Sunday, July 27, 2008

Football schedules

ESPN has published out of conference schedules for Big 10 schools, and it ain't pretty:

Illinois: Missouri (St. Louis), Eastern Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Western Michigan (Detroit)

Indiana: Western Kentucky, Murray State, Ball State, Central Michigan

Iowa: Maine, Florida International, Iowa State, at Pitt

Michigan: Utah, Miami (Ohio), at Notre Dame, Toledo

Michigan State: at California, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame

Minnesota: Northern Illinois, at Bowling Green, Montana State, Florida Atlantic

Northwestern: Syracuse, at Duke, Southern Illinois, Ohio

Ohio State: Youngstown State, Ohio, at USC, Troy

Penn State: Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, at Syracuse, Temple

Purdue: Northern Colorado, Oregon, Central Michigan, at Notre Dame

Wisconsin: Akron, Marshall, at Fresno State, Cal Poly

There are a total of just fifteen "respectable" opponents on this list. No one plays more than two respectable nonconference games.

Missouri for Illinois (normally an unimportant game, but this year both teams are good), Iowa State and Pitt for Iowa, Utah and Notre Dame for us, Cal and Notre Dame for State, Syracuse and Duke (nominally) for Northwestern, USC for Ohio State, Oregon State and Syracuse for Penn State, Oregon and Notre Dame for Purdue, and Fresno State for Wisconsin.

I've long complained about this watering down of our schedule. As before, it's easy to compare to USC, which is the model of difficult schedules:

2008: Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame
2009: San Jose State, Ohio State, Notre Dame

Commendably, the Pac 10 plays a complete round robin, so they have one less out of conference game. San Jose State is weak, but that's one poor game in two years.

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