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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 12

How the West was won

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Michigan State at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via 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.

The twelfth week of the 2023 season is in the books, and the West has been decided! The East will come down to The Game once again. Let’s get to it!

1. Michigan

The Wolverines appeared to have a little bit of a hangover after beating Penn State, as they struggled to put away Maryland 31-24. Still, they’re undefeated, with the winner of The Game headed to Indianapolis.

2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes looked solid in their 37-3 win over Minnesota, and will now look to break a 2-year losing streak to Michigan.

3. Penn State

A sleepy post-loss start was expected, but the injury to Drew Allar was not. A 27-6 win over Rutgers doesn’t move them up or down.

4. Iowa

A 15-13 win over Illinois clinched the West for Iowa, who led 2-0 at one point in the game... and won by 2 points.

5. Illinois

The Illini were competitive in their loss to Iowa, but couldn’t quite pull off the upset.

6. Maryland

Seems the Terrapins always put scares into the top teams, and this game was no different. Not actual upsets, mind you, but scares anyway.

7. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights came out firing, but Penn State weathered the early storm and pulled away. Still, a bowl season has been secured, which is a step in the right direction.

8. Northwestern

I remember when Northwestern was a lock for the basement, and now they’re pushing toward the upper half of the conference following a 23-15 win over Purdue.

9. Michigan State

The Spartans managed a 24-21 win over Indiana, which I frankly did not see coming. It appeared that MSU was content to head to the off-season as quickly as possible - not so fast my friend!

10. Purdue

The 23-15 loss to Northwestern is disappointing, but not exactly unexpected this year.

11. Indiana

Just when I thought the Hoosiers had turned a corner, they drop one to MSU.

12. Wisconsin

Needing overtime to beat Nebraska 24-17 is not exactly something to hang your hat on.

13. Minnesota

After rising all the way to #5 in these rankings, the Gophers are looking at the basement with envy suddenly.

14. Nebraska

Good thing Nebraska has a chokehold on the cellar door!

While the bottom continues to jumble around, it’s fairly clear who is good and who is not.

Top 5 remain the same, while Maryland and Rutgers flip flop. Northwestern continues its resurgence, and Michigan State is showing signs of life. Purdue hangs out, but Indiana drops. Wisconsin doesn’t move up despite a win, and Minnesota is in free fall. Nebraska continues to hold down the fort in the basement.

On to week 13!