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2012 College Football Schedule: The Last Weekend Before Conference Play

The Big Ten schedule this week features Minnesota and Syracuse with few other teams facing big-conference opponents.

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers take on their final non-conference opponent of the season, the Syracuse Orange, in a game Saturday night that will be Minnesota's first full game without quarterback MarQueis Gray.

Gray suffered a high ankle sprain last week against Western Michigan. Sophomore quarterback Max Shortell will start. Shortell threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns after entering in the second quarter of a 28-23 win over Western Michigan.

Elsewhere around the Big Ten are a handful of notable match-ups; most notable is Michigan's trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in prime time. Penn State and Temple will be featured in an afternoon ABC game.

Otherwise, the Big Ten schedule this week is conference teams against mid-major teams or FCS opponents as teams ramp up for the beginning of Big Ten play next week.

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UTEP Minters at Wisconsin Badgers (11 a.m. CT, ESPN2)

Central Michigan Chippewas at Iowa Hawkeyes (11 a.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

UAB Blazers at Ohio State Buckeyes (11 a.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

South Dakota Coyotes at Northwestern Wildcats (2:30 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

Temple Owls at Penn State Nittany Lions (2:30 p.m. CT, ABC)

Idaho State Bengals at Nebraska Cornhuskers (2:30 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan State Spartans (2:30 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6:30 p.m. CT, NBC)

Syracuse Orange at Minnesota Golden Gophers (7 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Illinois Fighting Illini (7 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network)

For more on Big Ten football, visit Off Tackle Empire. For news and notes from around college football, head over to SB Nation's college football hub.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.