Big Ten Week 13 Power Rankings: Iowa remains on top


We won't have to wait much longer to see who the true No. 1 in the Big Ten is.

The Iowa Hawkeyes will take on the Michigan State Spartans at 8:17 p.m. ET Saturday in the Big Ten Championship. The winner will almost certainly move on to the College Football Playoff.

But, until then, what would a Sunday be without our power rankings? So, as usual, we analyzed every Big Ten team after Saturday's slate. Right now, here's what we're thinking:

1. Iowa Hawkeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten): The Hawkeyes are still perfect, so it should come as no surprise that they're still at the top of the power rankings. Although they had a close call in the 28-20 win over Nebraska, they still never trailed in that game. They're now just one win away from their first outright B1G title since 1985.

2. Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 7-1): After an impressive 55-16 win over Penn State, two of our voters decided to go with Michigan State as the top team in the power rankings. (Obviously, they were out-voted.) Michigan State boasts several quality wins this season -- over No. 17 Oregon, No. 10 Michigan and No. 8 Ohio State -- and their résumé remains among the best in the nation.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1): Someone might've recommended to Urban Meyer that Ezekiel Elliott needed the ball more because he received more than twice as many carries as last week. Elliott carried the ball 30 times against Michigan on Saturday and rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Ohio State's 42-13 win over the Wolverines was the most lopsided win in The Game since 2010.

4. Michigan Wolverines (9-3, 6-2): Sure, they lost to Ohio State on Saturday. But there's a clear drop-off after the Wolverines, and we still believe it's obvious U-M is one of the best teams in the Big Ten. Only one of us ranked Michigan below No. 4. The future is bright here.

5. Northwestern Wildcats (10-2, 6-2): They're called the Cardiac Cats for a reason. Although they made relatively quick work of Illinois, 24-14, four of their past five wins were decided by a single score. Regardless, Pat Fitzgerald's team keeps finding a way to win behind its top-15 defense and workhorse running back Justin Jackson.

6. Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, 6-2): Wisconsin's official Twitter account wondered aloud whether squatter's rights applied to Paul Bunyan's Axe after the Badgers won it for the 12th straight time. Still, Wisconsin has something left to prove as it's 0-3 this season against ranked teams. Which isn't all that different from our next team …

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4): Like Wisconsin, Penn State hasn't beaten a ranked team, but the Nittany Lions are 0-5 against such opponents this season. Players on both sides of the ball have some talent, but the depth is limited, and this team still has a long way to go before competing with the Big Ten's elite.

8. Indiana Hoosiers (6-6, 2-6): Indiana hasn't been bowling since 2007, so Saturday's 54-36 win over Purdue was a big step forward for this program. Nate Sudfeld is maybe the most underrated quarterback in the conference, and this top-25 offense has the ability to surprise.

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-7, 3-5): This wasn't the season the Huskers envisioned, but they didn't show any quit. Eight of their games were decided by a single score, and they were the only team this season to upset Michigan State. They also hung tough against Iowa on Friday.

10. Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-7, 2-6): A below-average rushing offense and a mediocre rush defense just couldn't get the job done for Minnesota this season. At least interim-turned-permanent coach Tracy Claeys will have three more seasons to prove he's the rightful successor to Jerry Kill.

11. Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7, 3-5): Speaking of interim coaches, Bill Cubit also received a two-year contract as the Illini's head coach. He went 1-6 in his last seven games with Illinois this season, but winning one fewer game compared to last season isn't all bad -- considering expectations were low to begin with after Tim Beckman's late exit.

T-12. Maryland Terrapins (3-9, 1-7): After several close calls, it sure looked as if Maryland would end this season without a conference win. But thanks to Rutgers -- and overcoming a 21-point deficit on Saturday -- the Terps ended an eight-game skid with a nice comeback victory. Still, QB recruit Dwayne Haskins can't get here soon enough.

T-12. Purdue Boilermakers (2-10, 1-7): First, the good news: Purdue beat an FBS team this season in Nebraska. Now, the bad news: Purdue still isn't a very good team. The Boilermakers have often said change has to start at the quarterback position, and we'll have to wait and see whether David Blough is the long-term answer.

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-8, 1-7): Kyle Flood said he expects to coach Rutgers “for a long time” after falling to Maryland, 46-41. But a “long time” might not extend past ... Sunday. Athletic director Julie Hermann will reportedly meet with the university president Sunday, and NJ.com reports both her and Flood's jobs are on the line.