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2013 CFN Final Big Ten Rankings & Roundup
Posted Jan 13, 2014

CFN 2013 Big Ten Fearless Predictions, Game Stories, Players of the Week, and More.

CFN 2013 Final Season Rankings | The Top Ten
11 to 25 | 26 to 50 | 51 to 75 | 76 to 100 | Bottom 25
By Conference ACC | AAC | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA
Independents | MAC | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

The Formula's Components: 
1. Wins. - If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
2. Quality Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each win counts as 1.
3. Elite Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5. Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn't added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game counts as one.
4. Bad Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer or a loss to a FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
5. Bad Win - The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a D-IAA team. Each win counts as minus 0.25. 
6. Elite Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
7. Point Differential - Points for minus points against divided by 100. 
8. Winning Percentage - To take losses into account, winning percentage is in the mix. Total wins is the tie-breaker followed by winning percentage.

Remember, these rankings are based on how good the seasons were overall, and NOT based on how good the team might have been. Number next to team is the final overall season ranking.

4. Michigan State (13-1)
2013 CFN Season Score: 23.19
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 13
There was a time early in the year when the offense couldn’t do anything. The defense was dominant and did all the work, but this didn’t exactly look like the type of team that could win the Big Ten championship or the Rose Bowl – the O couldn’t do anything against Western Michigan or USF, and sputtered against Notre Dame. But thing started to get better and better as the season went on, and the defense kept doing its job. There weren’t any truly nasty Big Ten games, winning all the regular season matchups with relative ease, and then came the Ohio State showdown, and everything worked when needed on both sides of the ball. It would’ve been fun to have seen the MSU D go against the Florida State offense, but a Rose Bowl win and 13-1 record made this a historic campaign.

6. Ohio State (12-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 21.81
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 11
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 10

Was Ohio State overrated and overblown like all the SEC heads kept saying? A little bit, but it also did a good job of getting into position to play for the national title. Unfortunately, 12-0 will be overshadowed by the massive disappointment in the Big Ten championship followed up by the tough Orange Bowl loss to Clemson. The offense rolled, though, with a huge point differential in blowout win over blowout win before struggling to get past Michigan and the tough final two games. The schedule might not have been an SEC killer, but there were six wins over teams that finished with winning records. The only other team in the top 14 that didn’t have an elite win? Alabama.

31. Wisconsin (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.85
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking:18
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 42

The problem is that the Badgers didn’t actually beat anyone with a pulse. It’s not fair that they got tagged with the loss to Arizona State loss, but they didn’t win. They lost to Ohio State, came up with a horrible game against Penn State, and lost to South Carolina – the best win of note came against Iowa. All the blowouts against miserable teams helped the ranking, but the program came up with a mediocre year considering it was considered to be in the mix for an at-large BCS berth.

40. Nebraska (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 23
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 16

It was a wild up-and-down season with head coach Bo Pelini on a never-ending hot seat and under constant scrutiny, and losses to Minnesota and Iowa were puzzling, but considering star QB Taylor Martinez was injured midway through the season, coming up with a Hail Mary win over Northwestern, thrillers over Michigan and Penn State, and finishing up with a Gator Bowl win over Georgia made it an okay year overall. It wasn’t great, but nine wins and a victory over an SEC team wasn’t bad. However, it’s not enough for a program that expects to win championships.

43. Iowa (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.33
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 45
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 76

The team turned in a nice year with an improved offense and a strong defense led by a terrific linebacking corps. The Hawkeyes lost all the games they were supposed to – with the five defeats coming to Northern Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and LSU – with the exception of the regular-season finale against Nebraska. The 38-17 was the highlight, along with a dominant performance at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes beat the Gophers, Huskers, Michigan and Iowa State in the same year – that’s not bad for a program coming off a 4-8 2012.

49. Minnesota (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.82
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 54
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 78

The team was supposed to be better, but considering the Jerry Kill problems, it turned into a whale of a season with a four-game winning streak after two blowout losses to Iowa and Michigan. The win over Nebraska was the crowning achievement, and blasting Penn State was nice, but the O hit a wall late against Wisconsin and Michigan State, and the dud of a bowl performance against Syracuse soured an otherwise breakthrough year. The Gophers could’ve beaten mediocre Orange and Michigan teams, but it they still overachieved a bit.

54. Penn State (7-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 10.88
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 49
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 47

The second and final season of the Bill O’Brien era was up and down week by week, going win-loss-win-loss the entire way after starting out with victories over Syracuse at Eastern Michigan. Fortunately, it was the Nittany Lions’ turn to win in Madison, closing out with a fantastic performance in a 31-24 win over Wisconsin. There was a thriller over Michigan, and some good moments, but it was an inconsistent campaign with blowout losses to Ohio State and Indiana to offset the positives.

