Big Ten football rankings: Keokuk for Iowa's bowl locale?

Also: the argument against fifth-string QBs

1. Wisconsin (7-0 Big Ten, 10-0 overall): People have called the Badgers’ schedule soft. This week’s games: Michigan-Wisconsin, Mercer-Alabama, Citadel-Clemson.

2. Ohio State (6-1, 8-2): From a 31-point loss at Iowa to a 45-point win in Columbus against Michigan State. It’s as if there really is such a thing as a home-field advantage.

3. Penn State (5-2, 8-2): People are wondering if star running back Saquon Barkley will skip the Nittany Lions’ bowl game. He’ll definitely play against Nebraska Saturday. Because, you know, free yards.

4. Northwestern (5-2, 7-3): The Wildcats are 5-2 in the Big Ten, with the only losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. This is such a better season than the ones being experienced at Florida, Florida State, Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska, and any other former football power of your choosing.

5. Michigan (5-2, 8-2): The Wolverines’ next two games are at Wisconsin and at home against Ohio State. If you’re a Michigan fan, you’d take a 38-14 loss with just 66 total yards at Wisconsin if you could be guaranteed a 55-24 win over the Buckeyes.

6. Michigan State (5-2, 7-3): Two of Ohio State’s starting linebackers, Jerome Baker and Dante Booker, didn’t play in the Buckeyes’ 48-3 over Michigan State because of injury. Apparently, the 20 healthy starters who played did all right.

7. Iowa (3-4, 6-4): Jerry Palm of has Iowa playing Missouri in Nashville’s Music City Bowl. Can’t they just save some travel money and hold it in Keokuk?

8. Minnesota (2-5, 5-5): The Gophers rushed for 409 yards in their 54-21 home field clubbing of Nebraska. “We talked in the locker room that two teams who are 4-5, it’s a big game for both of them,” said Minnesota Coach P.J. Fleck. The announced crowd was 39,933. Apparently, it wasn’t a big game to Minneapolis or St. Paul.

9. Purdue (3-4, 4-6): Travis Miller of Purdue site Hammer and Rails wrote the Boilermakers’ offensive line is “held together with duct tape, hopes, and dreams.” Aren’t we all?

10. Rutgers (3-4, 4-6): The Scarlet Knights led Penn State 3-0 after the first quarter. Secretariat and Sham were even a half-mile into the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Penn State beat Rutgers by 29 points. Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths.

11. Maryland (2-5, 4-6): The Terrapins lost 35-10 to Michigan Saturday. “We started a fifth-string quarterback today. Played one of the best defenses in the country,” Maryland Coach DJ Durkin said. “So, yeah, there was a little ... like, ‘Can we really do this? Is this actually going to work?’’’ They couldn’t. It didn’t.

12. Indiana (1-6, 4-6): Since the Hoosiers just got their first Big Ten win of the season, it would be inappropriate to note their men’s basketball team lost 90-69 to Indiana State Friday night. But wow, what an embarrassing defeat.

13. Nebraska (3-4, 4-6): “It started bad and went from there,” Nebraska Coach Mike Riley said about the Minnesota game. “We had a defensive plan,” Huskers defensive tackle Carlos Davis said, “and it didn’t seem to work.” Their summations were a lot better than their performance.

14. Illinois (0-7, 2-8): The Illini play at Ohio State Saturday. Look away, it’s hideous.

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