Hello friends! As you may have noticed, there’s been way too much content coming out the last little while with my name attached to it. It always happens this way, as for the last [redacted] years I’ve always just found more energy as we get to late August as the games are about to start and my excitement builds to a crescendo before reality sets in and the Gophers suffer a crushing defeat to...somebody. But which somebody? And will other teams potentially suffer the same ignomy? Today we’re going to look at my thoughts ion just how tough the West Division schedules are based on the highly scientific and nuanced “because I said so” method. It’s a blast. Non-conf is a factor, but will be used more for mocking wisconsin. Crossover games with the East is big because that’s a major factor as to who gets saddled with losses to potential playoff teams while others get Maryland, Indiana, or even Rutgers. It’s a crapshoot and wholely unfair to determining who’s actually best, but it is what it is because we all wanted those Delanybucks. Finally, consideration is given to where you play in the division. Having to go play in front of 70,000 fans in Kinnick Stadium or 91,000 fans in Lincoln is considerably tougher than playing in front of 70-91 fans in Chambana.
Because this is going to get a little bit TL:DR, here’s the list, from easiest to toughest:
We’ll give Iowa credit for Iowa State finally being supposedly a bit better, so that helps the non-conf schedule. And playing NIU to start the season is brave. But your crossovers are mostly easy with trips to Indiana & Penn State and hosting Maryland being “not the absolute worst.” And getting visits from both wisconsin and Northwestern is pretty nice. Trips to Minnesota and Purdue may not be super wonderful, but it’s better than some of the alternatives we’ll be seeing.
At least we play Fresno State? That’s about all the positive things I can say about the Non-conf, and that’s still more than we can say about quite a few other teams. The crossover games are actually really friendly with a trip to dysfunctional Maryland, a Friday night game against Indiana, and a trip to Ohio State that I’ve already got marked on my schedule as a big, red L. Division games include a trip to madison that...yeah, but it also includes visits to the Twin Cities from both Northwestern, Iowa, and Purdue. Pretty nice look here as well.
As was pointed out on last week’s Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody, the problem with Illinois’ schedule is that you’re doing it with the Illinois football team. The non-conf schedule does feature USF again, which at least puts one opponent that fans can look at and tremble about before the conference play starts and things look more like the Harney Massacre than a football season. Yes, you get trips to Rutgers and Maryland as opposed to tougher opponents. Yes, you get Iowa, Purdue, and Minnesota to come to you. But you’re still playing with the Illinois football team. Good luck.
Purdue is one of two teams to play a pair of P5 opponents with games against Mizzou (which could be the most entertaining non-conf game of everyone in the entire division) and Boston College. That’s not a good way to blood a new defense, but let’s see how it goes. The crossover games are also a bit ugly, with trips to Michigan State and Indiana and a home date with Ohio State. The only reason that this schedule isn’t with Nebraska and Northwestern is that they get the magic trifecta of hosting Northwestern, Iowa, and wisconsin. Who the hell made that schedule? The downside is that if you lose those games, you’re going to have to deal with Nebraska and Minnesota on the road. Good luck!
Let’s start with the obvious: wisconsin’s non-conference schedule (Western Kentucky, New Mexico, BYU) is as soft as the athletic department’s policy towards discipline. Let’s see if Jeff Potrykus gets out in front of this to carry water for the team here as well as he has in other regards recently. And their schedule is a little easier than everyone else’s because they don’t have the added difficulty of “playing wisconsin” which is in a tier by itself in my rankings. But they do go to Michigan and Penn State, as well as trips to Iowa City and Northwestern. There are plenty of opportunities to prove that they’re worthy of the high pre-season ranking, as opposed every other season since Russell Wilson’s free agent contract expired and he went to the NFL.
Wow. The Purple Kitties are the other team to play a pair of *P5 non-conference opponents in Duke and *Notre Dame, and the Wildcats have their work cut out here. Fortunately these games don’t count towards their hopes and dreams of playing in the sterile, bland environment of the B1GCG in Indianapolis. But getting Michigan and at Michigan State does. Getting wisconsin at home is nice, but there are a couple really ugly stretches in that schedule (getting Nebraska right after UM and Sparty, and the uw-ND-Iowa-at MN stretch looks just ugly). Godspeed, Northwestern. May the punting work out in your favor.
Good God. This is no way to treat defending National Championship coach Scott Frost. The non-conf is nearly wisconsin levels of soft, but you get a hearty tip of the cap from me for putting Colorado on there. I used to love this game and it was appointment television in the mid-90s for me when the Gophers were on the road. Bravo, folks. But then we get to the B1G season and...WHY? Only one team gets three of (at) Michigan, (vs.) Michigan State, Penn State, and (at) Ohio State. It’s Nebraska. And in the West they get to go to madison, Iowa City, and Evanston? Oh come on. Nick Saban would never get treated like this.
So there you have it. If Iowa’s good again, they’re clownfraud trasch. If Nebraska is good we should all just bow and kneel and start making a statue of Scott Frost riding a golden calf or something. But I’m just one accountant that’s vehemently biased. What do you think about your teams slate of games for this fall?