Big Ten Takeaways: Buckeyes down, not out. Badger gauntlet relentless.

On the same night the Cubs advanced to the World Series for the first time in 71 years, the Buckeyes were upset in a shocker at Penn State.

Gould Headshot square

And in what might be a good sign for Cubby Blue, who will the Cubs face in the World Series? The Cleveland Indians—a team from Ohio.

When you haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, you take every edge you can find.

But we’re all about college football here at TMGcollegesports.com. So. . . what does the Penn State surprise mean for the Buckeyes?[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

As long as they right the ship, everything—the Big Game, the Big Ten title, the College Football Playoff berth—is still intact if Ohio State wins out.

There’s just no margin for error. That’s what makes college football so dramatic.

The smiles in Ann Arbor are wide, although not nearly as wide as the ear-to-ear grins in State College. But there’s still a lot of football to play—especially the Michigan-Ohio State game in the Horseshoe on Nov. 26.

Once again, the Big Ten East has stolen the thunder of the less glamourous West.

But the head-to-head showdowns and tough crossover matchups will keep on coming.

Wisconsin, coming off a difficult trip to Iowa, plays host to Nebraska this week, and travels to Northwestern on Nov. 5. The Iowa game was preceded by Ohio State and Michigan, which was preceded by two other top-10 matchups, in which the Badgers helped LSU and Michigan State hit the skids.

Remember the relentless pursuers of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid? The ones who left Butch/Paul Newman saying: ``They’re beginning to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?’’

Paul Chryst & his Badger kids aren’t allowed to let anyone get on their nerves. And so far, they haven’t. They need to win out, obviously. And they need Ohio State to help out by handling Nebraska in Columbus. But that's not a huge reach.

Which is why Wisconsin is still my pick win the West.

But with the Badgers 2-2 in league play, West leader Nebraska (4-0) and second-place Northwestern (3-1) can end Wisconsin’s division hopes.

And as we saw in Ohio State’s trip to Penn State, things can happen.

Plenty of opportunities for shockers remain.

BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS,

WEEK NINE

THE JUGGERNAUTS. . .

1, Michigan (7-0, 4-0): Do you think the Wolverines, who have lost seven of eight to the Spartans since 2007, will be looking for a little payback in East Lansing on Saturday? Yup. (No. 2 last week)

2, Ohio State (6-1, 3-1): The Buckeyes’ chances to advance to the College Football Playoff remain intact after their loss at Penn State. But their margin for error is gone. as is their aura of invincibility. (No. 1)

THE BEST IN THE WEST. . .

3, Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2): A really good grind-out win at Iowa sets up yet another showdown, with unbeaten Nebraska, in Badgers’ ridiculously brutal schedule. (No. 3)

THE MUDDLE IN THE MIDDLE. . .

4, Nebraska (7-0, 4-0): Down 14-10 at halftime at home to Purdue before pulling out 27-14 win? It’s time for unbeaten Cornhuskers to put up at Wisconsin on Saturday. (No. 4)

5, Northwestern (4-3, 3-1): NU’s third straight win, a good 24-14 handling of Indiana, sets up trip to Ohio State, which got more interesting after Buckeyes’ shocking loss. How did Pat Fitzgerald engineer the turnaround? Here's the explanation. (No. 5)

6, Penn State (5-2, 3-1): The 24-21 shocker over Ohio State, one of the biggest upsets in Penn State’s storied history, establishes James Franklin, whose seat had been warm, as a guy who can get it done. With home date vs. Iowa the most imposing game remaining, a 10-2 season very possible. (No. 8)

7, Iowa (5-3, 3-2): After tough loss to Wisconsin, Hawkeyes still need to find way to get over hump. They still face trip to Penn State, plus home dates vs. Michigan and Nebraska. (No. 6)

8, Indiana (3-4, 1-3): This week’s home date with Maryland shapes up as key to Hoosiers’ bowl hopes. They’ll be favored vs. Rutgers and Purdue, but Penn State and Michigan also remain. (No. 7)

9, Minnesota (5-2, 2-2): Yeah, they won. But geez, a last-second field goal to nudge Rutgers 34-32? Rutgers, which had scored 14 points in its first four Big Ten games? Were the Gophers looking ahead to Illinois and Purdue the next two weeks? Good thing they’re in the Lucky Schedule Club. (No. 9)

10, Maryland (5-2, 2-2): After uncompetitive losses to Penn State and Minnesota, nice 28-17 bounceback vs. Michigan State. Well-coached and tracking for a bowl bid, all in all in a very promising first season for new coach D.J. Durkin. (No. 10)

BUMPETY BUMP

11, Purdue (3-4, 1-3): Halftime lead at Nebraska in competitive loss a good debut for interim coach Gerad Parker. There could be opportunities for wins if Boilermakers stick together. (No. 12)

12, Illinois (2-5, 1-3): It’s a good thing Lovie Smith kept a lid on injuries to QBs Wes Lunt and Chayce Crouch that gave redshirt freshman Jeff George Jr. his college debut in 41-8 loss at Michigan. If Wolverines had known, this game could have gotten out of hand. (No. 13)

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

13, Rutgers (2-6, 0-5): Anybody outside the Land of 10,000 Lakes who wasn’t rooting for the Scarlet Knights at the end of their 34-32 heartbreaker at Minnesota is colder than an International Falls winter. (No. 14)

14, Michigan State (2-5, 0-4): Let’s just say it. This is an epic collapse, tracking for the biggest in the nation. Last season’s Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff berth are a distant memory. Never mind remaining games with Michigan and Ohio State. Meetings with Illinois and Rutgers look ominous. (No. 11)[/membership]

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