The Big Ten remains as unstable as any conference — in the middle at least.
The top and bottom of the conference remain in place while six teams in the middle of the rankings continue to shuffle positions. Below, checkout how the conference looks after 11 weeks of action.
14. Northwestern (1-9, 1-6 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 31-3 at Minnesota
Northwestern is what it is at this time. There is nothing saving this team from the basement during the 2021 season and there is not much to say. Time for the offseason for the Wildcats.
Week 12: 11/19 at Purdue
13. Indiana (3-7, 1-6 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 56-14 at Ohio State
Remember when Indiana beat Illinois in the first week of the season? Feels like 10 years ago after seven consecutive losses. The Hoosiers took their lumps against Ohio State over the weekend. This one-time proud program has fallen from grace and it will take some time to build back up.
Week 12: 11/19 at Michigan State
12. Rutgers (4-6, 1-6 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 27-21 at Michigan State
Rutgers looked like it had a pulse in the second half but it was not enough to steal a road victory. Fans just continue to hope that Gavin Wimsatt is the answer and that Samuel Brown V returns from injury in a successful way. Two games left on the schedule and it does not get any easier with Penn State and Maryland waiting.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Penn State
11. Nebraska (3-7, 2-5 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 34-3 at Michigan
Nebraska had 61 passing yards against Michigan. This is in a game it was getting blown out early. Chubba Purdy and Logan Smothers took snaps under center over the course of the game. The Cornhuskers return home to take on Wisconsin this week in what they hope will be a statement win to hang its hat on this season.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Wisconsin
10. Maryland (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 30-0 at Penn State
It has turned really ugly for Maryland, despite a 6-2 record. The Terps have been outscored 53-10 over the last two weeks against Wisconsin and Penn State. Now, they will have to deal with Ohio State. Three consecutive losses is on the horizon for Maryland before a rivalry week matchup with Rutgers.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Ohio State
9. Wisconsin (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 24-10 at Iowa
Could this be the most confusing season of all-time? Wisconsin has a losses to Washington State and Michigan State and a blowout loss to Illinois on the resume. On the other hand, Wisconsin has looked the part against some inferior opponents. Against a strong Iowa defense, the Badgers could not get anything going. There is a get-right game on the schedule if Wisconsin shows up against Nebraska.
Week 12: 11/19 at Nebraska
8. Michigan State (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 27-21 vs. Rutgers
Michigan State has now won two in a row and three of four. This includes a double-overtime victory over Wisconsin and is the reason it is above the Badgers this week. Not to mention an impressive win over Illinois last week. The Spartans took care of business against Rutgers and could continue to roll against Indiana.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Indiana
7. Purdue (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 31-24 at Illinois
Purdue is another roller-coaster team this year. The middle of the Big Ten has switched places and feelings seemingly every week. The Boilermakers took advantage of a reeling Illinois team this week and has a chance to assert dominance once again with Northwestern coming up.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Northwestern
6. Illinois (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten)
Week 11: L, 31-24 vs. Purdue
There was something strange about Illinois having success this season. It seemed a bit early but credit to Bret Bielema. Now, the Illini have lost two in a row but remain 7-3 on the season. The problem is, Illinois will travel to The Big House to take on Michigan this week.
Week 12: 11/19 at Michigan
5. Iowa (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 24-10 vs. Wisconsin
The fifth spot in this rankings, or actually anything below the top three, could be interchangeable. This week, it takes Iowa. the Hawkeyes flexed its muscles defensively against Wisconsin but continue to be mediocre on the offensive side of the ball.
Week 12: 11/19 at Minnesota
4. Minnesota (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 31-3 vs. Northwestern
Minnesota was the most recent team to use Northwestern as a bit of a warmup game. A 31-3 blowout win has the Gophers riding high and remain at home with a winnable matchup against Iowa. Can Minnesota establish the run and maintain drives against an elite defense for the Hawkeyes?
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Iowa
3. Penn State (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 30-0 vs. Maryland
Penn State has officially clinched the third spot in these rankings (unless it somehow loses to Rutgers on Saturday). The Nittany Lions shut out Maryland at home this past week and that is as impressive as it gets. Penn State has it figured out defensively. If Sean Clifford takes care of the ball and uses Parker Washington often, Penn State can take control of upcoming matchups.
Week 12: 11/19 at Rutgers
2. Michigan (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 34-3 vs. Nebraska
Michigan is a top-three team in the nation for a reason. On both sides of the ball, the Wolverines have it figured out. Once again, we wait for the final week of the regular season for what will be the game of the year.
Week 12: 11/19 vs. Illinois
1. Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten)
Week 11: W, 56-14 vs. Indiana
Ohio State has to avoid getting tripped up heading into Michigan, which should not be a problem. CJ Stroud and the receivers in Columbus are ready for bigger and better things during the postseason. Again, we await the final game of the regular season.
Week 12: 11/19 at Maryland