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Spanning The Empire: Your Conference Opener Early Thread

A rumor that there is free cheese and beer inside the goal posts sweeps Camp Randall.
A rumor that there is free cheese and beer inside the goal posts sweeps Camp Randall.

I don't know about you guys, but one of my favorite days on the sports calendar is the first weekend of B1G conference play.  I love everything about it.  Don't get me wrong, I love the opening weekend of college football, but conference play is different--there's a chill in the air when you wake up in the morning, the games against the directional schools are over, and now it gets real.

And it won't get as real as Camp Randall tonight, where Nebraska will play their first game as a full fledged member of The Best Conference In America.  it will be loud, red, and electric in Madison tonight, and the hype for this game is justifiably huge.  The winner of this game gets put on the short list for National Championship talk, the loser can lick their wounds and hope for a rematch in Indianapolis.  I'll take Bucky and the Camp Randall Crazies.  But there are some other great matchups as well, to include some trophies that are up for grabs.  The undercard for Nebraska-Wisconsin should be pretty good, as Michigan State comes to Columbus to take on a Buckeye team that is ripe for the taking, but footballs take funny bounces in Columbus, and usually Ohio State's way.  Both have ugly losses on the schedule already, but both also bounced back last week and reassured their fanbases in many respects.  The winner feels much better about themselves moving forward, while the loser has to think there's at least two more losses on their schedule. 

Minnesota and Michigan will battle for the Little Brown Jug...well, 'battle' might be a stretch, as Minnesota has looked about as fierce as a Unicorn in a Rainbow Field.  I fully expect Denard Robinson to put up ridiculous numbers against the Gophers and then fly to New York to accept his October Heisman.  But Jerry Kill will be back, and that's welcome news indeed for Gophers fans.  Hope his health issues are fixed so he can fix he Gophers.  The winner of Illinois and Northwestern will be forced to accept an oversized Monopoly piece, and it marks the return of Dan Persa.  Is Persa healthy, and is Illinois for real?  I think the answer for the latter is yes, and I hope the answer to the former is also in the affirmative--I love watching that kid play football.  Purdue will try to give the B1G a winning record against...them...Penn State will probably end up in a glorified scrimmage against Indiana, and Iowa decided all the excitement was too much and took the week off.  (Seriously, it's their bye week).

Time (CST) Visitor Home TV SB Nation Big Ten Team Blog
11:00 Penn State Indiana ESPNU Black Shoe Diaries v. The Crimson Quarry
11:00 Minnesota Michigan BTN The Daily Gopher v. Maize n Brew
11:00 Northwestern Illinois ESPN 2/ESPN 3 Sippin' On Purple v. Hail To The Orange
2:30 Michigan State Ohio State ABC or ESPN, ESPN 3 The Only Colors v. Along The Olentangy
7:00 Nebraska Wisconsin    ABC Corn Nation v. Bucky's 5th Quarter
7:00 Notre Dame Purdue ESPN Hammer and Rails


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Enjoy the games!