Big Ten Football is almost back

Dayne McElwee, Assistant Sport Editor

October 24 is a day that many people marked on their calendar. Some people compare this day to Christmas, Thanksgiving and even the birth of a child. This day is the start of Big Ten football.

This Friday starts with a matchup of Illinois traveling to Wisconsin. Illinois is coming off of a 6-7 season (4-5 Big Ten) and they are definitely looking to start off this season beating a No. 14 Wisconsin. Wisconsin is coming off a 10-4 season (7-2 Big Ten). One of Wisconsin’s Big Ten losses came from Illinois. On Saturday, Oct, 19, 2019 Illinois beat Wisconsin 24-23 on a last-second field goal. Wisconsin is looking to back bounce back from last year’s game against the Illini. Without Jonathan Taylor, will Wisconsin be able to find their key offensive player?

The first game of the day on Saturday is Nebraska traveling to No. 5 Ohio State. Nebraska is coming off of a 5-7 season (3-6 Big Ten) and are looking for a spark to start off their season with a huge upset. Ohio State is looking to replicate their season last year. They made it to the College Football Playoff as a No. 2 seed where they lost to Clemson in a very controversial game. Ohio State is returning a key piece in their offense in their Quarterback Justin Fields. Fields, a Heisman contender, is looking to take the Buckeyes back to the CFP and possibly the National Championship. Ohio State dismantled Nebraska last year 48-7 and Nebraska is looking to spoil Ohio State’s season and possibly upset the Buckeyes.

Next up is a game that won’t get much attention, but will still be in an interesting game is Rutgers traveling to Michigan State. Rutgers struggled last year, finishing the season 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten). This isn’t an easy game for Rutgers, though, as they are facing a tough Michigan State team. Michigan State coming off of a 7-6 season (4-5 Big Ten). The Spartans beat the Scarlet Knights 27-0. Rutgers struggled to get anything going against a tough Michigan State defense and they are looking to bounce back and get their first Big Ten win in two years.

A team that has been very successful the last couple of years and is looking to keep that success is Penn State. They travel to Bloomington, Ind. to face off against the Hoosiers. Penn State coming off of an 11-2 season ( 7-2 Big Ten). They will go up against a Hoosiers team who had a lot of success last season. They finished 8-5 (5-4 Big Ten). These two teams faced off last year where Penn State was victorious 34-27. Indiana couldn’t get much going on the ground game against this tough Penn State defense who is bringing back a lot of pieces in their defense.

The second afternoon game is Iowa traveling to Purdue. Iowa has always been a very consistent and successful team in the Big Ten. Last year they finished 10-3 (6-3 Big Ten) on a four-game winning streak and look to bring that into this year. Purdue will look to break this streak. Purdue finished last season with a 4-8 record (3-6 Big Ten). In the matchup between these two teams, Iowa won 26-20. This isn’t the same Iowa team as last year, though. Losing their starting QB in Nate Stanley, they will have someone new under center.

Next up is a game between two teams who were at the bottom of both divisions. Maryland travels to Northwestern. Both of these teams finished 3-9 on the season last year, both teams had one win in the Big Ten. We never got a matchup of Maryland vs Northwestern last year. With incoming transfer Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland is looking to turn their program around. While Northwestern struggled last season, two years ago they made it to the Big Ten championship game where they lost to Ohio State. Expect Northwestern to turn it around and come out fighting.

The final game on this great day of College Football is a highly anticipated matchup between Michigan and Minnesota. For the second year in a row, Minnesota will host College Gameday. Minnesota had a very successful year last year. They finished 10-2 (7-2 Big Ten). Michigan finished the season 9-4 (6-3 Big Ten). Since Jim Harbough has been there, they have struggled to beat top ranked teams such as Ohio State and Penn State. With them losing most of their offense, it will be tough for them to turn it around. This is going to be a very good game and whoever wins will start off with a ton of momentum going into inner conference play.