Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer 351d

Big Ten Week 14 power rankings: Ohio State takes over the top spot

The Big Ten championship game crowned Ohio State the conference champion with a win over Wisconsin. Those two battled it out for the top spot in the conference, which means that there was very little movement in this week’s power rankings.

Some of the conference teams finished with positive seasons and will be rewarded with bowl games. Here is a look at the final Big Ten power rankings and where the teams will be playing during bowl season.

1. Ohio State (last week: 2): The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, so these two flip spots. Ohio State finished with two losses on the season, to Oklahoma and Iowa, and if that loss to the Hawkeyes weren't so lopsided, chances are the Buckeyes would be in the College Football Playoff representing the Big Ten. Instead, they are headed to the Cotton Bowl.

2. Wisconsin (1): Had the Badgers won the Big Ten championship game, they would be the ones headed to the playoff. A loss, though, has moved Wisconsin down to No. 2 in the power rankings with only one loss on the season. There was still a lot of positive to come out of the Badgers' performance, even though the season won’t finish the way they hoped. Wisconsin will face Miami in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

3. Penn State (3): The Nittany Lions were idle, so their rank is the same as last week. Penn State will face Washington in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl.

4. Northwestern (4): The Wildcats finished the season 9-3 with a few disappointing losses, but overall they had a positive season, finishing fourth in the power rankings. Northwestern will play Kentucky in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

5. Michigan State (5): The Spartans finished 9-3 in an impressive turnaround from a 3-9 season in 2016. Michigan State plays Washington State in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl.

6. Michigan (6): The Wolverines had an up-and-down season, finishing 8-4 with a disappointing loss to Ohio State to finish it off. Michigan will play South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

7. Purdue (7): The Boilermakers started the season on the right foot but finished the season 6-6. Purdue will play Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl.

8. Iowa (8): The Hawkeyes had some important wins but leveled out at 7-5 overall. Iowa will play Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

9. Indiana (9): The Hoosiers started on a promising foot but finished the season at 5-7 and tied for last in their division.

10. Minnesota (10): The Gophers have some work to do on offense after this season and will be looking to improve on their 5-7 record.

11. Rutgers (11): The Scarlet Knights won three Big Ten games, which was a big improvement for head coach Chris Ash and his staff. Rutgers finished at 4-8 but showed some improvements that could bleed over to next season.

12. Maryland (12): The Terps dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout the season, which eventually proved to be too much. The quarterback position was depleted, which led to a 4-8 record, and the Terps finish tied for last in their division.

13. Nebraska (13): The Huskers had all kinds of problems this season, which led to head coach Mike Riley’s firing. The school has already announced UCF coach, and former Nebraska quarterback, Scott Frost as the new coach, which has brought some optimism for the future.

14. Illinois (14): Illinois failed to win a single conference game this season and won only two games this season. Things need to turn around quickly for head coach Lovie Smith and his staff.

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