Big Ten football rankings entering Week 14 of the 2016 season. Ohio State beats Michigan, setting up a Penn State-Wisconsin conference title game.
“The Game” provided us with another instant classic. Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel scored on a 15-yard touchdown run in the second overtime to give the Buckeyes a 30-27 win over rival Michigan, which was prevented from reaching the Big Ten title game. The loss didn’t sit well with coach Jim Harbaugh.
The Wolverines’ loss is Penn State’s gain, though, as the Nittany Lions will face Wisconsin next week in Indianapolis. It will be there first appearance in the title game and fourth for the Badgers, who beat Minnesota on Saturday. Penn State routed Michigan State to officially clinch the East division.
With another weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the Big Ten stacks up heading into Week 14 of the season.
Week 14 Big Ten Football Rankings
14. Rutgers (Last Week – 14)
Rutgers finished as the only FBS team without a conference victory after falling to Maryland. Coach Chris Ash has a lot of work to do before next season.
13. Purdue (13)
Now Purdue can focus solely on who its next coach will be. Les Miles? P.J. Fleck? Whoever takes the job has a rebuilding project ahead after the Boilermakers lost to Indiana to finish 3-9.
12. Michigan State (12)
The dismal season finally is over with a 3-9 record. The Spartans at one point were in the top 10 in the AP Top 25 before a slide unprecedented under coach Mark Dantonio.
11. Illinois (11)
Illinois lost to rival Northwestern, 42-21, ending a rough first season under coach Lovie Smith. The Fighting Illini finished 3-9.
10. Maryland (10)
Maryland became bowl-eligible with Saturday’s win over Rutgers. That’s a heck of a turnaround under first-year coach D.J. Durkin, who has plans of bringing the Terrapins back to the national stage. A bowl game is a good start.
9. Northwestern (9)
The Wildcats got their elusive sixth victory by beating Illinois and are now eligible for a bowl game. Coach Pat Fitzgerald had higher expectations for his squad this season, but at least the seniors get to go out with one final vacation.
8. Indiana (8)
The Hoosiers hung on to beat rival Purdue, 26-24, to finish the regular season 6-6. They’ll be heading to a bowl in all likelihood.
7. Minnesota (6)
The Gophers have eight victories, but none over a team that’s currently above .500. They lost to Big Ten West champion Wisconsin 31-17 on Saturday to finish the regular season.
6. Nebraska (5)
The Cornhuskers couldn’t keep their hopes alive for a division title Friday, but what’s worse is that they weren’t even competitive. Nebraska suffered a 40-10 loss at Iowa to finish the regular season 9-3, an improvement that came without a true quality victory, though.
5. Iowa (7)
Three straight wins with two coming against ranked teams, including the upset of Michigan. That’s a good way to end the regular season as Iowa got to eight wins despite earlier losses to North Dakota State and Northwestern.
4. Penn State (4)
Welcome to the dance! The Nittany Lions will play in the Big Ten title game for the first time, winning the East division due to its head-to-head tiebreaker over Ohio State.
3. Wisconsin (3)
The Badgers are back in the title game for the fourth time in the event’s six years. Could Wisconsin and Penn State be playing for a chance to reach the College Football Playoff?
2. Michigan (1)
The Wolverines led by 10 points and just couldn’t put away the Buckeyes. They’ll still end up in a New Year’s Six bowl despite the disappointment of not reaching the Playoff.
1. Ohio State (2)
Some will wondering a team that didn’t even win its division in its own conference can reach the Playoff. But the Buckeyes belong there, and they’ll prove it.