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Big Ten Power Rankings

BY DANNY PAYNE | DECEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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Ohio State
Haven’t had the chance to put this outside of the Twittersphere: Is Jim Tressel’s Ohio State (Craig Krenzel, Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor) or Urban Meyer’s (Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton, J.T. Barrett) better?

Michigan State
Hey, if Ohio State weren’t a thing, Michigan State would (maybe) make the College Football Playoff.

Wisconsin
The argument could be made for Minnesota after ’Sconnie got embarrassed in the Big Ten title game and Gary Andersen left, but, really, the Badgers are here because of Melvin Gordon. (And Barry Alvarez coaching the Outback Bowl is awesome.)

Minnesota
Jerry Kill is going to do great things with this program, and with a gun to my head, the Gophers are my way-too-early favorite for the Big Ten West next season.

Nebraska
I have a feeling firing Bo Pelini is going to do bad things to Nebraska. But I could be wrong. I’m not an athletics director.

Maryland
Wow, the Big Ten had an incredibly not-good year.

Iowa
As disappointing as Iowa was this year, there are still pieces to contend next season. The question is what will the Hawkeyes do with said pieces.

Rutgers
Yikes.

Michigan
Firing Brady Hoke and overrated Devin Gardner (although the Barrett thing was cool) graduating are a step in the right direction for the Wolverines. 

Penn State
Penn State and Illinois are kind of interchangeable, like Oreos and Uh-Oh Oreos. But Penn State is the original Oreo, so it wins. And if you prefer chocolate filling you’re wrong. So, yeah, Nittany Lions, man.

Illinois
Seriously, does any real person prefer Uh-Ohs over the original? That would be absolutely wrong and just weird.

Northwestern
Well, I’m kind of in between a rock and a hard place with these guys and Indiana. But Northwestern has Justin Jackson returning, and Kevin Wilson is going to watch Tevin Coleman on Sundays next year.

Indiana
While we’re talking about Coleman: It’s a shame he won’t get to be in New York City to not win the Heisman Trophy. At least fly the guy there and give him some recognition. He’s unbelievable.

Purdue
Insert joke about Purdue being the first team ever to finish 14th in the Big Ten here.

 

Offensive Impact
Name: Cardale Jones, Ohio State
Position: Quarterback
Year: Sophomore

Who thought we’d be talking about Ohio State’s third-string quarterback starting the semifinal game of the inaugural College Football Playoff? 

After he added another chapter to the embarrassment of riches that is Ohio State football with 375 yards and 5 touchdowns against Wisconsin, Jones gets to play Alabama in his second start ever.

This is definitely something.

Defensive Impact
Name: Joshua Perry, Ohio State
Position: Linebacker
Year: Junior

Something from one of the other Big Ten teams in a bowl game should go here, but this is the Big Dance we’re talking about.

Perry’s been rock solid all year and finished the regular season second in the Big Ten with 113 tackles. As one of the leaders on Ohio State’s defense, he’ll get the task of trying to tackle Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon near the line of scrimmage all day. 

Game to Watch
Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Alabama
When: 7:30 p.m. (CST) Jan. 1, 2015 
Where: New Orleans
Watch: ESPN


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