All in all, 2021 has been a great year for Big Ten football.

There’s a B1G team in the College Football Playoff, and it’s not Ohio State. That’s not a jab at the Buckeyes. Quite the opposite — it’s good for the overall health of the league to show this isn’t a Clemson/ACC situation.

For much of the year, there were 3 Big Ten teams in the top-10. And there was strength in the middle of the league, too, as most teams took care of business against the teams they were supposed to beat.

But there were exceptions.

The following 10 games constitute the most embarrassing losses for Big Ten teams this season. It’s pretty telling that only 3 non-conference defeats show up on the list. Like we said, it’s been a great year.

In each of these cases, however, great heaps of humble pie were served.

10. No. 5 Ohio State 56, No. 7 Michigan State 7 (Nov. 20)

It’s hard to get embarrassed when you’re in the Top 10, but the Spartans did the trick in a complete disaster at Ohio State.

Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud was tossing target practice, finishing 32-of-35 for 432 yards and 6 touchdowns. It could have been even worse than it was — Ohio State took a 49-0 lead into the locker room at halftime before shifting into a lower gear.

Because the massacre was witnessed by a nationwide audience, this game effectively killed Kenneth Walker’s chances of winning the Heisman — which is the most unfortunate outcome from the whole nightmare.

9. Purdue 44, Indiana 7 (Nov. 27)

Even in the face of an epic mismatch, you’re expected to actually show up for your rivalry game. Auburn nearly beat Alabama this year despite being without its starting quarterback. Navy had its worst season in recent memory, but still upset Army.

Indiana went to West Lafayette, got tied to the train tracks by Purdue Pete, then was run over repeatedly by the Boilermakers.

Hoosiers quarterback Grant Gremel finished the game with a meager 3.4 adjusted yards per attempt compared to Aidan O’Connell’s 11.5 AYPA.

It was IU’s worst beatdown to lose the Old Oaken Bucket since Purdue ran it up 62-10 in Joe Tiller’s final game in 2008.

8. No. 5 Iowa 51, Maryland 14 (Oct. 1)

At the time, this didn’t seem so bad. The Hawkeyes were a top-5 team, and the response was “Whoa! Iowa might actually have an offense this season!”

Iowa did not have an offense this season. The Hawks were 96th in the country in both scoring offense and total offense. Spencer Petras, who had 9 touchdown passes all season, threw 3 of them against the Terrapins.

This was some inconceivably bad defense from Maryland.

7. Illinois 30, Nebraska 22 (Aug. 28)

Nebraska rolled into the year surrounded with expectations of competing for the Big Ten West title … and ended up with a conference loss before anyone else in the B1G even played a game.

Arguably the best part of this game was the score at the end of the first quarter: Illinois 2, Nebraska 0. It pretty much set the tone for the whole season that followed for the Huskers.

Had the Huskers won this game, perhaps the entire tenor changes in a season of close misses. Instead, it was the perfect way to begin a 3-9 campaign.

6. Virginia 42, Illinois 14 (Sept. 11)

One game you won’t see on this list is Illinois’ 37-30 loss to UTSA. The Roadrunners were really good!

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, were not.

Bret Bielema’s first road trip with the Fighting Illini was a train wreck. Illinois was in a 14-0 hole less than 5 minutes into the game. The Illini did an impressive job clawing back, with Chase Brown’s touchdown early in the third quarter cutting the deficit to 21-14.

But the Wahoos finished the game on a 21-0 kick, accumulating 556 total yards along the way. Virginia finished the year 6-6.

5. Rutgers 38, Indiana 3 (Nov. 13)

The official lay-down-and-quit moment of Indiana’s season.

Understandable, certainly, given that the Hoosiers came into this game officially out of the bowl picture at 2-7. Indiana handed the Scarlet Knights 6 turnovers, including 4 lost fumbles.

Rutgers was playing without its 3 top linebackers, making that feat all the more incredible. Also incredible? As the home team, Indiana entered this game as a 6.5-point favorite.

Vegas missed by a mile as Rutgers won by its widest margin against a Big Ten opponent.

4. Nebraska 56, Northwestern 7 (Oct. 2)

This was Nebraska’s lone conference win, making this wipeout all the more humiliating for the Wildcats.

The Cornhuskers piled on vintage Tom Osborne numbers, racking up 657 yards of offense — 427 of which came on the ground. Nebraska never ran for more than 150 yards the rest of the season.

The 49-point defeat was the second-largest for Pat Fitzgerald in his 16 years at Northwestern.

And somehow it wasn’t Northwestern’s most embarrassing defeat this season.

3. Duke 30, Northwestern 23 (Sept. 18)

The Blue Devils blew the doors off the Wildcats early, jumping out to a 27-0 lead 3 minutes before halftime.

The Cats did an admirable job of making it respectable by the end, but it turns out much of that had to do with the fact Duke was also a bad football team. The Blue Devils finished 3-9, ending the mostly successful David Cutcliffe era on a sour note.

Duke never again approached the 350 passing yards it put on the Cats, finishing with an average of 238 yards per game through the air.

2. Illinois 20, No. 7 Penn State 18 (Oct. 23)

You have to hand it to the Illini — win or lose, someone was usually getting embarrassed.

In this case it was the Nittany Lions in one of the most baffling losses of James Franklin’s career.

Illinois came into the game on the heels of a 24-0 blanking by Wisconsin and Bielema seemingly throwing his offensive line under the bus.

Penn State was coming off a heartbreaking loss at then-No. 3 Iowa, but still had everything in its season left to play for. Win out from there, and the Nittany Lions would represent the Big Ten East in the conference championship game.

Instead, this game exposed Penn State for having such a terrible offensive line that it couldn’t run the ball in from 2 yards out in overtime that stretched to a record 9 frames.

The greatest indignity for Penn State? Losing to a team that finished 8-of-21 passing for 38 yards.

1. Bowling Green 14, Minnesota 10 (Sept. 25)

The Mid-American Conference is located squarely within the Big Ten’s footprint, with each MAC school playing little brother to its behemoth B1G counterpart.

That means these matchups are frequently lopsided. However, it also means that MAC teams are highly motivated. Upsets will happen; this is their Super Bowl.

But at least those upsets are typically sprung by teams who compete for MAC championships. Or at least reach a bowl game.

Bowling Green was not such a team.

The Falcons went 4-8, and just 2-6 in the MAC. They gave up 55 points to Eastern Michigan. They were a bad football team by every quantifiable measure.

Yet on Sept. 25, they went to Minneapolis and beat a team that went into the season finale with a chance to win the Big Ten West title.

The Golden Gophers were so inept that they lost a game in which the opponent gained only 192 yards. Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan looked like he was going up against Bud Grant’s Purple People Eaters, finishing 5-of-13 for 59 yards and 2 interceptions.

Looking back, it’s wild to realize the Gophers recovered for a very respectable 8-4 season.