It's time to wrap up our 2012 ultimate Big Ten road trip with the final week of the regular season. We have been picking the game we would attend each week if we could make our own itineraries, and now all that's left is to pick our spots for the finale and count up our imaginary hotel points and frequent flyer miles.
Week 13 games:
Illinois at Northwestern
Indiana at Purdue
Wisconsin at Penn State
Michigan at Ohio State
Michigan State at Minnesota
Nebraska at Iowa
Brian's pick: Michigan at Ohio State
Lots of excellent options for the finale, and with Nebraska-Iowa on a Friday, perhaps we could even pull double duty. But I'm sticking with tradition here and going to The Game. It's always a big deal and must-see TV in the Big Ten, but this year looms as even more important.
Michigan finally snapped a seven-game losing streak in Ann Arbor to put this rabid rivalry back on more equal footing. Ohio State will not only seek revenge for that loss, but this will be the Buckeyes' bowl game since they are ineligible for the postseason. Urban Meyer coaches for the first time in the rivalry, and the Horseshoe should be going nuts. It's also Brady Hoke's first time leading the Wolverines into action at "Ohio," and I'd expect a less-than-warm reception for him.
Throw in the potential that these two should be among the best teams in the league and could have two of the most exciting players in quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Braxton Miller, and this one has can't miss written all over it. So I'm not going to miss it.
Adam's pick: Michigan at Ohio State
While we're clearly going to get sick of one another by this stage, I can't pass up The Game, especially not this year. After covering three humdrum Ohio State-Michigan contests between 2008-10, I started to think the Big Ten's signature matchup was no longer a must-see. The 2010 contest in Columbus was one of the least interesting games I've covered since taking this job. And then Hoke came along and revitalized Michigan in 2010, helping the Wolverines end their seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes. And then Meyer arrived in Columbus with the pledge to quickly restore Ohio State to a nationally elite level. And then came the bowl ban for Brutus.
The first Hoke-Meyer clash would always be big, but the circumstances surrounding this year's contest are unique. Meyer faces Michigan for the first time as Ohio State's coach, and he'll be looking to make a statement in what will be his team's final game of 2012. Regardless of their record, the Buckeyes will have zero trouble getting up for this one. Michigan, meanwhile, could be playing for a spot in the Big Ten title game and possibly more, depending on how the Wolverines navigate an extremely difficult slate. We've got two dynamic quarterbacks (Robinson and Miller), two young but talented defenses and two fan bases that hate one another.
I wouldn't complain if I'm in Iowa City or State College in Week 13, but my pick is The Game in Columbus.
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
Week 8: Adam at Michigan State-Michigan, Brian at Michigan State-Michigan
Week 9: Brian at Michigan-Nebraska, Adam at Michigan State-Wisconsin
Week 10: Adam at Illinois-Ohio State, Brian at Penn State-Purdue
Week 11: Brian at Penn State-Nebraska, Adam at Penn State-Nebraska
Week 12: Adam at Ohio State-Wisconsin, Brian at Ohio State-Wisconsin