And then there were two. Two teams left in contention for the Big Ten title. Two Big Ten teams left in the College Football Playoff discussion. Wisconsin and Ohio State took care of business on Saturday, setting up a final weekend of a regular season that still holds a bit of drama.
You've got Ohio State-Michigan, which needs no outside storylines. And after big wins in Week 12, Indiana and Purdue are set to clash in West Lafayette with a bowl bid on the line. You'll find the rivals in close proximity this week in the power rankings.
1. Wisconsin (Last week: 1): The Badgers answered the bell again. As soon as Michigan turned a third-quarter interception into points and a lead, Wisconsin came alive, scoring touchdowns on consecutive possessions to take control. The sign of a championship team? Its ability to counterpunch. No team in the Big Ten does it better than the Badgers.
2. Ohio State (2): Nothing but a tune-up for Michigan, as the Buckeyes dispatched of Illinois in the first quarter, leading by 31 en route to a 52-14 win. Ohio State ought to feel refreshed as it heads to Ann Arbor after back-to-back games in which it was not tested. The Big Ten East is secure, but the Buckeyes, still an outlier in the playoff conversation, can't relax.
3. Penn State (3): Despite the 56-44 final, this was not close. The Nittany Lions led Nebraska 42-10 at halftime and played poorly on defense in the final 30 minutes. Much more notably, a season-high 609-yard offensive performance returns a bit of lost swagger to PSU with an 11-win season within reach.
4. Northwestern (6): Who's had a better second half of the season? No one in the Big Ten. Justin Jackson joined Ron Dayne as the only Big Ten backs to top 1,000 rushing yards for a fourth straight season. And with Illinois to close after a 39-0 rout of Minnesota, the Wildcats will likely get a shot in the postseason to reach 10 wins for the third time since 2012.
5. Michigan State (4): The Spartans are still pushing toward the postseason after a troubling loss last week at Ohio State. It was tough sledding in the snow against Maryland, but MSU won 17-7, while QB Brian Lewerke finished just 2-of-14 passing. Not exactly the Senior Day for which the Spartans had hoped before a sparse crowd, but they'll take the win.
6. Michigan (5): So much for the momentum gained from three straight solid wins. The Wolverines stood toe to toe with Wisconsin until QB Brandon Peters went down in the third quarter. His availability will be a key for Michigan as it heads toward the regular-season finale against Ohio State.
7. Indiana (8): The Hoosiers routed Rutgers 41-0, the first Senior Day shutout in Bloomington since 1958, as Richard Lagow threw for 236 yards and Morgan Ellison led a 267-yard rushing attack. A second straight win sets up a battle for bowl eligibility at Purdue with the Old Oaken Bucket at stake.
8. Purdue (11): The Boilermakers upset Iowa 24-15 behind Elijah Sindelar's 229 yards and three touchdown throws, earning the first Big Ten road win for head coach Jeff Brohm. Purdue held Iowa to 258 yards of offense and took better advantage of a gusty breeze in Iowa City. Needless to say, there's a lot at stake in the regular-season finale against IU.
9. Iowa (7): What has happened to the Hawkeyes on offense? Iowa seemed to have it all figured out two weeks ago in blasting Ohio State. But since, nothing has worked, punctuated by an 82-yard rushing effort in the loss to Purdue. Iowa is bowl-eligible ahead of its Black Friday trip to Nebraska but lacking for other positives.
10. Minnesota (9): Maybe Northwestern was that good. Or perhaps the Golden Gophers are just out of gas. Two pass completions and three interceptions won't cut it. And with Wisconsin headed to town, Minnesota looks stuck at five wins in P.J. Fleck's debut season.
11. Rutgers (13): A bit of a course correction here for the Scarlet Knights, who deserve credit for the October win over Purdue -- a big mover this week -- and two other Big Ten victories. A blowout loss at Indiana offers no reason for good vibes, though. Neither does a finishing trip to Michigan State.
12. Maryland (10): The Terps have won just once since September. Max Bortenschlager returned from injury to play in snowy East Lansing, but Maryland gained just 204 yards and struggled to stop Michigan State's ground game.
13. Nebraska (12): The Cornhuskers have allowed more than 50 points in consecutive weeks and three times in a season for the first time since 1943, when they played in the Big Six and struggled even to field a team. Yes, this season is historically bad. Change is likely coming soon to Nebraska.
14. Illinois (14): It's time for this season to end. The Illini are extremely young, but there comes a point when the experience gained isn't doing much good. Illinois is there after nine consecutive losses.