Big Ten Week 6 preview

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
8:30
AM ET
The Big Ten big dog, Wisconsin, is off this week, along with Michigan State. But there are some interesting matchups in the second week of league play. Here's an early rundown:

Ohio State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 14 Nebraska (4-1, 0-1), 8 p.m. (ABC): Remember when this looked like a clash of the titans when the game was announced in the offseason? Now it's a pair of teams simply looking for their first conference win, with one struggling on offense and the other seeking answers on defense. But the Buckeyes will welcome back their four suspended players, and it is Nebraska's first Big Ten conference home game, so there are still plenty of reasons to watch.

Iowa (3-1, 0-0) at Penn State (4-1, 1-0), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional/ESPN): This is a key test for both teams, which each boasting one high-performing side of the ball (offense for the Hawkeyes, defense for the Nittany Lions) and some shaky-looking play on the other. Iowa has had Penn State's number, winning eight of the past 10.

No. 12 Michigan (5-0, 1-0) at Northwestern (2-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network): The Wolverines are off to a flying start under Brady Hoke and are creeping toward the Top 10. This will be their first game outside the cozy confines of Ann Arbor, however. Northwestern could be tough if Dan Persa can get through an entire game.

No. 19 Illinois (5-0, 1-0) at Indiana (1-4, 0-1), 2:30 p.m., (BTN): The Illini leave Champaign for the first time all season, but it's a short drive over to a not exactly hostile environment in Bloomington. Can IU build upon a decent performance against Penn State?

Minnesota (1-4, 0-1) at Purdue (2-2, 0-1), Noon (ESPN): These two teams lost by a combined 86 points last week, so if you decide to sleep in a little on Saturday, we wouldn't blame you. At least one of these clubs will get its first Big Ten win of the season.

Byes: Wisconsin, Michigan State

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