If you know a Big Ten fan, perhaps you should offer him or her a hug around this time of year.
After all, it can be fairly wearisome turning on the TV every Saturday only to watch the conference take its lumps from conferences like the MAC on the field and from programs like College GameDay in the SEC-crazed media.
But fear not my Midwestern brethren. Basketball season is almost upon us.
And the Big Ten has a good chance to be the bully on the corner of the hardwood block.
Sporting News released its preseason Top 25 this week, and the conference claims three of the top five teams (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan). Wisconsin and Michigan State also find themselves in the rankings.
So if the Big Ten is arguably the best conference in the country come basketball season, there has to be some prime-time games that will set the tone for the entire year.
Read on to see 10 of the Big Ten showdowns we can’t wait to see.