A big component to restoring the prestige of Big Ten football is winning the marquee nonconference matchups each season.
So far, that giant piece of the puzzle has been conspicuously absent.
From consistently losing bowl games against power conferences to falling flat in nationally televised season openers, the prophecy of a weak Big Ten has become self-fulfilling. Try as the conference might to put on a brave face and talk itself up, the facts don't lie: compared to the four other "power five" conferences, the Big Ten hasn't been able to run with the big dogs for quite some time now.
The 2013 season will provide yet another opportunity to make up for lost time. Several big nonconference games loom for the Big Ten, and winning these games could help the conference regain a modicum of esteem amongst Pac-12 and ACC fans—we're just assuming the Big Ten and SEC will never get along.
If the Big Ten wants to earn back its long lost swagger, here's a list of 10 nonconference games Big Ten teams must win in 2013.