With the Ohio State Buckeyes' continued absence due to NCAA violations, the 20th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers and 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats are the only Big Ten teams populating the USA Today Coaches' Poll five weeks into the season.
It's been a rough year for the conference, which has seen numerous marquee teams struggle early in the season. The team in the conference with the most momentum at the moment, the Buckeyes, isn't even eligible to play in a bowl game this season.
The Cornhuskers and Wildcats have both played well of late. Since losing to the then-No. 22 UCLA Bruins on Sept. 8, Nebraska has won three straight games, including a 73-7 pummeling of Idaho State and a 30-27 thriller over the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday.
Northwestern has been the positive surprise of the Big Ten so far this season, winning its first five games of the season. The Wildcats haven't exactly had a brutal schedule, but they've notched three wins against BCS conference opponents (Vanderbilt, Boston College and Indiana) in 2012.