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Berry Tramel

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College football: Ranking Big Ten nonconference schedules

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 13, 2013 at 11:05 am •  Published: June 13, 2013
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez pushes off Wisconsin defensive lineman Tyler Dippel during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) ORG XMIT: NAS136
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez pushes off Wisconsin defensive lineman Tyler Dippel during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) ORG XMIT: NAS136

Time to critique Big Ten football’s non-conference schedules. Remember, this is the last season of a 12-team  Big Ten. Next year, the Big Ten goes to 14 teams. Eventually, the Big Ten figures to go to nine-game conference schedules and says it will ban I-AA opponents. We’ll see.

1. Purdue: at Cincinnati, Indiana State, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois. Three solid opponents, including two that were in BCS bowls last season.

2. Michigan State: Western Michigan, South Florida, Youngstown State, at Notre Dame. Typical solid Spartan schedule, though South Florida has dipped a bit.

3. Michigan: Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Akron, at Connecticut. You can always count on the Wolverines to man up.

4. Northwestern: at California, Syracuse, Western Michigan, Maine. If any Big Ten school has the right to dumb down its schedule, it’s Northwestern. But the Wildcats rarely do.

5. Wisconsin: Massachusetts, Tennessee Tech, at Arizona State, Brigham Young. Talk about no middle ground. Two good games, two awful games.

6. Nebraska: Wyoming, Southern Miss, UCLA, South Dakota State. This would be a fairly salty schedule had Southern Miss not laid an 0-12 egg last season.

7. Ohio State: Buffalo, San Diego State, at California, Florida A&M. Pretty soft for a program the caliber of the Buckeyes’.

8. Illinois: Southern Illinois, Cincinnati, Washington, Miami-Ohio. Three quarters of this schedule matches OU’s 2008 slate – Cincy, Washington, a I-AA foe. But while the Illini play Miami-Ohio, OU played TCU.

9. Penn State: Syracuse at East Rutherford, N.J.; Eastern Michigan; Central Florida; Kent State. Good to see an old Eastern rivalry renewed, with Syracuse. Now, about that Penn State-Pitt series.

10. Iowa: Northern Illinois, Missouri State, at Iowa State, Western Michigan. Not a terrible schedule, but mainly because Northern Illinois is better than it ought to be.

11. Indiana: Indiana State, Navy, Bowling Green, Missouri. Mediocre schedule. Mizzou-Indiana sounds like a Big Ten game.

12. Minnesota: Nevada-Las Vegas, at New Mexico State, Western Illinois, San Jose State. What a terrible schedule. The Gophers could challenge for the nation’s worst.

Here’s a ranking of the Big 12′s nonconference schedules.

Here’s a ranking of the SEC’s nonconference schedules.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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