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This is the first time since 2013 that the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe won’t be held on the last week of the regular season, a scheduling tweak designed to allow multiple back-up dates for the rivalry game to be played. It’s also expected to give the winner control of the Big Ten West

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Weird things have happened when these teams play of late, but the Boilermakers are bringing firepower to this year’s matchup.

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Indiana’s been a tough team to slow down offensively in recent years, but the Hoosiers haven’t been able to stop opponents either. Can that change in a matchup that could determine the second tier of the Big Ten East?

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This may be the only game in the Badgers season in which they’re not the betting favorite. Playing at The Big House will have a different feel this season as crowds — if allowed at all — will be smaller than the 100,000-plus groups normally at Michigan games.

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How the Gophers deal with the success of last season and how the Wolverines handle impatience from their fans are through-lines for the entire season. A big win early in the season could vault the winner into contention and slip the loser toward a disappointing year.

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The Badgers will play 10 Big Ten opponents — six from the Big Ten West and four from the East — nine of which were on their original schedule. The extra game from the East comes against Rutgers.

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The fund would, “raise money to provide scholarships for, but not limited to tuition, books, fees, room and board, and living cost for students of color who qualify through admissions to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison but financially may not be able to afford to attend,” according to the athletes’ statement.

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"I would always maybe not take things as seriously or do all the things that I should be doing. To me, that’s not what a leader should do, and I think those are the things that I’ve fixed now,” Van Lanen said. “I’ve put myself in this position, and I’ve been playing for a few years now and I’m one of the oldest guys in the room. That’s all part of it, too.”

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