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Across The Empire: Early Games Open Thread

It's getting to be crunch time, and every game matters, even Minnesota-Indiana WHAT ARE YOU...I DON'T EVEN...HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

There are a few really big games in the B1G this week, including one that no one saw coming at the beginning of the year. First, the game schedule:

11:00 Games:

Illinois at Penn State, ESPN 2

Ohio State at Purdue, BTN

Wisconsin at Iowa, ESPN or ABC

2:30 Games:

Michigan at Michigan State, ABC

Minnesota at Indiana, BTN

Northwestern at Nebraska, BTN

The marquee early game is Wisconsin at Iowa, playing for the first time in awhile. At the beginning of this week I thought Wisconsin would win easily, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's going to be a good game. Wisconsin will probably still win, but it's probably going to be closer than I originally thought. The other two early games are kind of dogs, as OSU should go medieval on Purdue, and Penn State shouldn't be too far off from doing the same against Illinois. Even though it's the first Illini trip to Happy Valley under Tim Beckman, he's already familiar with the campus and shouldn't get lost going to the stadium. Or the Lasch Building.

The afternoon games are all compelling, for one reason or another. The headliner is UM-MSU, which I think is going to be a good game. An MSU loss means Michigan is back in control of their own destiny for the Legends Division (at least I think so, if I understand the tiebreakers and whatnot), and an MSU win really puts them in the driver's seat and in command of the the division. The Minnesota--Indiana game has huge bowl implications...NO REALLY IT DOES AND QUIT LAUGHING. More wins means a better bowl for the Gophers, who are already bowl eligible, and Indiana really needs a win here to keep any realistic chance to go bowling alive. And Northwestern-Nebraska? Well, this is important because both fan bases will be trying to out drink the other to try and forget this season as quickly as possible. First fan base to detox wins! Also, runzas.

Open thread rules remain the same: No links to or mentions of any websites that provide illegal streams to any game anywhere, no links to porn, and play nice with one another. And yes, Carl Pelini jokes will be made.

Enjoy the games, everyone!