Four Big Ten teams were ranked in the top seven when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled Tuesday night.
Ohio State and Michigan remained the second- and third-ranked teams in the country, making this weekend's epic showdown in Columbus a battle between two top-three teams.
Wisconsin moved up to No. 6 and Penn State up to No. 7 after Louisville suffered its second loss of the season this past weekend and tumbled down to No. 11.
The new rankings keep the chances of the Big Ten landing a pair of teams in the Playoff pretty high. If Ohio State beats Michigan this weekend and Penn State wins its regular-season finale against Michigan State, the Nittany Lions will win the Big Ten East Division. If Wisconsin beats Minnesota, it wins the Big Ten West Division. So, in that scenario, the Buckeyes would likely join the Big Ten Championship Game victor in the final four at season's end.
Should a different scenario play out, it still looks like a safe bet that the Big Ten will have one representative in the Playoff.
Ohio State currently sits at 10-1 fresh off a 17-16 win over Michigan State. The Buckeyes can still play for a Big Ten title if they beat the Wolverines this weekend and if Penn State loses. But the selection committee has made it pretty clear that Ohio State would be among its highest-ranked teams even without a conference championship in hand. The Buckeyes have wins over two top-10 teams (Wisconsin and Oklahoma), could score another over Michigan and has just one loss against a top-10 team in Penn State.
Michigan is also 10-1 heading into this titanic edition of The Game. The Wolverines defeated Indiana, 20-10, this past weekend, bouncing back after suffering their first loss of the season a week prior at Iowa. If Michigan wins in Columbus and goes on to defeat the Big Ten West champ in the conference title bout, Jim Harbaugh's team will certainly earn a spot in the Playoff. The Wolverines' resume contains three top-10 wins (Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado) and could have another over Ohio State.
Wisconsin is short on signature wins now that LSU is outside the top 25 — the best victory came against 16th-ranked Nebraska — but the Badgers have lost just twice and against two of the top-three teams in the country. Should Wisconsin win its regular-season finale and then the Big Ten title game, it would figure to find itself in the Playoff.
Penn State has its landmark victory over No. 2 Ohio State and could find another if it reaches the conference championship game in Indianapolis. The Lions have a good chance of making the trip.
Nebraska was also ranked this week, coming in at No. 16.
Here are the complete top-25 rankings:
2. Ohio State
7. Penn State
10. Oklahoma State
14. Florida State
18. West Virginia
19. Boise State
21. Western Michigan
23. Washington State