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Big Ten Superlatives: Week 13

The best of the conference’s decisive final full weekend

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sadly, the regular season has come to a close. Happily, I will share some of the biggest and best (and worst) moments of the week. Happily for you, this series is nearing its end for the year - and that’s sad for me. This weekly feature has been my favorite to write all season (even if it was too homerish for some and not homerish for others).

Here we go...

Best Win of the Week: Michigan

This was easy. The Wolverines clinched a second-straight trip to the Big Ten Championship game - and, in all likelihood, a second straight Big Ten title and playoff berth. While my only rooting interests in Saturday’s game - and any game throughout the season for that matter - is what will benefit Penn State. I tip my cap to Michigan, who did to Ohio State exactly what it did to our beloved Nittany Lions. Meanwhile, I begrudgingly acknolwedge that I love the way Jim Harbaugh’s team played this year. Saturday’s game - and the game against Penn State - reminded me a lot of some of my favorite Nittany Lion wins of all time. You know the type, close for a half before one team absolutely takes the will of the other and it winds up in a blowout (think ‘92 Fiesta Bowl, ‘94 Citrus Bowl, ‘96 Northwestern, ‘08 Michigan among others).

Worst Loss of the Week, No. 1: Ohio State

It was deja vu all over again for the Buckeyes. For a second straight season, Ohio State was manhandled in the fourth quarter - this time in front of a boisterous home crowd on a splendid late fall Saturday. Of course, the big news isn’t just that Ohio State lost, but that the style of loss basically eliminates what seemed to be a sure playoff season barring some major chaos this weekend.

Worst Loss of the Week, No. 2: Iowa

At home playing for a Big Ten Championship game berth against a lifeless Nebraska team that was just playing out the string, the Hawkeyes fell behind 24-0. A backup quarterback and a rally were too little, too late. Kirk Ferentz now faces major questions about what he’ll do about his son in the offensive coordinator spot - and won’t have an empty West title to hide behind when he’s asked those questions.

Offensive Player of the Week: JJ McCarthy, Michigan

While Donovan Edwards ultimately ran for more than 200 yards as the Wolverines broke open the game in the fourth quarter, it was McCarthy who hung in against early pressure and made plays to help put Michigan in control. Coming into the year, there was a bit of a quarterback debate in Ann Arbor. On Saturday, against Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud, McCarthy made the game’s biggest plays.

Defensive Player of the Week: Abdul Carter, Penn State

Finally. Finally, we can talk a little more Penn State. Remember entering this year when linebacker was a question mark? Now, we have another All-American and the world is right again.

Offensive Play of the Week: Keandre Lambert-Smith to Theo Johnson

My favorite trick play in football...

Defensive Play of the Week: Purdue’s Cory Trice helps clinch Big Ten West

Because of Iowa’s Friday loss, Purdue entered the Old Oaken Bucket game with a chance to clinch its first ever division title. In a game where you throw out the records, usually because they’re atrocious, Indiana hung tough early until an ugly injury to its starting quarterback. Still, it wasn’t until Trice fought for this Pick Six that Purdue could officially celebrate.

Most Iowa Moment of the Week: Losing to Nebraska

To bring it back - Nebraska was 3-8 folks.

Most Big Ten Moment of the Week: Thanks Sean Clifford

Having been on the roster since Penn State joined the Big Ten, it will be strange seeing the Lions not have Sean Clifford in the mix next year. No, in all seriousness, congratulations to Cliff on a lot of success, records, wins, and degrees in his time in Happy Valley. Thank you! And thank you to all the other contributors who took the field for the final time at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

What We’re Looking Forward To Most: More Chaos

We’re in the clubhouse and seemingly have clinched a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl - a huge bounceback for our favorite program. Let’s kick back next week, watch some more chaos and enjoy college football in all of its craziness before learning where the Lions are headed.