The 2019 regular season is in the books and the battle of the Big Ten Championship will once again feature Ohio State, who have won the past two championships. They will face Wisconsin who pulled off the most important conference game of the week against Minnesota. The Badgers and Buckeyes last met in the Big Ten Championships back in 2017 where Ohio State won 27-21.
Outside of those two teams, seven other Big Ten schools will be participating in a bowl-game that will be determined at the conclusion of Saturday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Big Ten Football Week 15 Power Rankings
No. 14 Rutgers (2-10, 0-9 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Week: Loss at #10 Penn State 6-27
Oh boy, Rutgers finishes their two-win season, but the biggest news is the return of Greg Schiano as head coach of the Scarlet Knights in a whopping eight-year agreement. After all of the trials and tribulation for this season, Rutgers gets an opportunity to slowly begin the rebuild process for a program that has been the laughingstock of the Big Ten. It won’t be quick, but it will happen.
No. 13 Maryland (3-9, 1-8 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week: Loss at Michigan State 16-19
Maryland’s disastrous 2019 season has officially ended after a close defeat against the Spartans. The Terrapins finished the season on a seven game losing streak and lost nine out of there final 10 games. The offseason is going to be busy as Maryland needs to get their program back oncourse now having finished with a losing record for the third year in a row.
No. 12 Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Week: Win at Illinois 29-10
In a difficult season, Pat Fitzgerald’s team finished emphatically, smacking their in-state rival, retaining the Land of Lincoln Trophy, and extending their win streak over the Illini to five games. Northwestern ran for an eye-popping 387 yards, including 111 from 4th-string QB Andrew Marty. Senior DE Joe Gaziano recorded his 30th career sack in the win.
No. 11 Nebraska (5-7, 3-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Week: Loss vs. Iowa 24-27
Pegged by many before the season to win the Big Ten West, Nebraska concluded their season with a crushing 3-point loss to their biggest rival. As a result, Nebraska will miss a bowl game for the 3rd straight season for the first time since the ’50s. The Huskers went 1-4 at home in Big Ten play, with the only win coming by 3 against Northwestern. That number has to significantly improve next season, starting Sept. 5 vs. Purdue, if Scott Frost’s crew wants to contend.
No. 10 Purdue (4-8, 3-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Loss vs. Indiana 41-44
Even with injuries at the deepest levels, the Boilermakers were able to compete with one of Indiana’s best teams in the past decade. Purdue has a promising future with the talent on the roster but they will need to have answers at key positions on the field such as quarterback and tight end for next season.
No. 9 Illinois (6-6, 4-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week: Loss vs. Northwestern 10-29
After back-to-back losses to end the season, the Fighting Illini lost some momentum entering the postseason. Even though they could not give their fans a victory on senior day, they still have a bowl game to play for and can keep the program heading on the right track.
No. 8 Michigan State (6-6, 4-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Week: Win vs. Maryland 19-16
The 6th win on the season was desparately needed for the Spartans to salvage what scraps are left at the end. They struggled and fought and managed to squeak by the Terps at home on senior day.
No. 7 Indiana (8-4, 5-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Week: Win at Purdue 44-41
The Old Oaken Bucket is back in Bloomington after Indiana defeated Purdue in a double overtime thriller. The Hoosiers finished the regular season with eight wins for the first time since the 1993 season when they were led by coach Bill Mallory. The remaining objective for coach Tom Allen’s team is to win their first bowl since 1991 and show the Big Ten that the Hoosiers are going to be around for a while.
No. 6 Iowa (9-3, 6-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Week: Win at Nebraska 27-24
The Hawkeyes are rolling after picking up their third straight win of the season, finishing with a 9-3 record. Iowa does not get to play for a Big Ten title, but they can look forward to one of the bigger bowl sites once the end of December rolls around.
No. 5 Minnesota (10-2, 7-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Loss vs. #12 Wisconsin 17-38
Minnesota’s true colors are starting to show. It may be more of a fluke result on the Penn State game and the national title hopes that resulted after being pummeled by Wisconsin at home. They now are out of the Big Ten title game and will have to wait to see where they fall on the bowl map.
No. 4 Michigan (9-3, 6-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Loss vs. #1 Ohio State 27-56
Another year of struggles against the Buckeyes, and it was a rough one for the Wolverines again who looked hot going into this game. Patterson hit the 300 mark again, but did it on 18/43 tries. Michigan will likely not make it to a New Year’s Six game, but make it to a decent bowl game again which is a disappointing end to a season where they were predicted to make a run for the title in the conference.
No. 3 Penn State (10-2, 7-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Week: Win vs. Rutgers 27-6
The Nittany Lions reached double-digit wins for the 3rd time in six years under James Franklin after an uneventful victory over Rutgers. RB Journey Brown, who recently lost a young cousin, found the end zone three times for PSU. After the game, TE Pat Freiermuth announced he would return to PSU next season, rather than enter the NFL. Freiermuth has 15 TD in two seasons with the Nittany Lions.
No. 2 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Win at #8 Minnesota 38-17
With the help of the rest of the Big Ten, the Badgers make it back in to the Big Ten championship after an undefeated Minnesota team took their reigns of the Big Ten West. Wisconsin has another date with the Buckeyes, who they lost to earlier in the season 38-7. Jonathan Taylor is the second in the nation in rushing with 1,761 yards this season and the Badgers’ defense has the fifth most sacks of any team in the nation.
No. 1 Ohio State (12-0, 9-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Week: Win at #13 Michigan 56-27
Any questions? After a somewhat-underwhelming win over top-ten PSU, the Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor and stomped the Wolverines for their school-record 8th straight win in the rivalry. RB J.K. Dobbins became the first Buckeye to run for four TDs against Michigan since 1968. QB Justin Fields threw for four more, bringing his regular season total to 33 passing and 43 overall.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