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2012 Big Ten Football Standings: Northwestern and Ohio State are tops

The Big Ten has been unpredictable thus far, with Northwestern and Ohio State atop the conference.

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Big Ten has been home to quite a few surprises in the early going of this 2012 season.

Two teams remain undefeated after five games, but maybe not who would've been picked to do so. The Ohio State Buckeyes and Northwestern Wildcats are without a loss and looking good heading into October.

Urban Meyer's Buckeyes haven't been dominating their opponents, but they've taken care of business with terrific precision. This past week, Ohio State put another notch in its belt with an excellent 17-16 win on the road against the Michigan State Spartans.

Across the way in the Legends division, Northwestern is one of the best stories of the year, shocking folks with a 5-0 record of its own. The Wildcats have been playing inspired football with their latest victory a 44-29 beating of the Indiana Hoosiers.

After dropping their first two games, the Penn State Nittany Lions have risen from the ashes with three straight wins. Head coach Bill O'Brien has his underdogs playing well despite the chaos surrounding them. They'll be trying to capture a fourth-consecutive victory when Penn State plays host to No. 24 Northwestern this week.

However, the biggest stunner in the conference is Michigan State, who some experts predicted as a dark-horse to win a national title. The team looked like a contender after beating the Boise State Broncos, but has since only been 1-2.

Here's a full look at both divisions in the Big Ten:

Legends

  1. Northwestern 5-0 (1-0)
  2. Nebraska 4-1 (1-0)
  3. Iowa 3-2 (1-0)
  4. Michigan 2-2 (0-0)
  5. Minnesota 4-1 (0-1)
  6. Michigan St. 3-2 (0-1)

Leaders

  1. Ohio State 5-0 (1-0)
  2. Penn State 3-2 (1-0)
  3. Purdue 3-1 (0-0)
  4. Wisconsin 3-2 (0-1)
  5. Indiana 2-2 (0-1)
  6. Illinois 2-3 (0-1)