In this season of uncertainty, Buckeye fans are normally beginning to consider postseason options, exploring holiday travel packages to potentially inviting climates.
Not so in 2011 while the Nation anxiously awaits NCAA investigative results to an already severely damaged program. OSU officials previously indicated the expect a final NCAA edict no later than November which is less than three weeks away.
Might the Buckeyes be banned altogether from 2011 bowl game participation? And if not, can the Scarlet & Gray rebound from an 0-2 conference start and win the required six games to become bowl eligible? Stay tuned.
Entering this weekend's five-game Big Ten slate, it's no secret where the league's showcase game is being staged.
That would be Spartan Stadium in East Lansing where available tickets are at a premium as Michigan State welcomes the rival Wolverines in a high noon kickoff telecast by ESPN with Urban Meyer providing broadcast analysis.
Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois and Iowa also host Saturday games with Nebraska and Minnesota experiencing bye weeks. This week's selections:
PURDUE (3-2, 1-0) AT PENN STATE (5-1, 2-0). Joe Pa and the Lions have rebounded for four straight wins after being handled by Alabama Sept. 10 in Happy Valley. Purdue has nothing close to resembling a signature win but have fallen on the road to Rice. Nittany Lions, 20-10.
MICHIGAN (6-0, 2-0) AT MICHIGAN STATE (4-1, 1-0). This one should be worth price of admission and then some. Sparty is coming off bye week following 10-7 triumph at Ohio State. Michigan offense led by Denard Robinson (1,130 passing; 720 rushing) who's accounted for 18 touchdowns. Can Mark Dantonio mastermind a winning defensive game plan? Wolverines, 30-27.
INDIANA (1-5, 0-2) AT WISCONSIN (5-0, 1-0). Hoosiers just another brick in the wall for Bret Bielema's highly-rated ball club which is coming off a bye week. A name-that-score encounter. Badgers, 45-10.
OHIO STATE (3-3, 0-2) AT ILLINOIS (6-0, 2-0). All pressure lies with Illini which is expected to hand OSU its third straight Big Ten loss. It says here Scarlet & Gray find a way to get it done. Buckeyes, 20-17.
NORTHWESTERN (2-3, 0-2) AT IOWA (3-2, 0-1). Pat Fitzgerald's Cats have dropped three straight while Hawkeyes are coming off three-point output in road loss at Penn State. A mild upset here. Wildcats, 28-21.