Wisconsin has a 103 percent chance to win the Big Ten West (approximately). Iowa is 0-2 in Big Ten play and has to travel to Camp Randall Stadium in November. Northwestern is essentially 1 1/2 games behind the Badgers after what transpired Saturday in Madison. Minnesota lost to Maryland and its third-string quarterback. Purdue is 0-1 and will duel the Badgers on the road.
Nebraska is 2-0 in the league, but it's a mirage, having beaten Rutgers and Illinois. That leaves the Illini, who honored Hall of Famer Dick Butkus on Friday night by letting the Huskers double them in yardage.
Barring a whooping-cough outbreak in Madison, Wisconsin will line up against the Big Ten East champ in Indy on Dec. 2. The Badgers didn't even need their best pass-catcher to build a 31-10 lead over Northwestern on Saturday. But read it and weep, Huskers fans: Tight end Troy Fumagalli (leg) is expected to be available for Saturday's prime-time showdown in Lincoln.
Michigan State is relevant again. And the timing could not be better. That sound you heard from the offices of East Coast TV execs — clinking champagne glasses — reflected the public's renewed interest in Saturday night's Michigan State-Michigan game on ABC.
The Spartans looked like the Spartans again against a quality opponent for the first time in more than a year. They won with tenacity on defense (nine tackles for a loss), skill at receiver (hello, Laress Nelson) and headiness at quarterback, reflected in Brian Lewerke's 15-yard scramble on a third-and-12 in the fourth quarter.
"We just kept hammering, kept coming," Mark Dantonio said. "When you win with effort, that makes your coach happy."
Penn State is showing no letup. A week after merely surviving at Iowa, Penn State charged to a 28-0 lead on Indiana. Before it was over, DaeSean Hamilton became the school's all-time leading receiver with 181 grabs, besting Deon Butler (179), Allen Robinson (177) and Bobby Engram (167). And Saquon Barkley became the first player in the last 20 years with this Superman performance: 50-plus rushing and receiving yards, a passing touchdown and a kickoff-return TD.
Next comes a trip to Evanston. Wildcats fans' only real hope comes from the fact that Pat Fitzgerald is 3-0 against James Franklin — a 23-13 win over Vanderbilt in 2013, a stunning 29-6 upset in State College in 2014 and a 23-21 squeaker in Evanston in 2015. Here's figuring personal pride makes Franklin even more determined this week to draw up his absolute best.
Ohio State threw a party. And Rutgers just happened to show up. The Scarlet Knights gave up 628 yards, putting up as much resistance as a 3 mph breeze against an Aaron Judge home run. And sadly, Rutgers attempted a 32-yard field goal while trailing 56-0, but Andrew Harte's kick clanked off the right upright.
The Buckeyes celebrated that small victory. The larger one came throughout the evening as Ohio State's new wave of stars emerged. Johnnie Dixon got separation on a 67-yard touchdown pass that got wiped out because of a questionable offensive-pass-interference call. And Binjimen Victor leaped so high on a touchdown grab that his hip appeared to be at eye level of defender Damon Hayes.
Respect is tough to come by for some schools. Maryland is 3-1 with road wins over Texas and Minnesota. The Terps opened as a 31-point underdog to Ohio State.