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Big Ten Power Rankings: Michigan stuffs Ohio State without Harbaugh to become king of hill

What goes around comes around. Michigan began the regular season No. 1 and finishes there, thanks to a sterling performance against Ohio State in the Big House. Even without suspended Jim Harbaugh on the sideline, the Wolverines won their third straight against the Buckeyes. Harbaugh should have no problem calling Ryan Day to offer condolences, because clearly, he has the OSU coach’s number. As for Comeback Team of the Year? Easy. Northwestern wins the prize. The Wildcats began the season in the basement and kept climbing to a 7-5 record despite program turmoil.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is pursued by Ohio State defensive linemen Jack Sawyer (33) and Tyleik Williams (91).
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is pursued by Ohio State defensive linemen Jack Sawyer (33) and Tyleik Williams (91).

1. Michigan (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten)

Last week: 2

This week: vs. Iowa (Big Ten championship)

What to know: Jim Harbaugh is back on the sideline as the Wolverines take on Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. Of course, Harbaugh could play quarterback instead of coach and UM would still beat the Hawkeyes.

Ohio State wide receivers Emeka Egbuka (2) and Xavier Johnson (0) walk off the field in the waning moments of a 30-24 loss to Michigan.
Ohio State wide receivers Emeka Egbuka (2) and Xavier Johnson (0) walk off the field in the waning moments of a 30-24 loss to Michigan.

2. Ohio State (11-1, 8-1)

Last week: 1

What to know: The sky is falling in Columbus, and with so many stars leaving for the NFL, it feels like the Buckeyes’ universe is about to become a great void, too.

Penn State running back Nicholas Singleton celebrates a second-half touchdown against Michigan State.
Penn State running back Nicholas Singleton celebrates a second-half touchdown against Michigan State.

3. Penn State (10-2, 7-2)

Last week: 3

What to know: Penn State is so used to being the third wheel in the East division, it won’t know what to do when it becomes a fourth or fifth wheel when the conference expands in 2024 with Oregon, Washington, Southern California and UCLA.

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive linemen Yahya Black (94) and Joe Evans (13) celebrate with the Heroes Trophy after beating Nebraska.
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive linemen Yahya Black (94) and Joe Evans (13) celebrate with the Heroes Trophy after beating Nebraska.

4. Iowa (10-2, 7-2)

Last week: 4

This week: vs. Michigan (Big Ten championship)

What to know: Iowa would win “Survivor: Big Ten West.” And it wouldn’t be close.

Northwestern coach David Braun celebrates with fans after defeating Purdue, 23-15 at Ryan Field.
Northwestern coach David Braun celebrates with fans after defeating Purdue, 23-15 at Ryan Field.

5. Northwestern (7-5, 5-4)

Last week: 5

What to know: David Braun, the Wildcats’ temporary-turned-full time coach, barely got noticed while turning a 1-11 team (2022) into a 7-5 bowl qualifier – unlike a certain Colorado coach who grabbed headlines while taking the Buffs from 1-11 to 4-8. Hmm.

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa scores a first-half touchdown against Rutgers.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa scores a first-half touchdown against Rutgers.

6. Maryland (7-5, 4-5)

Last week: 6

What to know: After struggling through their usual mid-season slump, the Turtles finally came out of their shell with the help of Taulia Tagovailoa, who became the Big Ten’s all-time passing leader.

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen runs for a first down during a 28-14 win over Minnesota.
Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen runs for a first down during a 28-14 win over Minnesota.

7. Wisconsin (7-5, 5-4)

Last week: 11

What to know: Coach Luke Fickell wants to change the Badgers’ DNA from a power run program to a more diversified offense. It’s a risky move, but as the conference expands, “adapt or die” is the right decision.

Rutgers running back Kyle Monangai fights for yards against Maryland defensive back Tarheeb Still (4) and linebacker Fa'Najae Gotay (9).
Rutgers running back Kyle Monangai fights for yards against Maryland defensive back Tarheeb Still (4) and linebacker Fa'Najae Gotay (9).

8. Rutgers (6-6, 3-6)

Last week: 7

What to know: Good thing the Scarlet Knights became bowl eligible in Week 8, because four consecutive losses to end the season is not a postseason resume builder.

Illinois quarterback John Paddock is brought down by Northwestern defensive lineman Anto Saka.
Illinois quarterback John Paddock is brought down by Northwestern defensive lineman Anto Saka.

9. Illinois (5-7, 3-6)

Last week: 8

What to know: Bret Bielema addressed his players after the loss to Northwestern, saying: “I always tell our guys you lose more games than you win.” Truth. At least at Illinois.

Nebraska coach Matt Rhule argues in favor of a personal foul call against Iowa during a 13-10 loss to the Hawkeyes.
Nebraska coach Matt Rhule argues in favor of a personal foul call against Iowa during a 13-10 loss to the Hawkeyes.

10. Nebraska (5-7, 3-6)

Last week: 12

What to know: A medical miracle took place in Lincoln when doctors cloned Scott Frost, except his name is Matt Rhule. Same difference. Neither coach was able to win the close ones.

Purdue wide receiver Deion Burks attempts to make a catch while being interfered with by Indiana defensive back Kobee Minor.
Purdue wide receiver Deion Burks attempts to make a catch while being interfered with by Indiana defensive back Kobee Minor.

11. Purdue (4-8, 3-6)

Last week: 13

What to know: The Boilermakers, a year removed from playing in the conference title game, are among a dozen conference schools that will further disappear from relevancy as the Big Ten expands to the West Coast.

Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis has his pass batted away by Wisconsin defensive end James Thompson Jr.
Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis has his pass batted away by Wisconsin defensive end James Thompson Jr.

12. Minnesota (5-7, 3-6)

Last week: 14

What to know: Minnesota’s stadium is wonderful. Its occupant this season? Not so much.

Michigan State quarterback Katin Houser is sacked by Penn State linebacker Keon Wylie.
Michigan State quarterback Katin Houser is sacked by Penn State linebacker Keon Wylie.

13. Michigan State (4-8, 2-7)

Last week: 9

What to know: Sparty scored three points combined against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. That’s what you call not getting seated at the big boy table.

Indiana coach Tom Allen walks on the field prior to the start of the Hoosiers' game against Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Indiana coach Tom Allen walks on the field prior to the start of the Hoosiers' game against Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.

14. Indiana (3-9, 1-8)

Last week: 10

What to know: Indiana pulled the plug on Tom Allen after eight seasons. Allen will land on his feet. Not sure the same can be said for the Hoosiers.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State football finishes runner-up to Michigan in Big Ten rankings