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Northwestern rolls into AP poll at No. 24

BraxtMiller Isaiah Lewis

Braxton Miller, Isaiah Lewis

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After B1G opening wins, Ohio State and Nebraska clash in Columbus on Saturday night.


1. Ohio State (5-0)      2

2. Nebraska (4-1)        1

3. Michigan (2-2)       3

4. Northwestern (5-0)    5

5. Penn State (3-2)      6

6. Michigan State (3-2)             4

7. Wisconsin (3-2)       8

8. Purdue (3-1)         7

9. Iowa (3-2)            11

10. Minnesota (4-1)     9

11. Indiana (2-2)        10

12. Illinois (2-3)        12

Updated: November 2, 2012 6:16AM

And the winners are . . . No. 12 Ohio State, No. 21 Nebraska and No. 24 Northwestern.

Led by the early front-runner for Big Ten player of the year, sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes survived a difficult trip to Michigan State 17-16 to remain unbeaten.

The Cornhuskers, who were down 27-10 in the third quarter, survived their early turnovers to beat Wisconsin 30-27. That sets up a good showdown Saturday night between Nebraska and Ohio State in Columbus.

Northwestern, which replaced Michigan State in the Top 25 after handling Indiana, will have a chance to prove how serious it is about challenging Nebraska in their Big Ten division. The Wildcats play at Penn State, which has won three in a row and is looking very cohesive.

In another show-me game, Purdue (3-1) will have a chance to show how seriously it should be taken when it plays host to Michigan.

All is not lost

Considering how up and down Wisconsin has been this fall, coach Bret Bielema wasn’t completely devastated that the Badgers couldn’t finish their upset bid at Nebraska.

“They did show me today that they had the ability to come into a hostile environment and play very, very well,’’ he said. ‘‘For us to get as far as we want to get, [though], you have to be able to play four-quarter games.’’

And considering how down and up Michigan State has been, coach Mark Dantonio tried to find a silver lining in the Spartans’ second home loss of this young season.

“When you lose by one point, it’s a big failure,’’ Dantonio said. “I can handle the mistakes if our guys play hard, compete and play with energy. But even with a loss, I thought we played better. We played very competitively [against] a good football team with some playmakers.”

Buckeyes & black eyes

By now, you’ve probably heard about the $7.7 million Ohio State has spent for president E. Gordon Gee on travel, housing and entertainment since he returned to campus in 2007, according to a Dayton Daily News investigation.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich defended Gee but admitted he hadn’t examined the details in the story.

Now comes word that Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said Ohio State doctored the game film it was required to send to the Spartans before their game.

“We had tape cut off all week where they changed the tape,’’ Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press. “They send you tape, and they’ve got it all cut off, and you don’t get to see shifts or motions or anything else.’’

Although known as a detail guy, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer pleaded ignorance.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Meyer said. “I don’t handle the video.’’

Michigan State and Ohio State athletic officials settled the videotape dispute without involving Big Ten officials, the Free Press said.

Weather for Ducks

Everybody knows about Alabama: College football’s resident juggernaut is tracking for its third BCS national championship in four years.

Its likely opponent? At this point, it’s Oregon, which has quietly moved up to No. 2 under Chip Kelly, an unorthodox New Englander who might be the anti-Nick Saban. The Ducks, who will have to negotiate a surprisingly deep Pac-12, are seeking their second national title game appearance in three years. They lost to Auburn 22-19 in 2010.

And they have a great mascot.

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