Big Ten moves on from a successful non-conference

All in all, it was a pretty good nonconference schedule for the Big Ten. While several teams still have nonconference games scheduled later in the season , the conference schedule officially begins this weekend for all teams but Purdue . The conference as a whole went 31-8 the first four weeks of the season, and currently has three teams in the top-15 of the AP poll âÄî Wisconsin (9), Penn State (12), and Ohio State (14). Only one team, Michigan (1-2), currently has a losing record. âÄúI donâÄôt see a team out there that maybe jumps out above everybody else,âÄù Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. âÄúOn the same account, there isnâÄôt anybody that you can just kind of say that we feel we can go out and play against these guys and have success.âÄù The Badgers (3-0) beat No. 21 Fresno State in Week 3 , and after this weekendâÄôs game against Michigan, will have to play Penn State and Ohio State . The Buckeyes, whom the Gophers play in Columbus this weekend , have been perhaps the Big TenâÄôs biggest disappointment so far. After reaching the national championship game each of the past two years, the Buckeyes started the season at No. 2 in the AP poll. In perhaps the most anticipated nonconference game in all of college football this year, the Buckeyes lost 35-3 to the top-ranked University of Southern California . A week later, they trailed at halftime to unranked Ohio University before a fourth quarter comeback. Paterno to return to sideline Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said he plans on being on the sidelines this weekend, despite concerns about a knee injury sustained earlier in the season, when he was attempting an onside kick in practice. Paterno spent the first half of SaturdayâÄôs game on the sideline before spending the second half in the press box. âÄúIâÄôm through with onside kicks,âÄù Paterno said. Game of the week âÄúEverybody is excited about getting started in the Big Ten conference, and not so excited about the team we’re playing,âÄù Illinois coach Ron Zook said this week. He was referring to No. 22 IllinoisâÄô game at Penn State âÄî the only conference game with two ranked teams . The Nittany Lions won their four nonconference games by an average of more than 40 points and are sixth in the nation in total offense . âÄúI think this is why you go to a Big Ten school,âÄù Zook said. âÄúI’ve had a couple of them tell me that this is why they came to Illinois: to have the opportunity to play in a game like this.âÄù