This is one of those rare weeks when even Michigan fans might hope for an Ohio State victory. Minnesota wouldn't mind a win by Wisconsin, either, as much as the Badgers are disliked across the state line.
The best opportunity until bowl season for the Big Ten to make a statement as a national power conference will take place on Saturday, with four nonconference games against top-tier Pac-12 competition.
-- No. 4 Ohio State, which had trouble beating California in Columbus last year, plays the rematch with the Golden Bears on the road.
-- No. 20 Wisconsin travels to Arizona State, which is 8-0 all time at home against Big Ten teams.
-- No. 23 Nebraska hosts No. 16 UCLA with a chance to avenge last season's loss to the Bruins.
-- And Illinois, coming off a startlingly decisive victory over Cincinnati, takes on 19th-ranked Washington in Chicago, their first meeting since 1972.
No. 17 Northwestern helped the Big Ten get off a solid start by winning at California. Like Hoke, whose Wolverines took down Notre Dame last week, Wildcats coach Fitzgerald will be rooting for the rest of the Big Ten this weekend.
Iowa also travels to rival Iowa State of the Big 12, and Purdue hosts No. 21 Notre Dame. The other games: Bowling Green at Indiana, Akron at No. 11 Michigan, Youngstown State at Michigan State, Western Illinois at Minnesota, Western Michigan at Northwestern, and Central Florida at Penn State.
Also on the Pac-12 slate for Saturday: No. 5 Stanford at Army, Fresno State at Colorado, Boston College at USC, Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon, Southern Utah at Washington State, and UTSA at Arizona. Utah hosts Oregon State in a conference game.