It was yet another interesting week of Big Ten football. Michigan and Ohio State continued to win but had to pull things out of the fire to do so. Penn State continued to impress in the East division as well, and we got a little more clarity in the West division with Purdue and Iowa winning to set up a Saturday where the Hawkeyes control their own destiny to Indy, but with the Boilermakers right there as well.
It all has us reassessing the pecking order in the Big Ten. It's pretty easy to figure out what the top three teams are, but beyond that, good luck using your flow charts, darts, and magic eight-balls to figure it all out.
We like a challenge, so we try to make sense of it all after each weekend, and here's how we see the landscape of things in our Big Ten football power rankings after Week 12.
Northwestern Wildcats (1-10, 1-7)
Oct 8, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Ryan Hilinski (3) against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ryan Field. Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Lost at Purdue, 17-9
Northwestern actually did something that's hard to do; maintain sole possession of last place in the Big Ten West division with yet another loss on American soil.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-7, 1-7)
Sep 10, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano watches the action against the Wagner Seahawks during the second half at SHI Stadium. Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Lost vs. Penn State, 55-10
It sure looked like a promising season at the beginning of the year, but Greg Schiano and gang ran out of wood to chop once the Big Ten season started and are swinging at air towards the finish line of the season.
Indiana Hoosiers (4-7, 2-6)
Nov 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Xavier Johnson (10) returns the kick as Indiana Hoosiers running back Charlie Spegal (28) and defensive back Devon Matthews (1) makes the tackle during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Won at Michigan State, 39-31
Just when you thought the entire state of Indiana had stopped caring about football, the Hoosiers go and win their first game since the temperatures were in the 80s in the midwest. It'll probably be that long again.
at Ohio State
Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-8, 2-6)
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Lost vs. Wisconsin, 15-14
The ghost of Scott Frost past found its way into Memorial Stadium again with the 'Huskers finding a way to bumble away another close contest, this time to Wisconsin. Now Nebraska has to pin its season on ruining Iowa's shot at a trip to Indianapolis next week.
Michigan State Spartans (5-6, 3-5)
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
Lost vs. Indiana, 39-31
After turning things around and looking like big muscles Sparty, Michigan State lost to lowly Indiana and now will probably be sitting home for the holidays - and not in a good way. Unless that is, you think the green and white can beat a Penn State team that's antialiasing the competition all of a sudden.
at Penn State
Wisconsin Badgers (6-5, 4-4)
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Won at Nebraska, 15-14
It has been anything but a beauty pageant for Wisconsin this year, but coming back to beat Nebraska on the road is a very underrated win, and one that gets the Badgers bowl-eligible. That's something you can build more than a dam off of moving forward.
Maryland Terrapins (6-5, 3-5)
Nov 19, 2022; College Park, MD, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Lathan Ransom (12) comes up short on the tackle of Maryland Terrapins running back Roman Hemby (24) in the second quarter of their Big Ten game at SECU Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Lost vs. Ohio State, 43-30
Maryland was as healthy as it has been for weeks against Ohio State and it showed. The Terps played with a lot of emotion and heart, but came up just short against the Buckeyes at home. There's a bowl at the end of the rainbow in 2022 but this team has to find a way to win games late in the season and not lean on moral victories.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-4, 4-4)
Nov 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck leads his team out onto the field before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Huntington Bank Stadium. Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Lost vs. Iowa, 13-10
You might take issue with us dropping Minnesota so many spots after a close loss to Iowa, but we take offense to the Golden Gophers being one of the most schizophrenic teams in the Big Ten. P.J. Fleck can probably kiss any chance at the West division title goodbye after death blow type of loss.
Illinois Fighting Illini (7-4, 4-4)
Oct 29, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Tommy DeVito (3) looks to pass against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
Lost at Michigan, 19-17
It's tempting to keep the Illini higher in these rankings after the good showing at Michigan, but the reality is that Illinois has lost three games in a row now and you know by now we don't give credit to teams for losses in this column. There should be a pretty good bowl game out of the deal in a good season to build on for Bret Bielema and company. Also, in all sincerity and honesty, we want to take this moment to send our sincere condolences to Bielema for the passing of his mother this past week.
Purdue Boilermakers (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, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Won vs. Illinois, 31-24
After tripping over itself for a bit three weeks ago, Purdue has found its footing again and is sitting right there ready to head to Indianapolis if Iowa stumbles next week. You know Purdue would love to have a couple of those games it was more charitable than Mother Theresa when it comes to giving the football away this season.
Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 5-3)
Oct. 22, 2022; Columbus, Ohio; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz coaches during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Won at Purdue, 24-3
I think it's time to realize that Iowa has gotten better ever since the Ohio State game. The offense is now not moving backward at least, and the defense continues to dazzle. A win next week and the Hawkeyes are in Indy amazingly enough.
Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2)
Nov 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 during the second quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Maryland 30-0. Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Won vs. Rutgers, 55-10
Penn State had a loaded front end of the Big Ten schedule and has made a lot of hay on a back end that doesn't include Ohio State and Michigan. It sure looks like the Nittany Lions have gotten a lot better and you wonder what would happen if they played the Buckeyes and Wolverines again.
vs. Michigan State
Michigan Wolverines (11-0, 8-0)
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 12: Ronnie Bell #8 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a first-half touchdown while playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan Stadium on November 12, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Won vs. Illinois 19-17
We've gone back and forth between Ohio State and Michigan all year with the No. 1 and No. 2 spot and this could probably really be 1A. However, the Wolverines just aren't as explosive on offense and you have to wonder if Michigan can hold up against an elite offense. The good news is that we're about to find out.
at Ohio State
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0)
Nov 19, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes takes the field before the game against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Won vs. Indiana, 56-14
Ohio State struggled on offense in the first half again, especially on the ground, but the second half was a different story with the Buckeyes getting things cranked up. The defense did enough to help out and now all eyes are set on the massive showdown with Michigan next Saturday.
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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire