Final B1G Power Rankings: Thrilling finishes, surprising outcomes highlight Rivalry Week
This is always the worst part of the season. Last weekend was the final time we see all 14 B1G teams in action in 2019, with the regular season coming to an end.
Fortunately, we got some entertaining games and surprising outcomes to close out the year.
Indiana-Purdue, Iowa-Nebraska and Maryland-Michigan State were all decided by three points. Ohio State blew out Michigan, Wisconsin pummeled Minnesota and Northwestern upset Illinois. Penn State found itself in a struggle with Rutgers.
Now that the regular season is in the books, and we’ve got our B1G Championship Game showdown set between Ohio State and Wisconsin, it’s time to take a look at the final B1G power rankings for 2019:
14. Rutgers, 2-10 (L, 27-6 vs. #10 Penn State)
For the second-straight year, Rutgers ends a season without any B1G wins. The Scarlet Knights stayed within 10 points of Penn State through 47 minutes, but the Nittany Lions pulled away late. Now we’ll find out who will be coaching this team come next fall.
Last week: No. 14
13. Maryland, 3-9 (L, 19-16 vs. Michigan State)
This was the most fight we’ve seen from Maryland in months, and it had a chance to go out on a high note, with a road win over Michigan State. It makes you wonder where this effort was throughout the rest of the season. This program has a lot of work to do before it works its way into bowl contention.
Last week: No. 13
12. Northwestern, 3-9 (W, 29-10 vs. Illinois)
No B1G bagels for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats this year. Nobody expected Northwestern to get a win over a hot Illinois team, but a big day from Coco Azema on the ground and solid play from quarterback Andrew Marty helped Northwestern keep its winning streak against Illinois alive. The ‘Cats salvaged something from this dreadful season.
Last week: No. 12
11.Purdue, 4-8 (L, 44-41 vs. Indiana)
Injuries plagued the Boilermakers all season long, and yet Purdue still found ways to be competitive in nearly every game this season. That includes Saturday’s Old Oaken Bucket battle in West Lafayette. Despite a huge second half comeback, Purdue fell short to Indiana in double overtime. The loss is disappointing, but Jeff Brohm’s program heads into 2020 with plenty of experience and talent.
Last week: No. 11
10. Nebraska, 5-7 (L, 27-24 vs. #17 Iowa)
A disappointing end to a disappointing season. Nebraska overcame an early deficit against a solid Iowa team and had chances to win late in the game. But, once again, the Huskers fell short. Scott Frost will miss a bowl game for the second-straight year, unable to locate six wins on the schedule. This is still a program that still has plenty of ground to cover before its a contender in the B1G West.
Last week: No. 9
9. Michigan State, 6-6 (W, 19-16 vs. Maryland)
The Spartans are going bowling. Michigan State endured a five-game losing streak, the loss of linebacker Joe Bachie and plenty of criticism to get back to the postseason this year with a nail-biting win over Maryland. That’s not saying a whole lot, but MSU ends the year on a two-game winning streak and will play in the postseason. That’s better than missing a bowl game.
Last week: No. 10
8. Illinois, 6-6 (L, 29-10 vs. Northwestern)
Lovie Smith deserves plenty of criticism for losing to a bad Northwestern team in the regular season finale. Even without Brandon Peters and Josh Imatorbhebhe, that’s a tough pill to swallow. But those injuries did have a little something to do with Illinois’ inability to move the football. And while it’s OK to be upset with that game, don’t let it overshadow what the Illini accomplished this year.
Last week: No. 8
7. Indiana, 8-4 (W, 44-41 vs. Purdue)
Hitting the nine-win mark is still an attainable goal for the Hoosiers after a thrilling 44-41 win over Purdue. Tom Allen has led his team to the postseason and won the Old Oaken Bucket in his third season in Bloomington. And with some of IU’s best recruiting classes in program history, who knows what’s next? Indiana’s next goal is to win its bowl game, and if it does that, it’ll be a 9-4 season for the Hoosiers.
Last week: No. 7
6. Iowa, 9-3 (W, 27-24 vs. Nebraska)
A win is a win is a win. Sometimes, you just have to be OK with that. The Hawkeyes got off to a hot start in the first half but failed to slam the door on Nebraska on Friday. That’s kind of been the story all season for Iowa. Keith Duncan showed why he’s the best kicker in the country, knocking down a game-winning field goal for the win. Now, Iowa travels to the postseason with a chance to hit that 10 wins.
Last week: No. 6
5. Michigan, 9-3 (L, 56-27 vs. #1 Ohio State)
Yuck. Once again, Jim Harbaugh had us all believing Michigan had a chance against Ohio State. Once again, the Wolverines fell flat on their faces. Maybe the Wolverines’ four-game winning streak had more to do about the opponents than with Michigan? It certainly looked that way against Ohio State on Saturday. This is still a good football team, but it’s nowhere near great.
Last week: No. 3
4. Minnesota, 10-2 (L, 38-17 vs. #12 Wisconsin)
Minnesota’s only ugly loss of the season comes at the worst possible time. The Gophers couldn’t enough offense to crack Wisconsin’s defense and struggled to slow down Jack Coan and Jonathan Taylor. That’s not a winning combination. Minnesota still has an incredibly talented team, but the moment might’ve just been a little too big for the Gophers this weekend. Still, a 10-win season is nothing to scoff at.
Last week: No. 2
3. Wisconsin, 10-2 (W, 38-17 vs. #8 Minnesota)
A season that could’ve gone off the rails following back-to-back losses to Illinois and Ohio State was salvaged with big wins over Iowa and Minnesota down the stretch. Not only does Wisconsin own the rivalry trophies with those wins, it finished the regular season with 10 wins and a B1G West title. The Badgers get a rematch with Ohio State in Indianapolis. We’ll see which Wisconsin team shows up this time around.
Last week: No. 5
2. Penn State, 10-2 (W, 27-6 vs. Rutgers)
Maybe Penn State hasn’t looked great the last two weeks, but it was the team that gave Ohio State the best run for its money. It’s also the team that’s a road loss away from still being in the College Football Playoff picture. James Franklin has done an outstanding job coaching this team and with so many pieces returning next year, the Nittany Lions could be a major factor in the B1G East.
Last week: No. 4
1. Ohio State, 12-0 (W, 56-27 vs. #13 Michigan)
There’s still nobody in the B1G that matches Ohio State’s talent level. It’s pretty incredible, really. The Buckeyes went on the road and played the second-hottest team in the conference and had little trouble putting Michigan in its place. Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins were absolutely outstanding again. Ohio State is now a B1G title away from solidifying its spot in the College Football Playoff.
Last week: No. 1