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BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: THE END IS NEAR

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Things are rounding in to shape just before bowl season

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

So the end of the road draweth nigh as Iowa wraps up another successful Black Friday game against the Bugeaters while the world burned around it. This year’s installment of THE GAME didn’t disappoint, while the battle for Paul Bunyan’s axe was pretty good for three quarters, but then Mitch Leidner did Mitch Leidner things.

I think the top-three teams have been pretty constant here all season long, with a lot of changes at the 4-7 levels, where it’s been utter CHAOS. I look forward to Wisconsin exposing Penn State in Indianapolis, perhaps opening the door for two Big Ten teams in the CFP. Wouldn’t that be fun!?

Let’s get to it.

  1. Ohio State (11-1, 8-1): You can say what you want about Michigan perhaps getting jobbed against Ohio State, but I think we can all agree that Ohio State was unequivocally the better team on the field, and the final outcome reflects that fact. I am disappointed that we’re deprived from an Ohio State-Wisconsin rematch on a neutral field, but that’s how this works and Penn State definitely deserves a crack at Sconnie. It would take some weird stuff to go down for OSU to get denied from the playoff, and that’s not a road I want to go down right now.
NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2. Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2): Ha! You didn’t expect the Badgers to get placed here, did you? Well in true transparent form I will show my work: 1. Even though Wisconsin lost to Michigan, the Wolverines lost to Iowa, a team the Badgers beat. 2. Jim Harbaugh is a crybaby and looks dumb in glasses. PROVE ME WRONG YOU CAN’T.

3. Michigan (10-2, 7-2): I want to say Michigan is overrated and I think that’s only half-true. For one, the Wolverines only played FOUR of their 12 games this year outside the Big House, which is just asinine. At the same time, Michigan is admittedly a good football team and could probably go toe-to-toe with anyone in the nation, Alabama included. I’m trying to balance one criticism with one compliment this week. I don’t like it very much.

4. Penn State (10-2, 8-1): Speaking of overrated, I think Penn State belongs in that conversation. Sure, the Nittany Lions demolished Iowa, but they also got slobberknocked by Michigan, lost to Pitt and needed overtime to take down Minnesota. If nothing else Penn State is inconsistent, and we’ll have to see what kind of team shows up this weekend against Wisconsin.

5. Iowa (8-4, 6-3): Who saw this coming like three weeks ago? Nobody, that’s who. This season was the definition of a rollercoaster, but ending things on a high note has been a staple of the Ferentzian era. Iowa hasn’t won a bowl game since 2011, when Marcus Coker and Micah Hyde dunked all over Blaine Gabbert and Missouri. Let’s end this season on a high note.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

6. Nebraska (9-3, 6-3): Oh, another nine-win season for Nebraska? That’s nice. Let’s not forget that one of Nebraska’s wins came against a PUTRID Oregon team in a game that came down to the wire in Lincoln. People can harp on Iowa’s loss to NDSU all they want, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that the Bison would contend in the SEC East and Big 12, let alone the B1G West. Anyway, I think the arrow is actually pointing down for the future of Huskers football. It’s too bad they couldn’t find a rival worthy of taking the field against them in the Big Ten.

7. Minnesota (8-4, 5-4): The Gilded Rodents are like consistently always the most mediocre team in college football. They hardly ever upset anyone but win all the games they should for the most part. It’s too bad Texas Tech didn’t qualify for bowl eligibility this year, because I was really looking forward to Minnesota losing to them in spectacular fashion again.

8. Northwestern (6-6, 5-4): Yeah sure let’s just put jNW here and forget about them until next year.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

9. Indiana (6-6, 4-5): I had really high expectations for CHAOS TEAM this year, but those hopes were dashed, and I suppose we’re going to have to wait until next year to see any sort of pulse out of the Hoosiers. Luckily we have one more year left out of Richard Lagow, who wears No. 21 at the quarterback position better than anyone else.

10. Maryland (6-6, 3-6): Yeah … uh Maryland, sure. The Terps did qualify for a bowl game, so that’s good, I guess?

11. Michigan State (3-9, 1-8): You could make the argument that Illinois should be here instead, but I don’t think that’s a road we want to go down.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

12. Illinois (3-9, 2-7): I think recruiting and other measurable metrics have the arrow pointing up for Lovie Smith and the Illini, but it’s going to take a few years until that happens, if it even does happen.

13. Purdue (3-9, 1-8): Reports say that if Purdue was going to get Les Miles, that likely would have happened already. So perhaps P.J. Fleck? Let’s only hope that doesn’t happen, and the Purdue athletic department battles with Minnesota’s and Iowa’s own departments for total incompetency.

14. Rutgers (2-10, 0-9): Can we re-gift Rutgers this holiday season?