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Across The Empire: Early Games Open Thread

It's the last weekend of the season already. Can you believe it?

Let the hate flow.
Let the hate flow.

We come to the end of the 2013 regular season today.  I can't believe how quickly this season has flown by, can you?  I mean, it seems just like yesterday that...

...Illinois was going to a bowl game.

...Iowa and Minnesota weren't.

...Northwestern was going to win the Legends Division.

...Wait, I mean Michigan was.

...Bo Pelini's job was secure.

...Michigan State had a terrible offense and it was going to cost them a chance to win the conference.

...Wisconsin was going to struggle because of a new coach.  And their old coach to the SEC was terrible news for the Big Ten.

...Indiana and Purdue would be playing for the Old Oaken Bucket...and bowl eligibility.

...Penn State was going to win some road games in conference play.

...Ohio State was going to lose to somebody.

But today, the journeys end, with the exception of upcoming bowl games, and we end on a high note, as we have some fantastic rivalry games taking place.  To the game schedule:

11:00 Games

Minnesota at Michigan State, BTN

Ohio State at Michigan, ABC

2:30 Games

Purdue at Indiana, BTN

Northwestern at Illinois, BTN

Penn State at Wisconsin, ESPN

It's rivalries all up in here!!!  The Big One is The Game, which kicks off in the Big House at 11:00.  I hope Ohio State lays waste to Michigan, but that's just me.  We have two huge rivalry games in the afternoon, and they are just as important to their schools as any rivalry in the conference, as Purdue and Indiana play for the Old Oaken Bucket, and Northwestern and Illinois play for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk Land of Lincoln Trophy.  For Indiana and Purdue, winning this game will help salve an otherwise disappointing season.  For Northwestern and Illinois, well, this is important for a couple different reasons.  For Illinois, it can be a building block to next season.  They improved under Tim Beckman in year two, and a win here could be a springboard into next year.  Nor Northwestern, just stop the bleeding, man.  This has been a disaster of a season, and a loss here would leave you questioning everything about your program.  Everything.

The non-rivalry games are fairly interesting, too.  Minnesota looks to pull an upset over MSU and maybe snag a New Year's Day Bowl game, which would be incredible for the Gophers.  Sparty looks to the Big Ten Championship game next week against OSU, but It's Senior Day in East Lansing, so I doubt they're looking past this game.  Penn State looks for their first and only road win in the conference at Madison, but the Badgers are still looking to get into the BCS, and they need a win here to keep that dream alive.

Between rivalry trophies, bragging rights, and bowl jockeying, we've got a lot going on today, with something at stake for everyone.

Standard rules apply: no porn or mentions/links to sites that illegally stream games, and play nice.  Well, as nice as can be, because it's Rivalry Week and I WANT A MUDHOLE STOMPED IN THE BACKSIDE OF THAT TEAM UP NORTH WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem, yeah.  You get the idea.  Enjoy the games, everybody!