Another season in the books, but it was a season like no other. Ohio State made it to the CFP Finals (but failed to win), and the whole conference seemed flipped otherwise from normal seasons with Indiana and Northwestern near the top and Michigan, Penn State and Minnesota struggling. Despite the turmoil, it made the season one of the most exciting in history with a lot of phenomenal football played by some of the best to ever play the college game.
Final 2020 Big Ten Football Power Rankings
No. 14 Illinois (2-6, 2-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last: No bowl game played
Illinois finished the season on a three-game losing streak. The Fighting Illini fired Lovie Smith as their head coach and hired former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. Bielema has a 97-58 overall record as a head coach.
No. 13 Purdue (2-4, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last: No bowl game played
Purdue definitely needs some help this upcoming season or else they will continue to fall by the wayside in the deep Big Ten East. They did have some opt outs and other issues this season due to injuries, but still looked lost compared to their opponents despite starting the season with 2 wins.
No. 12 Michigan State (2-5, 2-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last: No bowl game played
Well, the end of the Rocky Lombardi era is official as he transferred from the program. They have lots of room to improve, but showed some signs of life this season with upset wins against teams like Michigan in the Big House.
No. 11 Michigan (2-4, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last: No bowl game played
Harbaugh is here to stay despite the lackluster season. More likely than not, the Wolverines will bounce back some next season, but they could not gain any momentum this entire season. It will be interesting to see what happens at QB next season as Joe Milton had a high ceiling, but he is not reaching potential (as of yet).
No. 10 Nebraska (3-5, 3-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last: No bowl game played
Remember just a few years ago when Scott Frost won the AFCA Coach of the Year? He still has not lived up to expectations besides “bringing back Big Ten football.” They desperately need some big wins under their belts to justify continuing on the Scott Frost track as this season was another failure for the Cornhuskers.
No. 9 Maryland (2-3, 2-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: No bowl game played
COVID-19 forced Maryland to just play one game in the final month of the season. The Terrapins had four games canceled because of the virus. Head coach Mike Locksley is already making changes to his staff, hiring former Cincinnati running back coach Dan Enos as Maryland’s new offensive coordinator.
No. 8 Minnesota (3-4, 3-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last: No bowl game played
Disappointing season for the Golden Gophers as they had Rashod Bateman opt out early and Tanner Morgan not exceed expectations. However, Mohamed Ibrahim looks like the real deal and won the Big Ten Running Back of the Year award behind a phenomenal, but quiet season away from the nationwide spotlight.
No. 7 Rutgers (3-6, 3-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last: No bowl game played
Definitely more optimism for the Rutgers faithful after this year than last. They improved their win total and have Greg Schiano for another 7 years so it is reasonable to be optimistic about the future despite another below .500 season.
No. 6 Penn State (4-5, 4-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last: No bowl game played
Penn State showed impressive resolve ending the season on a 4 game win streak after losing their first 5. They definitely had the making of a better team in the conference, but were not able to execute behind Clifford this season.
No. 5 Wisconsin (4-3, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last: Win against Wake Forest 42-28 (Duke’s Mayo Bowl)
Wisconsin had one of the college season’s highlights after breaking their trophy in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Graham Mertz will definitely continue to be at the helm this upcoming season after Jack Coan transferred to Notre Dame.
No. 4 Iowa (6-2, 6-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last: Canceled against Mizzou due to COVID (TransPerfect Music City Bowl)
Iowa’s final two games of the season were canceled because of COVID-19. The Hawkeyes were on a six-game winning streak before their season ended. Iowa ended the season with 20 All-Big Ten selections from the coaches and media including Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Daviyon Nixon.
No. 3 Indiana (6-2, 6-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last: Loss against Ole Miss 26-20 (Outback Bowl)
Indiana had its chance to finish one of its best seasons with a bowl victory, but the Hoosiers fell short in the Outback Bowl. IU finished the season 6-2 and ended the season 12th in the AP poll. Indiana picked up plenty of accolades based off its performance in 2020, but the season that saw so much accomplishment ended with another bowl game defeat.
No. 2 Northwestern (7-2, 6-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last: Win against Auburn 35-19 (Vrbo Citrus Bowl)
Northwestern definitely exceeded expectations this season behind Peyton Ramsey. They weren’t flashy, but they got the job done against Auburn and after a 3-9 record last year, a 7-2 season was a welcome change.
No. 1 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last: Loss against No. 1 Alabama 52-24 (CFP Final)
Not much to say about the Buckeyes that has not been said already. They dominated Clemson, but couldn’t stack up to Alabama in the CFP Finals despite only playing 5 regular season games. They have a long way to improve before being at Alabama’s caliber, but they still will be the team to beat next year.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