There's little argument at this point in the season that the Big Ten has been this year's top conference in college football. And the voters in the AP poll have shared their matching opinion.
Three Big Ten teams landed in the top five of the most recent AP top-25 rankings, with Ohio State at No. 2, Michigan at No. 3 and Wisconsin at No. 5. The conference also made up half of the top eight, with Penn State checking in at No. 8. The latter accomplishment was also achieved in the coaches poll, with the Buckeyes second, the Wolverines fourth, the Badgers sixth and the Nittany Lions eighth.
Ohio State's No. 2 ranking in both polls match up with its most recent College Football Playoff ranking, though of course these two polls have no weight on which teams make the sport's final four. The Buckeyes are coming off a narrow 17-16 win at Michigan State this past weekend. This weekend brings a titanic clash with Michigan, where a win — regardless of whether it yields a Big Ten East Division championship — figures to punch Ohio State's ticket to the Playoff.
Michigan, third in the AP poll and fourth in the coaches poll, is fresh off a 20-10 win over Indiana. The 10-1 Wolverines would win a division title and a spot in the Big Ten title game if they take down the rival Buckeyes this weekend. And a win in the conference championship bout would certainly land Jim Harbaugh's team in the Playoff.
Wisconsin moved to 9-2 with a 49-20 victory over Purdue this past weekend, and the Badgers came in fifth and sixth in the AP and coaches polls, respectively. A win in this weekend's rivalry game against Minnesota would win Wisconsin the Big Ten West Division crown and send the Badgers to Indianapolis, where a victory would most likely earn them a spot in the Playoff.
Penn State is also 9-2 after beating Rutgers, 39-0, this past weekend. The Lions, No. 8 in both polls, need Ohio State to top Michigan and a win over Michigan State in their regular-season finale to win the Big Ten East Division championship and travel to Indy. A win in the conference title game figures to send Penn State to the Playoff.
Nebraska was also ranked in both polls this week, the Huskers coming in at No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the coaches poll.
Iowa and Minnesota also received votes in both polls.