Ranking B1G nonleague games: Nos. 20-11

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
1:30
PM ET
With the 2013 season getting closer and closer, we're gearing up by ranking every Big Ten nonconference game from worst to first.

We've already run down games Nos. 48-35 and Nos. 34-21. Now we look at the games from No. 20 to No. 11, or what I'm calling Tier III: Intrigue everywhere with potential for greatness.

No. 20: Michigan at Connecticut, Sept. 21: Interesting because it's on the road. Not so interesting if you've ever watched Connecticut try to play offense.

No. 19: Kent State at Penn State, Sept. 21: If Dri Archer goes nuts, the Golden Flashes -- who won 11 games last year under Darrell Hazell -- could pull off a repeat of Ohio's 2012 win in Beaver Stadium.

No. 18: San Diego State at Ohio State, Sept. 7: This could wind up being the Buckeyes' toughest challenge of the nonconference season. The Aztecs have averaged nearly nine wins the past three years.

No. 17: Central Florida at Penn State, Sept. 14: Will be more interesting when this game is in Ireland next year. Golden Knights won 10 games last year but they lost 11 starters and must prove they can beat one of the big boys.

No. 16: Northern Illinois at Purdue, Sept. 28: Jordan Lynch could easily lead the Huskies to a win on the road. Hazell is very familiar with NIU, which beat his Kent State team in the MAC title game last year with a BCS game on the line.

No. 15: Northern Illinois at Iowa, Aug. 31: Last year's game went down to the wire in Chicago. Could be the same this year, as Northern Illinois has a huge edge in quarterback experience.

No. 14: Missouri at Indiana, Sept. 21: An SEC-Big Ten showdown, though not one involving marquee teams from either league. But don't sleep on this game, which should be high scoring, fast paced and a lot of fun.

No. 13: Washington vs. Illinois, Sept. 14: The Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup and the locale (Soldier Field) make this one intriguing. But we have our doubts as to whether the Illini can actually keep it interesting for four quarters.

No. 12: Syracuse at Northwestern, Sept. 7: Last year's thriller in the Carrier Dome was an overlooked gem of the 2012 season. Could happen again, though the Orange are replacing 10 starters, including their quarterback, and are breaking in a new head coach.

No. 11: Purdue at Cincinnati, Aug. 31: The first game at a new school for a pair of head coaches (Hazell and Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville) and a pretty good matchup as far as Week 1 games go.

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