Big Ten Power Rankings: Ohio State, Michigan State top final list

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Power Rankings: Ohio State, Michigan State top final list

Things, for the most part, hold steady in my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal.

Ohio State will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis on Saturday, although my rankings say the Buckeyes should be playing Michigan State. That, of course, can’t help due to the two divisions.

See my latest list below.

1. Ohio State (11-1, 8-0). The Buckeyes beat Michigan for the 12th time in 14 games but lost J.T. Barrett for the season with a broken ankle. Can OSU keep marching on?
Last week: 1
Up next: Wisconsin, in Big Ten title game

2. Michigan State (10-2, 7-1). The Spartans have 10 wins for the fourth time in five years. Too bad this team failed in its only two big games: at Oregon and vs. Ohio State.
Last week: 2
Up next: bowl

3. Wisconsin (10-2, 7-1). The Badgers beat Minnesota for an 11th time in a row and have seven wins in succession. This team will arrive in Indy white hot. That’s three Big Ten title games in four years for Wisconsin. Not bad.
Last week: 3
Up next: Ohio State, in Big Ten title game

4. Minnesota (8-4, 5-3). The Gophers gave it a good effort but still haven’t won in Madison since 1994. This program is going places.
Last week: 4
Up next: bowl

5. Nebraska (9-3, 5-3). The Huskers impressed with a gut-check overtime win at Iowa, giving Bo Pelini at least nine victories in each of his seven seasons. It wasn’t enough, though, as Pelini was fired Sunday morning.
Last week: 5
Up next: bowl

6. Maryland (7-5, 4-4). The Terps somehow blew a 35-10 second quarter lead and lost 41-38 at home to Rutgers to put a damper on an otherwise good Big Ten debut.
Last week: 6
Up next: bowl

7. Iowa (7-5, 4-4). The Hawkeyes blew a 24-7 third-quarter lead at home to Nebraska, finishing with back-to-back home defeats. What direction is this program trending?
Last week: 7
Up next: bowl

8. Penn State (6-6, 2-6). After a 4-0 start, the Nittany Lions went 2-6 as the offense never got on track. Christian Hackenberg threw 15 picks and was sacked 42 times. That tells you all you need to know.
Last week: 9
Up next: bowl

9. Rutgers (7-5, 3-5). After a three-game losing skid, the Scarlet Knights won two of their final three to finish 7-5. That shows character. This program is better than we all thought.
Last week: 10
Up next: bowl

10. Illinois (6-6, 3-5). The Fighting Illini rallied to become bowl eligible by winning their last two games. Credit the work of QB Reilly O’Toole. Is this the start of a turnaround?
Last week: 12
Up next: bowl

POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY
ArcelorMittal

11. Michigan (5-7, 3-5). The season comes to a merciful end for the Wolverines, who will miss a bowl for the first time since a two-year drought from 2008-09.
Last week: 11
Up next: season over

12. Northwestern (5-7, 3-5). The Wildcats blew a chance to get bowl eligible, seeing a two-game winning streak end with a stunning home loss to Illinois. NU has now missed a bowl two seasons in a row.
Last week: 8
Up next: season over

13. Indiana (4-8, 1-7). Better late than never, as the Hoosiers notched their first Big Ten win of the season by downing Purdue and winning back-to-back Old Oaken Buckets for the first time since 1993-94.
Last week: 13
Up next: season over

14. Purdue (3-9, 1-7). The Boilermakers end yet another dreary season on a six-game losing skid. The offense was horrid down the stretch. Darrell Hazell is 4-20 overall and 1-15 in the Big Ten with just two wins vs. FBS foes.
Last week: 14
Up next: season over

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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