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Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Most important game: Wisconsin

By Brian Bennett

We've reached the end of our series taking a look at the most important game for every Big Ten team. As a reminder one last time, these are games that will have the biggest impact on the league race or hold special meaning for one of the teams involved.

Check out the previous 11 installments here. Now bring us on home, Wisconsin Badgers.

Most important game: Nov. 17 vs Ohio State

Why it's important: I had a very difficult time deciding between this one, the Oct. 27 home game against Michigan State and the season-ending trip to Penn State. As great as the games against the Spartans have been, it's not a division matchup. The Badgers lost in East Lansing last year and still made the Rose Bowl. So it comes down to two Leaders clashes, both of which could have a huge say in which team ends up in Indianapolis. I chose the game against the Buckeyes for a couple of reasons. One, it's a home game, and Wisconsin -- which has been almost unbeatable at Camp Randall Stadium recently -- can't afford to lose any games at home in what figures to be a very tight race for the division crown. Even though Ohio State is ineligible for the Leaders title, the Buckeyes can still play spoiler. And though they've made nice since, you know there will be some lingering bad blood between Bret Bielema and Urban Meyer after their recruiting tiff in February. Both teams will want to stick it to the other one. With Ohio State likely on the rise under Meyer and a major contender in 2013 and beyond, this is something of a message game for Bielema and his program. Sure, the game at Penn State may end up being for all the division marbles, as the matchup was last year in Madison. But if Wisconsin loses at home to the Buckeyes, that next game might not matter nearly as much.