57. Michigan (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 10.49
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 21
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 45

It could’ve been worse. As bad as things ended up with a blowout loss to Kansas State, the Wolverines could’ve and should’ve lost to Akron, UConn and Northwestern, which would’ve put the ranking about 20 spots lower and Brady Hoke on a flaming hot seat. Beating Notre Dame was the highlight, and coming close to ruining Ohio State’s dream was a big moment, but losing five of the final six games – with a miracle needed to get by the Wildcats – will put the pressure on this offseason. In the end, beating Minnesota turned out to be a big help.

76. Indiana (5-7)
2013 CFN Season Score: 7.62
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 53
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 95

The Hoosiers beat Penn State, but they were never quite able to make up for the lack of a decent defense that gave up 35 points or more ten times. The offense was fantastic, playing back and forth with Michigan, Minnesota and Navy in wild shootouts, but they were all losses. Having to play Missouri, Michigan State and Ohio State didn’t help, and the 42-10 win over Bowling Green turned out to be the best one on the slate, but there were signs of improvement under Kevin Wilson.

81. Northwestern (5-7)
2013 CFN Season Score: 6.06
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 31
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 27

This hardly worked out according to plan after one of the greatest years in school history. After a 4-0 start, the Wildcats had everything going their way with Gameday in town and with Ohio State struggling. One loss snowballed into loss after loss in a seven-game losing streak before closing out with a meaningless win over Illinois. The Wildcats just couldn’t catch a break with losses in almost every conceivable way, marked by all-timer late collapses against Michigan and Nebraska.

T87. Illinois (4-8)
2013 CFN Season Score: 4.39
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 60
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 111

The O worked, the D didn’t. 3-1 start with a 45-17 win over Cincinnati made it seem like this was going to be a stunning second season under Tim Beckman, but the defense couldn’t stop anyone but Purdue the rest of the way. There were close call losses to Penn State and Northwestern, but for the most part, the Illini suffered big loss after big loss. Six of the eight defeats were blowouts.

110. Purdue (1-11)
2013 CFN Season Score: -1.19
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 58
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 80

Northwestern might have been the Big Ten’s biggest clunker, but Purdue had the worse season with the lone win against Indiana State a 20-14 dogfight and nine of the 11 losses – the 31-24 loss to Notre Dame and 20-16 loss to Illinois the exceptions – turning into ugly blowouts. The offense scored a grand total of seven points in the month of October and was shut out by Ohio State to start November. There weren’t any bad losses, and nine of the defeats came to teams that finished with seven wins or more.

- 2013 CFN All-Big Ten Team & Top 30 Players

Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State – It was a rocky start, missing the first three games, but he dominated the Big Ten with nine straight 100-yard games after running for 85 against Wisconsin, finishing the year with 1,408 yards and 14 scores. Not just a bruiser, he was great when he got a little move averaging 7.7 yards per carry, but he did his best work after contact. Braxton Miller might have been flashier, but Hyde was the one who carried the team to the Big Ten title game – and then Urban Meyer and the coaching staff forgot about him, giving him the ball just 18 times in the biggest game of the year.

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State – Linebacker Max Bullough was the leader, and defensive end Shilique Calhoun was the tone-setter up front, but it was Dennard who erased half the field in his No Fly Zone – you just don’t throw his way. Physical, he came up with 59 stops to go along with ten broken up passes, two forced fumbles and four picks, and he was also great at getting into the backfield from time to time. He was the nation’s most complete defensive back.

3 Biggest Surprises
1. Tracy Claeys. Just when it seemed like the wheels were going to come off at Minnesota – with head coach Jerry Kill’s medical issues and a few ugly losses – Claeys ended up taking over and the team came up with a stunningly good second half of the season. Starting with an interesting win over Northwestern, the Gophers rolled by Nebraska on the way to a four game winning streak. The losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State didn’t matter, the 8-4 season on the way to the Texas Bowl made the season a success.
2. Iowa. The schedule set up well for a bounceback season, and the team might not have been quite as good as the 8-4 record, but the win over Nebraska and the No. 2 finish in the Legends made this a nice, under-the-radar successful season for Kirk Ferentz after a rough 2012. The veteran linebacking corps helped, but it was the emergence of Jake Rudock at quarterback that made a night-and-day difference.
3. Coaching turnover – there probably won’t be any. That’s not to say Nebraska might not pop open if the Huskers are destroyed by Georgia in the Gator Bowl, Bill O’Brien is always on the NFL radar, and Tim Beckman might not be totally secure at Illinois, but all 12 coaches are expected to be back for 2014. .

