1. Penn State (11-3)
Despite its 52-49 Rose Bowl loss against USC, Penn State proved that it was the class of the Big Ten conference.
2. Ohio State (11-2)
Before the College Football Playoff, it was hard to argue against the Buckeyes’ spot in the final four. But after being shutout and dominated by Clemson, it’s clear that Ohio State wasn’t who we thought it was.
3. Michigan (10-3)
I think the hate for Michigan is a little too strong. It came within a play or two of going undefeated, and for that it should be commended. But at the end of the day, the Wolverines’ 2016 season will be remembered for what could have been. With a senior-laden squad, folks in Ann Arbor have to be extremely disappointed that they finished third in the Big Ten East.
4. Wisconsin (11-3)
Like every year, it was a very good season for the Badgers. Paul Chryst should have this program atop the Big Ten West for the foreseeable future.
5. Iowa (8-5)
Iowa was hot-and-cold throughout the season; knocking off Michigan and looking strong against Nebraska, but also looking absolutely dreadful against Penn State and Florida.
6. Nebraska (9-4)
Finishing the year 2-4 isn’t what the Cornhuskers were hoping for. Mike Riley should have another solid squad next season, but it remains to be seen if he can get Nebraska over the proverbial hump.
7. Minnesota (9-4)
Tracy Claeys had a good first season as the head man in Minnesota, but after a sexual assault scandal costs him his job, the Gophers are turning to P.J. Fleck. If anyone can compete with Wisconsin in the Big Ten West, it’ll be a Fleck-led Minnesota program.
8. Northwestern (7-6)
Northwestern beat Pitt 31-24. Penn State is going to beat Pitt by much more than that in 2017.
9. Indiana (6-7)
Back-to-back bowl games for the Hoosiers, but they are now without Kevin Wilson. Let’s see if new head coach Tom Allen can keep up with Indiana’s newfound success.
10. Maryland (6-7)
Maryland fell in its bowl game against Boston College, but all in all, a 6-7 season is a good first year for D.J. Durkin.
11. Illinois (3-9)
After a 3-9 season, it’s clear that Lovie Smith has his work cut out for him in Champagne.
12. Michigan State (3-9)
Really, it was an inexcusable season for Sparty. They’ve recruited too well the past couple years and are too well coached to ever have that debacle of a season. It’ll be interesting to see what Michigan State shows up next season.
13. Purdue (3-9)
Jeff Brohm was a very good hire for the Boilermakers. In this blogger’s opinion, it shouldn’t be too long before Purdue is back in bowl contention.
14. Rutgers (2-10)
Chris Ash had to call in reinforcements, as Jerry Kill is the new Rutgers offensive coordinator. Honestly, don’t know how much this will help them.