The rematch between Penn State and Ohio State is just one of the marquee matchups in the B1G to look forward to this fall
From Big Ten title hunts to battles with the Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 and to new coaches looking to leave a mark in their new conference home, the Big Ten packs the drama in the 2017 college football season.
Here is a look at some of the top games on the schedule involving Big Ten teams this season.
1. Ohio State vs. Oklahoma (Sept. 9)
The Buckeyes went into Big 12 territory last year and walked away with an impressive win against the eventual Big 12 champions. Now, Oklahoma hopes to score revenge for itself and the Big 12. Lincoln Riley will be coaching his second game, while Urban Meyer has a bit more head coaching experience to rely on.
2. Penn State at Ohio State (Oct. 28)
The game of the year in the Big Ten? Potentially. Penn State shocked the Buckeyes last season and rode the wave of momentum to a Big Ten championship. Ohio State gets a week to prep for the game while Penn State plays Michigan. A revenge game at home for the Buckeyes seems favorable for Urban Meyer, but don’t count out Saquon Barkley just yet.
3. Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 25)
Michigan may be working through some adjustments at the start of the season, but the Wolverines could be in the best possible shape by the time Ohio State makes its way to Ann Arbor. And Jim Harbaugh will have had plenty of time to think about last year’s meeting. A spot in the Big Ten Championship Game could be on the line in The Game.
4. Michigan at Penn State (Oct. 21)
Penn State was flat-out embarrassed by a veteran Michigan team last season in Michigan Stadium. This time, Penn State hopes to be much more confident and in good health when it aims for a little payback at home. James Franklin has yet to beat Michigan, and this one could be a matchup of Big Ten unbeatens.
5. Michigan at Wisconsin (Nov. 18)
Wisconsin doesn’t have to play Ohio State or Penn State in the regular season, but does draw Michigan in the next to last game of the season. The Badgers get the Wolverines in Madison, and that could bode well for the home team as the division races come down the final stretch.
6. Michigan vs. Florida (Sept. 2 – Arlington, TX)
If not for Alabama vs. Florida State, the Michigan-Florida game would be the highlight of Week 1. Michigan could be in for some adjustments against a very tough Gators defense, but Florida will be without wide receiver Antonio Callaway and six others due to suspension. Can Jim Harbaugh go 2-0 against Jim McElwain while working through some kinks on the roster? It would be a nice win for the Big Ten if he does.
7. Wisconsin at Nebraska (Oct. 7)
When the Badgers and Huskers meet in early October, the Big Ten West will be far from decided of course, but the winner here gets an early jump on the race. A head-to-head tiebreaker out of the gates would be nice to have tucked away as the season progresses.
8. Ohio State at Nebraska (Oct. 14)
A week after facing Wisconsin, Nebraska gets another tough task at home with Ohio State coming to Lincoln. The Buckeyes demolished Nebraska last year by 59 points. Expect this one to be a little more competitive.
9. Ohio State at Iowa (Nov. 4)
Never underestimate the difficulty of playing a road game in Iowa City. Just ask Michigan. In early November, Ohio State will hope to avoid falling into the same trap the Wolverines did a year ago. Can the Hawkeyes throw another monkey wrench in the Big Ten picture like they did a year ago?
10. Nebraska at Oregon (Sept. 9)
Nebraska got off to a good start last season, one that was highlighted early on by a win against Oregon. As we later found out, the Ducks weren’t all that good. But a trip to Autzen Stadium in the Pacific Northwest can be unforgiving and Oregon could be looking for an early confidence boost under new head coach Willie Taggart. Besides, a Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup is always fun to see.
11. Penn State at Iowa (Sept. 23)
Penn State will open up its Big Ten schedule by taking a difficult road trip to Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ defense will have to be up to the task to take on the Big Ten’s most electric offense. Iowa may need to have more than running back Akrum Wadley to keep pace with the Nittany Lions, but the Hawkeyes should give Penn State a good stiff challenge out of the gates of conference play.
12. Penn State at Northwestern (Oct. 21)
If Penn State survives a road trip at Iowa, then the Nittany Lions could be undefeated by the time they wrap up the first half of their schedule. But getting to 6-0 entering a bye week with Michigan looming won’t be easy. Northwestern can be prickly with the defense, but will the Wildcats have enough to slow down Penn State’s offense? The spotlight will be on two of the Big Ten’s top running backs, Saquon Barkley and Justin Jackson.
13. Wisconsin at Minnesota (Nov. 25)
It’s been a while since Minnesota managed to beat its longtime rival – as in 14 years. Can P.J. Fleck add some spice to the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe in his indoctrination to this historic rivalry? We’ll see, but you know Fleck will be all in on trying to row his boat in this one.
14. Penn State vs. Pittsburgh (Sept. 9)
Pittsburgh was the only team to beat two conference champions (Clemson, Penn State) last season, and it was the Nittany Lions’ early-season loss to the Panthers that arguably kept James Franklin’s team out of the College Football Playoff. No doubt Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley will be looking for some revenge in Beaver Stadium against a Pitt team that returns just 10 starters.
15. Minnesota at Michigan (Nov. 4)
Jim Harbaugh vs. P.J. Fleck. That’s enough to sell this game right there. Media members will be busy trying to gather all the quotes to come during this week.
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.