Big Ten play technically started on Sept. 13 and we had our first multi-game weekend last weekend, but this Saturday marks the start of 2014's B1Gest Big Ten games, as Nebraska travels to East Lansing to take on 10th-ranked Michigan State.
It will be an interesting game for the Big Ten, which figures to have one elite team — Michigan State — and a few other good ones. The Spartans have dominated their inferior opponents, and while they lost to Oregon, they did show some bright spots on the road against one of the best teams in the country. This will be their first real test since then.
Nebraska is a bit of an unknown. The Huskers struggled with McNeese State in the second game of the season, but they've dominated inferior teams since then and showed off their offensive prowess in a win over Miami. However, the defense still has question marks, and a blowout loss to the Spartans could temper expectations that this will finally be the year the Huskers break their four-loss streak. Can Nebraska pull off the upset and suddenly become the team to beat in the Big Ten West? It will be tough, but the offense might be able to pull it off.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 8 p.m. ET
Online streaming: abc.go.com/watch-live
Rankings and records: Michigan State is 3-1, and ranked 10th in both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll. Nebraska is 5-0, and ranked 19th in the AP and 17th in the Coaches Polls.
Vegas: Michigan State opened as an 8-point favorite and the line has since moved slightly to -7.
Weather forecast: 45 degrees with rain showers.
Two things at stake
Is Michigan State still a fringe playoff contender? The Spartans will need to go undefeated in the Big Ten, and blowing out Nebraska could make for a solid statement.
If Nebraska is going to be taken seriously as the division frontrunner, it can't be blown out in this game. If the Huskers win, then they could become a major sleeper to win the Big Ten.
One big matchup
Nebraska offense vs. Michigan State defense: Michigan State is going to get its points against the Nebraska defense, which has been erratic at times. It will be up to the Huskers' offense to keep up. That offense has proven that it can move the ball against the likes of Illinois, Fresno State and Miami, but does it have the consistency to control the game against a dominant Michigan State defense? Ameer Abdullah is one of the most underrated running backs in the country, and if he gets going, he might be able to wear down the MSU defense enough to pull out the win.