A Trip Through The Schedule: Big 10

Scott Taylor@@Taylor_SportsCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 22:  Darryl Clark #17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions scrambles in front of Justin Kershaw #97 of the Michigan State Spartans on November 22, 2008 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State won the game 49-18. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Perhaps more than other sports, the schedule in college football is vital.

With every week meaning so much, there are always the marquee games to look forward to.

Here is a look at the games of the week in the Big Ten. There are many of them as many teams look to be in the running for the divisional crown, as was the case last year.

Week 1

Game of the week: Missouri vs. Illinois @ St. Louis

There was a ton of scoring in this game the past two years, and this year figures to be the same. The winner of this game is well on their way to a bowl game, while the loser’s chances could be dicey.

Other key games: None

It is another pathetically weak non-conference slate in the Big 10. But hey, they need those bowl bids.

Week 2

Game of the week: USC @ Ohio State

Last year’s game turned out to be another debacle for OSU. Expect things to be much closer this time around in a must-win for the Buckeyes.

Other key games: Notre Dame @ Michigan, Fresno State @ Wisconsin

If Michigan wants to go bowling, it needs to beat the Irish. The same thing can be said for Wisconsin.

Week 3

Game of the week: Michigan State @ Notre Dame

There have been several great games this decade between these teams and you can expect another here.

Other key game: California @ Minnesota

The Gophers look to use their new home field as an advantage against a likely ranked foe.

Week 4

Game of the week: Iowa @ Penn State

The Nittany Lions will be out for revenge after last year’s loss to the Hawkeyes. Another Iowa upset could put them in the running for Pasadena.

Other key games: Illinois @ Ohio State, Minnesota @ Northwestern, Michigan State @ Wisconsin

The Big 10 gets off to a strong start with the best weekend of the year. Illinois won at OSU its last trip there. Minnesota and NW will be slugging it out for bowl trips, which is how the Wildcats got the better bowl last year. MSU needs to win this game on the road if it wants to be conference title contenders.

Week 5

Game of the week: PSU @ Illinois

A trip to Illinois will not be easy for a team looking to go unbeaten.

Other key games: Wisconsin @ Minnesota, Michigan @ MSU

More bowl positioning for Badgers and Gophers, while arch rivals collide in East Lansing.

Week 6

Game of the week: MSU @ Illinois

Another road game the Spartans need to have to win title.

Other key games: Wisconsin @ OSU

Wisconsin tends to give the Buckeyes trouble.

Week 7

Game of the week: Northwestern @ MSU

Not a great game of the week, but another must for MSU.

Other key game: Iowa @ Wisconsin

The Badgers need this one at home, while Iowa can pick up an important road win in conference race.

Week 8

Game of the week: PSU @ Michigan

Joe Paterno and the Lions have a very hard time in Michigan.

Other key game: Iowa @ MSU

The loser of this game is eliminated from the conference race, if they haven’t been already.

Week 9

Game of the week: PSU @ Northwestern

A dangerous game for the Lions with OSU up the next week.

Other key game: MSU @ Minnesota

The Spartans might not have OSU on their schedule, but their road games aren’t easy.

Week 10

Game of the week: OSU @ PSU

Likely the game of the year in the Big 10 again.

Other key games: Northwestern @ Iowa, Illinois @ Minnesota

Important games for bowl position.

Week 11

Game of the week: Iowa @ OSU

How much will the Buckeyes have left after PSU?

Other key games: Michigan @ Wisconsin, Northwestern @ Illinois

More bowl jockeying done. Loser of the first game might not make a bowl.

Week 12

Game of the week: PSU @ MSU

Could potentially be the game of the year in the Big 10.

Other key games: OSU @ Michigan, Wisconsin @ Northwestern

The greatest college football rivalry is likely another afterthought, while the other two teams battle for a bowl.

Week 13

Game of the week: Illinois @ Cincinnati

Interesting out of conference game between teams who have made a BCS bowl game in the last two years.

Other key games: None

There are no other  teams playing


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