Dienhart: Ranking 2012 Big Ten games Part II

The countdown of my top 2012 Big Ten football games continues with games 60-79. That’s right, I’m ranking all the Big Ten games this season. Yesterday, I did games 80-96, and I’ll continue to work my way to the top games each of the next three days. Like rankings like this? You need to check out my Rankings archive, where I rank all things Big Ten, including my top 2012 Big Ten units. Also, get all my latest Big Ten football posts right here.

60. Utah State at Wisconsin, Sept. 15: This game could be better than you think. Utah State was a bowl team last season and almost won at Auburn. Why? It was largely because of Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who is back after a sensational debut in 2011. He’ll likely face off with Danny O’Brien, who is expected to win the starting job at Wisconsin after transferring from Maryland.

[Dienhart: Ranking 2012 Big Ten Games Part I]

61. Purdue at Illinois, Nov. 17: The Boilers have won six of the last seven meetings in the battle for the Cannon Trophy. More good news: The Boilers are 4-2 in their last six trips to Champaign with one of the losses coming in overtime.

62. Michigan at Minnesota, Nov. 3: Michigan will be coming off a game at Nebraska when it rolls into Minnesota for the battle of the iconic Little Brown Jug. But know this: The Gophers have beaten the Wolverines just one time (2005) since 1986. Still, you never know.

63. Northwestern at Michigan, Nov. 10: The last time the Wildcats visited Ann Arbor, in 2008, it beat the Wolverines, 21-14. Just sayin’.

64. Arkansas State at Nebraska, Sept. 15: Arkansas State will be the Cornhuskers’ third foe in a row with a new head coach, with former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn in control. And Nebraska needs to be on upset alert vs. a Red Wolves team that is led by dangerous quarterback Ryan Aplin.

65. Michigan State at Central Michigan, Sept. 8: Michigan State will play at Central Michigan for the first time. And the Chippewas are coached by former star Spartan quarterback Dan Enos. But he’s just 6-18 in two years in Mount Pleasant.

66. Western Michigan at Minnesota, Sept. 15: The Broncos are the only bowl team on the Gophers’ non-conference schedule in what figures to be a tough test.

67. Northern Iowa at Wisconsin, Sept. 1. The FCS Panthers have a strong program but figure to stand little chance at Madison.

68. Illinois at Ohio State, Nov. 3: Ohio State has won the last four vs. Illinois, dating to the Fighting Illini’s stunning 28-21 triumph over the No. 1 Buckeyes in Columbus in 2007 on their way to a Rose Bowl berth.

69. Purdue at Minnesota, Oct. 27: Purdue has won 11 of the last 14 meetings with Minnesota. This will be the Boilermakers’ first trip to Minnesota since 2009.

Minnesota's MarQueis Gray

US Presswire

70. Minnesota at Illinois, Nov. 10: Minnesota has won nine of the last 12 meetings with Illinois. The Gophers’ 27-7 win last year in the season finale over Illinois ended a bizarre regular season for the Illini as it was Illinois’ sixth loss in a row following six consecutive wins.

71. Purdue at Iowa, Nov. 10: Purdue hasn’t won at Iowa since 1992 and is 1-11 in its last 12 trips to Iowa City. How lopsided has this series been the past 30 years? Since the Boilermakers beat the Hawkeyes in 1980, they have just six wins and a tie in 25 meetings.

72. Indiana State at Indiana, Sept. 1: The Sycamores were 6-5 in 2011 and are on the rise. Be careful, Hoosiers.

73. Iowa at Indiana, Nov. 3: The Hawkeyes have scored over 40 points in three of the last four meetings with the Hoosiers.

74. Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State, Sept. 1: The Buckeyes open with Miami (Ohio), which was a disappointing 4-8 in 2012 under first-year head coach Don Treadwell.

75. Northwestern at Minnesota, Oct. 13: The Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings with the Golden Gophers.

76. Eastern Michigan at Purdue, Sept. 15: Ron English has the Eagles on the rise coming off a 6-6 mark.

77. Indiana at Illinois, Oct. 27: The Fighting Illini have won four of the last five vs. the Hoosiers.

78. Minnesota at UNLV, Aug. 30: The Golden Gophers are the first Big Ten to play in 2012, opening on a Thursday night in Las Vegas. Bobby Hauck is making strides at UNLV, but the Rebels remain a work in progress. He is 4-21 in two years at Vegas.

79. Eastern Kentucky at Purdue. Sept. 1: Danny Hope opens vs. his alma mater and the school he used to coach: FCS Eastern Kentucky of the Ohio Valley Conference, which went 7-5 in 2011

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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