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Big Ten Poll Reactions, Week 5

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big Ten fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

12/UR. Ohio State

Here's your Big Ten Leaders Division in a nutshell. After one week of conference play, there are only two undefeated teams remaining in the division: Ohio State and Penn State. Of those teams, Ohio State has been the most impressive and just finished handing Michigan State its second loss of the season. The Buckeyes are the highest ranked team in the Big Ten. And while it's definitely a team with flaws -- that secondary in particular -- it's hard to find a team in the Big Ten at the moment that's better.

21/20. Nebraska

While watching Nebraska and Wisconsin on Saturday night, I thought we were about to see a performance that was pretty typical of Nebraska the last few seasons and in the Big Ten. Wisconsin was a team that the Cornhuskers should have beaten. But in the blink of an eye, Wisconsin jumped out to a 20-3 lead and then a 27-10 lead in the second half. But this Nebraska team didn't panic, kept doing what was working and came all the way back for its biggest win since joining the Big Ten. This is a team fully capable of getting to Indianapolis and Pasadena. It'll just have to keep playing like it did in the second half on Saturday night to get there.

24/22. Northwestern

Finally. Northwestern is a team that has deserved to be ranked ahead of a few other Big Ten teams in recent weeks -- looking at you, Wisconsin and Michigan State -- but just hasn't found itself on enough ballots. Ironically enough, after a game against Indiana that was closer than it should have been, Pat Fitzgerald's team finally broke through. I don't know if this team is good enough on defense to keep winning -- one of these fourth quarters will jump up and bite -- but Kain Colter and the Wildcats sure do make football entertaining.

Also receiving votes: Both Michigan State and Wisconsin dropped from the polls this week, and both deserved it. Michigan State just hasn't looked good since beating Central Michigan 41-7 on the second Saturday of the season. Wisconsin should have dropped from the polls a week ago, but those coaches are stubborn -- by stubborn I mean blind -- and let them stick around longer than needed. Michigan also got some votes in both polls after an off week. I guess taking a week off helps you forget that the Wolverines are 2-2. Then there was Purdue picking up some votes in the Coaches Poll, which is interesting. I mean, Purdue is 3-1 but those wins are against Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall.

 
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