The Race to Play USC in Their Own Backyard

By Jason Priestas on October 4, 2009 at 5:37p
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After just two weeks of conference play, parity fills the air with only Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa remaining as unbeatens. The Hawkeyes escaped with a 24-21 win over Arkansas State to move their overall mark to 5-0 (1-0), Wisconsin handled Minnesota to do the same and the Buckeyes kept pace by lighting up the Hoosiers.

It's still early and seeing how Wisconsin must take on Ohio State and Iowa in the next two outings, the conference race is still pretty much wide open.

The Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season at Michigan State, Penn State got back on the winning side of things by drubbing Illinois in Champaign and the Big Ten features five 1-1 teams jumbled in the middle of the pack.

Holding down the basement of the standings are Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. To be fair, the Hoosiers and Illini both have a conference game in hand on the Boilers, but Danny Hope's squad hasn't really given me any reason to believe they'll be climbing the fixtures anytime soon. When you look at those three teams, you have to wonder what Illinois is doing lumped in there, what with the talent Ron Zook has to work with. Indiana is IU, and Purdue is just a comedy of errors, but Illinois is nothing more than a tragedy at this point in time. And also likely the last Big Ten team Zook will be coaching.

Aside from the aforementioned OSU/Wisconsin clash this weekend, the league's other marque game will kick off at 8:05pm on ABC when Michigan travels to Iowa to get a taste of what physical football feels like. The Hawkeyes should take care of business and if the Buckeyes can get past Wisconsin (and later Penn State - big IF) the two are setting up nicely for a collision course in Columbus on November 14.

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