The ND game will probably be under the lights again. It's the only game that makes sense and Brandon "needs" a night game.
Since there's been a lot of discussion in various threads about conference strength, where the Big Ten can improve, voter perception of the conference affecting all of the teams...here's the quick guide to the major out-of-conference games coming up for the 2013 season. Some teams still have open dates, and some games are bigger than others, but this should do.
Here are the relatively big games for 2013. No gametimes have been announced, nothing but dates and matchups.
I realize this is very early, but this kind of thing will come in handy once further discussion of conference comparison and the Big Ten's relatively disappointing 2012 rears its ugly head again.
August 31st - Penn State at Syracuse (in MetLife Stadium, NY)
The first significant Big Ten game of 2013 features a surprisingly good Penn State team against an alright Syracuse team. Given the big-time venue (chosen because Syracuse wants to take hold of the NYC market), this game could get some attention. If Penn State wins, it's a small boost to the conference, while a loss would be pretty bad, yet not disastrous.
September 7th - Notre Dame at Michigan
Big for a variety of reasons, this would be Notre Dame's first major game of 2013, where they could be defending a national championship. (Michigan opens with Central Michigan, Notre Dame opens with Temple.) It's the last scheduled Mich-ND matchup in Michigan Stadium, and this will be on the national radar all summer.
This one has an outside chance of becoming a featured game of the week, with College GameDay, ESPN, and all of that. This one will be anticipated all summer, and it will turn into one of the year's great games.
Notre Dame will play at Purdue on September 14th and against Michigan State on the 21st, for their only games against Big Ten opponents.
September 14th - UCLA at Nebraska
One of the biggest out-of-conference games, this one could feature the defending Big Ten champion against a highly ranked Pac-12 team. This game will likely go on a prime television timeslot, maybe even College GameDay. Nebraska's result here would be the focal point of any conference recap for the rest of the season, so the Cornhuskers have to win this for everyone else.
September 14th - Ohio State at California
Ohio State could be coming off of an undefeated season, and this is their first big game of 2013. The Buckeyes should win this game, and should win it big. Obviously, I hope they do not, but this should be a conference win.
Cal will also play Northwestern to open 2013, making the Golden Bears a weird litmus test for the Big Ten next year. If California has a great season, and the Big Ten beats them twice, we must have a great conference. And vice versa.
September 14th - Wisconsin at Arizona State
Another Big Ten/Pac12 matchup, but this one should go to Wisconsin, even on the road. If the Badgers lay another egg in a Pac12 stadium, this season could feature even more "what happened to the Big Ten?" columns.
September 14th - Washington at Illinois (in Soldier Field)
Illinois is having a terrible season, and Washington is on the upswing, but this one is only important if Washington starts the season with some hyped momentum.
September 21st - Missouri at Indiana
While both of these teams are around the 6-win mark, this is still an SEC/Big Ten matchup in a Big Ten stadium. It doesn't come around too often, and an Indiana win would be huge for that program and the conference. It's the only Big Ten/SEC game of 2013, and might have even been scheduled back when it was a Big Ten/Big 12 game.
November 9th - BYU at Wisconsin
It's a late-seaosn game designed to keep Wisconsin humming on all cylinders as the season comes to a close, and a relevant Badgers team will be making the last case for the Big Ten before bowl season. With another catastrophe like this season, the game becomes the last chance for the conference to salvage itself within the polls. With an improved season, this becomes a great day to showcase how we've "turned things around".
That's pretty much it. September 14th could be D-Day for the Big Ten, shaping the conference for the rest of the season.
A full, team-by-team, out-of-conference schedule is below. Teams in capitals are from auto-qualifier conferences (and ND), teams in italics are anything below FBS. Therefore, a win over a capitalized team is a good one, and a loss to an italicized team is a disaster that clearly means we aren't as good as the SEC, or something like that.
The ND game will probably be under the lights again. It's the only game that makes sense and Brandon "needs" a night game.
I don't get why Brandon wants the UConn game to be played somewhere else. If I was a UConn student/alum I'd be so insulted, yes it's a smaller stadium but it's their smaller stadium.
More money and exposure for everyone.
More likelihood that Michigan can sell tickets and trips to the game.
Easier travel in and out for the team.
Dave Brandon is not a UConn student/alum.
My point is more that he knew what he was getting into when he scheduled the game. To me this is what's wrong with scheduling now a days. Do we really get more exposure from a bigger stadium with TV the way it is now? It's still UConn, it'll probably be ESPN 2 at best regardless of where it is played.
I think it would be cool to see their real stadium. I go to a lot of away games and part of the reason is see another team's environment. I went to the Dallas game and realized I just wished it was in Tuscaloosa.
Two things. First, Brandon did not schedule this game, it was set when he got here. Second, there is a big difference between Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and where ever it is that UConn plays.
Would playing UConn be any better at the meadowlands? I'd rater see their campus and their stadium. For the most part pro stadiums are all similar and bland. Part of what makes college football great is each stadium/environment is unique. Maybe I'm alone in this belief, in which case I'll keep to my own lawn.
to play this game at home.
First of all - I don't believe it is an actual on-Campus stadium. I seem to remember reading that it was 20min+ off campus during the build up to the game in AA
Second - Playing in a Pro stadium would be a high profile plus to a program like UConn
Third - Higher revenues (for both teams? - even better for UConn if not)
Fourth - The new AD is a UM alum and it is never too early to rack up some brownie points with the Alma Mater. DB has to retire someday.
That said, the University got the state to pony up some major $$ for the stadium and part of the agreement was that they would not move home games. Hence the sticking point is mainly with the State legislature.
Rentschler Field is over 30 minutes away from campus. It's in East Hartford, while UConn campus is in Storrs, way to the east. If you're going to the game, you're probably staying in the Hartford area and not going anywhere near campus.
