B10 teams represented in 4 of 8 neutral-site games

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm •  Published: August 26, 2014
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Four of the eight neutral-site games the first week of the college football season involve Big Ten teams.

Though not all the sites are truly neutral, all the games will generate the exposure every coach craves for recruiting. Like bowl games, the openers also will produce lifelong memories for the players and varying financial rewards for the schools.

No team will travel farther than Penn State, which plays UCF on Saturday in Dublin, Ireland, in James Franklin's first game as coach. Also on Saturday, No. 14 Wisconsin meets No. 13 LSU in Houston and No. 5 Ohio State takes on Navy in Baltimore.

Rutgers plays its first game as a Big Ten member against Washington State in Seattle on Thursday.

UCF won at Penn State and was supposed to host this year's game before agreeing to move it to Dublin. Franklin said he sees no disadvantage to going overseas because both teams must contend with the time-zone change and other challenges that go with traveling abroad.

"We spent a lot of time preparing our guys on what to expect and what the trip is going to be like so we can get over there and stay focused on what we have to do, which is play good football," Franklin said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' conference call with reporters. "Whether that was played at State College High School or played in Dublin, Ireland, we're excited about the opportunity to play Central Florida."

Penn State and UCF declined to disclose how much money the schools will receive. The game's organizer, the Gaelic Athletic Association, didn't respond to an email.

Wisconsin will earn $2 million for playing LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Badgers will get another $3 million in 2016 when they play LSU at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Next year Wisconsin will make $4 million for playing Alabama in Arlington, Texas.

"It gets us on the national stage," Badgers coach Gary Andersen said of this week's game. "We're playing an SEC team and, quite frankly, we're playing, traditionally the last few years, one of the best teams in the country, so kids like that when they're recruited."

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