Ultimate Big Ten 2012 road trip: Week 8

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
1:00
PM ET
It might be time to bust out a little heavier jacket for the latest stop on our ultimate Big Ten road trip.

We're now into Week 8, which arrives on the weekend of Oct. 20. Fall is in full gear, and so is conference play. Getting excited just thinking about it.

Once again, for this exercise we are picking what games we would cover each week during the 2012 season if we had incriminating photos of our editors and they had to do whatever we said. (Still working on that in real life).

Week 8 games

Penn State at Iowa
Nebraska at Northwestern
Michigan State at Michigan
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Purdue at Ohio State
Indiana at Navy

(Bye: Illinois)

Brian's pick: Michigan State at Michigan

OK, I know I've spent a lot of time in the Mitten State and/or covering the Wolverines on this road trip so far, but how are you going to resist this one? We had the infamous "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" and William Gholston vs. Taylor Lewan in last year's game to spice up this rivalry. The Wolverines will do everything they can to avoid an embarrassing fifth straight loss to a program they like to feel superior toward. Denard Robinson doesn't want to end his career having never beaten the Spartans.

Plus, as of right now I have these two teams as the two best in the Big Ten in 2012. So this game could decide the Legends Division title and perhaps the Rose Bowl. Of course, Michigan State would play try just as hard to beat hated Michigan if both teams came in winless. This will pit a potentially great Spartans defense against a potentially potent Wolverines offense led by Robinson and Fitz Toussaint. Yeah, my road trip could use some diversity, but if the mitten fits ...

Adam's pick: Michigan State at Michigan

I'll meet you at Zingerman's before the game, Brian. While I've also seen both of these teams play multiple times, this is a can't-miss game and one of the easier choices on the road trip thus far. While Purdue-Ohio State, Penn State-Iowa and Nebraska-Northwestern could be interesting, the Michigan schools take center stage. We could be seeing two Top 10 teams, not to mention in-state rivals, going at it in the Big House. And the winner very well could have the inside track for the Legends division title and a trip to Indianapolis.

Let's forget the Big Ten race for a minute, though. These two teams hate one another, and Michigan State's four-game win streak in the series has heightened tensions between players and fans. Sure, Michigan got over the hump against Ohio State, but the Wolverines players have yet to beat the Spartans. Last year's contentious game in East Lansing only adds to the intrigue. From Gholston to Lewan to Robinson to Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, this game presents numerous figures to watch. It'll also be interesting to see how new MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell performs in a hostile setting. From the macro (Big Ten race) to the micro (in-state animosity), this game has it all. Sign me up.

Previously on the road trip ...

Week 1: Adam at Boise State-Michigan State, Brian at Michigan-Alabama

Week 2: Brian at Penn State-Virginia, Adam at Nebraska-UCLA

Week 3: Adam at Notre Dame-Michigan State, Brian at Cal-Ohio State

Week 4: Brian at Michigan-Notre Dame, Adam at Michigan-Notre Dame

Week 5: Adam at Wisconsin-Nebraska, Brian at Ohio State-Michigan State

Week 6: Brian at Nebraska-Ohio State, Adam at Nebraska-Ohio State

Week 7: Brian at Iowa-Michigan State, Adam at Wisconsin-Purdue

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