3 Biggest Disappointments
1. Northwestern. The Wildcats were 4-0 and all jacked up with Ohio State and GameDay coming to Evanston. After falling late in a great game, the team found creative and interesting ways to lose over and over and over again, hitting a low point in the loss to Nebraska on a Hail Mary. The program that was supposedly on the upswing after a special 2012 finished 5-7 and ended up dead last in the Legends, failing to get a Big Ten win until the season finale against Illinois.
2. Nebraska and Taylor Martinez. If you had told Nebraska it would beat Michigan at Michigan and Penn State at Penn State, fans would’ve booked tickets to Indianapolis. It should’ve all been set up perfectly for the Huskers to get back to the Big Ten championship, but even with almost all of the big boys coming to Lincoln, it was still a four-loss season with head coach Bo Pelini on the hot seat the whole year. The offense turned out to be fine without Martinez, but his loss to injury took away a star playmaker and a senior leader.
3. Ohio State in the Big Ten championship. The puzzling performance by Wisconsin against Penn State in the regular season finale is close, as is the Badgers’ end to the Arizona State game, but the Big Ten losing out on a shot at the national title was bigger. The Buckeyes would’ve gone to Pasadena to face Florida State – no matter what Auburn and SEC people might think – with a win over Michigan State, but the OSU coaching staff forgot to give the ball to Carlos Hyde enough and the defense couldn’t solve the ultra-confident Spartans.

Best Big Ten Game of the Season
Nov. 30, Ohio State 42, Michigan 41
The end of the Nebraska-Northwestern and Michigan-Northwestern games were phenomenal, but nothing compared to the drama and fun of the Ohio State-Michigan shootout. It might have been a rough second half of the season for the Wolverines, but Devin Gardner and the offense moved the ball at will, answering the call time and again when Carlos Hyde and the Buckeye attack was rolling. With the national title shot potentially on the line, OSU came through on the key two-point conversion in the final moments to close out the thriller.

Coach of the Year
1) Mark Dantonio, Michigan State – He got the job done, getting the Spartans back to Pasadena for the first time since 1988.
2) Tracy Claeys, Minnesota – He saved the Gophers’ season with a calm, steady hand after Jerry Kill went down.
3) Kirk Ferentz, Iowa – It was a strong year for a coach who supposedly lost his touch.

Grading the Big Ten
Illinois: D+ … There was enough talent to get to a bowl game, but after a 3-1 start and a dominant win over Cincinnati, the team did a whole lot of nothing the rest of the way. The O: good. The D: awful.

Indiana: B- … The expectations are a bit higher now, and they should be. It was a nice, fun year for the Hoosiers, but outside of wins over Bowling Green and Penn Stat early on, they didn’t come up with any big upset to get to six wins and a bowl.

Iowa: B+ … The schedule was light and breezy, and the four losses came to NIU, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, but wins over Nebraska and Michigan made the season a major plus. Being middle-of-the-overall-pack might not be what the fan base might like, but it was a strong year.

Michigan: D+ … It took a miracle against Northwestern to not have ended the year with a five-game losing streak. The thrilling loss to Ohio State was still a loss, and the collapse at Penn State was epic. It could’ve been a whole bunch worse if the team didn’t come through late against Akron and Connecticut.

Michigan State: A … Big Ten championship, check. Rose Bowl, check. Next step taken, check.

Minnesota: B+ … Eight wins after all the drama made for an amazing season. It would’ve been nice to have found something more offensively against Iowa and Michigan, but the D was great in losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Nebraska: C … The schedule was too easy to have been so mediocre. Bo Pelini and the fans aren’t getting along, the offense was inconsistent, and the blowout home loss against Iowa put the pressure on to beat Georgia in the Gator Bowl.

Northwestern: D … There was a nice win over Syracuse, and … and … ugh. There were times throughout the program’s history when 5-7 would be reason to throw a parade, but considering where the team was on October 1st, this was a brutal, brutal disaster.

Ohio State: A- … The Buckeyes didn’t finish the job in the Big Ten championship, but it’s not like Michigan State was Purdue. Getting to 12-0 in the regular season and a game away from the BCS championship should be considered a success, even in Columbus.

Penn State: B … The screaming and yelling died down and the team was just able to play football. There was no real excuse to lose to Indiana, and the loss to UCF looks better now than it did in mid-September, but the win over Wisconsin made the year. It was a good year for a program that’s treading water.

Purdue: F … The Darrell Hazell era has nowhere to go but up. The lone win came against Indiana State, and even that was a fight. Outside of punter Cody Webster and the special teams, nothing went right.

Wisconsin: B ... The loss to Arizona State was haunting, and the problems in Columbus were disappointing, but the Badgers were still in the BCS at-large picture late in the year before the total clunker against Penn State. It wasn’t a Rose Bowl year, but the team was better in the Gary Andersen’s first year.

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