College football writer — and AP Top 25 voter — BOB ASMUSSEN breaks down the league’s 14 teams after Week 8:
RK., TEAM REC. (PREV.)
1. Ohio State 7-0 (3)
Northwestern found out what happens when you score early against the Buckeyes: They get angry. Like the Hulk, only with a football.
2. Penn State 7-0 (2)
Plenty to like about James Franklin’s team, starting with QB Sean Clifford and do-everything WR K.J. Hamler. Next up: Michigan State.
3. Minnesota 7-0 (4)
If the Gophers take care of business against Maryland this week, they set up a huge TCF Bank Stadium tilt Nov. 9 against Penn State.
4. Michigan 5-2 (5)
Probably the last thing the Wolverines need after a close loss at Penn State is a home game against rival Notre Dame. Oh, well.
5. Iowa 5-2 (6)
Hawkeyes ended a two-game losing streak — barely — with a win at Purdue. Expect lots of Iowa fans at Northwestern this weekend.
6. Illinois 3-4 (12)
Stunning win against Wisconsin earned the Illini a big jump in the standings. Lovie Smith needs three more wins for his first bowl bid.
7. Wisconsin 6-1 (1)
Lots of second-guessing in Madison after the Badgers lost against Illinois in part because of a wayward pass picked off by Tony Adams.
8. Indiana 5-2 (7)
Two-game winning streak has the Hoosiers thinking about a postseason berth. They can lock it up with a win at struggling Nebraska.
9. Michigan State 4-3 (8)
Open week after a blowout loss to Wisconsin came at a good time for the Spartans. Unfortunately, Penn State visits this weekend.
10. Nebraska 4-3 (10)
Wonder what the Cornhuskers did with their Saturday off? Fans are hoping QB Adrian Martinez healed up after a knee injury.
11. Purdue 2-5 (9)
Despite a ragged start to the season and all sorts of key players unable to go, Jeff Brohm’s guys continue to compete at a high level.
12. Northwestern 1-5 (13)
Pat Fitzgerald could lose his next 20 games and be in no danger of losing his job. But that is no consolation to a competitive guy.
13. Maryland 3-4 (11)
No need to tell Mike Locksley that winning in the Big Ten is difficult. After a close loss to Indiana, he faces a huge test at Minnesota.
14. Rutgers 1-6 (14)
Everyone gets healthy against the Scarlet Knights, who have dropped six in a row after beating UMass in the season opener.