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Three Things to Watch: Ohio State is off, but B1G games are here

Ohio State fans can watch these B1G games this weekend.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State sits at 4-0, having completed its non-conference schedule as well as one conference game at Indiana in the season opener. Ohio State’s players will use this weekend to rest, rehabilitate any injuries (yes, we are all looking at you, Marvin Harrison Jr. — you are going to be heavily counted upon for the remainder of the season), and rejuvenate for a competitive B1G conference schedule that will resume on Oct. 7 at home versus Maryland at 12pm ET on FOX.

Ohio State’s coaches are on the road, visiting with prospective recruits, and will have plenty to focus upon in terms of areas for necessary improvement.

That leads to an interesting question for you, dear reader: how are you going to spend the Ohio State bye week?

Perhaps some of you have your own “honey do” tasks that have been neglected, since Ohio State’s season began on Sept. 2 in Bloomington, Indiana. Do not despair, if you are worried about how to occupy your time - below are Three Things To Watch From The B1G that you can use this coming weekend.

  1. 12:00 p.m. ET Window (BTN ~ Penn State at Northwestern; Louisiana at Minnesota)

The Big Ten Network has two games during this time period. Ohio State will be facing both Penn State and Minnesota later this season in Ohio Stadium (Penn State on Oct. 21, Minnesota on Nov. 18). My preference is to watch the Penn State game, as Ohio State will be playing them sooner than they will be playing Minnesota, but here is an opportunity for you to get a glimpse at two future conference opponents in action.

2. 3:30 p.m. ET Window (FOX ~ Michigan at Nebraska; Peacock ~ Illinois at Purdue; BTN ~ Wagner at Rutgers)

Three future 2023 Ohio State opponents, all at the same time, on three different platforms. Ohio State travels to Purdue on Oct. 14, travels to Rutgers on Nov. 4, and “THE GAME” is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Nov. 25.

Both Illinois and Purdue have had their share of struggles this season, with the Fighting Illini (2-2) traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the Boilermakers (1-3). For those of you with Peacock, here is an opportunity for you to assess how Ohio State will match up against Purdue in two weeks.

Rutgers is at 3-1 within The B1G, and have an opportunity to move to 4-1 with a win over the visiting Wagner Seahawks of the FCS, who have a 2-2 record so far this season. Just as a reference point, Rutgers defeated Wagner 66-7 last season, so that should give you some idea as to how this game may turn out on The Big Ten Network.

FOX has a national television audience for Michigan traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska for the first time in the Matt Rhule era. The Wolverines crushed Nebraska last season 34-3, but had their share of challenges in 2021 the last time they visited Memorial Stadium, as Michigan won 32-29. Michigan is undefeated at 4-0, with Nebraska at 2-2 on the season.

Nebraska may have figured out its quarterback situation, with sophomore Heinrich Haarberg leading the Cornhuskers to two straight non-conference wins (35-11 over Northern Illinois; 28-14 over Louisiana Tech). The Cornhuskers also boast an impressive 46.3 yards per game average in rushing yards allowed. For a team that is so run-oriented as Michigan, this should be interesting to see if the Wolverines have any difficulty.

3. 7:30 p.m. ET Window (NBC and Peacock ~ Michigan State at Iowa)

Only one night game is slated for The B1G, and that is for the reeling 2-2 Michigan State Spartans who will travel to Kinnick Stadium to take on the 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams are coming off difficult losses, as Michigan State lost at home 31-9 to Maryland, while Iowa was shut out on the road 31-0 at Penn State.

Both Michigan State and Iowa need a win, but for different reasons. Michigan State has officially announced the firing of Mel Tucker as the team’s head coach, and the cloud of uncertainty that has hovered over the program since Tucker’s announced suspension has essentially thrown the 2023 season into a tailspin for the Spartans. Iowa started out their non-conference schedule strongly enough, but the Penn State shutout has only helped to fan the flames of discontent about the Hawkeyes’ offensive struggles under Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.

Three different time windows with plenty of options for how to spend your Saturday. Perhaps they are not the most tantalizing of choices, but hey, would you rather clean out your gutters, or watch B1G football?