Michigan and Wisconsin entered the weekend as the odd-on favorites to play in the Big Ten title game at season's end. After two huge injuries to both programs' starting quarterbacks, each left Week 9 with a loss. The Badgers would have to lose out (including to Indiana) in order to miss the trip to Indianapolis from the Leaders Division. However, theWolverines' loss to Nebraska has thrown the Legends Division into complete upheaval. It should make for a fun final month in the Midwest.
Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Just seven days after visiting the hospital for a scary head and neck injury against Purdue, Miller was up to his old tricks in Happy Valley. He threw for 143 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 134 yards and two more scores while keeping Ohio State unbeaten. He is now leading the Big Ten in rushing and total offense.
2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State -The Nittany Lions were outmatched against unbeaten Ohio State, but McGloin posted some big numbers. He threw for a personal best 327 yards and two touchdowns in PSU's first Big Ten loss of the year.
3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He wasn't elite — 166 yards, TD, INT passing and 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts — but he was good enough to beat the Wolverines on a bad wheel. This might have gone from a two-horse race to a one-horse race. It's Miller's award to lose at this point.
Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - Mauti posted 13 total tackles against the most dynamic player in the league. Even though Penn State lost and couldn't really keep up with the Buckeyes, Mauti will be tough to beat here. He is No. 3 in the league in tackling to go with three interceptions and 2.5 sacks.
2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor led a defense that kept Michigan State to three points for nearly 60 minutes. He had eight tackles (1 TFL) and is No. 2 in the Big Ten in tackling and tackles for a loss.
3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon got one of the Buckeyes' four sacks this weekend, he also posted a tackle for loss and defelected a pass. Ryan Shazier might make bigger plays, but Simon is the leader of the defense. Most importantly, his team hasn't lost yet.
Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - There is only one team in the nation with a 9-0 record and it's Meyer's Buckeyes. His squad played arguably their best game of the year in the whitewashing of Penn State on the road. An unbeaten season gives Meyer the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.
2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - The relatively easy win for Ohio State doesn't eliminate BoB from Coach of the Year consideration by any means. It doesn't diminish his overall accomplishments in Happy Valley. A 3-1 mark to finish at 6-2 in league play might give O'Brien the COY award.
3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His Wildcats blitzed the over-matched Hawkeyes in impressive fashion this weekend. He has his best rushing attack since arriving in Evanston and has an outside shot at nine wins.
Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat Penn State 35-23
The talk around Columbus this week was the health of Heisman candidate Braxton Miller. Well, it turns out he is just fine. The Buckeyes' star quarterback got his Heisman candidacy back on track with another big day on the ground. Ohio State out-gained Penn State 234 yards to 32 on the ground, led by Miller's two touchdowns. Two late touchdowns made this game look closer than it really was as the Buckeyes defense played arguably its best game of the year, sacking Matt McGloin four times and forcing two turnovers on the road. The Bucknuts are the only 9-0 team in the nation.
This week: Illinois (2-6)
2. Nebraska (6-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 9 result: Beat Michigan 25-9
Obviously, there is a rather large asterisk next to Nebraska's win over Michigan. The Huskers easily handled the Maize and Blue once Denard Robinson left the game. The Huskers defense hasn't looked like the Black Shirts much this fall, but once Shoelace left the game, Nebraska dominated on that side of the ball. They held Michigan to a season low 188 yards of offense for the game and only three points once Robinson departed (and those came with lots of help from NU penalties). The Huskers now control their own destiny in the Legends Division after back-to-back wins over Northwestern and Michigan. However, Nebraska could face four "bowl-eligible" teams to finish the year: Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa.
This week: at Michigan State (5-4)
3. Michigan (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Nebraska 25-9
Big Ten fans got robbed of what could have been a truly great match-up in Lincoln. Michigan fans likely feel worse. Denard Robinson left the game in the second quarter when Bake Steinkuhler awkwardly hit his throwing arm as Michigan was going in to score. Dealing with re-aggravated nerve damage in his throwing arm, Shoelace was unable to return and replacement Russell Bellomy was left to deal with the Black Shirts. He was like a deer in headlights, starting 0-for-10 passing and leading the offense to only three points in the final 33 minutes of play. Michigan was held to a season low 188 total yards, 38 of which came from Bellomy (on 16 passes and five rushes). Brady Hoke has stated he isn't concerned with his star quarterback's availability for next Saturday's Battle for the Little Brown Jug.
This week: at Minnesota (5-3)
4. Penn State (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 9 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-23
Matt McGloin threw for a career-best 327 yards and a couple of late scores to make the outcome much closer than it should have been. The Penn State ground game had averaged 180.5 yards per game with no fewer than 161 yards in each of the previous four games. Against Ohio State, it mustered only 32 yards on 28 carries as the Nits trailed 28-10 with 10 minutes to go in the game. The schedule isn't that difficult — Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin — and a 3-1 finish would give Penn State an eight-win season. In Happy Valley this fall, eight wins has to be considered a modern miracle.
This week: at Purdue (3-5)