Big changes are lurking around the Big Ten - teams from foreign lands, Ohio State and Michigan leading separate divisions. This season could be the last in the classic fashion we've come to know and love, and it's set up for some top-notch drama.

Big changes are lurking around the Big Ten - teams from foreign lands, Ohio State and Michigan leading separate divisions. This season could be the last in the classic fashion we've come to know and love, and it's set up for some top-notch drama.

Ohio State faces a scrappy contender from the South, travels to some perilous night games and finishes with one of the toughest three-game stretches in college football. Here's more about the Bucks - ranked No. 2 in both preseason polls - and the teams they'll face on their quest for a national championship.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2


Nothing if not resilient, the Thundering Herd should rally after three disciplinary dismissals on the first day of fall practice. However, the Conference USA opponent won't pose much of a threat via mediocre rushing and passing attacks.

Key opponent: Receiver Antavious Wilson, the top talent in a solid target corps

Miami (Florida)

3:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11


A true test comes early, with a Hurricanes squad looking to legitimize the ACC through a big non-conference upset. Miami's always fast, and some talented recruits have matured into powerful upperclassmen.

Key opponent: Quarterback Jacory Harris, a pocket threat who finished 2009 with a 140.9 passer rating


12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18


The Buckeyes and Bobcats have played six times since 1899, and OSU has never lost. Even though the 'Cats step it up on the bigger stage, their offense will likely prove a liability against a stout Buckeyes D.

Key opponent: Quarterbacks Boo Jackson and Phil Bates, who will need to mesh well as they split time under center

Eastern Michigan

Time TBA Saturday, Sept. 25


Last season, under first-year coach Ron English, the Eagles couldn't win a game or even find an effective quarterback. Still, the Bucks will need to focus, destroy and look ahead - in that order.

Key opponent: Defensive back Latarrius Thomas, a former top prospect who transferred from Louisville to play for English


Time TBA Saturday, Oct. 2

Champaign, Illinois

Though in flux, the Fighting Illini always elevate against the Bucks - especially at home. After last season's disappointing 3-9 finish, coach Ron Zook brought in new coordinators to help manage the season.

Key opponent: Running back Mikel LeShoure, who's earned a spot on the preseason Doak Walker Award list


Time TBA Saturday, Oct. 9


Chalking up only one conference win last season, the Hoosiers coaching staff moved to a 3-4 defensive scheme and overhauled practice routines. It's unclear whether those key changes - or talented returning quarterback Ben Chappell - can spur a major turnaround.

Key opponent: Receiver Tandon Doss, who's extremely dangerous when he can stay healthy


7:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16

Madison, Wisconsin

Eighteen starters return for the Badgers - more than enough material for crack coach Bret Bielema to work with. There might be a few holes on the D-line, but the Badgers boast the most efficient offense the Bucks face in 2010.

Key opponent: Running back John Clay, who rushed for 1,517 yards and 18 touchdowns last year


12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23


Springtime injuries have plagued Purdue's depth chart, which was already in question. The season is by no means lost, but they'll need a lot of things to come together to be eligible for a bowl game.

Key opponent: Receiver Keith Smith, who last year caught 91 passes for 1,100 yards despite having a broken wrist


8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Golden Gophers have struggled against ranked opponents, going 0-4 last season. That doesn't bode well for their campaign against the Bucks. Neither does having nine new starters on defense.

Key opponent: Quarterback and receiver MarQueis Gray, who's quick, strong and versatile enough to play all over the field

Penn State

Time TBA Saturday, Nov. 13


Class, reputation and quality coaching allow the Nittany Lions to reload year after year, and the team has another crop of young talent. If a few blue chips can step up, PSU should be extremely tough.

Key opponent: Running back Evan Royster, one of PSU's all-time greatest backs, who returns for his senior season


Time TBA Saturday, Nov. 20

Iowa City, Iowa

What's likely to be the Big 10 title game could involve a chess match or a high-octane shootout. Both teams boast strong offensive attacks, stout defenses and quality special teams.

Key opponent: Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who's 18-4 as a starter and led the Hawkeyes to an Orange Bowl victory last season


Time TBA Saturday, Nov. 27


Nothing would cool off coach Rich Rodriguez's hot seat faster than a road win in the Horseshoe. To do that, he'll need to find consistency at quarterback, running back and kicker - three positions still uncertain last week.

Key opponent: Linebacker Craig Roh, whose quickness allows him to rush passers and drop back into coverage