Penn State leads Big Ten in BCS standings

There's a new team leading the Big Ten contingent in the latest BCS standings.

Penn State, the only Big Ten team unbeaten in league play at 5-0, checks in at No. 12 in the standings released Sunday night. The Nittany Lions didn't play Saturday but moved up four spots, thanks in part to losses by its Big Ten brethren Nebraska and Michigan.

Penn State is ranked No. 12 in both human polls, but its computer rankings aren't as strong as I would have thought. The Lions are anywhere from 13th to 18th in the computers with an average rank of 16. The good news is Penn State can improve its position with both the humans and the machines by beating Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin to close out the season.

Still, it would take a miracle for a Big Ten team to get within striking distance of the top 2.

Michigan State remained at No. 17 in the BCS standings following its unimpressive win Saturday against Minnesota. The Spartans moved up to No. 13 in both human polls but are getting killed in the computers, as two rating systems (Massey and Sagarin) don't even include Mark Dantonio's squad.

It's a similar story for Wisconsin, which moves up two spots to No. 18. The human voters like the Badgers, ranking them 14th, but they don't appear in four of the six computer rankings. Wisconsin has an average computer ranking of 28. It's ridiculous.

Nebraska dropped nine spots to No. 19 following its home loss to Northwestern. The Huskers also are hurt by the computers, as they appear in just three of the six ratings systems.

Michigan took a similar tumble, dropping nine spots to No. 24. The Wolverines' human ranking (No. 21) is better than their average computer ranking (No. 25).

Sense a theme here?

It'll be interesting to see if Big Ten teams' computer profiles improve at all during the final three weeks as the competition level improves.

Ohio State still doesn't appear in the BCS standings despite winning three consecutive games, two against ranked opponents.