After weeks of “what ifs,” the game college football fans wanted to see is happening. One loss Michigan will play one-loss Ohio State for a chance to represent the Big Ten East in the conference championship game. Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State didn’t go down without a fight. The road to get to “The Game” was bumpy (thanks, Ohio State), but it all worked out in the end as both teams’ will look to not only win the game on Saturday but improve their chances of making the College Football Playoff. Strap in. It’s game time in the Big Ten Power Rankings Week 13.
Here are last week’s Big Ten Power Rankings for reference.
14. Rutgers (1-10)
Lost to Penn State, 20-7
The streak continues for all the wrong reasons. Rutgers has not won a Big Ten game since November 4, 2017, and that streak continued this past weekend after their loss to Penn State. This season can’t end any faster for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers travels to Michigan State to finish off their season (from hell).
13. Illinois (4-7)
Lost to Iowa, 63-0
Illinois either blows you out or gets blown out. Last weekend, Illinois was on the wrong side of a 63-0 blowout courtesy of the Iowa Hawkeyes. What’s worse is that their best running back, Reggie Corbin, left the game after 1 carry with an ankle injury. Illinois closes out the season on the road against Northwestern.
12. Indiana (5-6)
Lost to Michigan, 31-20
Michigan definitely overlooked Indiana this past weekend. Credit the Hoosiers for taking advantage of Michigan’s slow start as Indiana went into halftime up 17-15. Despite losing the game, Indiana proved a lot to me. In particular, running back Stevie Scott has the chance to be the best player in the Big Ten for years to come. Scott set the record for rushing yards by a true freshman at Indiana with 1,033. Indiana closes out their season at home against Purdue on Saturday.
11. Maryland (5-6)
Lost to Ohio State in OT, 52-51
I don’t feel too bad when teams lose. It’s part of the game. However, this is a rare case where I feel extremely bad for Maryland. This win could’ve changed the program in a year that has been plagued by scandals and controversies. I absolutely loved the call to go for 2. The receiver was open too and even after a bad throw, the ball still hit his hands. That win could have changed the college football landscape. Hats off to Maryland for competing in one of the best games of the year. Maryland travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.
10. Minnesota (5-6)
Lost to Northwestern, 24-14
Minnesota hung around in the game longer than expected as they entered the fourth quarter down 13-7. However, this game was more about Northwestern’s special season than Minnesota’s growth. PJ Fleck is slowly building a program that can compete in the Big Ten West. They will put the rest of the conference on notice for next season if they knock off Wisconsin on the road this Saturday.
9. Purdue (5-6)
Lost to Wisconsin in triple OT, 47-44
Purdue lost a barn burner to Wisconsin in triple overtime. It happens. However, the biggest storyline concerns their head coach, Jeff Brohm, and his status at Purdue. Once Bobby Petrino was fired at Purdue, “Jeff Brohm to Lousiville” watch has started. Brohm was born in Louisville, played at Louisville, and coached at Louisville. Louisville is going to throw the kitchen sink at Brohm to try and sway him away from Purdue. Although Brohm has a great recruiting class coming in next year (25th in the nation), will that be enough for him to stay? We soon shall see. Purdue travels to Bloomington to play Indiana on Saturday.
8. Michigan State (6-5)
Lost to Nebraska, 9-6
Michigan State wants to run the ball and play defense. The defense played well on Saturday against Nebraska, holding them to under 250 yards and 9 points. The running game was solid as well as they accumulated 143 yards rushing. However, I’m baffled that the Spartans decided to throw the ball FORTY ONE times (only completed 15 passes) with their backup quarterback in bad weather. I don’t understand that thought process whatsoever and frankly, it cost the Spartans. Michigan State plays Rutgers at home on Saturday.
7. Nebraska (4-7)
Beat Michigan State, 9-6
The Cornhuskers did it again and this time, they did it without scoring a single touchdown. The high powered Nebraska offense was held in check by the Michigan State defense (and the weather) as the Cornhuskers only accumulated 248 yards. However, the Cornhuskers came back from a 6-0 defeat to score 9 unanswered 4th quarter points, all off of field goals. Nebraska has now won 4 out of 5 games and will look to finish on a high note on Friday as they travel to Kinnick Stadium to face Iowa.
6. Wisconsin (7-4)
Beat Purdue in triple OT, 47-44
A Wisconsin team was able to win a shootout? Say it ain’t so. Lead by Jonathan Taylor’s career-high 321 rushing yards and 3 TDs, Wisconsin was able to comeback and defeat Purdue in triple overtime, 47-44. It still boggles my mind that in a game where the Badgers put up 47 points, quarterback Jack Coan only threw for 160 yards. (Coan did have 2 TDs). Wisconsin needs a a stud at quarterback in order to take them to the next level in 2019. Wisconsin closes out its season at home against Minnesota.
5. Iowa (7-4)
Beat Illinois, 63-0
I’m not an expert, but I believe Iowa was mad at their performance against Northwestern from a week ago because they swept the leg and showed Illinois no mercy in a 63-0 win. Iowa outscored their last four opponents 133-82. Do you want to know what their record is in those four games? 1-3. This Iowa team has “Outback Bowl Winners” written all over it. Iowa will face a surging Nebraska team at Kinnick to close out the season on Friday.
4. Penn State (8-3)
Beat Rutgers, 20-7
What is going on with Penn State? This dynamic offense could only score 20 points on Rutgers. Trace McSorley has to be playing hurt. I have no other explanation. However, with West Virginia’s recent loss, Penn State made it’s way back into a New Year’s Six game according to CBS Sports. To keep that spot, Penn State will have to beat Maryland on Saturday in an impressive fashion.
3. Northwestern (7-4)
Beat Minnesota, 24-14
The magical season from the Wildcats continued as they defeated Minnesota on the road in a hard-fought victory. Northwestern already knows it will be playing for a Big Ten Championship, but that doesn’t mean you want to enter the game playing your worst. I expect Northwestern to play hard this Saturday against Illinois to gain some momentum for the title game.
2. Ohio State (10-1)
Beat Maryland in OT, 52-51
I’m speechless. Maryland wins this game 9 out of 10 times if they play this fourth quarter over again. However, Ohio State only needed one time to win and they escaped College Park with a one-point victory in overtime. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins saved his best game of the season for when his team needed him the most. 315 yards passing, 3 touchdowns to go along with 59 yards rushing and 3 TDs. With the victory, Ohio State kept its Big Ten title hopes alive and will play Michigan on Saturday for the right to play Northwestern.
Side note: Is Urban Meyer healthy? I would never wish ill will on someone’s health. If Meyer is truly sick, by all means, do whatever it takes to get better. That being said, what happened on the sideline during this game? When Ohio State was down, it looked like he was dying. When Ohio State battled back to win, he had more pep in his step. Was it just adrenaline kicking in? Maybe. All I know is that it was weird to watch.
1. Michigan (10-1)
Beat Indiana, 31-20
It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan overcame a 17-15 halftime deficit to defeat Indiana at home 31-20. This matchup screamed trap game, and that’s exactly what happened. However, thanks to six field goals from kicker Jake Moody, Michigan did just enough to escape with a win and more importantly, keep their #4 ranking, which is the last spot in the College Football Playoff. Michigan’s destiny is in their hands. To keep their playoff hopes alive, Jim Harbaugh will have to do something that he has never done in tenure in Ann Arbor, which is beat Ohio State. This could be the year it happens. Michigan travels to Columbus to play Ohio State on Saturday.
Michigan vs. Ohio State. Saturday, 12:00 PM on Fox. Be there.