Buckeyes on rise, Nittany Lions have questions, Oklahoma humbled.

Quiet weekend in college football? Yeah, right.

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We won’t be certain until the Pac-12 wraps up its late games on Tuesday, but the big Week 6 winners appear to be Ohio State and a Pac-12 team to be named later.

That’s because Iowa State took down Oklahoma, which had conquered the mighty Buckeyes, And who said, ``See ‘ya later, Sooners?’’ None other than Cyclones coach Matt Campbell, who was Tim Beckman’s offensive coordinator when Illinois hired the wrong guy from Toledo.

Oklahoma’s shocking misstep opens the door for a West Coast team to join Alabama, Clemson and a Big Ten team in the four-team College Football Playoff.

Of course, there’s a ton of football to be played, and none of those teams can afford to look ahead. Washington and Washington State are tracking for a top-notch Apple Cup. Unbeaten TCU has every right to say, ``What about us?’��� And if Georgia keeps playing the way it’s playing, there will be discussions about scenarios in which two SEC teams are judged playoff worthy.

See? Players and coaches can't look forward. But we can. And here’s what we see.

If you watched Penn State slog past punchless Northwestern on Saturday the way I did, and looked beyond the 31-7 final score, you probably had this conclusion: For all their hype, the Nittany Lions did not do well on the eye test. Yes, Saquon Barkley is going to make some NFL team very happy. But Northwestern stuffed him all day, except for one play, due to wobbly blocking. Here's my Chicago Sun-Times report.

The Penn State defense was solid. But overall, Penn State didn’t dazzle. Throw in the heroics the Nittany Lions needed at Iowa, and this is a team that could have its hands full at Michigan State as well as Ohio State.

Oh, and by the way, Sparty knocked ``big brother’’ Michigan from the ranks of the undefeated.

That’s two teams that were ranked ahead of Ohio State that lost, if you’re keeping score at home. And the Buckeyes will have an opportunity to add a third vs. Penn State in Columbus on Oct. 28.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Ohio State’s 62-14 steamroller past Maryland won’t attract much attention. But these Terps, who have won at Texas and Minnesota, are not Rutgers.

That’s the fourth straight game in which the Buckeyes have dispatched an opponent so thoroughly that the phones have been lighting up at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to College Football Teams. The margins of 31, 33, 56 and 48 points clearly are intended to silence the critics who clucked after that 31-16 loss to Oklahoma.

Who’s clucking now?


I know you’re not supposed to move teams down when they win, especially when they win 31-7. I never had the nerve to do that when I was an AP voter.

But since TMG is dedicated to truth, justice and the American way, I have vowed to do Power Ranking with a fresh and innovative approach.

My main criteria is going to be: If two teams were to meet on a neutral site, who would win? It’s difficult to ignore season-long body of work, what a team did Saturday, the sheer studly-ness of its star players, and brain cells of its coach.

But I’m going to try.

1, Ohio State (3 last week): They seem to have improved their offense. ‘Ya think?

2, Wisconsin (2): Took Nebraska’s best shot. And won by 21.

3, Penn State (1): Yup. They’re unbeaten. And good. But that blocking could be worrisome in upcoming road tests.

4, Michigan State (7): Kudos to Sparty. Win in Ann Arbor is huge. Mark Dantonio socks it to Jim Harbaugh. Very impressive.

5, Michigan (4): It’s a wonderful defense. But that offense? Wondering how rough this ride is going to be.

6, Iowa (9): Another classic blue-collar Kirk Ferentz team is emerging as Wisconsin’s chief challenger in the West.

7, Purdue (8): The revival continues. Very impressive fourth-quarter comeback against Minnesota. All things considered, may be Big Ten’s most improved team.

8, Nebraska (12): Good effort vs. Badgers. But there’s a lot of peril left. And the hovering coaching question won’t help.

9, Maryland (5): Never mind meltdown in Columbus. This week’s home date with Northwestern could be key to bowl hopes.

10, Minnesota (11): Gophers are 0-2 in 50-50 games the last two weeks vs. Maryland and at Purdue. How does P.J. Fleck handle it?

11, Indiana (10): Need three more wins for a bowl trip. Will be favored in two (Illinois and Rutgers). The third looks dicey.

12, Northwestern (6): Offensive line woes are serious. A season of high hopes is now on the brink of major trouble.

T-13, Illinois (13): Throttled at Iowa, Illini need to muster their courage, circle the wagons and round up the usual cliches for Rutgers.

T-13, Rutgers (14): A week off to prepare for Desperation Bowl trip to Illinois? Hardly seems fair.[/membership]