How did the Big Ten teams rank this year in the two major sports? From 1 to 14, the Big Ten football and basketball combinations of 2017-2018.
How did the Big Ten schools rank in the two major sports?
How much fun did the fans have this season?
It might be great to have an amazing basketball team, but it gets awfully lonely on fall Saturdays if the football team stinks.
Of course going bowling is a blast, but missing out on March Madness is hard.
So here’s how this works. The schools that had both a football team that went bowling, and a basketball team that’s NCAA Tournament-worthy get ranked higher than the schools missing one of the two, and bringing up the rear are the schools that missed out on both.
With that, your Big Ten Hoops & Helmets rankings for the 2017-2018 sports season.
14. Illinois Fighting Illini
Football: It’s not going well under Lovie Smith. He went with a youth movement. It was an acknowledged step back to potentially take a decent leap forward, but the team went 2-10, lost its last ten games, and went winless in Big Ten action.
Basketball: Shockingly awful, Illinois basketball is supposed to be consistently strong, but it came up with a disappointing and bad season, finishing 4-14 in conference play and tied for 11th in the league.
The Deal: Illinois athletics are a total disaster the moment. Between both major sports, the school had just four wins in the Big Ten. Four. Worst of all, the teams are boring.
13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
– Rutgers Spring Football Look
Football: The Scarlet Knights managed to finish out of the Big Ten East basement, but they only won four games on the season. However, going 3-6 in conference play is a step forward, ending up fifth in the division.
Basketball: As bad as the football program has been, the basketball team has been worse over the last few seasons, finishing dead last in the conference with a 3-15 record.
The Deal: The football program is still in a building mode with Chris Ash doing a decent job of slowly building up the talent level, but the basketball team continues to be an anchor.
12. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Football: The Gophers won a bowl game in 2016, P.J. Fleck came in, and the team went 5-7 and struggled to score over the second half of the season. Fleck is bringing in the talent, but it was a rough year.
Basketball: This isn’t how it’s supposed to work under Richard Pitino. The Gophers couldn’t seem to beat a decent team going 4-14 in the Big Ten, finishing tied for 11th in the league.
The Deal: The young coaches are in place, and there’s hope for both programs to quickly become stronger, but it was a massive disappointment to not go bowling and/or go to the NCAA Tournament.
11. Maryland Terrapins
Football: D.J. Durkin is trying. His recruiting classes have been great, the Terps started out the season with a win over Texas, and then all of his quarterbacks were broken. They finished tied with Indiana for last in the East.
Basketball: It wasn’t a horrible year going 19-13 after the Big Ten Tournament, but the conference season was rough. The problem? They couldn’t win on the road, and they couldn’t beat the better teams.
The Deal: Isn’t Maryland basketball supposed to be good? It had a few nice moments this season, but this is expected to be an annual lock to get into the big tournament. Be patient on the football side – all it needs is one healthy quarterback.
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Football: It was a miserable season that might have been a positive – it got the program Scott Frost. However, finishing fifth in the West and going 4-8 isn’t okay no matter what.
Basketball: Going 22-10 isn’t bad, and it was a whole lot of fun at home. But overall, despite tied for fourth in the regular season, it’s not quite enough.
The Deal: The basketball team perked up and got a whole lot better, and getting Frost is all that matters for the football side. Get ready for the Huskers to be a lot higher on this list in the next few years.
9. Indiana Hoosiers
Football: The Hoosiers just couldn’t get anything going. They pushed through the year and stayed alive for a bowl game, but it all crashed with a thud in the rivalry loss to Purdue. The team was too good to finish tied for last in the East.
Basketball: With three straight losses to close out the season – hurt most by a Big Ten Tournament loss to a miserable Rutgers team – this wasn’t how things were supposed to go under Archie Miller.
The Deal: IU sports were straight down-the-middle mediocre, going .500 in football and basketball combined. The defense was as good as the football program has had for a while, and it couldn’t get the job done to go bowling. Of course, the Hoosier basketball team is always supposed to compete for the Big Ten title, and it wasn’t even close.
8. Iowa Hawkeyes
Football: More than anything, the Hawkeyes were known for blowing out Ohio State and, in the end, keeping the Big Ten out of the College Football Playoff. 8-5 with a Pinstripe Bowl win wasn’t bad, but they finished five games behind Wisconsin in the West.
Basketball: What happened to Iowa basketball? With just 14 wins and just four in Big Ten play, it was a disastrous run. The Hawkeyes couldn’t do anything on the road.
The Deal: Iowa was interesting in football, and the win over the Buckeyes was special, but it didn’t push for the division title. The basketball program is supposed to have a perennial NCAA spot, and now it’s among the league’s dregs.