The Big 10 looks to be one of the most top-heavy conferences in the nation. Both Ohio St. and Michigan St. are legitimate title contenders while the rest of the conference is full of teams that might be good, but more than likely will be middle of the road teams at best. Here’s a look at the four best games on the Big 10 conference schedule.
4. Ohio St. at Penn St., October 25th
The Nittany Lions might well be the best team the Big 10 conference has to offer in 2014, unfortunately due to the disgrace they allowed go on inside university buildings, their NCAA sanctions continue and they will once again be playing for nothing. This reason and this reason alone is why this game is number four rather than number one, because it has a chance to be one of the best games not only in this conference but in all of college football. The ramifications are certainly there for Ohio St. Braxton Miller returns at the helm of the Buckeye offense and their defense should be even better than a year ago. Ohio St. is a legitimate title contender, but their schedule is brutal. This is the first test and one that could easily shape both teams’ seasons.
3. Nebraska at Iowa, November 28th
Neither Nebraska nor Iowa are expected to light the college landscape on fire this coming season, but that doesn’t mean this day after Thanksgiving game won’t be a dandy to watch. Keep your eyes on redshirt freshman receiver Derek Willies for the Hawkeyes. With the often porous Nebraska defense of the past likely to rear its ugly head again in 2014, Willies and returning QB Jake Rudock could have a field day. Meanwhile, Nebraska has weapons all over the field for this coming year. Of course Taylor Martinez is gone, but the WR and RB positions are so chock full of talent that life should be rather easy for the previously inconsistent Tommy Armstrong. Should be a fun game to watch on a day where football is the only think that can keep us all awake.
2. Michigan at Ohio St., November 29th
Oh for the love of rivalry games, and specifically rivalry games that will likely have major National Title implications. The game will be played at the horseshoe so it will certainly be an uphill battle for Michigan, but in this series you almost have to expect the unexpected. Even last season when the Wolverines were amidst a free fall at the tail end of their season they gave Ohio St. everything they could handle and almost pulled off the major upset. If the Buckeye defense really can play at a higher level than a year ago, Ohio St. should cruise, but there’s always this feeling that no matter which way the arrow is pointing for each program, this game is a can’t miss.
1. Ohio St. at Michigan St., November 8th
The Spartans robbed Ohio St. of a trip to the National Title game after their Big 10 Championship drubbing of the Buckeyes. Michigan St. looks to build off their incredible 2013 campaign where they defeated every Big 10 team, including Ohio St., by at least 10 points. The question remains for the Spartans, can Connor Cook actually become a championship worthy quarterback. Braxton Miller seems to have the same question, but his talent has shown through more often than not while Cook still seems as if he might be getting in the way of the dominant Spartan defense. Michigan St. will be without a majority of that fantastic defense but Mark Dantonio seems to always find a way to get his guys playing hard-nosed defensive football. These are the two premier teams in the Big 10, the winner will be staring at a berth in the playoff, while the other will have to get some help if they want back into the picture.