Big Ten football programs ranked by percentage of all-time conference winners

The Big Ten is one of the oldest and busiest college football conferences in the history of the sport. There are legends and stories that run deep through the heartland. From the early days of leather helmets to the finely tuned athletes of today, the Big Ten are unmatched when it comes to generating revenue and keeping eyes on their games.

But the conference has had some cyclical moments in its past. Throughout history, there have been periods of dominance by different teams, and that has a good chance of persisting in the future. Sure, Ohio State and Michigan were the front runners from start to finish, but even the Wolverines hit a pretty deep trough for a while. Even the OSU is not immune to a few years ago.

But if you take all conference games, which teams lead in terms of wins and winning percentage? Yes, I can probably guess that the Buckeyes and Wolverines are at the top, but who’s #1? Where do things line up from there?

Here’s a look at the Big Ten records for all of the current teams in the conference, ranked by conference-only win percentage. We count down from #14 to #1, noting total winnings as well.

All information is from SportsReference.com.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

09/28/2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights mascot Henry looks on during the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sport

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.171)
Overall balance: (12-58)

Maryland Turtles

07.09.2019; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (9) runs with the ball while Syracuse Orange defenseman Eric Coley (34) tackles during the first quarter at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.288)
Overall balance: (19-47)

Indiana Hoosiers

January 2, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Stevie Scott III (8) is congratulated by quarterback Jack Tuttle (14) as he runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.303)
Overall balance: (220-522-24)

Northwestern Wildcats

December 31, 2018; San Diego, CA, United States; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson (18) throws a pass against the Utah Utes in the third quarter of the 2018 Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.372)
Overall balance: (295-505-21)

Illinois fights Ilini

10/23/2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Artur Sitkowski (9) runs with the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the first half at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.442)
Overall balance: (353-449-31)

Boilermakers from Purdue

The Purdue mascot waves to Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the end of the first quarter against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.456)
Overall balance: (343-413-31)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

09/25/2021; East Lansing, Michigan, United States; Nebraska Cornhuskers offensive lineman Bryce Benhart (54) walks across the field after the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sport

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.473)
Overall balance: (44-49)

Golden Ground Squirrels of Minnesota

Dec 28, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, United States; Minnesota Golden Gophers defenseman Esezi Otomewo (9) against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.473)
Overall balance: (364-408-28)

Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) stands by with teammate tight end Bryce Schulte (48) and defensive back Riley Moss (33) after an NCAA college football game at the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Source: USA TODAY Sports Network

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.475)
Overall balance: (348-386-25)

Wisconsin Badgers

Dec 19, 2020; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Jon Dietzen (67) and Wisconsin Badgers fullback Mason Stokke (34) celebrate Wisconsin’s first touchdown in the first half game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.506)
Overall balance: (393-384-41)

Michigan State Spartans

Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State. Syndication Detroit Free Press

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.564)
Overall balance: (295-227-9)

Penn State Nittany Lions

10/23/2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Rasheed Walker (53) and linebacker Jesse Luketa (40) and safety Jaquan Brisker (1) and safety Jonathan Sutherland (0) take to the field for the coin toss before the Illinois Fighting Illini game at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.622)
Overall Conference Record: (148-90)

Michigan Wolverines

11/20/2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins (25) reacts after a touchdown in the second half H| at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.706)
Overall balance: (529-215-18)

Ohio state horse chestnuts

Nov 22, 2008; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker James Laurinaitis (33), cornerback Malcolm Jenkins (2) and running back Chris Wells (28) before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The details

Percentage of Conference Winners: (.747)
Overall balance: (543-146-24)

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