premature congrats. One thing we can be sure of: he'll take fewer asinine penalties than Abdelkader
B1G's Major OOC Games For 2013 - A Primer
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.