…and that is a wrap folks. A wild season ended with the wildest weekend of the year with the unbeatable Ohio State losing to Michigan who has struggled for the entirety of the Harbaugh years against their nemesis. Now, we will not see Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship for the first time in five years and a Michigan team that is in the fast lane for the College Football Playoff. Also, Wisconsin stumbled at the end of the regular season and will not make it to the Championship either. In an unlikely turn of events, it will now be Michigan and Iowa facing in Indianapolis for the crown which are two teams that have not won the championship yet. Game on.
November 29th Big Ten Football Power Rankings
No. 14 Indiana (2-10, 0-9 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last: Loss at Purdue 44-7
Do not cry because it happened, smile because it is finally over. Indiana closes out their season with a blowout loss against Purdue, 44-7. Indiana’s season may be over but their are plenty of questions that need to be answered for head coach Tom Allen and his coaching staff and the first decision was made Sunday with the firing of Nick Sheridan.
No. 13 Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last: Loss at Illinois 47-14
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that Northwestern got blown-out by in-state rival Illinois. The good news is that the Wildcats’ season is mercifully over. Pat Fitzgerald and company will have to do some soul-searching to find out what went drastically wrong this season and hope this was merely an aberration that can be quickly forgotten.
No. 12 Nebraska (3-9, 1-8 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last: Loss against No. 16 Iowa 28-21
All of Nebraska’s nine losses have come by nine points or fewer this season, but the point of football is to win, not to lose close games. The Cornhuskers made a number of critical mistakes late in their defeat to Iowa, a contest in which Nebraska led 21-6. Scott Frost took a pay cut to stay on board for 2022; his path to success in Lincoln starts with finding a new offensive coordinator and potentially a new quarterback for next season.
No. 11 Rutgers (5-7, 2-7 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last: Loss against Maryland 40-16
Rutgers had every opportunity to reach the 6 win mark on a decent season, but they failed to reach that final hurdle. Now, their season ends in disappointment, but it likely won’t be many more years before Rutgers returns to the postseason.
No. 10 Illinois (5-7, 4-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last: Win against Northwestern 47-14
Illinois went on the road to Northwestern and walked away with a dominant victory, 47-14. Illinois run game found major success against the Wildcats as they were able to run for over 200 yards. Overall the offense produced nearly 500 yards while only giving up just north of 200. Illinois beat the teams they were supposed to beat this season, the next step forward will be winning games in the Big Ten that you are not favored in for Illinois.
No. 9 Maryland (6-6, 3-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: Win at Rutgers 40-16
Maryland dominated the Scarlet Knights from start to finish as they defeated Rutgers on the road 40-16. The Terrapins offense put on a show and their defense did just enough for their sixth win of the season to be a blowout. There are things that will need to be fixed when looking at the future of this program, starting with the defense.
No. 8 Penn State (7-5, 4-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last: Loss at No. 12 Michigan State 30-27
Penn State lost again this week. After starting the season 5-0, Penn State has lost five of its last seven. While injuries have certainly played a part, this was nonetheless a disappointing year in Happy Valley. On the bright side, a bowl game awaits, they have a highly touted recruiting class coming in, and James Franklin’s whopping new contract means he will be in town for years to come.
No. 7 Purdue (8-4, 6-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last: Win against Indiana 44-7
Purdue put the exclamation point on their season with a resounding win over Indiana at home in their biggest win against Indiana since 2008’s 62-10 win. Purdue ends 8-4 and have a lot to celebrate as they prepare for the postseason. Some likely destinations are the Pinstripe Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl, but we will see what unfolds in the next few weeks.
No. 6 Wisconsin (8-4, 6-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last: Loss at Minnesota 23-13
What a disappointing end to the regular season for the Badgers who had a 7 game win streak prior to today. They were the favorites at Minnesota and geared up for the Big Ten Championship game, but instead got the loss and go home before going to a bowl game. Overall, not a bad season, but not a season that Wisconsin fans will likely be happy with thus far.
No. 5 Minnesota (8-4, 6-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last: Win against No. 14 Wisconsin 23-13
Minnesota had a fantastic year, going 8-4 and snagging a rivalry win over Wisconsin. However, Gopher fans may be longingly looking at what may have been a 10-2 year, had Minnesota won at home vs. Bowling Green and Illinois. Regardless, the Gophers will look to win their 3rd bowl game of the PJ Fleck Era in about a month’s time.
No. 4 Michigan State (10-2, 7-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last: Win against Penn State 30-27
Michigan State wrapped up a spectacular regular season with an impressive bounce back win in the snow in East Lansing. Kenneth Walker III probably won’t win the Heisman, but he racked up another 138 yards and a TD against a stiff run defense, finishing with 1735 scrimmage yards and 19 TDs on the year. With MSU locking up Mel Tucker for the next ten years, there will be expectations that the Spartans match or exceed this standard over the next decade.
No. 3 Iowa (10-2, 7-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last: Win at Nebraska 28-21
Iowa picked up their tenth win of the season and their seventh in conference play as they traveled to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers and walked away with a 28-21 victory. Iowa will now shift their focus to the Big Ten Championship game where they will face off against No. 5 Michigan. Will they be able to stop Michigan’s ground attack? That is their key to victory and is what will need to happen for the Hawkeyes to become B1G champions.
No. 2 Ohio State (10-2, 8-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last: Loss at No. 5 Michigan 42-27
Amidst the flurries in Ann Arbor, Ohio State suffered its second loss of the season and was thereby likely eliminated from the college football playoff by bitter rival Michigan. The Wolverines were in control from start to finish, as they won a highly physical match against the Buckeyes. Michigan accumulated 297 rushing yards to Ohio State’s 64 to dominate time of possession and limit OSU’s offensive touches. While QB CJ Stroud played well (throwing for 394 yards and 2 TDs), Ohio State’s struggles in the red zone were too much to overcome.
No. 1 Michigan (11-1, 8-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last: Win against No. 2 Ohio State 42-27
Welcome to the top of the Big Ten mountain, Michigan. It took ten years, but Jim Harbaugh’s crew defeated Ohio State, controlling the game from start to finish. RB Hassan Haskins turned in a legendary performance, finding the end zone five times and totaling 169 yards. He’ll never have to buy a drink in Ann Arbor again. As Harbaugh said after the game, though, this is “just the beginning.” Michigan’s defense and running game will give it a chance in every game it plays. Will the Wolverines see one, two, or three more contests?
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