Final Football Power Rankings

Every week during the football season, Brent Yarina posts his latest Big Ten Power Rankings. Week 13 saw Wisconsin clinch the Leaders Division and a spot in the Big Ten title game. As for the power rankings, they are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply Brent’s thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands after its latest game. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina.

1. Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2) – Here’s a stat for you: Montee Ball hasn’t run for fewer than 156 yards or scored fewer than three touchdowns in the past four games. The Badgers will need their star running back to be on top of his game in the Big Ten title game against Michigan State, the team that injured him and rendered him ineffective earlier this season.
Last week: No. 1
Next game: vs. Michigan State
Team MVP: RB Montee Ball

2. Michigan State (10-2, 7-1) – The only Big Ten team to suffer one conference loss this season, Michigan State must beat Leaders Division champ Wisconsin for a second time if it hopes to make the Rose Bowl, or maybe even a BCS bowl. It might not be fair, but no Big Ten team has been more consistent this season than the Spartans, so what’s another 60 minutes?
Last week: No. 2
Next game: vs. Wisconsin
Team MVP: QB Kirk Cousins

3. Michigan (10-2, 6-2) – Everyone knows about the improved defense in the first year under coordinator Greg Mattison, but let’s not forget about another difference maker in Michigan’s quick turnaround: Fitzgerald Toussaint. The running back has given the Wolverines a reliable primary back for the first time since Mike Hart left.
Last week: No. 3
Team MVP: QB Denard Robinson

4. Nebraska (9-3, 5-3) – In what could go down as one of the better individual performances of the Big Ten season, Huskers corner Alfonzo Dennard absolutely stifled white-hot Iowa receiver Marvin McNutt. Dennard limited McNutt to four catches and 29 yards, this after he entered Friday averaging 7.8 receptions, 133.4 yards and 1.2 touchdowns in the previous five games.
Last week: No. 5
Team MVP: RB Rex Burkhead

5. Penn State (9-3, 6-2) – That grueling three-game finish that we heard so much about when Penn State jumped out to a 5-0 start in the Big Ten proved to be as difficult as everyone thought. The Nittany Lions went 1-2 against Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin – a stretch no team would relish – and were outscored 76-41 in the process. They were a lot more competitive than the results indicate, though, as Saturday’s 45-7 loss at Wisconsin greatly skew the numbers.
Last week: No. 4
Team MVP: DT Devon Still

T-6. Iowa (7-5, 4-4) – The Hawkeyes had the schedule and talent, particularly on offense, to be a Legends Division contender, but they could never put it all together and were consistently inconsistent. Proof: Iowa lost to Minnesota, a team that looked like it couldn’t get out of its own way before it pulled the upset, and beat then-No. 13 Michigan in consecutive weeks.
Last week: No. 7
Team MVP: WR Marvin McNutt

T-6. Northwestern (6-6, 3-5) – It’s a shame injuries took away from Dan Persa in each of his two seasons as a starter, because the quarterback was as good as any of his peers when he played. Persa ditched the run game this year, mostly because his health wouldn’t allow it, and yet he remained deadly accurate, leading the Big Ten with a 74.2 completion percentage.
Last week: No. 6
Team MVP: ATH Kain Colter

8. Ohio State (6-6, 3-5) – While the defense left plenty to be desired in the program’s first loss to archrival Michigan in its last eight tries, true freshman QB Braxton Miller gave Ohio State fans much reason for optimism. The dynamic Miller threw for career highs in completions (14) and yards (235) and matched a career-high in passing touchdowns (2), all while setting a career-high in total yards (335).
Last week: No. 8
Team MVP: DL John Simon

9. Purdue (6-6, 4-4) – It was never pretty and it was never easy, but the Boilers are bowl eligible for the first time since 2007 and for the first time under Danny Hope. Purdue did it with a pair of quarterbacks and a stable of running backs, so it doesn’t have a player who necessarily jumps out at you as a star. But the Boilers got it done, thanks in large part to their 5-2 home clip.
Last week: No. 9
Team MVP: DT Kawann Short

10. Minnesota (3-9, 2-6) – Considering Jerry Kill’s health issues, MarQueis Gray’s inconsistencies, Da’Jon McKnight’s regression and the unimpressive fashion in which Minnesota opened Big Ten play, it could have been a much worse season. That said, it still wasn’t anything impressive or encouraging, but at least the Gophers enter the offseason riding the momentum of a victory for the second consecutive season.
Last week: No. 11
Team MVP: LB Gary Tinsley

11. Illinois (6-6, 2-6) – The Illini went from early-season Leaders Division contenders to being in jeopardy of not making any kind of bowl in a matter of a month. Illinois has the required six wins — all coming in the first six games — however it lost its final six games and played as poorly as any Big Ten team during the funk.
Last week: No. 10
Team MVP: DE Whitney Mercilus

12. Indiana (1-11, 0-8) – How painful of a season was it for Indiana in the first year of the Kevin Wilson era? Put it this way: The Hoosiers were the nation’s only FBS team not to beat a single FBS opponent. Their lone win came against South Carolina State, of the FCS.
Last week: No. 12
Team MVP: LB Jeff Thomas

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.

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1 Comment

Your Opinion?
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East811 on 11/28/2011 @ 11:42am EDT Said:

I agree, for the most part, with the Final Big Ten Rankings. However, I would switch Ohio State with Purdue and rank them 9th because they lost to the Boilermakers.