Mike Hlas, CR Gazette –
September is still summertime, and the livin’ is easy for most BCS conference football programs when it comes to scheduling.
Play some patsies at home, get that cash money pouring into the coffers, and start taking the games seriously in October when conference play is in full-swing.
Or so I thought. But then I looked at the Big Ten’s slate of games this week. What in the name of Lewis and Clark is going on? The league actually has seven road games, and three of them are against Pacific-12 teams.
Wisconsin at Oregon State
Illinois at Arizona State
Nebraska at UCLA
I realize these are halves of home-and-home series, but the fact Big Ten programs have lined up opponents like this at all is a little shocking in this day and age.
But that’s not all. Other games on this week’s docket are:
Purdue at Notre Dame
Penn State at Virginia
Indiana at Massachusetts
Michigan State at Central Michigan
The first two aren’t shockers. Purdue and Notre Dame have gone to each other’s stadiums for a long time. Penn State likes to play against teams from or near the Eastern Seaboard.
But Indiana playing at first-year FBS program UMass?
And how about Michigan State, going to Central Michigan’s 30,255-seat stadium? CMU played at MSU in 2009 and 2011, and will again in 2015 and 2018. But it’s a big, big deal for the Chippewas to host the Spartans, so good for Michigan State for doing that.
The rest of this week’s Big Ten slate isn’t bad, other than New Hampshire at Minnesota. The visiting teams are Central Florida, Air Force, Vanderbilt and Iowa State. Not a pushover in the bunch.
It’s a pretty lousy week overall in college football, without a single meeting of two ranked teams. But the Big Ten has nothing to be ashamed of for its scheduling this Saturday.