Big Ten schedule, week 5.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

After a lackluster non-conference season, conference play finally begins this week for the Big Ten. I guess this means at least someone gets to look good.

Indiana (+11) at Northwestern (noon, BTN): Lots of discussion elsewhere. I have no feel for this one, but it's Northwestern, so expect pain.

Penn State (-1) at Illinois (noon, ESPN): As with every Penn State game this season, it's very hard to gauge this one. I don't believe that any possible outcome could surprise me. Penn State is only a one point favorite after a non-BCS opponent hung over 50 points on the Illini at home last week.

Minnesota (+7) at Iowa (noon, ESPN2): Who knows? Seven seems a little steep for this game, even at Kinnick, but it certainly wouldn't be surprised if Iowa finally looks decent and if the Gophers settle back to earth after a 4-0 start.

Purdue (-17) v. Marshall (3:15, BTN): Danny Hope is in his fourth year at Purdue, and if his Boilermakers can take care of Marshall, then he will have avoided a bad non-conference loss for the first time in his career, and Purdue will be over .500 entering Big Ten play for the first time under Hope. This will be a strength-against-strength matchup. Purdue's defense has looked good, but Marshall is scoring 41 points per game.

Ohio State (+3) at Michigan State (3:30, ABC): The Buckeyes appear to be the best team in the Big Ten. The Michigan State offense hasn't been very poor in recent weeks, but the game is in East Lansing. This one will be interesting.

Wisconsin (+12) at Nebraska (8:00, ABC): For all the upheaval surrounding the Wisconsin program, and despite Nebraska's loss to UCLA, would anyone be surprised if this were a preview of the Big Ten championship game? It's not quite the matchup that ABC was expecting, and the game will be sullied by some awful uniforms, but it's still worth a look.

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