Ohio State hung onto the No. 3 spot, Iowa kept the No. 5 spot, and Michigan State moved back into the top 10 with the No. 9 ranking when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were announced Tuesday night.
A total of six Big Ten teams were ranked in this week's rankings by the selection committee. Ohio State remained the No. 3 team in the country, and Iowa stuck at No. 5. Michigan State returned to the top 10, up from No. 13 to No. 9. Michigan jumped up two spots from No. 14 to No. 12. Northwestern dropped two spots, from No. 18 to No. 20. And Wisconsin stayed at No. 25.
There were thoughts that undefeated Oklahoma State might jump Iowa given the Hawkeyes' poorly thought of strength of schedule, but Iowa hung onto the spot just outside the final four, on the cusp of reaching the College Football Playoff.
The top four in the rankings stayed identical to last week: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Notre Dame.
The Buckeyes are 10-0 after last weekend's 28-3 win over Illinois. Ohio State has its toughest tests yet in the regular season's final two weeks, hosting Michigan State this weekend before the season-finale against Michigan. A win in both would give the Buckeyes a Big Ten East Division championship and a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, likely to face Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are also 10-0, most recently defeating rival Minnesota, 40-35, to win back the Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa will be heavily favored in its final two games of the season against Purdue and Nebraska, needing just one win to clinch a Big Ten West Division title.
The Spartans — at 9-1 after beating Maryland, 24-7, this weekend — can still claim a Big Ten East title, needing a win this weekend against Ohio State and a win the season-finale against Penn State. Lose this week, and Michigan State is eliminated from the Big Ten title chase. But with the Spartans back in the top 10, there's even extra excitement added to this weekend's game.
Michigan can also get its hands on the Big Ten East Division crown. At 8-2, the Wolverines need Ohio State to beat Michigan State this weekend, then they'll need to beat the Buckeyes in the season-finale. Of course, all that can only happen with a win this weekend against Penn State.
Northwestern and Wisconsin, both with 8-2 records, face off against each other this weekend. The winner will still have a shot at a 10-win regular season. The Cats close their season against Illinois, and the Badgers will play Minnesota for Paul Bunyan's Axe.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Buckeyes gear right here]
Here are the complete top-25 rankings:
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma State
9. Michigan State
14. Florida State
17. North Carolina
22. Ole Miss