The college football season is rapidly approaching, and it's time to dive into the upcoming schedule to pck out the best games on the conference slate for the Big Ten this fall.
Here's five(ish) games you should be sure to check out that have the chance to be exciting matchups and important games in the Big Ten standings.
Wisconsin is favored to win the Big Ten West, and its toughest competition to accomplish that feat will be these three conference matchups in the West, so we'll lump them together.
An October conference matchup against Nebraska (the Badgers second Big Ten game) will test Wisconsin early, and the Badgers final three games against Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota will define Wisconsin's season.
The Badgers probably can't afford to lose more than one game in its matchups against Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, and these three games will decide the West division participant in the big Ten Championship Game.
Michigan at Penn State (Oct. 21)
Following games against Purdue, Michigan State and Indiana to open the Big Ten slate, Michigan will get its biggest test against the reigning conference champion Penn State Nittany Lions.
Michigan lost a ton of talent on defense and Penn State returns two of the best skilled position players in the conference, quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley.
This will be an important game as the Big Ten East looks to balance the power of the division between Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State.
As mentioned above, Wisconsin hosts Michigan in the midst of a three-game stretch to finish the season. This cross-divisional matchup could be one of the better games to watch in the conference this fall.
Last year these two teams gave us a thriller that came down to a Jourdan Lewis interception in the final moments to seal the victory for the Wolverines.
Both teams (especially Michigan) got hit by graduation and the NFL Draft, but both are expected to contend for a spot in the Championship Game. This win would be a big confidence booster for each team as they head into important matchups (Wisconsin vs. Minnesota, Michigan vs. Ohio State) in the final week of the season.
Penn State at Ohio State (Oct. 28)
A mid-season matchup between two high-powered teams figures to be one of the most exciting games on the entire conference schedule.
The matchup features the two best quarterbacks in the conference and the two best offenses in the conference, and will have major implications in determining the East's championship game participant.
Penn State shocked Ohio State last year with a 24-21 win to make it to the conference championship game. You can bet Urban Meyer and Ohio State will be out for vengeance when this game rolls around in October.
Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 25)
The final game of the Big Ten schedule will likely decide who goes to the Big Ten Championship. Last year these two teams needed overtime to decide a winner, and it should come down to a dogfight once again.
It's Urban Meyer vs. Jim Harbaugh, a battle of the best coaches in the conference that Harbaugh has yet to win. Ohio State is 13-1 in the last 14 games against Michigan, but the Wolverines definitely have the talent to compete.
In the final weekend of Big Ten football the scheduling gods have given us a game to be thankful for.