These are the can't-miss games of what will be a different-yet-exciting season
The Big Ten released a modified schedule in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic this week. Some of the timing of the traditional matchups have changed, but the slate is still filled with interesting conference games every week.
Here are the best matchups each week of the 2020 Big Ten football season.
Week 1: Michigan at Purdue
Wolverine fans will not be willing to give Jim Harbaugh a pass due to current events. Michigan needs to come out of the gates strong and set the tone for the season. Standing in their way is a Purdue team with an upward trajectory with some talented players that are flying a bit under the radar.
Week 2: Minnesota at Michigan
P.J. Fleck looks to have something special brewing in the Twin Cities. Despite his team's best player, Rashod Bateman, opting out of the 2020 season, the Golden Gophers will still be formidable. The results of this game can set the tone for the season.
Week 3: Iowa at Minnesota
The Hawkeyes were the first team to take down the Gophers a season ago. Now, these two Big Ten West contenders face off on Fleck's turf, and the Gophers are looking for revenge.
Week 4: Wisconsin at Minnesota
The Badgers are comfortable as kings of the West, but the momentum Minnesota has going threatens the crown. The Gophers want to be everything the Badgers already are as a program.
Week 5: Michigan State at Michigan
Another rivalry game for Harbaugh to prove his worth. This time, a new head coach for the Spartans presents a new hurdle.
Week 6: Iowa at Illinois
Lovie Smith has taken a while, but it looks like he's on the verge of turning the Illini into a winning program. They welcome a Big Ten model of consistency to town in this measuring-stick matchup.
Week 7: Ohio State at Michigan State
This has the feeling of a trap game for the Buckeyes. The Spartans and their new head coach have nothing to lose at home in what many are calling a rebuilding season.
Week 8: Michigan at Ohio State
If you need an explanation for this one, welcome to college football. Have a seat, and enjoy.
Week 9: Wisconsin at Michigan
It feels a lot like the Badgers have eclipsed the Wolverines as far as national respect and relevance go. Michigan needs this win more than Wisconsin does in the grand scheme of things.
Week 10: Ohio State at Penn State
A potential lack of fans takes some of the sizzle out of what would have been a White Out, but the talent on both rosters (although Penn State will miss linebacker Micah Parsons, who has opted out this season) is arguably unmatched by any other two teams in the conference.
Week 11: Wisconsin at Iowa
Another great matchup in a rivalry between two programs who mirror one another in terms of style and intensity.
Week 12: Iowa at Ohio State
Anything can happen when Iowa plays Ohio State. Buckeye fans know that very well.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, Bleacher Report and FantasyPros. He is a three-time FWAA award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.