and best rushing attack. Next up for Wisconsin is a meeting with Illinois (3-2, 0-1) under the lights at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

3. Nebraska (5)

4. Michigan (2)

5. Northwestern (3)

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Northwestern. Saturday’s thumping at the hands of Wisconsin was a letdown after coming so close to toppling Ohio State a week earlier. The Wildcats (4-2, 0-2) are stilling looking for their first Big Ten win and the next two weeks might be their best chance to do so and possibly get themselves bowl eligible. Northwestern plays Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) at home next week and then travels to Iowa City for a matchup with the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1) the next week.

6. Michigan State (6)

7. Penn State (11)

The Nittany Lions jumped a number of spots in the power rankings after a thrilling — albeit ugly — four-overtime victory over then-undefeated Michigan. True-freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg played older than his years, leading Penn State (4-2, 1-1) back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit with less than seven minutes remaining against the Wolverines (5-1, 1-1). The Nittany Lions have a week off before heading to Columbus, Ohio, to battle Braxton Miller and the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes.

8. Illinois (8)

9. Indiana (7)

10. Iowa (9)

11. Minnesota (10)

12. Purdue (12)

This disastrous 2013 season is only halfway over in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue (1-5, 0-2) came within a touchdown of Notre Dame on Sept. 14, but hasn’t been close in any of its four other losses. The Boilermakers’ sole victory was a 20-14 squeaker against Indiana State of the FCS on Sept. 7. Purdue has surrendered more than 30 points in all five of its losses and more than 40 points in four of the five defeats.