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Big Ten Weekend Preview: Which game ranks as the best as conference play opens up?

#1 might surprise you!

Michigan State v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We finally have some conference games this weekend that might tell us something as the Big Ten season moves forward.

9. Chattanooga @ Illinois Thursday 7:30pm on BTN

Illinois enters this game 2-1 and has won their last two games by a total of 53 points. Granted, the competition has been below average. Chattanooga won’t be much better as Illinois is favored by 18.5 points. Spend your night watching Browns/Steelers, West Virginia/Virginia Tech, or almost anything else?

8.Miami (OH) @ Northwestern 6:30pm on BTN

Northwestern is favored by 6.5 but also just lost to Southern Illinois which is horrendous. I gotta say, I am on record of thinking Northwestern would be better because it’s an even year and they beat Nebraska. But I was wrong. Northwestern stinks and so does Nebraska.

7. FAU @ Purdue 6:30 on BTN

Purdue lost to Syracuse last week? I thought they would have a real shot at the West this year but again, my mistake. Purdue could get better but it seems like they have a ways to go on both sides of the football. They are favored by 19.5 and none of us would ever turn this game on even if the Badgers didn’t play at the same exact time.

6. Central Michigan @ Penn State 11am on BTN

Penn State is favored by 26.5 points and they are good enough to cover this week. They really hammered Auburn last week and unless there is a letdown after last week’s big win, this game should be well in hand by halftime.

5. Indiana @ Cincinnati 2:30pm on ESPN2

Cincinnati is favored by 16.5 points in this one. When was the last time an American Athletic Conference team was favored by 16.5 points against a Big Ten team? I don’t care what Cincinnati did last year, this seems kind of wild. But at the same time, Indiana’s football program has had one (1) good year in recent history. I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out.

4. Iowa @ Rutgers 6:00pm on FS1

Iowa is favored by 7.5. Are we sure Iowa has 7.5 points in them on the road? Rutgers struggled last week against Temple but I think they’ll be able to get up for a night game against a conference opponent. Especially a vulnerable one in Iowa. If Rutgers finds a way to win, then Iowa is looking down the barrel of an 0-2 start to conference play with Michigan coming to town the next week. That would be very interesting to watch develop in Iowa City.

3. Maryland @ Michigan 11am on FOX

Michigan is favored by 17 points but they are very much untested. We know that Maryland has the offense to keep itself in this game. The question is whether or not Maryland’s defense can put up any resistance. This one is intriguing.

2. Wisconsin @ Ohio State 6:30pm on ABC

We’re due. Ohio State is favored by 18.5. Let’s channel some David Gilreath energry.

1. Minnesota @ Michigan State 2:30 on BTN

Minnesota is favored by 3. This is by far the most intriguing game of the weekend for me. Minnesota has had a weak non-conference schedule so I want to see how real they are. Michigan State is coming off a beat down in Washington last week and now Michigan State is a 3-point home dog? I think all Badger fans need Michigan State to flex their muscles in this game so we don’t have to listen to Gopher fans anymore. One other note, Minnesota lost its best wide receiver in Chris Autman-Bell. If they can’t move the ball through the air in this game it’ll be tough to win.