The power-5 conference finally gets underway this weekend
After facing outlash from coaches, players and fans, Kevin Warren and the Big Ten Conference reversed their decision to play football in the fall. The Big Ten kicks off this weekend with games on Friday and Saturday.
With the “new” schedule, Big Ten teams will only be playing a conference only eight-game season. At the end of the season, the conference will introduce the “Champions Week.” Teams will play their equal in that of the opposite division, so the first-place team in the West will play the first-place team in the East division and so on.
The first game for the Big Ten will feature Illinois at Wisconsin on Friday. Last season Illinois went 6-7, quarterback Brandon Peters will return for the Fighting Illini this season. Wisconsin is looking to dominate this season, after finishing 10-4 last year ending at number eleven in the country. Wisconsin narrowly lost the Rose Bowl last year to Oregon 27-28.
On Saturday, Big Ten games will be scattered throughout the day. At noon, Rutgers will take on Michigan State. Michigan State will return to the gridiron with new head coach Mel Tucker, they finished at 7-6 last season under long time head coach Mark Dantonio. Rutgers will also feature a new head coach, Greg Schiano, who joins the Scarlett Knights after the team went 2-10 last season under coaches Chris Ash and Nunzio Campanile.
On Saturday night, Michigan visits TCF Bank Stadium to play Minnesota. Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck looks to continue the success he and his team had last season, the Gophers finished at number ten in the country at 11-2. However, nothing is guaranteed, as Michigan comes in after a successful last season. The Wolverines finished 18th in the country with a 9-4 record under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
One big game on Saturday for the Big Ten Conference is Nebraska taking on powerhouse Ohio State at noon. Ohio State ended their campaign last season at number three in the country at 13-1. They lost to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl 23-29; the game was to see who to would play in last season’s College Football Championship.
The other games on Saturday, consisting of Penn State taking on Indiana. Iowa travels to West Lafayette to play Purdue. Maryland heads to Evanston to battle Northwestern in primetime.