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College Football Rankings: Big Ten Places Five Teams In Week 12 USA Today Poll

The Big Ten's five ranked teams are an example of how different paths can lead to respect in the college football world.

The USA Today coaches poll for Week 12 includes Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern, and all of those teams' seasons are wildly different.

For Wisconsin, an unusually potent offense has led the way, and only a loss to Michigan State has kept the Badgers from serious BCS National Championship Game contention. Ohio State has relied on a rock-ribbed defense to win games, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns against Penn State on Saturday was just the latest evidence of that.

Michigan State rolled up a long winning streak without leaving the state of Michigan, then went to Iowa and got rolled. Iowa's rough schedule has left the Hawkeyes scarred, and their recent troubles with Northwestern recurred on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Northwestern has made a habit of clutch play in close games, and the Wildcats broke through against one of the Big Ten's big boys on Saturday, upsetting Iowa on a late Dan Persa touchdown pass.

Full Big Ten rankings are as follows:

- No. 5 Wisconsin
- No. 7 Ohio State
- No. 11 Michigan State
- No. 20 Iowa
- No. 25 Northwestern