It was a big weekend in the Big Ten as Minnesota pulled off the upset against Penn State to improve to 9-0 on the season and try to break into the top 10. Ohio State dominated their matchup once again and Illinois came back for another big win on the season.
There are just a few weeks left in the regular season and all 14 teams are looking to finish off the season on positive notes. Here’s how the rankings stand in Week 12.
Big Ten Football Week 12 Power Rankings
No. 14 Rutgers (2-7, 0-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Week: Bye Week
The Scarlet Knights rest as they go into the toughest three-game stretch of their season with games against Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State. With expectations at where they are currently located, Rutgers really has nothing to lose. How can they use these final three opportunities to build for next season and the future?
No. 13 Northwestern (1-8, 0-7 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Week: Loss against Purdue, 22-24
The Wildcats did break their touchdown drought early on Saturday, but their defense could not get the key stop at the end to secure the victory. Northwestern has now lost seven in a row, but they should snap it with a win vs. UMass next week. With a loss, the Wildcats might fall below Rutgers in the rankings.
No. 12 Maryland (3-7, 1-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week: Loss at #1 Ohio St., 14-73
It has been a long 2019 season for Maryland. After their recent loss to the Buckeyes, the Terrapins have now lost five straight and are no longer able to reach bowl eligibility. However, they can still end the season on a high note with matchups against struggling Nebraska and Michigan State.
No. 11 Nebraska (4-5, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Week: Bye Week
The once-great football program has lost four out of five games. During their bye week, the men’s basketball team started new coach Fred Hoiberg’s tenure with back-to-back home losses to weak non-conference opposition. Nebraska is now a volleyball school, folks.
No. 9 (Tie) Purdue (4-6, 3-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Win at Northwestern, 24-22
Behind a walk-on quarterback, the Boilermakers found a way to pull off a win at Northwestern. Purdue keeps their bowl eligibility alive for yet another week, but the game was by no means pretty. Northwestern scored two touchdowns against Purdue in the first quarter, something the Wildcats have not done for nearly a month. Brohm has a final push in these last two games against Wisconsin and Indiana.
No. 9 (Tie) Michigan State (4-5, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week: Loss against Illinois, 34-37
Illinois has won three straight games after starting the season 2-4 and are inching closer to a bowl appearance with three games remaining. The Illini just need one more win and they will be bowling for the first time since 2014 with remaining games coming at Michigan State and Iowa then home against Northwestern.
No. 8 Illinois (6-4, 4-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Week: Win at Michigan St., 37-34
The Fighting Illini are bowl eligible for the first time since 2014 after rallying off four straight wins since beginning the season 2-4. Down 31-10 entering the fourth quarter, Illinois scored 27 points in the final period to defeat Michigan State securing their sixth win. Lovie Smith’s team has a chance to grow the win streak further with contests against Iowa and Northwestern to finish off the season.
No. 6 (Tie) Indiana (7-2, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Week: Bye Week
Indiana is coming off their second bye week of the season and look to end the season strong. They will have to do it without Michael Penix, who is out for the season with an injury. Redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey takes over as the starter once again as the Hoosiers go on the road to face a Penn State team desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive after losing to Minnesota.
No. 6 Iowa (Tie) (6-3, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Loss at #13 Wisconsin, 22-24
Iowa lost a close one to Wisconsin and will most likely have to win out and get some help if they want to make the trip to Indianapolis as the West division champion. The Hawkeyes host Minnesota this week with a chance to bring the Golden Gophers their first loss of the season and keep the division race interesting.
No. 5 Michigan (7-2, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Week: Bye Week
It’s not the Wolverines’ fault that Minnesota and Wisconsin jumped them. Michigan had a bye when the momentum was starting to swing in their direction. Jim Harbaugh has really started to make his team believe in themselves. The big question still remains as to whether they will take down Ohio State who appears to be on another level in the Big Ten.
No. 4 Penn State (8-1, 5-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Loss at #17 Minnesota, 26-31
The Nittany Lions take a big hit after falling in Minneapolis, but here’s the deal. With a win in Columbus, and a win in the Big Ten title game, the Nittany Lions will likely still make the College Football Playoff. That was a must even before the defeat to the Gophers. PSU has no margin for error, though, and their secondary will have to significantly improve after giving up an 18-20-339-3-0 stat line to Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan. The Nittany Lions’ next test comes at home against Indiana (noon ET, ABC).
No. 3 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Week: Win against #18 Iowa, 24-22
In a wire-to-wire battle, the Badgers came out ahead and kept their Big Ten championship aspirations alive against Iowa. Jonathan Taylor continues to extend his resume with 250 yards an average of 8.1 yards per carry. They have an uphill battle, though, with Minnesota holding a commanding two-game lead. If the division hasn’t been determined by the final week of the regular season, there will be very high stakes for Wisconsin’s final matchup against the Gophers.
No. 2 Minnesota (9-0, 6-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Week: Win against #4 Penn St., 31-26
Alright, we believe in the Golden Gophers who are having their best season since 1904. The rest of their schedule isn’t any easier and they will continue to be tested with a trip to Iowa next week but behind Morgan, it looks like few defenses can stop them at this point.
No. 1 Ohio State (9-0, 6-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Week: Win against Maryland, 73-14
Even with superstar DE Chase Young held out due to a potential eligibility issue (which really shouldn’t be an issue), the Buckeyes recorded seven sacks in the big win. Justin Fields had four touchdowns. Four different running backs had at least 78 yards. 11 different players caught a pass. The Buckeyes recorded 705 total yards overall and won by 59. Against Maryland. Who beat Rutgers 48-7. The Buckeyes face Rutgers next week. Gulp.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