With less than 10 weeks to go before football returns and your weekends disappear, it's time to do some planning. Before you begin scouring for tickets, gassing up the RV and RSVP'ing to those fall wedding invites with full regrets, let's map out the best way to see as much high-quality Big Ten football as possible this season.
We took the liberty of putting together our ultimate road trip for the 2017 season. We focused on finding the biggest and best games each week while hitting as many campuses as possible and trying to keep the travel from getting too repetitive. We started this week with September and October. Now it's time to wrap things up with November.
Week 10 (Nov. 4) -- Iowa vs. Ohio state (Iowa City, Iowa)
November begins and ends with the Buckeyes. First is a trip to Kinnick Stadium, where a loyal fan base and hard-to-predict weather can cause problems for visitors. The Hawkeyes will have a strong defensive front and a couple of talented running backs built for keeping close games interesting. If Ohio State's offense isn't cranked up to full speed after a tough game against Penn State the previous week, this could be a trap for them and a chance for Kirk Ferentz and Iowa to make a push for its own relevance in the Big Ten title hunt.
Week 11 (Nov. 11) -- Minnesota vs. Nebraska (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
We couldn't go a full season without visiting new Gophers coach P.J. Fleck to check in on his progress in Minnesota. Will his efforts to transport his unique culture from Western Michigan to a Big Ten campus find a foothold by November? Beating Nebraska at home in the cold would be a momentous push in the right direction. With Northwestern and Wisconsin to follow (and Michigan the previous week) November is no cakewalk for a team in transition, but stealing at least one or two wins out of that stretch will give Fleck and his staff something to build on.
Week 12 (Nov. 18) Wisconsin vs. Michigan (Madison, Wisconsin)
Pack your thermals for what might be the best cross-divisional meeting of the season in the second-to-last week on the schedule. These two teams feature strong defense -- Michigan's should be matured enough by late November to have its obvious talent settled into place -- and smart, steady quarterbacks. Those are both good ingredients to have when building competitive teams that can win close games. No matter who enters Camp Randall Stadium as the favorite for this game, the outcome will likely have a big impact on the league's postseason picture.
Week 13 (Nov. 25) -- Michigan vs. Ohio State (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Thanksgiving weekend is a loaded cornucopia of worthwhile trips. It's hard to go wrong with the end-of-year Big Ten rivalry games, but it's impossible to pass on The Game. Last season's meeting went into double overtime and tipped in Ohio State's favor on a controversial fourth-down conversion. For all the tangible progress he's made in two season, Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat the Buckeyes. The only coach to ever start his Michigan career 0-3 against the school's biggest rival is Rich Rodriguez. So, though no one in maize and blue will be ready to run him out of town anytime soon, the pressure to win this year's meeting at the Big House will be significant.