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Howe: Big Ten Football Power Rankings After Week 13

November 25, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The final week of the Big Ten’s regular season should be a doozy.

Heading the list is The Game. Unbeaten and No. 2 Ohio State, the league’s only real hope for the College Football Playoff travels to the Big House for a matchup with hated rival, Michigan. The Wolverines have been rolling, winning four in a row since falling in a close one at Penn State.

The West Division title is on the line Saturday when Wisconsin heads into Minnesota. The winner of Paul Bunyan’s Axe will meet the Buckeyes in the conference title game.

Nebraska plays host to rival Iowa in Black Friday’s Heroes Game needing a win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. A Michigan State victory against Maryland in East Lansing Saturday gives the Spartans a spot in the postseason.

It should be a fun final week in the league as teams look to spruce up their bowl resumes. Here’s how the Big Ten teams stack up for me after 11 weeks:

1. Ohio State – The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead on visiting Penn State before coming away with a 28-17 victory. Although the style points were lacking in that result, they’re still on a path to the playoff if they continue taking care of business. Michigan is playing its best football of the season, so it might not be easy.

2. Wisconsin – The Badgers faced an inspired challenge from out-manned Purdue Saturday before wearing down the Boilermakers in their trademark fashion. Jonathan Taylor rushed for more than 200 yards again, and Wisconsin gave itself a chance at the West title if it can win in Minneapolis on Saturday.

3. Michigan – Michigan might be playing the best football in the league right now. It answered the upset threat of rising Indiana in Bloomington Saturday in a convincing fashion. We’ll see how much, if any, ground the Wolverines have made up on their rival this coming weekend.

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4. Penn State – The Nittany Lions found themselves in a large hole at the Shoe, one from which they could climb out. But they showed resilience and kept alive a chance to slide into a New Years Six Bowl. They should get to 10 wins Saturday when playing host to lowly Rutgers.

5. Iowa – With Saturday’s 19-10 victory against Illinois, the Hawkeyes reached eight wins for the fifth season in a row. The other B1G teams to do that since ’15 campaign kicked off? Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin. Not too shabby.

6. Minnesota – The Golden Gophers took care of reeling Northwestern Saturday in Evanston, moving to 10-1 on the season. They can get to the Big Ten title game and a New Years Six Bowl with a win against rival Wisconsin this weekend in Minneapolis.

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7. Indiana – The Hoosiers failed to gain a signature win on Saturday against Michigan in Bloomington. They hung for a half before being shut out after the intermission in a 39-14 loss. They still can get to eight wins at Purdue this coming weekend.

8. Illinois – After winning four in a row, the Illini came up short at Iowa. But the strides they made since getting thumped, 63-0, by the Hawkeyes a year ago were very apparent. They should get to seven wins Saturday when playing host to Northwestern.

9. Michigan State – The cure for a five-game losing streak? Rutgers. MSU can reach the postseason with a win at Maryland Saturday. Not much of an achievement for this team.

10. Purdue – The Boilermakers hung with Wisconsin for awhile before wearing down. With the loss, they were eliminated from postseason contention.

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11. Nebraska – The Huskers got well at Maryland, not a surprise considering where the competition was as a program. Now they get to measure where they are as a program against Iowa.

12. Northwestern – The Wildcats continued to fight for their coach, but they didn’t have the horses to knock off Minnesota. It’s a lost season in Evanston.

13. Maryland – It still boggles the mind that this team was ranked early this season after beating Syracuse.

14. Rutgers – Greg Schiano reportedly wants a lot of money and program upgrades to return to Rutgers. He might be its only hope.

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