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FBT Power Rankings: Ohio State and Iowa to Battle for the Big Ten

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten Championship or at least the Rose Bowl participant will be decided when the Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

An Ohio State win would secure the Buckeyes fifth straight Big Ten title and mark Jim Tressel's first trip to the Rose Bowl. If the Buckeye's win the following week in Ann Arbor, Ohio State will claim it's third outright Big Ten Championship in five years.

An Iowa win would give the Hawkeyes their first Rose Bowl game since Hayden Fry roamed the sidelines and a win over Minnestoa would give Iowa their first outright title since 1985.

Penn State and Wisconsin are still in contention to share the title, but the Rose Bowl dreams for those teams is lost.

The lobbying and jockeying for bowl position is starting to become common place and the Big Ten remains the only conference to have each of its member schools still mathematically in bowl consideration.

For Indiana, Michigan, Purdue, and Illinois the margin of error is very slim to non-existant. While Minnesota and Michigan State most certainly should have the opportuity to win the one they still need.

The Northwestern Wildcats, already bowl eligible, will try to strengthen their case and possible bowl location with two more winnable games.

On to Week 11 Power Rankings...
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FBT's Week Ten Power Rankings: Gearing Up For Another Epic Buckeye-Nittany Lion Clash

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Kristofer Green

The stage is set for another epic showdown in the Big Ten between title contenders Ohio State and Penn State this weekend.

Since 2005, the first year the two schools shared the Big Ten Championship, the teams have each won twice (once at home and once on the road). In both victories by the Lions, the Big Ten Championship was on the line and both times the Lions used a fumble by an Ohio State quarterback to propel them to victory.

In 2005, the Buckeyes were driving late in the fourth quarter, down by seven when Troy Smith fumbled trying to escape a sack. The Nits would run out the clock to preserve a 17-10 lead and secure the league's automatic BCS berth.

In 2008, the Buckeyes were clinging to a 6-3 lead in the fourth quarter and driving when Terrelle Pryor took a quarterback sneak to the edge and was stripped of the ball by a pouncing Nittany Lion defense. The Lions would go on to score 10 unanswered to win the game 13-6.

Saturday's game in Happy Valley is setting up to be another intense, defensive battle.

Joe Paterno's defense is eager to get after Pennsylvania native Terrelle Pryor and ready to prove that an easy schedule isn't the only reason why they are sitting at 8-1 and lead the conference in most defensive statistics.

Jim Tressel's defense sits right behind the Lions on all of those defensive statistic lists and after posting their third shut-out of the season are eager to prove that they are indeed the Big Ten's best defensive unit.

This important battle for position may just come down to another turnover... will the Buckeyes change history?

On to the Week Ten Power Rankings... 
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Big Ten Power Rankings: Hawks, Nits, and Bucks Push for the Title

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Kristofer Green

The Hawkeyes got a touchdown with no time remaining to go 8-0 for the first time in school history.

The Nittany Lions, led by another brilliant performance from quarterback Darryl Clark, put the Wolverines in their place... in their place.

The Buckeyes rebounded from rock bottom with a stellar performance from embattled quarterback Terrelle Pryor and emerging star receiver DeVier Posey and still control their own destiny in the title hunt.

Barring some pretty spectacular upsets, the Big Ten race is down to three.

Who gets to Pasadena?
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Big Ten Power Rankings: Iowa Has Eye on the Prize

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Kristofer Green

In the first edition of the Big Ten Power Rankings, FBT forecasted a situation where five teams would battle to the end for the Big Ten crown.

Those five teams--Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State--now all find themselves in position to do just that.

The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes control their own destiny and are marching toward a showdown on November 14 in the 'Shoe, but both teams must also face another member of this quintet first.

Ohio State must travel to Happy Valley to face the Nittany Lions and their brutal home crowd and Iowa faces Michigan State this week in a game that could put the Spartans in the driver's seat if it can pull of the upset.

Penn State must beat the Buckeyes at home and then root for the Buckeyes to beat the Hawkeyes in Columbus to get back in control, while the Badgers need help from Iowa and Ohio State.

The Big Ten title race is heating up, but the race for bowl contention is just as interesting.

Northwestern and Indiana are in must win situations heading into their showdown in Evanston this week. A loss for either team would be a serious blow to their bowl hopes.

Minnesota finds itself at 4-3 with games at Ohio State and Iowa, as well as a home date with Michigan State still remaining. Bowl eligibility will rely on wins against Illinois and South Dakota State.

Michigan is the wild-card. Sitting at 1-2 in the conference, the Wolverines aren't out of the title race just yet. If Tate Forcier and company can upset the Nittany Lions in Ann Arbor this weekend, Rich Rodriguez's squad will be right back in the mix.

On to the rankings...


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Big Ten Power Rankings (Week Seven): And Then There Were Two...

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten title race is starting to get interesting.

Despite spotting the Wolverines seven points less than a minute into the game, Iowa held off a pesky Michigan squad to go 6-0 on the season and Ohio State once again proved that their defense is not only the Big Ten's best, but one of the best in the nation with an 18-point victory over previously unbeaten Wisconsin, despite holding the ball on offense for only just over a quarter.

Those victories put the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes in control of their own destinies. But, both teams will have to get through a couple of tests before their November 14 showdown in Columbus.

This week the Hawkeyes will travel to Madison to take on an angry group of Badgers who, despite leading in most every statical category (except the only one that matters), must regroup and get their league leading offense back on track.

