We take a look around the Big Ten for the biggest news and storylines.
Between games every week, we’ll get you caught up on what’s happening in the Big Ten. Here are five storylines from across the conference to keep an eye on heading into Saturday’s contests.
Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)/Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten):
The winner of Saturday night’s top-10 showdown in Happy Valley has an inside track to the Big Ten title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Alex Kirshner of sbnation.com made the case that this rivalry is the best in the Big Ten, largely due to what’s been at stake in the last two meetings. The Nittany Lions won on a blocked field goal in 2016 and the Buckeyes pulled out a 39-38 victory last season on a late Marcus Baugh touchdown. In both cases, the winner of this game went on to win the Big Ten East.
Northwestern (1-2, 1-0 Big Ten):
The retirement of running back Jeremy Larkin on Sept. 24 due to a cervical stenosis diagnosis leaves the Wildcats’ backfield with plenty of question marks heading into their game against Michigan. Redshirt junior John Moten IV is listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart. With Larkin’s departure, insidenu.com’s Matthew Albert broke down Northwestern’s running back situation and the options coach Pat Fitzgerald has.
Nebraska (0-3, 0-1 Big Ten):
Radio host and analyst Paul Finebaum went on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Wednesday to give his thoughts on a variety of college football topics. When asked who the most disappointing team has been this season, Finebaum went with the Cornhuskers, saying they’ve “been a disaster”. Michelle Martinelli recapped his appearance and comments.
Rutgers (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten):
On the heels of a third straight defeat and staring at eight Big Ten games in a row, questions about Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten have resurfaced. Steve Politi of nj.com wrote a column addressing criticism of the move and explaining why the university benefits from being in the conference in many ways, not just through athletics.
Michigan State (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten):
Following a win in their Big Ten opener against Indiana, the Spartans host Central Michigan in the team’s final non-conference game. While Mark Dantonio’s team are 28.5-point favorites, the Chippewas have a history of playing spoiler in East Lansing. Detroit Free Press reporter Chris Solari talked about about the history of this matchup and the potential implications if Michigan State come up short on Saturday afternoon in a piece this week.