As we head into conference championship weekend, here’s our 15th edition of Big Ten power rankings:
14. Rutgers 2-10 (Last Week: 14)
Rutgers didn’t get blown out by as much as it should’ve by Penn State, so there’s that. On the bright side, the school gave in and hired Greg Schiano as the next coach. The pressure from the fan base paid off and should give the program a fighting chance to go from a team that wins two games a year to winning four games a year.
13. Maryland 3-9 (Last Week: 12)
Maryland hung around with Michigan State, but couldn’t earn a fourth victory. It was a total collapse of a season after starting hot.
12. Northwestern 3-9 (Last Week: 13)
Northwestern gets itself out of the 13 spot with a solid victory over Illinois to end the regular season. It was a nightmare of a year for the Wildcats, who fired their offensive coordinator this week.
11. Nebraska (5-7) (Last Week: 10)
Nebraska might have been the biggest disappointment in the entire Big Ten. Scott Frost has been a bust so far as the team wildly under-performed in 2019. There still reason to be hopeful if you’re a Nebraska fan, but the turn-around process has shown it will take some more time.
10. Purdue 4-8 (Last Week: 9)
Purdue furiously came back to tie its rivalry game with Indiana after the Hoosiers got out to a big lead. The Boilermakers couldn’t stay with IU in overtime, losing 44-41. It was a disappointing year for Purdue, which was unable to keep the momentum it had from 2018 going into 2019.
9. Michigan State 6-6 (Last Week: 11)
Michigan State clinched a bowl game over the weekend thanks to it’s win over lowly Maryland. It’s been a disaster this season for the Spartans, who join Northwestern, Nebraska and Purdue in the huge disappointment category. It’s time for a change, but you’ll likely see Mark Dantonio back on the sidelines next season: a sight that will be welcome to the rest of the Big Ten.
8. Illinois 6-6 (Last Week: 8)
The Fighting Illini couldn’t close out their solid regular season with a win, falling to Northwestern at home. It’s not to worry though, Illinois will likely be in the Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit) or the Pinstripe Bowl (New York) which is a huge success for the program.
7. Indiana 8-4 (Last Week: 7)
For the first time since 1993, the Hoosiers have eight wins in a season and are poised for a ninth come bowl season. Indiana has beaten Purdue five of the last seven seasons to take control of the rivalry as the best program in the state.
6. Minnesota 10-2 (Last Week: 6)
Minnesota is good, but not great. After the cakewalk of a schedule through eight weeks, Minnesota did what most people expected and slipped up to end the year 2-2. It’s still a fantastic season for the Gophers, who will likely end up in the Outback Bowl.
5. Iowa 9-3 (Last Week: 5)
Iowa handled Nebraska, although in a closer game than expected, to finish 9-3. The Hawkeyes have quietly hung around all year, doing pretty much what we typically see from the program every season.
4. Michigan 9-3 (Last Week: 2)
Michigan started strong, but fell apart against rival Ohio State to finish the regular season 9-3. The Wolverines should have a favorable chance to reach 10 wins, but overall it’s a season marked by underachievement. My two cents: keeping Jim Harbaugh is still the right thing to do. Michigan is a very good program that just so happens to have its chief rival be one of the three best programs in the country. Expecting a win over the No. 1 team in America, rival or not, isn’t reasonable. That doesn’t make the continued losses any easier to stomach.
3. Penn State 10-2 (Last Week: 4)
The Nittany Lions slept-walked through Rutgers to pick up their 10th win. That might be enough to give Penn State a Rose Bowl berth, depending on how Wisconsin fares in the Big Ten title game.
2. Wisconsin 10-2 (Last Week: 3)
Wisconsin dismantled Minnesota to secure another West Division championship. The Badgers now get their second shot at Ohio State, which likely won’t go well. Wisconsin is a very good team, but nobody in the nation besides LSU is on OSU’s level.
1. Ohio State 12-0 (Last Week: 1)
Ohio State destroyed Michigan to stay unbeaten and stay No. 1. The only question left with this team is can it score more than zero points in the College Football Playoff this time around? (The answer is yes).