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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 12

It is time

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Hello there and welcome to the Big Ten Power Rankings! Each week we’ll rank how the teams across the conference are playing, in the hopes of seeing just who is a contender, and who is a pretender over the course of the season.

The rules are few, but resolute:

  • Teams are ranked by how they’re playing at that time. Not body of work, not rankings in the polls, but simply how each team is playing at that point in the season.
  • The approach to the rankings is not necessarily on the field results (though those do count, as an obvious, tangible data point), but more generally if the two teams played at a neutral site 100 times, which team would win 51 times (or more).
  • These rankings are subjective. As the author I get to follow the rules as closely or loosely as I want to, and if you don’t like the rankings, you’re wrong.

Week 12 is in the books and the East has come down to it. Let’s get to it!

1. Ohio State

The Buckeyes played with fire (again), outlasting Maryland 43-30. Perhaps the Buckeyes were looking ahead a week?

Next up, home vs. Michigan.

2. Michigan

Needing an illegal pick play to beat Illinois sure says something about Michigan.

Next up, away at Ohio State.

3. Penn State

Penn State stumbled early against Rutgers before pulling away for an emphatic 55-10 win. Depending how next week goes, the Lions could be on the hunt for a New Year’s Six bowl.

Next up, home vs. Michigan State.

4. Iowa

Like I said last week, the Iowa-Minnesota game would have huge implications for the West race. With their 13-10 win over Minnesota, the Hawkeyes now need a win over Nebraska to return to Indianapolis for the second year in a row. A loss and Purdue win, however, would put the Boilermakers in Indy instead.

Next up, home vs. Nebraska (FARMAGEDDON).

5. Purdue

Purdue took care of business against Northwestern, 17-9. Sitting at 7-4, it appears that the season-opening win for Penn State may end up being the best one on their resume. Purdue needs help in the form of an Iowa loss, but if they win, they have a chance at the conference championship game.

Next up, away at Indiana.

6. Minnesota

How does Mo Ibrahim run for 263 yards, but Minnesota only scores 10 points? Riddle me this, Batman.

Next up, away at Wisconsin (PAUL BUNYAN’S AXE).

7. Michigan State

I could probably drop MSU farther after their 39-31 overtime loss to Indiana, but I’m hoping to place them through the floor in next week’s edition of these rankings.

Next up, away at Penn State.

8. Wisconsin

Nebraska made Wisconsin sweat, with the Badgers narrowly escaping with a 15-14 win. The Badgers are now playing for bowl seeding in the conference.

Next up, home vs. Minnesota.

9. Maryland

The Terrapins fought hard against OSU, but ultimately came up just a bit short.

Next up, home vs. Rutgers.

10. Illinois

The plunge continues for Illinois, who were thisclose to upsetting Michigan. Illegal play by Michigan aside, uber conservative play calling has worked exactly zero times. Go for the throat, Bert!.

Next up, away at Northwestern.

11. Indiana

The Hoosiers showed a pulse! They took down Michigan State with only two passing attempts on the day, which is one of the B1Ggest things to ever happen.

Next up, home vs. Purdue.

12. Nebraska

Big Red couldn’t quite pull off the upset, losing to Wisconsin by a single point. Bowl ineligible, their only role at this point is spoiler.

Next up, away at Iowa (oooooh do it Nebraska, we believe in you!).

13. Rutgers

Rutgers shot out of the gate with its hair on fire, matching their points total scored against Penn State in any game since 2014 just in the first quarter. Then they forgot to keep scoring points, and lost by 45.

Next up, away at Maryland.

14. Northwestern

The Wildcats lost 31-3 to Minnesota 17-9 to Purdue, and I don’t have anything snide to say about it.

Next up, home vs. Illinois.

¡Feliz navidad, prospero squiggles y felicidad!

OSU, Michigan, and Penn State stand strong at the top. Iowa and Purdue rise as the last two contenders from the West, while Minnesota and Michigan State drop. Wisconsin moves up, while Maryland falls, and Illinois drops again. Indiana has moved out of the basement, while Nebraska, Rutgers, and Northwestern start setting up their holiday decorations.

On to Week 13!