Big Ten football power rankings after week 12

It’s been another interesting week of Big Ten football. Michigan and Ohio State continued to win, but had to get a lot out of the fire. Penn State continued to impress in the East Division, and we got a little more clarity in the West Division when Purdue and Iowa won to set up a Saturday where the Hawkeyes control their own destiny for Indy, but with the Boilermakers right there as Good.

All of this has us reevaluating the pecking order in the Big Ten. It’s pretty easy to figure out what the top three teams are, but other than that, good luck using your flowcharts, darts, and magic eight-ball to figure it all out.

We like a challenge, so we try to make sense of it after each weekend, and that’s how we see the landscape of things in our Big Ten Football Power Rankings after Week 12.


Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-7, 1-7)

WATCH: What Rutgers' Greg Schiano said about Ohio State after the game

09/10/2022; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano watches the second half action against the Wagner Seahawks at SHI Stadium. Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Lost to Penn State, 55-10

Last week change
12 -1

It certainly looked like a promising season at the start of the year, but Greg Schiano and his gang ran out of chopping wood when the Big Ten season got underway and are swinging in the air toward the season’s finish line.

next up

in Maryland


Indiana Hoosiers (4-7, 2-6)

11/12/2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Xavier Johnson (10) returns the kick while Indiana Hoosiers running back Charlie Spegal (28) and defenseman Devon Matthews (1) make the tackle in the first quarter at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won at Michigan State, 39-31

Last week change
13 +1

Just when you thought the entire state of Indiana had stopped caring about football, the Hoosiers go out and win their first game since Midwest temperatures hit the 80’s. It will probably take that long again.

next up

in the state of Ohio


Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-8, 2-6)

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Lost to Wisconsin, 15-14

Last week change
11 No change

The ghost of Scott Frost’s past found its way back to Memorial Stadium as the ‘Huskers found a way to conquer another tight contest, this time to Wisconsin. Now Nebraska must chain its season to ruining Iowa’s shot in a trip to Indianapolis next week.

next up

in Iowa


Michigan State Spartans (5-6, 3-5)

WATCH: Michigan State coach Mel Tucker talks about playing at Ohio State

Oct 1, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker reacts during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Lost to Indiana, 39-31

Last week change
7 -3

After turning things around and looking like big muscle saves, Michigan State lost to lowly Indiana and will now likely be sitting home for the holidays — and not in a good way. If that’s not the case, think the green-whites can beat a Penn State team that suddenly antialiases the competition.

next up

at Penn State


Wisconsin Badgers (6-5, 4-4)

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won at Nebraska, 15-14

Last week change
10 +1

It’s been far from a beauty pageant for Wisconsin this year, but coming back to beat Nebraska on the road is a hugely underrated win, and one that qualifies the Badgers for the Bowl. This is something you can build more than just a dam out of to advance.

next up

against Minnesota


Maryland Turtles (6-5, 3-5)

11/19/2022; College Park, MD, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safetyman Lathan Ransom (12) comes up short in a tackle against the Maryland Terrapins running back Roman Hemby (24) during the second quarter of their Big Ten game at SECU Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Lost to Ohio State, 43-30

Last week change
9 +1

Maryland was as healthy as it had been against Ohio State in weeks and it showed. The Terps played with a lot of feeling and heart, but narrowly missed the Buckeyes at home. At the end of the rainbow is a bowl in 2022, but this team needs to find a way to win games late in the season and not rely on morale wins.

next up

against Rutgers


Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-4, 4-4)

11/12/2022; Minneapolis, Minn., USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach PJ Fleck leads his team onto the field before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Huntington Bank Stadium. Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Lost to Iowa, 13-10

Last week change
4 -3

They might have a problem with us dropping so many spots on Minnesota after a close loss to Iowa, but we take offense that the Golden Gophers are one of the most schizophrenic teams in the Big Ten. PJ Fleck can probably bid farewell to any West Division title shot after a deathblow of sorts.

next up

in Wisconsin


Illinois battles Ilini (7-4, 4-4)

10/29/2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Tommy DeVito (3) looks to make it in the second quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Lost in Michigan, 19-17

Last week change
5 -1

It’s tempting to keep the Illini higher in this ranking after their fine performance in Michigan, but the reality is that Illinois have now lost three games in a row and you know by now that we don’t give the teams in this column losses attribute losses. In a good season, there should be a pretty good bowl game for Bret Bielema and company to build on. In all sincerity and honesty, we would like to take this moment to offer our sincere condolences to Bielema on the death of his mother last week.

next up

in Michigan


Boilermakers of Purdue (7-4, 5-3)

Purdue Boilermakers Tight Ends Paul Piferi (89) and Payne Durham (87) celebrate Piferi’s touchdown on the Indiana State Sycamores defensive line during the NCAA football game on Saturday September 10, 2022 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won against Illinois, 31-24

Last week change
8th +3

After tripping over itself a bit three weeks ago, Purdue has regained its footing and is sitting right there, ready to head to Indianapolis when Iowa stumbles next week. You know Purdue would love to have a few of those games, it’s been more charitable than Mother Theresa when it comes to giving football away this season.

next up

in Indiana


Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 5-3)

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz opens up about Ohio State's offensive failure

Oct 22, 2022; Columbus, OH; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz practices in the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won at Purdue, 24-3

Last week change
6 +2

I think it’s time to realize that Iowa has gotten better since Ohio State played. At least the offense isn’t moving back now, and the defense continues to dazzle. A win next week and the Hawkeyes are amazingly in Indy.

next up

against Nebraska


Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2)

11/12/2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Maryland 30-0. Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won against Rutgers, 55-10

Last week change
3 No change

Penn State has had a loaded front end of the Big Ten schedule and has made a lot of hay with a back end that doesn’t include Ohio State and Michigan. It looks like the Nittany Lions have gotten a lot better and you’re wondering what would happen if they played the Buckeyes and Wolverines again.

next up

against the state of Michigan


Michigan Wolverines (11-0, 8-0)

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 12: Ronnie Bell #8 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a touchdown in the first half while playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Last week

Won against Illinois 19-17

Last week change
2 No change

We’ve been going back and forth between the states of Ohio and Michigan all year with #1 and #2 places, and this could probably really be 1A. However, the Wolverines just aren’t that explosive on offense and one has to wonder if Michigan can hold up against an elite offense. The good news is that we will soon find out.

next up

in the state of Ohio


Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0)

11/19/2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes take the field before the game against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week

Won against Indiana, 56-14

Last week change
1 No change

Ohio State again struggled offensively in the first half, especially on the ground, but the second half was a different story as the Buckeyes got things rolling. The defense did enough to help, and now all eyes are on Saturday’s massive showdown with Michigan.

next up

against Michigan

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