With just two weeks to go in the Big Ten football regular season we’ve finally got some clarity to the title picture. For both Ohio State and Wisconsin the task is simple — win and head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.
It took some masterful work in Week 12 for both of those teams to end up in those positions though. Ohio State took down Minnesota in a game that was not indicative of the close final score, while UW demolished Nebraska for the third time in four games since the Huskers came to the Big Ten.
Yet, those weren’t the only results that mattered, as Rutgers joined fellow newcomer Maryland as a bowl eligible team and Indiana won’t be going bowling for the seventh straight season.
What does that all mean for the power rankings? Four our esteemed group of panelists it meant some interesting and tough choices heading in to Week 13. Here are our panelists:
Andy Coppens – talking10.com (@AndyOnFootball & @MTBadgers)
Kevin McGuire – Nittany Lions Den (@KevinOnCFB & @TheNLD)
Ross – Black Heart Gold Pants (@RossWB & @BHGP)
Phillip Rossman-Reich – Lake The Posts (@RiseNU & @LakeThePosts)
Kevin Recio – On the Banks (@OTB_SBNation & @KevRecio)
Ken Kohl – The Buckeye Battlecry (@The_BBC)
Andy – The Daily Gopher (@yorka1982 & @TheDailyGopher)
Hondo Carpenter – Spartan Nation (@HondoCarpenter)
Dave Fitzgerald – talking10.com (@BuckeyeFitzy)
Paul Dalen – CornNation (@paul_dalen & @CornNation)
Joshua Henschke – Maize ‘N Brew (@joshuahenschke)
On to the poll…
– Apparently it makes a lot of difference how you lose, at least in the West division. Minnesota played it close against OSU, while Nebraska got crushed. It nearly meant our panel of voters pulling the Huskers from the top spot to No. 3 in the rankings, as just one point separated the two teams. It’s also a clear sign that people inside the Big Ten have the same kind of respect for Jerry Kill’s team that the College Football Playoff committee has too.
– Who would’ve thought the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers and Terrapins of Maryland would occupy the spots behind preseason favorites Michigan State and Ohio State in the East division? Most people had them occupying the bottom of the conference (the occupied the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the East in our preseason rankings). What a strange, journey indeed.
– Northwestern’s crazy season continued on Saturday with a second “how the hell did that just happen” win over a Top 25 program. While it was different from the win against Wisconsin in that ND was just coming off a butt kicking from Arizona State, clearly there isn’t a team in the Big Ten more erratic than the Wildcats. Amazingly their hopes for a run at a bowl game are still alive, something most pundits left for dead a long time ago.