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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

5 key conference games to watch

This year, there are several other games to watch along with OSU-Michigan

Oct. 3 – Michigan at Michigan State

Michigan State started with a 1-2 hole in non-conference play and needs the Big Ten season to redeem itself. The Spartans have two chances for big wins in East Lansing – against Michigan and their season finale against Penn State. A loss here and the Spartans can hope for an average bowl game at best. Michigan, meanwhile, could use this as a part of its return to the Big Ten elite.

Nov. 7 – Ohio State at Penn State

If Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State will be the premier teams this season, their contest could be the first key matchup to determine the conference champion. Last year, the Nittany Lions scored 10 fourth-quarter points against Ohio State to win 13-6, vaulting them to a Rose Bowl berth. Could it be a repeat this year?

Nov. 14 – Northwestern at Illinois

Northwestern has the most favorable schedule in the conference and Illinois could have the toughest. The Wildcats do not play Ohio State or Michigan and face Penn State at home. The Illini face all three teams, in addition to a non-conference game with Cincinnati. In the penultimate week of the season, a bowl berth could be on the line for both schools. And if so, expect a high-scoring game.

Nov. 21 – Purdue at IU

Sports Illustrated predicted this game would be Purdue’s only conference win and would seal IU’s winless conference record. And there might be some intrigue if both teams are playing for Big Ten win No. 1. But IU and Purdue showed glimpses of hope for a potential bowl in non-conference play with records of 3-1 and 1-3, respectively. Might this be similar to 2007 when IU needed an Oaken Bucket win to solidify its bowl game?

Nov. 21 – Minnesota at Iowa

Minnesota’s Eric Decker is a future NFL wide receiver. The Iowa secondary might be the best in the Big Ten. It’s matchup heaven. Both schools should be in contention for a bowl game, and Iowa could be playing for a Jan. 1 showing at the Rose Bowl.

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