Rivalry week is here! While two teams will play next weekend in conference championship games, the real matchups that carry interest and bragging rights for an entire year are here. Plus, the Big Ten West is still up for grabs! Let’s rank ’em!
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (at no. 13 Michigan, noon on FOX)
The Game is here. Ohio State is already locked in to the Big Ten Championship game next weekend. But they won’t overlook their opponents in Ann Arbor. I look forward to this game every year, and I don’t expect it to disappoint.
2. Penn State (vs. Rutgers, 3:30 on BTN)
Penn State got off to a dreadful start last week at Ohio State…and then Sean Clifford was injured. Fortunately, the Nittany Lions rallied behind their backup quarterback and Ohio State miscues to make it competitive. A nice scrimmage Saturday will cap off the regular season.
3. Minnesota (vs. Wisconsin, 3:30 on ABC)
The Golden Gophers eventually pulled away from Northwestern last week to set up a showdown for the Big Ten West title. It’s the second time this season for the biggest game in the history of TCF Bank Stadium with Paul Bunyan’s Axe on the line.
The Badgers have been under the radar since their upset loss to Illinois and their blowout loss to Ohio State. But a chance for 10 wins and the Rose Bowl are on the line with a win Saturday.
5. Michigan (at Indiana, 3:30 pm on ESPN)
Is Michigan ripe for a letdown a week ahead of their annual meeting against Ohio State? Possibly!
6. Iowa (at Nebraska, 2:30 pm on BTN on Friday)
This is not a rivalry game. Iowa’s biggest rival is Iowa State. Nebraska’s rivals are Oklahoma and Colorado. Big Ten realignment was a failure.
So #9WINDIANA technically still exists if the Hoosiers beat Purdue and win the bowl game. But first things first, IU needs a win over the Boilers for the season to truly be a success according to the fanbase.
8. Illinois (vs. Northwestern, noon on FS1)
Chicago’s Big Ten team takes on Evanston’s Big Ten team in a game that will most likely be a blowout.
Purdue held their own for a while against Wisconsin last weekend as yours truly predicted. But don’t be surprised to see the Boilers upset IU to retain the Old Oaken Bucket Saturday.
10. Michigan State (vs. Maryland, 3:30 on FS1)
You’d have to pay me to watch this game.
The Huskers picked up a win against Maryland last week and move up a spot only because of that. And yet, they could make a bowl game with a win.
The Terps can break their losing streak Saturday against one of the other truly dreadful teams in the conference this season.
Positive: The Wildcats have won four straight in the series against Illinois! Negative: That should end Saturday.
The fact that Greg Schiano will not come back to be the next head coach is a win in and of itself. Update: not so fast.