Pat Forde released his annual 40 observations and declarations for the upcoming season. Link? LINK
2. If Ohio State isn’t 12-0 headed to the Big Ten championship game, something went wrong. The Buckeyes play just five FBS teams that had winning records last year, avoid Nebraska and Michigan State in inter-divisional play, and draw Wisconsin and Penn State in Columbus. Take care of business in Evanston on Oct. 5 and Ann Arbor on Nov. 30, and the Buckeyes will quite likely be both undefeated and overrated.
11. Michigan State and Purdue are looking at diametrically opposite schedules over the first two-thirds of the season. The Spartans only play one FBS team in the first eight games that had a winning record in 2012 (at Notre Dame on Sept. 21). The Boilermakers only play one team in the first eight games that didn’t go to a bowl game in 2012 (Indiana State on Sept. 7). Advantage, Sparty.
22. Speaking of that Wisconsin-Arizona State game: It’s the second straight season the Badgers have traveled to Pac-12 territory. Last year it didn’t work out so well, with Oregon State scoring a 10-7 upset that set the tone for both teams’ seasons. This year it will be the first big test for new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen.
23. Athletic director Tom Osborne’s lovely parting gift for Bo Pelini at Nebraska: four non-conference home games to start the year. The Big Ten added a fifth straight against Illinois. The Cornhuskers do not play a road game against a team that finished 2012 with a winning record until Nov. 9, at Michigan.
35. Penn State’s only true road game in the first half of the season is at Indiana, which is as false as true road games get. There will be plenty of seats available for Nittany Lions fans willing to make the trip to Bloomington.