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The Big Ten’s Top 15 Must-See Games of 2016

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The Big Ten is full of storylines to follow this season, and the schedule offers a good number of intriguing matchups in conference and non-conference play. The Jim Harbaugh Effect has Michigan playing in several matchups you should pay attention to this season, while Ohio State has a loaded slate on tap as well. And yes, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin have some noteworthy dates of their own.

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Related: Predicting the Big Ten’s Biggest Upsets in 2016

After working through every game in the Big Ten, here are the 15 you absolutely must watch this season, as well as a few games worth tuning in to as well.

1. Michigan at Ohio State (Nov. 26)

It has been a while since The Game carried as much importance for the entire conference as it could this season. Ohio State should remain one of the top threats in the Big Ten and Michigan is taking strides to give the Buckeyes a run for their money. Plus, Urban Meyer vs. Jim Harbaugh is as good as it gets in the Big Ten. A spot in the Big Ten Championship Game could potentially be on the line as well.

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2. Ohio State at Oklahoma (Sept. 17)

As far as non-conference games go, this one may be the most important one played this season. The Big 12 and Big Ten could each be on the fringe of the College Football Playoff if the preseason expectations are to be believed. A head-to-head showdown between two possible conference champions could settle a score for a key Playoff spot. It’s also a nice little Heisman Trophy showdown game between hopefuls Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett.

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Related: The Big 12’s Top 15 Must-See Games of 2016

3. Wisconsin vs. LSU (Sept. 3 – Lambeau Field)

Wisconsin opens the year against LSU, and former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Wisconsin let one slip away against the Tigers two years ago in Houston and looks to find a way to slow down Leonard Fournette. A win for the Badgers would also be a huge win for the Big Ten.

College Football Top 25: LSU
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4. Michigan at Michigan State (Oct. 29)

Sparty has held the upper hand on their so-called big brother. Despite winning another Big Ten title and escaping Ann Arbor with a miracle win last season, the Spartans are once again playing the disrespect card as Michigan hype rises. Can the Spartans keep their winning ways going against the Wolverines?

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5. Ohio State at Wisconsin (Oct. 15)

This one could be a possible preview of the Big Ten Championship Game, and the Badgers have a knack for giving the Buckeyes some problems. A primetime game in Madison could be Ohio State’s biggest threat at a conference loss until the end of the season. A Wisconsin win also anoints the Badgers as Big Ten West favorites.

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6. Ohio State at Michigan State (Nov. 19)

Ohio State lost just one game last season. It was to the Spartans, who went on to play for and win the Big Ten championship and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes, despite a new roster, will be seeking revenge for their only loss of the 2015 season.

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7. Ohio State at Penn State (Oct. 22)

Two years ago saw Penn State give the eventual national champions the toughest game they played in Big Ten action. The win helped charge Ohio State to victory in the first-ever College Football Playoff. Penn State is looking to make a statement and could do so with the best team Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin has fielded when the Buckeyes come to Happy Valley for a primetime matchup.

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8. Oregon at Nebraska (Sept. 17)

This game may not play a huge role in the championship hopes for either team, but just having Oregon and Nebraska on the same field is worth watching. The Ducks and Cornhuskers could open things up and play a fun shootout early in the season, but conference bragging rights are also on the line.

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9. Penn State at Pittsburgh (Sept. 10)

The in-state rivalry between Penn State and Pittsburgh is finally renewed after 16 long years, and the buildup in previous years has added to the anticipation. A Big Ten vs. ACC matchup is always good to see, and this one should be heated.

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