I bet you had abandoned all hope of ever getting a definitive end-of-year Big Ten football power rankings from your favorite news source, didn’t you? I decided to give you all an extra-late Christmas present and, after totally and completely destroying my body with alcohol and sugar over the holiday’s, I’ve decided that I owe it to you, dear reader, to let you know what’s what in the Big Ten as the dust has settled on bowl season.
I can promise you the fact that grass is now legal in Illinois has nothing to do with the fact it has taken me a week to write this.
ANYWAY, let’s see how far Wisconsin fell!
1. Ohio State (13-1, 9-0)
Look, I really wanted to put a team that actually, y’know, won their bowl game here, but Ohio State clearly ended the year as the best in the Big Ten for so many reasons. Their spotless conference record, the fact they made it to the playoff, and the ensuing Fiesta Bowl where, in my humble opinion, the Buckeyes got HOSED by more than a couple rulings.
And that’s coming from a guy who bet Clemson!
Since Justin Fields has to return to college next year, for some reason, I think we can just write Ohio State in permanent ink here.
2. Penn State (11-2, 7-2)
Penn State performed admirably in the Lose-Lose Situation Bowl, scoring 28 points in the second quarter alone to take down a Memphis team that probably shouldn’t’ve been there in the first place. Penn State loses KJ Hamler but gains former Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarocca, which gives me hope that Iowa will actually beat Penn State in 2020.
3. Iowa (10-3, 6-3)
Iowa’s absolute dismantling of USC added some shine to a season that was argued over, and adds promise to a team that returns the majority of its scoring in 2020. Even with the defection Geno Stone and the likely departures of AJ Epenesa and Tristan Wirfs, I’m far too optimistic about next season than I should be.
4. Minnesota (11-2, 7-2)
My favorite part about fielding dozens of text messages from high school friends who won’t be invited to my eventual, imaginary wedding was reminding them that the Outback Bowl is literally the best bowl game the Minnesota football program has ever reached.
Iowa has played in the Outback Bowl three times in the past seven years.
That’s it, that’s the whole snark.
5. Michigan (9-4, 6-3)
Michigan couldn’t contain a backup quarterback and a truly transcendent talent at wide receiver against the FRAUDULENT Alabama Crimson Tide. What a bunch of idiots!
I’m so mad Iowa lost to Shea Patterson holy shit.
Michigan’s schedule next year is kind of a bear and I’m not so sure Jim Harbaugh is going to survive, he wrote, for the umpteenth time.
6. Michigan State (7-6, 4-5)
Big congrats to Michigan State—the only other team besides Iowa in the Big Ten who treats scoring points like a disease—for taking down Wake Forest in what might’ve been the most boring bowl game of the whole year.
The candle of the Mark Dantonio era is flickering, and Iowa might get an opportunity to hammer a nail in that coffin in 2020.
7. Illinois (6-7, 4-5)
Good on Illinois and Lovie Smith for a relatively successful season where they learned that Brandon Peters is probably better at running the ball than he is at throwing it.
I honestly think Lovie Smith was the most surprised person on the planet in terms of dealing with Illinois’ ‘success’ this year. Look for one more six-win season to build good will in Champaign until he starts a beard oil company in the downstate area.
8. Indiana (8-5, 5-4)
Oh, Indiana. You sad sacks of shit. You earn last place in the Big Ten this year for starting a ridiculous hashtag and being unable to cash a check your asses wrote. You had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against Tennessee and let these fans beat you:
Everything is going just fine for Tennessee at the Gator Bowl. pic.twitter.com/C57GZ4HQnb— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) January 3, 2020
A lot of confusion about what the Tennessee sign at the Gator Bowl was trying to say last night, but it seems pretty clear to me. pic.twitter.com/9EIGkQVnur— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) January 3, 2020
I think that covers everyone in the Big Ten, right? Dang, when’d we move down to just eight teams?