We sit on the precipice of a big Saturday for the Big Ten. No, it’s a HUGE Saturday for the Big Ten, which has an opportunity to impress with four big games vs. the Pac-12. The biggest: UCLA’s visit to Nebraska. What could be key to Nebraska slowing down UCLA’s offense? Freshmen along the front seven, led by linebacker Josh Banderas.
Every week during the 2013 football season, BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Brent Yarina, Sean Merriman and hoops analyst Stephen Bardo, a huge football fan, make their Big Ten picks. We also provide polls for Big Ten fans to select their winners. Two weeks in the books, we have a logjam at the top, with Bardo, Dienhart, Merriman and Big Ten fans all tied at 21-3.
Last week was a dud. This week is a doozy. This is the best week of non-conference action with the highlights being four games vs. Pac-12 foes. The only unappetizing clashes: three games vs. the MAC, and two vs. FCS foes. Still, there’s lots to like with UCLA at Nebraska; Wisconsin at Arizona State; Ohio State at Cal; and Illinois vs. Washington in Chicago.
If you’re on Twitter, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten Twitter polls for our weekday TV show #BTNLive weekdays at 6 p.m. ET. On Thursday’s show, our experts discuss this question: Which B1G defense faces the toughest test Saturday? Answer candidates: Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Nebraska.
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This is by far the best slate of games of the short 2013 season. The Saturday menu is highlighted by four games vs. Pac-12 schools—Illinois vs. Washington in Chicago; Wisconsin at Arizona State; UCLA at Nebraska; Ohio State at Cal. Purdue also gets its annual crack at Notre Dame, adding more name-brand appeal to the weekend. And we have in-state rivals Iowa-Iowa State clashing.