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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 12

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Illinois is going bowling, Minnesota is legit and INDIANA IS RANKED

NCAA Football: Illinois at Michigan State
LOVIE SMITH SZN
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

We got a pretty good slate of games over the weekend. Of the five games involving Big Ten teams four were decided by less than a touchdown while three (3) were decided by a field goal or less. The fifth game, of course, involved Ohio State. A lot to break down with a historic comeback, a significant Big Ten West showdown and a big shakeup near the top going down.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Last Week: 73-14 win vs. Maryland (9-0)

SP+ Rankings: 1

Another game, another win. Wash, rinse, repeat. Ryan Day for coach of the year. This week’s Buckeye win should somehow be an even bigger blowout as they play r u t g e r.

2. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Last Week: 31-26 win vs. Penn State (9-0)

SP+ Rankings: 13

As this blog has always famously said: Minnesota is good at football.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Last Week: 31-26 loss @ Minnesota (8-1)

SP+ Rankings: 7

Frames Janklin got outcoached in Minneapolis. The Nittany Lions weren’t set up for success. They’re still a pretty good football team though. As always, here’s some of that sweet, sweet KJ Hamler content:

4. Wisconsin Badgers

Last Week: 24-22 win vs. Iowa (7-2)

SP+ Rankings: 11

The Badgers picked up a good win over the Hawkeyes thanks in part to a big day from Johnathan Taylor. The back went for 250 yards on 31 carries, though he didn’t find the end zone. He did, however, manage to break off a big run that would ultimately seal the win for the Badgers:

5. Michigan Wolverines

Last Week: Bye (7-2)

SP+ Rankings: 15

The Wolverines got the week off. This weekend they’ll play a reeling Michigan State team. They come into the matchup as 14-point favorites.

6. Indiana Hoosiers

Last Week: Bye (7-2)

SP+ Rankings: 19

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past day or so INDIANA FOOTBALL IS RANKED. The Hoosiers broke into the AP poll for the first time in 25 years as they were ranked 24th in the latest edition of the poll. #9WINDIANA lives and the hype is real as the Hoosiers head to State College looking for the first win at Beaver Stadium in program history. If there would be a team to do it, it would be this one.

7. Iowa Hawkeyes

Last Week: 24-22 loss @ Wisconsin (6-3)

SP+ Rankings: 23

They just got edged out by the Badgers despite scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter to make things interesting. That puts them squarely in the second tier of the conference that’s hunting for a Gator Bowl/Music City Bowl/Outback Bowl berth. They could, however, make some noise with a win over Minnesota at home this weekend.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini

Last Week: 37-34 win @ Michigan State (6-4)

SP+ Rankings: 53

9. Purdue Boilermakers

Last Week: 24-22 win @ Northwestern (4-6)

SP+ Rankings: 59

Purdue is a weird zombie team that refuses to die despite the fact that it’s been dead for weeks. The Boilers overcame a 14-0 deficit as the random fan they pulled out of the stands (checks notes) Aidan O’Connell threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns. David Bell caught 14 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, which definitely didn’t hurt the inexperienced QB. A good win for Purdue, all things considered.

10. Michigan State Spartans

Last Week: 37-34 loss vs. Illinois (4-5)

SP+ Rankings: 35

The Spartans were leading Illinois 28-3 in the second quarter, then 31-10 at the beginning of the fourth and then Absolutely Blew It. A historic collapse allowed Illinois to take the win as Brandon Peters went off for 369 (nice) yards and three touchdowns. I know what you’re thinking — it really sucks that IU didn’t get Sparty late in the season rather than early. Reader, you may be onto something.

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Last Week: Bye (4-5)

SP+ Rankings: 57

I’m assuming the Cornhuskers celebrated Scott Frost Day in fashion, getting absolutely hammered after realizing that they’ll likely finish the season 5-7 what with games against both Wisconsin and Iowa still on the schedule and all. Maybe Scott Frost needs to start lobbying for his team to play fewer conference games each year.

12. Maryland Terrapins

Last Week: 73-14 loss @ Ohio State (3-7)

SP+ Rankings: 80

13. Northwestern Wildcats

Last Week: 24-22 loss vs. Purdue (1-8)

SP+ Rankings: 90

So, so close to that second win. Mick McCall’s offense even scored 22 points, its second-best performance of the season following a 30-point “outburst” against UNLV. It was also the most points that the Wildcats have scored in a Big Ten game since the conference championship game last season, in which they scored 24 points. That’s a thing that happened almost a year ago though it seems much, much farther away than it should.