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Big Ten Football Power Rankings: The End

Who loves Minnesota?

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images


I’m happy to announce after spending six weeks all but assured Iowa would participate in the Big Ten Championship—then using the next month-plus wallowing in the pity that we would not be going to Indy—we now wait for your Iowa Hawkeyes to show the world its special flavor of pigskin on national TV while playing a big sexy brand name in Jim Irsay’s golden pillbox.

The aftermath of the weekend’s games has been relatively *chef’s kiss* as we saw Lincoln Riley bolt to the Pac-12 and message boards from Texas A&M to LSU crash while James Franklin and Mel Tucker signed extensions as Ryan Day and Jim Harbaugh began the new rumblings of a spite war.

And Matt Campbell, the architect of the best average team in program history, might just be taking his blueprints elsewhere!

Fifty years from now, we’ll find Kirk Ferentz Junior Jr., drinking French 75’s from the skulls of quarterbacks of Big Ten Champions past.

1. Michigan (11-1, 8-1)

Big ups to Jim Harbaugh, who isn’t even smart enough to get this petty quote totally right but the sentiment is still there.

I’m here for these huge friggin’ nerds for lighting a fire under each other’s arses while Kirk steals the division from right under their noses.

2. Iowa (10-2, 7-2)

If I were Wisconsin or Ohio State I simply would not have lost any games this week if I wanted to be top-two in the conference.

I usually write the No. 2 spot goes to the Big Ten West leader, so this week is no different. I don’t want to let a Wisconsin loss take precedent over an Iowa win, and my issues with this Iowa team certainly have’t gone away because the Badgers dropped a game, so I’m going to shine a light on my issues with something else: this fucken’ menu at the bar I’ve watched many a Hawkeye game in Scottsdale.

I suppose from a 10,000 foot view everything seems reasonable. Except for one thing:

One hundred-and-sixty US dollars for a case of Busch Light. And yes, I did the math, and it’s like seven bucks a can which somehow adds even more insult to injury. It’s between buying a ticket to Indy or watching the game at this bar and I just might have to choose the latter.

Again, this is to not throw shade at the above establishment—I even won a modest gift card for participating in a raffle there on Friday.

Just that... maybe Busch Light is a delicacy in the southwest? Or rather, those folks really know how to pander to their clientele and tug at our heartstrings, because you better believe when you order one of those cases, a scantily clad barmaid dumps ‘em right from the cardboard into a tub full of ice right in front of your gaping maw.

3. Ohio State (10-2, 8-1)

I’ve heard people say they’re gonna wait for Buckeye fans to flood the market with Big Ten Championship game tickets before they hit Stubhub for the weekend. That’s a fools errand. I’ll never forget the amount of red I saw at the game in 2015. The most arrogant fanbase in the world remains undefeated in that respect.

It’s time to tell your kids they have a choice: Christmas, or decent seats at Lucas Oil?

4. Minnesota (8-4, 6-3)

This seems right. More than anything, I’m coming around to Philip John Fleck as a real guy and not a Saturday morning cartoon character. He got his second win over Wisconsin Saturday, and is now the proud owner of approximately one-third of Minnesota’s wins over the Badgers in my lifetime.

Furthermore, Minnesota was decimated by running back injuries and defensive issues and losing to Bowling Green, but clawed its way to respectability.

And most importantly, Pajamas Fleck has never beat Kirk Ferentz, which makes it a whole lot easier to write all those things about him.

5. Wisconsin (8-4, 6-3)

6. Michigan State (10-2, 7-2)

I’m not ready quite yet to engage in the Mel Tucker truthering after he let Penn State and Sean Clifford go for a million yards in the snow, but it is more than a little concerning that we’re seeing a former NFL and Georgia defensive coordinator finish the year eleventh in scoring defense.

It’s also worth noting that this season happened in large part because a Heisman candidate jumped through the right portal in the offseason. Just don’t think lightning is gonna strike that tree twice, mostly because foliage is such a rarity in Lansing.

7. Purdue (8-4, 6-3)

So I had a couple hours to kill at the airport Sunday and found myself upon this Tweet:

Does this not describe Jeff Brohm and Brian Brohm and Greg Brohm (yeah, there’s a THIRD Brohm) and however the Hell you pronounce this guys name?

Listen, I’m just trying to cast these guys out of existence from the Big Ten. If you’re not going to help me then that’s your prerogative but don’t you ever call me a bad fan or anything below a level seven Mage again.

8. Penn State (7-5, 4-5)

And another thing! Guess which Big Ten West coach is being lamented here:

Wrong, it’s Wisconsin fans still mad about Paul Chryst.

9. Nerbaska (3-9, 1-8)

I just wanted to write “Nerbaska” one last time until next season.

10-13. Everyone but Indiana

We’re already seeing uninformed Pat Fitzgerald to insert NFL team here takes, which is insane because 1, Fat Pitz has absolutely no precedent of accountability at Northwestern and two, see one.

You have to think things are looking up for Bert. I would’ve said the same about Greg Schiano until he let Maryland hang 40 on him, making Mike Locksley bowl-eligible for the first time ever, but don’t quote me on that because I can’t be bothered to look it up.

And that leads me to this year’s crown prince:

Dead friggin’ Last: Indiana

Going 0fer in the conference will earn you this designation, as it should after breaking Michael Penix Jr.

I said and wrote and signaled many times this offseason that for every team that had an off year due to Covid, there’d be a team that found success in its spite, and I always pointed to Tom Allen’s khaki tent for proof of that fact.

So I urge you all to count your blessings and spend some money at the tailor this year lest you be rumored to take over the job in Bloomington.