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The B1G Slate: Week 10

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Ranking every matchup this weekend.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Slate

Northwestern @ Iowa

Noon ET/11:00 a.m. CT on BTN

Why you should watch: Unlike in the East Division, everyone in the West has at least one conference loss. That means that a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game is totally up for grabs! Does Wisconsin have a quarterback? Isn't Nebraska supposed to have four losses by default? These questions open the door for a dark horse like Iowa or (gasp!) Northwestern to make a run. Just which team will you be saying you saw coming the whole time? This game will find out.

Rank: Four out of five bottles of whiskey.

Maryland @ Penn State

Noon ET/11:00 a.m. CT on ESPN2

Why you should watch: If Penn State wins, they clinch the first Eastern Bloc Trophy! If Maryland wins, they can clinch with a win over Rutgers, or everyone is 1-1 and we have to draw straws. If you're still one of those who turns up your nose at these east coast teams, this match should at least be competitive. The Lions are coming off an emotional loss to Ohio State, and the Terps just got crushed by Wisconsin. Penn State's defeat was a lot more impressive, but James Franklin's offense still appears incapable of pulling away from anyone. Even if the Penn State defense shuts down Maryland for most of the game, one play by Stefon Diggs can make the difference.

Rank: Three out of four Grilled Stickies.

Wisconsin @ Rutgers

Noon ET/11:00 a.m. CT on ESPN

Why you should watch: The Knights just got blown out by Ohio State and Nebraska, but at least this game is at home. That alone should make things more interesting, as Rutgers is looking for another conference win to back up its legitimacy as a powerhouse. Even on the banks, that doesn't seem too likely, as the Knights just got ran on by Ameer Abdullah and Ezekiel Elliot. Hopefully we'll get to see Wisconsin will have to throw a little more than they did against Maryland, because Joel Stave is shaping up to be a very important part of the Big Ten title race. If he's recovered from the "yips," the Badgers could head to the Rose Bowl.

Rank: Two out of five Fat Darrells.

Afternoon Slate

Indiana @ Michigan

3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT on BTN

Why you should watch: Woohoo! Look at all these nice games on the Big Ten Network. That's bad news if it's not part of your cable package, but good news if you like rich school presidents getting even more money. Anyway, this one should be fun because the Wolverines are looking to remain bowl eligible, and the postseason is still a possibility if Michigan can win three of its last four games (the fourth is in Columbus, so they have to get moving here). On the other hand, if Big Blue drops one to the Hoosiers for the first time since the Reagan administration, the schadenfreude will be off the charts. In short, it's a crucial game for Michigan lovers and haters alike. Even with a loss, Indiana is still alive for bowl contention with games against Penn State, Rutgers, and Purdue remaining.

Rank: Three out of five Jim Hacketts.

Purdue @ Nebraska

3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT on ABC/ESPN2

Why you should watch: Because Purdue is alive, people! Yes, just in time for Halloween, the program has risen from the dead with a win over Illinois and two straight high-scoring losses to conference title contenders. A lot of the credit goes to sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby, who only started to see significant playing time four weeks ago in Champaign. Even if you don't believe in the Boilers, Abdullah is making himself to be appointment television with his fourth 200-yard rushing game of the season last week. Detractors will point to Abdullah's slow game against Michigan State, but his 6.9 yards-per-carry average and 17 touchdowns yell "Heisman contender."

Rank: Two out of five husks of corn.

Primetime Slate

Illinois @ Ohio State

8:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. CT on ABC

Why you should watch: Hey you guys! There's a reason why ESPN hates the Big Ten and loves the SEC. And it's not because Lee Corso gets chilly visiting northern stadiums during October. In consecutive weeks, the World Wide Leader has booked Ohio State against sub-par competition on national television. Penn State saved the day by improbably forcing overtime, but can Illinois also be a spunky underdog? It's going to be tougher with the Buckeyes playing at home, but at least the Illini are coming off a big win over Minnesota with Riley O'Toole at the helm. Even with O'Toole sporting one of the grittiest names in the game, Big Ten fans might find themselves switching over to the southern action at halftime.

Rank: Two out of five cute turtle trophies.