Ranking The 12 Best Games In The Big Ten In 2016

There is as much intrigue surrounding the Big Ten as there has been in a decade, and that should make for an extremely exciting football season. Here are the 12 best games you need to watch this season:

12) Penn State Nittany Lions at Pitt Panthers - Sept. 10
These two teams don't figure to be major factors in the Big Ten or ACC conference races, but the revamping of this in-state rivalry is enough to put this game on the list. 

11) Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Wolverines - Oct. 1
This is Michigan's first real test of the season, and Wisconsin is looking for an early-season win to boost their stock as a Big Ten West contender.

10) Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers - Oct. 15
Ohio State comes into the year as the favorites to win the Big Ten, but this is their first real conference test. It also provides Wisconsin with their best chance to get that marquee win they're looking for.

9) Wisconsin Badgers at Iowa Hawkeyes - Oct. 22
This may end up being the de facto Big Ten West title game. Iowa went undefeated until the conference championship game last year, and with several key players returning, they're a real threat to win the conference. The game will have even more importance on the national stage is Wisconsin wins one (or both) of their games against Michigan or Ohio State.

8) Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Sept. 17
A high-profile non-conference game, Notre Dame has their sights set on the College Football Playoff. Michigan State is thought to be undergoing a rebuilding year, but pulling this upset would put them back at the top of the Big Ten.

7) Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes - Nov. 12
This could be a potential Big Ten Championship game preview, but in all likelihood, the winner of this game will stay in the conference title picture while the loser falls out of the race.

6) Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans - Oct. 29
Michigan will enter this game as the favorite, but as we've seen many times before, anything can happen in a rivalry game of this magnitude - especially when the underdog is at home.

5) Oregon Ducks at Nebraska Cornhuskers - Sept. 17
Nebraska is looking to rebound from a disappointing season in head coach Mike Riley's first year with the team, and this is their first chance to get a notable victory. The same goes for Oregon, who wants to prove they've reloaded again and aren't rebuilding.

4) Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans - Nov. 19
Michigan State upset the Buckeyes on the road last year. Ohio State is dead set on getting revenge for that loss, but playing this game in East Lansing will make it a much tougher task.

3) LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers - Sept. 3
LSU's new defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, was with the Badgers last season. This could be site of College Gameday, and it'll be fun to watch Leonard Fournette go up against the Wisconsin defense. This game is being played at Lambeau Field. 

2) Ohio State Buckeyes at Oklahoma Sooners - Sept. 17
An early-season matchup between two College Football Playoff contenders? Yes, please!

The winner of this game will probably end up in the top two or three of the rankings and put themselves in prime position for the playoff, while the loser will have to go undefeated in conference play to ensure a spot in the playoff. Stakes this high should make for a great game.

1) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines - Nov. 26
I don't think we need to explain how much this game means. On top of the normal Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, we have the growing battle between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. Plus, the winner of this game will probably not only end up in the Big Ten title game, but also have a good chance to make the College Football Playoff.

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