Big Ten conference football ratings by World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht.
* * *
1. Ohio State (4-0)
Last week: beat Florida A&M 76-0. This week: Wisconsin, 7 p.m., ABC. Buckeye coach Urban Meyer is going to get really tired of answering questions this week about whether QB Braxton Miller will start instead of supersub Kenny Guiton.
2. Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0)
Last week: beat Purdue 41-10. This week: at Ohio State, 7 p.m., ABC. The Big Red Machine keeps rolling. Three premium tailbacks and a good-but-not-great O-line are fun to watch. Very green secondary will get tested this week.
3. Northwestern (4-0)
Last week: beat Maine 35-21. This week: Idle. Maine had more first downs and total yards than the Wildcats, who needed two interception returns for touchdowns to win. After the open date comes Ohio State.
4. Michigan (4-0)
Last week: beat Connecticut 24-21. This week: Idle. Another shaky showing against a marginal opponent has added to the doubt about whether the Wolverines are more pretender than contender this season.
5. Michigan State (3-1)
Last week: lost to Notre Dame 17-13. This week: Idle. The Spartans go into their off week trying to figure out how to pair a Rose Bowl defense and a Toilet Bowl offense to win enough to get to the title game in Indianapolis.
6. Nebraska (3-1)
Last week: beat South Dakota State 59-20. This week: Idle. Thought for the day: What would the Blackshirts look like if defensive end Randy Gregory hadn’t become eligible just before the season started?
7. Penn State (3-1)
Last week: beat Kent State 34-0. This week: Idle. In a heavy rain, the Nittany Lions showed off their much-improved running game, carving out 287 yards. Backup Akeel Lynch dashed for 123 and impresses more each week.
8. Minnesota (4-0)
Last week: beat San Jose State 43-24. This week: Iowa, 2:30 p.m., ABC. This is old-time power football. Backup quarterback Mitch Leidner ran for 151 yards. The Gophers ran for 353 yards and held the ball for 41 minutes.
9. Illinois (2-1)
Last week: Idle. This week: Miami (Ohio), 11 a.m., BTN. The Illini, after going stale in a loss to Washington, need to regain their offensive momentum this week before heading to Nebraska.
10. Iowa (3-1)
Last week: beat Western Michigan 59-3. This week: at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m., ABC. That wild and crazy Kirk Ferentz. He actually used a backup quarterback in a game for the first time since 2011. Helping build a cushion with which to substitute were two punt return TDs and two interception return TDs.
11. Indiana (2-2)
Last week: lost to Missouri 45-28. This week: Idle. This looked like a bowl breakthrough year for the Hoosiers, but the continued leaky play of their defense (623 yards allowed to Missouri) puts those hopes in jeopardy.
12. Purdue (1-3, 0-1)
Last week: lost to Wisconsin 41-10. This week: Northern Illinois, 11 a.m., ESPN2. The results so far and the upcoming schedule (Northern Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State) make a 1-7 start almost a lock.