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Big Ten power rankings after Week 10: A messy weekend for the middle-to-lower tier

The teams that are expected to win on a weekly basis in the Big Ten did their jobs, even though Michigan football wasn’t quite as sharp as usual and Ohio State really looked abysmal in a lot of ways at Rutgers. Penn State handled business against Maryland in the most lopsided result for the Terps yet.

But below the top three teams? Chaos. Pandemonium. Just when you thought you had a good handle on the conference’s middle-to-lower tier, the 11 other teams proved you really have no idea.

Perhaps it’s parity or just an off weekend. It’s difficult to discern. Either way, here are our latest Big Ten power rankings.

Michigan Wolverines (9-0)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Michigan football started the game against Purdue looking sharp before being mired in mediocrity for two quarters. It was the first game all season that the starters played the entire game, and the Boilermakers clearly gave the Wolverines fits.

Still, if a bad game still ends 41-13, that tells you a lot about the caliber team Michigan currently has.

A road game at Penn State is up next.

Penn State Nittany Lions (8-1)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Penn State hasn’t looked quite the same since losing to Ohio State two weeks ago, but on Saturday, it took charge against a struggling Maryland team (that had been on fire early in the year), winning 51-15.

The Nittany Lions really piled on in the fourth quarter with 27 points, and Drew Allar rounded back into form. But another big challenge awaits with Michigan football coming to town next Saturday.

Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0)

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Adam Cairns-Columbus Dispatch

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At this point, Ohio State is what it is — a team that wins with a suffocating defense and an anemic offense. Against Rutgers, the Buckeyes won despite the offense, which couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm for most of the game. A timely pick six wrested the lead away from the Scarlet Knights, one they never reclaimed. But is this really the No. 1 team in the nation as the College Football Playoff suggests? It appears unlikely.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-3)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Rutgers gave Ohio State all it could handle. The run game really shined as did the defense. But mistakes were costly, as was the lack of ability to convert touchdowns in the red zone. Like Maryland a month ago, if the Scarlet Knights could have capitalized on opportunities, they could have walked away with the upset.

Still, this is a much-improved team and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Iowa Hawkeyes (7-2)

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Matthew Holst/Getty Images

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Let’s face it, Iowa is not a good team. But it’s somehow 7-2 on the season.

It eked out a 10-7 win over Northwestern, and neither team had more than 170 yards of total offense. But if Iowa can find ways to win, it has to be in the upper echelon of the conference — at least by default.

Wisconsin Badgers (5-4)

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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An injury-decimated Badgers team still should have beaten a bad Indiana team, but that’s not the world we live in. Turnovers made the difference and while Indiana played Penn State tough a week ago, the Hoosiers should not be able to beat this Wisconsin team.

But it did.

We still believe Wisconsin is a better team, but whatever.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-4)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Minnesota is another team that went down to a team it shouldn’t have, losing to Illinois on Saturday. While the Gophers don’t appear to have much of a solid identity and thus this loss isn’t a complete shock, the anemic offense didn’t exactly complement a defense that allowed nearly 300 yards passing to Luke Altmyer.

Chaos in the West continues!

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-4)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Nebraska seemed like it had gotten everything together, yet, it went to East Lansing and somehow got upended by a Michigan State team that previously seemed disinterested in competing. The defense played OK to the Spartans’ revolving cast of quarterbacks, but the pass game in particular was abysmal.

Bowl-game eligibility awaits for another week.

Northwestern Wildcats (4-5)

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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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Northwestern played Iowa and was out-Iowaed by Iowa. That’s not exactly surprising, but the offense completely sputtering to the level it did perhaps is, even against Iowa. The defense did its job, but if you can’t put up more than 7 points, you’re playing right into Iowa’s hands.

Illinois Fighting Illini (4-5)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Illinois went to Minneapolis and finally had a solid performance out of quarterback Luke Altmyer. The defense was fantastic and the Illini could string some wins with Indiana, Iowa, and Northwestern next.

Maryland Terrapins (5-4)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Maryland continued its free fall that started in October by getting blown out by Penn State in its first game of November. It had a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter before the Nittany Lions really piled on, but with Nebraska, Michigan and Rutgers looming, there’s a chance the Terps don’t reach bowl eligibility after winning their first five games of the season.

Indiana Hoosiers (3-6)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Indiana ggained its first Big Ten win over an injury-riddled Wisconsin team. The offensive coordinator change appears to have made a big difference; the Hoosiers have had more life in the past few weeks.

Michigan State Spartans (3-6)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Interim head coach Harlon Barnett won his first game and he did so against an emerging Nebraska team. No, the team does not have an obvious starting quarterback, and no, the run game did not get going. But the defense continues to play better (for the most part) and it netted a rare win in East Lansing this year.

Purdue Boilermakers (2-7)

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Photo: Isaiah Hole

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Purdue actually slowed Michigan football for a little, the first team to do so since Rutgers in Week 4. But it still lost in a landslide, and Ryan Walters continued to whine about the Wolverines.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire