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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 12

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Things are looking exciting in Ann Arbor

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

And just like that, another team’s playoff aspirations have been snuffed out. Two gladiators shall enter Ann Arbor this weekend, one shall leave (as playoff contenders).

Let’s get to it!


1. Ohio State

Sweet fancy Moses! Ohio State didn’t much care for the top 10 billing Michigan State had received, and took it out on the Spartans to the tune of a 56-7 slaughtering. Seriously, it was 21-0 at the end of the first, and 49-0 at the half. This was as thorough a dismantling of a “top 10” team as I think I’ve ever seen. The OSU Death Star is fully armed and operational, and heads to Ann Arbor to fight for the Big Ten East Crown.

2. Wisconsin

The Badgers got a bit of a scare from lowly Nebraska, coming away with a 35-28 win. If they can beat Minnesota this weekend, they’ll head to Indianapolis.

3. Michigan

A week after barely surviving Penn State, Michiganders worried about a letdown. Not so fast my friend, as the Wolverines demolished Maryland 59-18. If Michigan can defend their (Big) House this weekend, they’ll head to Indianapolis for the first time.

4. Iowa

Is Iowa actually the fourth best team in the B1G? They’re 9-2, so I guess? They just seem to be very blasé at this point. Very underwhelming. Kind of like a bologna sandwich on white bread - sure, it’s a meal, and you’re getting calories out of it, but you definitely won’t relish it.

5. Michigan State

Goodness me, Sparty, what happened? Truthfully, I could have (should have?) dropped the Spartans further for their loss to OSU, but it didn’t quite sit right with me having a 4-loss PSU jump the 2-loss Spartans. Let them settle it on the field next week, and I’ll go from there.

6. Penn State

We’ve seen this script before - Penn State has their starting quarterback go down against a team with a good defense and suspect offense, and the backup quarterback has to come in with little to no prep time. Only this time, instead of being outscored 20-3 after the QB change, Penn State outscored their opponent 28-0. Progress!

7. Purdue

A very workmanlike 32-14 win over Northwestern, nothing more, nothing less.

8. Minnesota

A very workmanlike 35-14 win over Indiana, nothing more, nothing less. If my math is right, even if Minnesota manages to beat Wisconsin this weekend, because they lost to Iowa, the Hawkeyes would head to Indianapolis, unless of course Iowa loses to Nebraska. Either way, if Wisconsin wins and they’re in, but these permutations are fun.

For the record, I’m rooting for Minnesota and Nebraska in those two contests.

9. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights couldn’t move the ball against Penn State, and couldn’t quite force Penn State’s backup quarterback into enough errors to change the outcome of the game. Yet despite being shut out, they played competitive football, and need just one more win to get bowl eligibility.

10. Maryland

The Terrapins, meanwhile, got nuked by Michigan. Rutgers and Maryland play in the final week of the season, with the winner heading to a postseason destination. It seems like Maryland is trending in the opposite direction at the moment, but that’s why they play the games on the field.

11. Illinois

Illinois lost 33-23 to Iowa, but had the Hawkeyes on the ropes early Of the bad teams in the B1G, they appear to be the best. If they can secure a win against Northwestern, might the Illini go bowling at 5-7?

12. Northwestern

The Wildcats are now in a dogfight to determine who the worst team is in the conference. It’s a race to the bottom!

13. Nebraska

Speaking of “best bad teams” Nebraska once again lost a game by single digits, this time almost upending Wisconsin. People complain about Penn State having all four of its losses coming at single digits, but could you imagine if PSU had EIGHT losses by single digits?

14. Indiana

Indiana, meanwhile, just appears to be straight up bad. After great delay, I’ve finally moved the Hoosiers into the basement. Can they climb out with a win over Purdue? Don’t hold your breath.


For the first time in a month, the dark blue squiggly line doesn’t have an upward trajectory. Let’s see how the final batch looks next week.

Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan stay planted at the top, while Iowa climbs a spot after Michigan State drops. The mid-tier of Penn State, Purdue, and Minnesota all stand pat. Rutgers and Maryland flip flop, as do Illinois and Northwestern. Nebraska climbs out of the basement, which Indiana (un)happily moves into.