B1G Final Rankings

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Last updated: 07/09/2013 3:09 AM
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Football
Rating the Big Ten - The Final Tally
By Tony Gerdeman

It is done. Our Big Ten ratings are completed, and by adding up the positional ratings of each school, it has produced two predicted division winners.

Those predicted division winners? Ohio State and Michigan State.

Here is the predicted order of finish for each division, along with their total points from adding up their places in the positional ratings (the lower, the better):

Leaders
1. Ohio State (17)
2. Penn State (50)
3. Wisconsin (53)
4. Indiana (74)
5. Purdue (87)
6. Illinois (107)

Legends
1. Michigan State (49)
2. Michigan (54)
3. Nebraska (55)
4. Northwestern (59)
5. Iowa (78)
6. Minnesota (97)

While the Leaders Division wasn't a close call, the Legends Division absolutely was. Northwestern was very close to being second in the Legends Division, and it basically came down to their schedule. It's just not as conducive to victory as others.

I am certainly nervous about my Michigan State prediction, given their question marks at quarterback and running back, but the point of these ratings is to take other things into account. Nobody in the Legends Division could match the Spartan defense, which is ultimately what separated them from the rest of the pack.

Leaders


OSU
PSU
Wisc
IU
PU
ILL
QB
1
9
6
5
11
10
RB
3
5
1
7
10
11
WR/TE
2
1
7
4
12
11
OL
1
2
5
7
10
12
DL
1
2
4
11
9
12
LB
4
8
3
11
10
6
DB
1
4
11
8
3
12
ST
2
10
5
3
6
9
Sched
1
3
2
11
8
12
HC
1
6
9
7
8
12
Total
17
50
53
74
87
107

Legends


MSU
UM
Neb
NU
Iowa
Minn
QB
7
3
2
4
12
8
RB
12
6
2
4
8
9
WR/TE
5
8
3
6
9
10
OL
4
8
3
11
6
9
DL
3
6
10
5
7
8
LB
1
5
9
7
2
12
DB
2
7
5
6
10
9
ST
7
4
11
1
8
12
Sched
4
5
7
10
6
9
HC
4
2
3
5
10
11
Total
49
54
55
59
78
97

Breaking things down on both sides of the ball, four of the top five offenses in the conference belong in the Leaders Division, with Nebraska being the lone Legends Division team near the top.

Here's how the offenses rank:

1. Ohio State (7)
2. Nebraska (10)
3. Penn State (17)
4. Wisconsin (19)
5. Indiana (23)
6. Michigan (25)
6. Northwestern (25)
8. Michigan State (28)
9. Iowa (35)
10. Minnesota (36)
11. Purdue (43)
12. Illinois (44)

Northwestern's offensive line held them back here, as they certainly have the skill positions to rate as one of the top offenses in the conference. I expect Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner to put up some very nice numbers, but the Wolverines aren't higher on this list because of their unproven offensive line and receivers.

Indiana ended up fifth on this list because they weren't terrible in any one offensive category. As we know, sometimes that's all it takes to make a move in the Big Ten.

Ohio State's worst ranking on offense was #3 in the RB category, which I took grief for on local radio for not ranking them first or second. Likewise, Nebraska's worst ranking was #3, though it came with the receivers and offensive line.

Here's how the defenses rank:

1. Ohio State (6)
1. Michigan State (6)
3. Penn State (14)
4. Wisconsin (18)
4. Michigan (18)
4. Northwestern (18)
7. Iowa (19)
8. Purdue (22)
9. Nebraska (24)
10. Minnesota (29)
11. Indiana (30)
11. Illinois (30)

The Buckeyes ended up with the top defensive line and top secondary, but placing 4th in the linebacker group is what allowed the Spartans to tie them atop the defensive leaderboard.

Penn State may be a surprise, but the talent is there. I'm not sure if that's a testament to the Nittany Lions or the state of Big Ten defenses.

Had it not been for Jake Ryan's injury at Michigan, the Wolverine linebackers would have been listed ahead of Ohio State's, which would have given the Spartans the best defense in the Big Ten all by themselves. It also would have put the Wolverines alone in fourth. As it stands, they should probably get the slight nod in their three-way tie because of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

Nebraska's ranking defensively is a large reason why they won't win the Legends Division.

Along with offensive and defensive rankings, there's also a third group, which we can call "intangibles". It combines the ratings of the special teams, the schedule and the head coaches. Here is how the intangibles rank:

1. Ohio State (4)
2. Michigan (11)
3. Michigan State (15)
4. Wisconsin (16)
4. Northwestern (16)
6. Penn State (19)
7. Nebraska (21)
7. Indiana (21)
9. Purdue (22)
10. Iowa (24)
11. Minnesota (32)
12. Illinois (33)

The Buckeyes have the top coach, the easiest schedule and the second-best special teams, so there was nobody close to them in the intangibles category. However, Wisconsin would have certainly been near the top had they not lost Bret Bielema to Arkansas.

Here is another good example of why Nebraska shouldn't be winning the Legends Division. Any time you have the same intangibles as Indiana, you should probably start worrying.

I will admit, however, that having Michigan State third on this list probably means that I need a "Sparty No!" type of category that rates clutch/non-clutch football programs.

This is now the third year in a row that I have done these ratings. Here are some additional numbers of note over that time:

Top 5 Total Offensive Ratings
1. 2013 Ohio State (7)
2. 2013 Nebraska (10)
3. 2012 Nebraska (12)
3. 2011 Michigan (12)
5. 2011 Ohio State (13)

The 2012 Nebraska team was second in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 34.8 points per game. The 2011 Michigan team was also second in scoring, averaging 33.3 points per game. The 2011 Ohio State team, however, was eighth in scoring (24.5 ppg). That was the year that I learned to wait to do quarterback ratings until I was sure that no star quarterbacks would be kicked out of school and get drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the Supplemental Draft.

Top 5 Total Defensive Ratings
1. 2012 Michigan State (5)
2. 2013 Michigan State (6)
2. 2013 Ohio State (6)
4. 2011 Wisconsin (7)
4. 2011 Nebraska (7)

The 2012 Michigan State defense allowed a league-best 274.4 yards per game, which was nearly 50 fewer than the next team. They also led in scoring defense (16.3 ppg). The 2011 Wisconsin defense was third in the league in scoring defense (19.1 ppg), but the 2011 Nebraska defense was ninth (27.6 ppg). That was the year that I learned to stop trusting Bo Pelini's defensive magic.

Top 5 Total Intangibles Ratings
1. 2013 Ohio State (4)
2. 2012 Wisconsin (8)
2. 2011 Wisconsin (8)
4. 2012 Ohio State (9)
5. 2011 Ohio State (10)

This shouldn't be a surprise, given so much of this is based on easy schedules and great coaching. Would you like to know the "least intangible" team over the past three seasons? The 2013 Illinois Fighting Illini (33). Congrats Coach Beckman!

Top 5 Total Team Ratings
1. 2013 Ohio State (17)
2. 2011 Ohio State (32)
3. 2012 Ohio State (33)
3. 2012 Wisconsin (33)
5. 2011 Wisconsin (35)

Well, if the ratings have anything to say about it, the 2013 Buckeyes will be the best team we've seen in the Big Ten in the last few years. By the way, if you'll notice, these are also the same five teams who had the best intangibles rating. The worst rated team over these last three years? Once again, the 2013 Illinois Fighting Illini (107). They can't possibly be this bad, can they?

So there you have it, another year of Big Ten football predicted nice and easy for you. Now you won't have to watch that Illinois at Purdue game that you were dreading!

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