The Buckeyes will have to travel to Happy Valley on November 7 to take on a Penn State team that is still looking to defend their crown.

Then there are those wildcards from Michigan. Both the Wolverines and Spartans, despite having two conference losses, are teams capable of knocking off one of the favorites.

The Spartans will battle both Iowa and Penn State in East Lansing and the Wolverines must go on the road to take on the Badgers, but get Penn State and rival Ohio State in the Big House.

The second half of the Big Ten season has shaped up rather nicely and the fight for the conference crown is heating up.

Which team will make it Pasadena?
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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Six--Hawkeyes Drop, Badgers Pop

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Kristofer Green

After five weeks, the Big Ten title race is starting to take shape and the games that will decide the 2009 champion are beginning to become more and more clear.

Ohio State and Penn State, the preseason favorites, are both still in the hunt (though the Nittany Lions chances now hinge on the performance of others.)

The dark horse Iowa Hawkeyes have already taken down one preseason favorite en route to a 5-0 record and the surprising 5-0 Wisconsin Badgers will try to take down the other this week.

Then there are the wild card Wolverines. With one Big Ten loss already on their resume, Michigan will be fighting to keep their title hopes alive in Iowa City this week.

The fact that this ranking has had four different number one teams in as many weeks speaks volumes about how competitive it is at the top of the conference right now and many of those top teams facing each other in the next few weeks.

Notable match-ups in Big Ten play this week include 5-0 Wisconsin trying to stay alive against the suffocating Buckeyes in Columbus, Michigan hoping to bounce back after a close loss at No. 12 Iowa, and Indiana will represent the conference against ACC foe Virginia.

Which team will be eliminated from the title race this week?
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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Five--The Hawkeyes Make a Statement

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Kristofer Green

For the third time in as many weeks, there is a new number one team atop the FBT power rankings..

After quieting the "White House" in State College, the Iowa Hawkeyes vault up the rankings, supplanting Ohio State and Penn State as the top dog.

The Hawkeyes, down 10-0 at the end of the first quarter would rally behind a suffocating defense, powerful running game, and brilliant special teams to score 21 unanswered points (16 of which came in the fourth quarter).

The Wisconsin Badgers are another team that made a big jump in the rankings this week. The Badgers haven't always won pretty, but there is something to say about a team that consistently finds a way to win.

The biggest disappointments this season are without question Michigan State and Illinois.

The Spartan pass offense is clicking behind the strong arm of Keith Nichol, but the Spartans have failed to run the football with any consistency and the defense is just not playing to its capabilities.

The Illini have scored exactly nine points against FBS schools this season and were completely dominated in both games and the defense has allowed 67 points in those two losses.

Week five will be make or break time for a few teams.

The intensity level rises.

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Big Ten Power Rankings-Week Four: Ohio State Back on Top

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Kristofer Green

The 2009 college football season is a quarter gone and now our attention will be turned inward.

Conference play is always exciting.

It is the time when pretenders are exposed, contenders step to the forefront and future superstars are made and dreams are broken.

The Buckeyes, who were the preseason favorites, fell after a close call with Navy in week one. But, Jim Tressel's squad has been inching its way closer to the Nittany Lions.

The Buckeyes caught Penn State in this week's poll after a completely dominating performance last week against a Toledo team than was ranked in the top five nationally for offensive production and whose quarterback led the nation in total yards through the first two weeks.

The Lions did receive more first place votes, but some pollsters felt less than enthused about a Penn State squad that has looked good but not great against far inferior competition.

The race for the Big Ten Championship begins Saturday. Notable games include Illinois at Ohio State, Michigan State at Wisconsin, Minnesota at Northwestern and Iowa at Penn State.

On to the rankings...

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FBT's Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Three

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Kristofer Green

We are just two weeks into the 2009 Big Ten season, and already there have been plenty of surprises, plenty of suspense, and plenty of heartache.

In Ann Arbor, the Wolverine faithful are celebrating a huge win over the Irish. Time will tell if this is a turning point in the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan.

But just a short drive west to East Lansing, there is a decidedly different feeling. Confidence has given way to doubt after a difficult loss, and Spartan fans are hoping this isn't a return to the days of old.

Fans in Bloomington are celebrating a 2-0 start when nothing was expected, while just a few hours east on Interstate 70, Buckeye fans are left wondering what could have been.

On the Big Ten's western boundary, Hawkeye fans saw the improvement in their team that they wanted to see from week one to week two. But on the conference's eastern boundary, the Penn State faithful, though still confident, are left wanting more after six so-so quarters of football against subpar competition.

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Preseason Big Ten Power Rankings

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Kristofer Green

With the Big Ten's first kickoff just 16 days away, it's time to unveil First and Big Ten's preseason edition of the Big Ten Power Rankings.

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Will Juice Williams have the Illini fighting for the Big Ten title?

There could be some major surprises in store for Big Ten fans this season, which figures to be one of the most competitive in years.

All 11 teams have questions that need answering:

Can Penn State sustain the success from 2008? Will Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan State find replacements for all-everything backs Beanie Wells, Shonn Greene, and Javon Ringer? Does Wisconsin have what it takes to get back to the top half of the conference?

We'll see.

As many would expect, four time defending champion Ohio State is FBT's preseason choice for the top spot, but the Buckeyes weren't the unanimous choice. Where does your favorite team fall?
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