1. Michigan: This could be a back-and-forth battle with the Hoosiers all year.

2. Indiana: Until the final four minutes of Thursday's loss to the Illini, the Hoosiers were still doing everything right.

3. Michigan State: One thing we learned Wednesday in a victory over the Gophers: These Spartans are tough.

4. Ohio State: How much better is this offense looking since the start of the season? It's significant.

5. Wisconsin: The Badgers still haven't had a "bad" Big Ten loss, if you consider that playing at Iowa is tough.

6. Illinois: This is why this is a power poll and not a records poll. The Illini, 3-7 in conference play, showed enough fight on Thursday to warrant it.

7. Minnesota: After five losses in seven games, the Gophers are once again in need of a spark.

8. Iowa: I know the Boilermakers beat them, but the Hawkeyes have been so much more competitive in their losses. They are better than their 3-7 league mark indicates.

9. Purdue: Hard to believe the Boilermakers have the same record (5-5) as Minnesota in conference play.

10. Northwestern: The Wildcats have certainly had some interesting wins, anyway.

11. Nebraska: A six-point loss to Ohio State shows a hint of some real potential.

12. Penn State: It's about time to start looking ahead to next year.