The end is here. It went out like a whimper with only four games in the Big Ten Bonus Round but this COVID infested season is finally over—-except for the few teams that will enjoy boxed lunch Christmases to play one more football game. It’s obvious the Big Ten was a freaking mess this season—but obviously one team reigns supreme. Sure the conference rigged the rules to get them where they are, but the Buckeyes are the top.
So one last time in 2020, here is how I see both the East and West divisions breaking down and then at the bottom I’ll rank all 14 teams in one list.
Big Ten West:
#1 Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern gave Ohio State a good game, but just couldn’t hang on for long enough. Now they get to go to Orlando and take on a coachless Auburn team in the Citrus Bowl. But the bowl game is in Florida where they don’t believe in COVID so at least they will get to do fun stuff while they are down there?
Iowa lost their first two games of the year, but then figured it out to win six straight. Their bonus round game against Michigan was cancelled so one less win there. They are scheduled to head to the Music City Bowl to play Missouri, but after 10 long weeks it appears that the COVID gods have finally smote the Hawkeyes as they had to shut down practice this week for at least five days. This of course AFTER they sent everyone home last week before their bowl game. Great job being a super spreader Kirk...who also has the virus. They still say they plan on playing in the bowl game in...checks calendar 8 days, but I think we all know how this will go down.
It what was just an epic slapfight the badgers slapped just a bit harder to beat Minnesota in OT last week and claim the #3 spot in the west. Their reward is a trip to Charlotte for a bowl game named after mayonnaise and a game against Wake Forest.
Once again Minnesota came up just short when it needed a big play or two, and thus the axe will once again reside in Madison. Minnesota could have had an invite to a lower tier bowl game if they had wanted it, but they and the team decided they would rather spend Christmas with their families then spend another week in lockdown preparing to play a MAC team in a baseball stadium in Phoenix, or in a soccer stadium in the Dallas exburbs. I think they made the right call.
The defenders of the Big Ten got to 3-5 on the season with a tough fought win over Rutgers. Yet somehow they were not graciously rewarded with a trip to a southern locale for a bonus game. The disrespect is real.
Illinois lost to Penn State but gained a Bert. Bret Bielema is the new Illini coach. The rest of the Big Ten west thanks you Illinois. Lance Leopold was there for the taking and instead you hired Bret Bielema. Appreciate you.
Purdue was in fact a COVID stoppage from losing six games in a row to end the year. After losing the Old Oaken Bucket game last week, it once again was cancelled for the second straight week due to COVID in both Purdue and Indiana’s program. Purdue’s highly sought out DC Bob Diaco got the boot this week as well. Things are going great in West Lafayette.
Big Ten East
Ohio State did what they needed to do to accept the Big Ten’s gift, and then used that to accept the CFP committee’s gift. Now they get a rematch against Clemson where they probably will get a much different gift complements of Trevor Lawrence and Dabo Sweeny.
Indiana is the Big Ten team that has had the worst couple of weeks. First their big rivalry game in cancelled not once but twice. They the Big Ten screws them out of a Big Ten championship game appearance, and then the Hoosiers get dropped out of the NY6 to a 3 loss Iowa State team. THEN they get jumped in Bowl picking order by Northwestern and will head to Tampa for the Outback Bowl against a 4-5 Ole Miss team. Kind of a crappy way to end a fun season.
Penn State took care of Illinois and completed their massive season turnaround from 0-3 to 6-3. Then they opted out of a bowl to end their season.
Let’s be honest the last four teams here all aren’t great, but at least Rutgers played last week. Yeah they lost to Nebraska, but they played.
Maryland got COVID running through their team for a second time. It’s time to end the season
Their season ended with Maryland cancelling due to COVID. whee
Covid reigns undefeated. Even Jimmy Khaki’s can’t gameplan for that opponent.
Rankings 1-14 (Last Week)
- Ohio State Buckeyes (1)
- Indiana Hoosiers (2)
- Northwestern Wildcats (3)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (4)
- Penn State Nittany Lions (5)
- Wisconsin Badgers (7)
- Minnesota Golden Gophers (6)
- Nebraska Cornhuskers (11)
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8)
- Maryland Terrapins (9)
- Michigan State Spartans (10)
- Illinois Fighting Illini (12)
- Purdue Boilermakers (13)
- Michigan Wolverines (14)