This is the last time we'll be doing B1G Power Rankings in football until after the bowl games in January. Starting next Tuesday I'll be using a formula that essentially follows the same basic guidelines of the formula I use in football for the B1G Basketball Power Rankings. Though I don't know that I'm going to call them Power Rankings, because that's not really what they are. They're more ratings than anything, but I'm getting way off the subject right here and showing you a bit too much behind the curtain.
You don't care about any of it.
But, yes, sadly, these will be the last football ones for a while because the regular season is over and I have a sad.
To the rankings.
TEAM RECORD (LAST WEEK) -- POINTS
1. Ohio State 12-0 (1) - 158
Not exactly a shock here, is there? The same team that's been at the top for most of the regular season finishes the regular season at the top. That's the kind of thing that tends to happen when you don't lose a game. Of course, the performance the Buckeyes had against Michigan on Friday did bring them back to the rest of the pack, as they fall from 162 points last week to 158 points this week. It's just the team that gained ground on them this week isn't going to be the team you're expecting.
2. Wisconsin 9-3 (2) - 153
Yeah, I wasn't expecting this either. But here's the thing: Wisconsin lost to Penn State, which certainly hurt it in the formula. However, the loss only did so much damage as the Badgers still rank at or near the top of just about every single damn statistic that I use in the formula. In fact, the only statistic I use that Wisconsin doesn't finish in the top three of in the conference is its third down conversion rate. Yet, even there, it's still in the top half in sixth place. The same can't be said for our third place team.
3. Michigan State 11-1 (3) - 143
Michigan State is a very good team, but its slow start to the season on offense is what is hurting it more than anything in these rankings. To give you an idea of how badly it hurt the Spartans, of Wisconsin's 153 points, 49 of them come from the purely offensive statistics I use. In those same categories Michigan State earned 27 points. Another factor? The schedules. While each team played their own division this season, Wisconsin's cross-divisional opponents were Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern (combined record of 21-15) while Michigan State's were Indiana, Purdue and Illinois (combined record of 10-26). That plays a factor here as well.
4. Iowa 8-4 (6) - 112
The gap between third and fourth remains huge, but look at this. We've got ourselves a new fourth place team as Iowa finished its season strong while both Nebraska and Minnesota limped to the finish line. I feel like this was one of the most Iowa seasons in recent memory because I follow a lot of Iowa fans on Twitter, and judging by nothing but their tweets this season you'd think the Hawkeyes were 1-11 with a lone win against Iowa State.
5. Nebraska 8-4 (4) - 104
If Nebraska ends up winning its bowl game against whoever it'll end up playing -- Jerry Palm projects the Huskers will face Texas in the BWW Bowl -- the Huskers will finish 9-4. Which would be the sixth time in six seasons that Nebraska finished with four losses under Bo Pelini. So just go ahead and mark Nebraska down for four losses in 2014 right now, because Bo is coming back.
6. Minnesota 8-4 (5) - 100
We all knew that Minnesota would find the last two weeks of the season to be rough sledding, and man did the offense struggle in the last two weeks. Did Minnesota fatten up a bit on the weaker part of its schedule? You're damn right it did. Is there any shame in that? Hell no. Get those eight wins any way you can get them.
7. Michigan 7-5 (7) - 99
Way to save it all for the Ohio State game, Michigan. I'm not sure it was the wisest strategy overall, but it very nearly worked out for you. I mean, can you imagine how happy Michigan fans would have been had they won on Saturday only to go home and watch Alabama lose as well, knowing what they had just cost Ohio State? Brady Hoke may have received a damn extension.
8. Penn State 7-5 (8) - 86
Here's my biggest takeaway of Penn State's upset over Wisconsin this weekend: we should all be scared. Well, the teams in the East Division should be more scared, but we should all be scared. If the Christian Hackenberg that showed up in Madison on Saturday was a glimpse into the Hackenberg we're going to be seeing the next couple of seasons, well, I think we know who will replace Braxton Miller as the best quarterback in the Big Ten. After seeing that performance it's crystal clear why Hackenberg was considered the top quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class.
9. Indiana 5-7 (9) - 79
I'm pretty happy that Indiana will be moving to the East Division as well. Why? Well, just imagine Indiana actually figures out how to play defense. And I know we said the same thing last season, but even without defense, this team's offense improved enough to nearly get this team to a bowl game this season. I mean, honestly, the Hoosiers are a home loss against Navy away from going bowling right now. How much do they regret that one?
10. Northwestern 5-7 (11) - 71
You know you're a very good team and a very good coach when you figure out that the only way you're going to win a conference game is to fake injuries. Congratulations, Northwestern. That's some quality strategery.
11. Illinois 4-8 (10) - 66
Yeah, I'm a bit annoyed with Northwestern for its bullshit shenanigans, but we still should have won that game. We had every opportunity to do so, but didn't. So I still blame us.
12. Purdue 1-11 (12) - 26
I'm just happy it's finally over for you, Purdue. I also know what you're about to go through this offseason. There will be people who want your first year coach fired, but don't do it. It won't fix anything. In fact, it'll likely just make things worse. In my Best Worst Ten feature over at CBSSports.com -- which ranks the ten worst teams in the country -- there was a common theme amongst the worst ten teams this year, which did include you. What was that theme? Well, of the ten teams, seven had a first-year coach. Two were under an interim head coach having already fired their guy, and only one team had a coach in his second season. In other words, firing Hazell now would make it more likely that you'll be back in the Best Worst Ten next year than keeping him.
Last week's rankings can be found here.
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