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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 13

Well that was a fun rivalry week

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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 thirteenth and final week of the 2023 season is in the books, and things are still as wacky as ever thanks to Rivalry Week. Let’s get to it!


1. Michigan

Michigan completed its perfect regular season with a 30-24 win over Ohio State. They now face Iowa in the B1G CCG before hearing their postseason fate.

2. Ohio State

For the third year in a row, OSU came up short against Michigan. The Buckeyes are now rooting for absolute mayhem with the hope that they can make the playoffs as a one-loss non-conference champ (wouldn’t be the first time!).

3. Penn State

PSU dominated in a week when many other teams struggled, demolishing Michigan State 42-0. Like the others, they’ll now wait to see where they’re headed for the holidays.

4. Iowa

Somehow, some way, Iowa is 10-2, despite having a literal allergy to playing offense. The Hawkeyes will now take on Michigan in the CCG. Godspeed, Spider-Man Hawkeyes!

5. Maryland

The reeling Terrapins righted the ship, beating Rutgers 42-24. A bowl game awaits the Terps.

6. Northwestern

The comeback story of the season, as Northwestern was pulled from the dregs of the conference to finish second in the West! The Wildcats completed their resurgence with a 45-43 win over rival Illinois.

7. Rutgers

Rutgers had a rough final few weeks, and finished their season with a loss to Maryland. Still, the Scarlet Knights are 6-6, and will head to a bowl game!

8. Illinois

The Illini, however, will not be bowling. A win over Northwestern would have secured a postseason game, but now Bert and Co. will have to turn their eyes toward 2024.

9. Purdue

Despite not having a postseason to play for, the Boilermakers came to play and defeated rival Indiana 35-31. Until next year!

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers put together a solid final regular season game, beating Minnesota 28-14. We’ll see what sort of bowl game Wisconsin gets!

11. Michigan State

It was a rough day for MSU, who got shutout and had negative yards in the second half. We’ll see if new coach Jonathan Smith can have as much success in East Lansing as he did at Oregon State.

12. Indiana

A 35-31 loss to Purdue was enough to send Tom Allen packing, so the Hoosiers are now on the hunt for a new coach.

13. Minnesota

PJ Fleck and Co. could have made the postseason with a win, but couldn’t quite manage it against Wisconsin. Until we meet again!

14. Nebraska

You were so close Nebraska! Thisclose to a 13-10 win of your own over the West champs, but alas. Matt Rhule continues to have his work cut out for him.


For the last time in 2023, how do the squiggles look?

Michigan secures the top spot, while OSU and PSU slot in behind as the best teams in the conference. Iowa takes the next slot as the best in the West. Maryland and Northwestern secure winning seasons, while Rutgers treads water. Illinois drops, with Purdue and Wisconsin on the rise. MSU and Indiana finish with downward trends, while Minnesota and Nebraska hold onto their spots in the basement.

On to championship week!