Save the date! A breakdown of the key games facing Big Ten football

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Mark Dantonio

Any college football game is better than no football game, that's pretty much a given.

But as Big Ten media days near, and predictions are bandied about, here's a look at what could be the 10 best games this season:

Sept. 21

Michigan at Wisconsin: Nothing like getting started in Big Ten play in a big way. It’s always tough to play in Madison, just ask the Wolverines who have lost their lost four there. Perhaps a silver lining for Michigan — at least it’s not a night game.

Sept 28

Ohio State at Nebraska: The Buckeyes open Big Ten play at Indiana, then, after playing at home against Miami (Ohio), head back on the road to face Nebraska. This will be a significant test for the Buckeyes against a quarterback, Adrian Martinez, many think will be among the very top in the conference.

Oct. 19

Michigan at Penn State: Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown had many sleepless nights last year, haunted by the Wolverines’ 42-13 loss at Penn State in 2017. Michigan responded with a 42-7 pounding last season, but this game is in Happy Valley, which is always a tough place to be.

Oct. 26

Notre Dame at Michigan: Weird timing for this out-of-conference rivalry game, but who cares? This will be the last meeting between the teams for the foreseeable future, so that in itself makes this a big game. This will be Notre Dame’s first game at Michigan Stadium since 2013.

More: Wojo: This is the year Michigan wins the Big Ten — fact or fiction?

Oct. 26

Penn State at Michigan State: The Spartans have had Penn State’s number the last two years, upending the Nittany Lions when they’ve been ranked in the top 10 both times. Michigan State has won five of the last six. This will be a pivotal game for both teams in the East.

Nov. 9

Iowa at Wisconsin: Both teams should be rested considering each is off the weekend before. It’s possible another team already will be in the drivers’ seat in the West, but to be sure, the loser of this game likely will be out of the running.

Nov. 16

Michigan State at Michigan: Michigan is off the weekend before playing MSU, and the Spartans are sort of off, as well — they play at home against Illinois. The Spartans have won four of the last five at Michigan Stadium, including the last two meetings.

Nov. 16

Wisconsin at Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have been getting some preseason love in large part because of quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Badgers have won six straight against Nebraska — will this be the year?

Nov. 23

Penn State at Ohio State: This is when it gets down to the nitty gritty in determining which teams are still in the Big East race. The Buckeyes have had to stage late comebacks to beat the Nittany Lions the last two seasons.

Nov. 30

Ohio State at Michigan: The Michigan defensive coaches were bruised badly after the 62-39 loss at Ohio State last year and have vowed they will make amends. This will be one to watch — it always is, regardless — to see how the Wolverines respond and how the Buckeyes play in "The Game" for new coach Ryan Day.

Twitter: @chengelis