If I were a UConn alum, I might be offended that the state of connecticut didn't think an on-campus stadium would be sustainable. I get it - they're using the venue for other purposes in and around the Hartford area (capital of the state and all), but still.
Didn't realize it was that far off campus. That blows, it guess it is a basketball school but I just think it's disappointing. I can't remember the last semi-interesting OOC game on another schools campus that wasn't ND. Maybe Oregon and they're crowned field (grumble grumble)
"If Penn State loses, it's a small boost to the conference". The "loses" should be "wins".
How come BYU and ND are in capitals but Navy isn't? All 3 are independents.
ND is a special automatic qualifier, BYU is an acronym that makes sense to keep in capitals (like UNLV) because that's how they usually read.
Michigan- We may have our differences but seeing Michigan expose ND under the lights again will make next season special...
Purdue vs. Cinci-nasty will make for a good game. I'm hoping the Boilers crush them so we don't have to hear how great the Big East is. Same can be said with Illinois.
Vandy elected not to play OSU or Northwestern. That was a coward move on their backing out of a game in under a full year notice.
Lots of good games and it doesn't look like it will be too hard for most teams to go 3-1 or 4-0.
Good post. Now if we had a comparison for the mighty SEC playing FCS teams.
The fact that Vandy cancelled the games by mail makes it all the more cowardly.
The O-Line will be a major worry. We have a bunch of RS Freshmen/ Freshmen
Lewan is likely gone too - so yes, it is a little worrying. That being said, we'll benefit from a good schedule (this year's schedule was beyond brutal)
This sort of scheduling doesn't do much for the conference. Frustrating lack of compelling games. ND can't go to the ACC soon enough. The PAC12 matchup that wasn't. I'm not seeing brand worthy games. It won't be very telling unless there are fails ... so much to lose... so little OOC to do it in.
Minor housekeeping stuff: Youngstown State is an FCS team and should be italicized, New Mexico State is not an FCS team, they play in the WAC, and should not be italicized.
On to my "insights":
Syracuse should not count as a "major OOC" game. For that matter, no team from the Big East should count. That conference is an absolute joke. Louisville and Rutgers currently only have one loss each this season and I am confident that the top 4 teams in the Big Ten would beat them handily.
I wouldn't call BYU a "major OOC" opponent, either. They haven't been all that good for some time now. Personally, I never considered them an "elite" program even when they were winning lots of games as they usually played a joke schedule. In essence, they were Boise State before Boise State.
That ND game is going to be pretty tough for UM coming as early in the season as it does. UM will be breaking in 4 new OL (yes, Lewan is going to go pro) and a new QB (although it helps that Devin has gotten real game action this season). I am not familiar with ND's roster situation but unless a LOT of those studs they have on defense are gone next season, they will probably have a great defense again next year.
BYU isn't always a "major" opponent, but they gave ND all it could handle for most of the game this year. Since the Bo era started, BYU has just as many National Championships as Michigan does: one.
As an indie, BYU is set up to have a great chance to play for an NC. All they have to do is be better than ND and they get crowned "king of the indies." With a four team "championship" playoff, the KOTI label might start to become important, especially since both ND and BYU are upgrading their schedules in the eyes of the computers.
If Barry Alverez was still coaching Wiscy, I would agree that this should be an easy game for them. However, Bret Bielema hasn't really demonstrated to me that he is anything more than a place-holder.
in name at least, San Diego State will be in a BCS conference next year (in the Big East along with Boise State, Houston, Memphis, UCF, and SMU).
They return 8 of 11 starters on defense, including 5 along the front seven. Here's a breakdown:
DL - Two of the three starters return. They lose four year starter Kapron Lewis-Moore. Unfortunately for Michigan, they return DE Stephon Tuitt (absolute freak, probably Top 10-15 pick next year) and NT Louis Nix (monster run defender, potential first rounder), two of the best DL in the country. Filling that open spot will probably be a rotation between highly touted sophomores-to-be Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones.
LB - Three of four starters return. The centerpiece of next year's linebacker corps will be OLB Prince Shembo, who is a beast on the edge in both run defense and the pass rush. One of the major strengths of ND's defense is that Shembo is left in a lot of one-on-one situations because of the double teams drawn by Tuitt and Nix. Also returning at OLB is Danny Spond, a pretty solid player in his own right. Manti Te'o is gone, leaving inside linebacker the single biggest concern of ND's defense. Luckily ND should have Dan Fox back for a fifth year in the middle. Unfortunately for ND, he's only average. Watch out for Ishaq Williams at OLB who is a situational pass rusher. He's starting to come into his own this year and many expect him to explode next year and live up to his 5* ranking. Maybe we're delusional. I hope not. But we probably are.
Secondary - Three of four starters return. The lost starter is Zeke Motta, a huge loss as he is an extremely experienced safety and the leader of the secondary. The returning starter is RS Frosh Matthias Farley, who has been inconsistent this year. Both corners return. Junior Bennett Jackson is having a solid year and true freshman corner Keivarae Russell is a lock for Freshman All-American. ND's secondary has been a pleasant surprise this year as they are ranked in the Top 10 in pass efficiency D. A lot of that is their dominant front seven.
Overall, I expect a step back in the run defense without Te'o patrolling the middle. However, it won't be a huge step back as Nix is quite possibly the best run-stuffing DT in the country. I expect a major step back in safety play with two sophomores (Farley and Elijah Shumate) starting. Overall, a very good defense but not at the level of this year's unit.
...the B1G's reputation:
All of the games against mid-major and FCS teams must result in a W. One or more of those that turn into losses and the sports media meme will be set that the B1G is awful (again).
A major observation - no SEC teams on the docket for anyone. Fail all around.