The Big Ten symbolizes the ultimate in old money of college football. They are still very relevant to the national discussion but do not have the status of the upstart SEC. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany made the mistake of bring his frustration into the open and diminished the perception of being the viable #1 conference. One of the axioms of marketing is to never compare yourself to #2. It is alright for Powerade to claim better taste than Gatorade but Gatorade must never acknowledge that the other stuff exists. Unfortunately the two conferences do not meet on the field during the regular season to continue the discussion.
These may not be the marquee games but are the most interesting for each week.
Sep 1 Illinois v. Missouri at St. Louis
How does the recruiting of Ron Zook compare against a Missouri team that looks to contend in the Big 12 North? The location on the border of these two state early in the season is a nice touch.
Sep 8 Oregon v. Michigan
How does the Pac 10 stack up to the Big 10? Oregon will most likely lose this game but the margin will act as a inter-conference measuring stick.
Sep. 15 Duke v. Northwestern University
The bottom of the ACC v. near bottom of the Big 10? Come on ESPN throw us a bone and broadcast this one; look for that angle to create a real soap opera with this game.
Sep. 22 Michigan State at Notre Dame
NBC will not show this at night but a repeat of last year’s game would be great (including the rain). Mark Dantonio did a great job the Bearcat with nothing and would be whining about the lack of facilities. The Golden Domers will be replacing Brady Quinn so this might be an interesting one.
Sep 29 Notre Dame v. Purdue
The Boilermakers usually make these games interesting. This is the most interesting game of the week in the Big 10.
Oct 6 Iowa at Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(1): The road to the Big 10 crown runs through State College. This is not to say that the Nittany Lions are contender but that three of the four leaders for the crow need to pay Happy Valley a visit. In 2004 this was a thrilling game ending in a 6 to 4 for the Hawkeyes.
Oct 13 Wisconsin at Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(2): If the Badgers want respect it begins here. Yes, they played Iowa three weeks before at home but this is the first big road game. This is spoiler time for PSU and put up or shut up time for Bret Bielema.
Oct 20 Northwestern v. Eastern Michigan at Ford Field
This is an interesting location for a MAC/Big Ten game. Will Northwestern bring in more fans from Evanston? Or Eastern Michigan attract more locals? More in attendance then at the MAC Championship game.
Oct 27 Ohio State v. Penn State
The Penn State Trilogy(2): On paper the Buckeyes should roll but they are not playing in Columbus and the weather could be sunny and pleasant or windy and cold.
Nov 3 Indiana v. Ball State
Will the Hoosiers make a bowl game? By the looks of their schedule the could have five wins at this point in the season and Ball State could be the ticket to the post season for the first time since 1993.
Nov 10 Michigan v. Wisconsin
The Wolverines (just big weasels according to Animal Planet) may be looking ahead to Ohio State next week.
Nov 17 Wisconsin v. Minnesota and/or Ohio State v. Michigan three of these four will be playing for the conference title here. The poor Gophers will not be one of them.