We are just over seven weeks away from college football being back in our lives and wowza does that feel good. One of the things I am most looking forward to? Out-of-conference matchups. Last year, I wrote about how cool Penn State going up against Auburn was, and that what made the sport of college football great was its regular season. With that being the case, let’s take a look at the rest of the Big Ten and see what other enticing out-of-conference games are taking place.
SEPTEMBER 3: NOTRE DAME AT OHIO STATE
This is far and away the best Big Ten out-of-conference matchup and it isn’t particularly close. This will almost assuredly be a Top 5 showdown, but even without the lofty rankings, these are two of college football royalty programs. I know neither Ohio State nor Notre Dame are popular schools around these parts, but I can appreciate a big time game even if I hope both teams lose and drop their football programs altogether.
SEPTEMBER 17: OKLAHOMA AT NEBRASKA
Back when I was a wee lad, I remember how excited I would be for Oklahoma/Nebraska. It was legitimately one of the best rivalries in the sport — case in point, this 2001 No. 1 vs No. 3 affair. Then Nebraska fell off
because their steroids stopped working, and came to the Big Ten where they stopped playing Oklahoma. Obviously, the series has been re-upped, but it comes during a time where the Cornhuskers are really struggling. Still, I’m a sucker for the pageantry of college football, and it doesn’t get much more classic than OU v. NEB.
SEPTEMBER 17: MICHIGAN STATE AT WASHINGTON
The fact that this game is No. 3 on the list shows you that the Big Ten doesn’t have a fantastic out-of-conference slate this year. That’s not to say this will be a bad game — it’s reasonable that both Sparty and Washington could end up in the Top 25. But this feels like a 4:00 FOX game that I don’t turn on because the final score will be like 17-13.
SEPTEMBER 10: IOWA STATE AT IOWA
I love college football and I legitimately don’t think I’ve ever seen a second of an Iowa/Iowa State game despite the fact they play every year. I respect the heck out of bitter in-state rivalries, but I can’t really get fired up about this one.
SEPTEMBER 10: WASHINGTON STATE AT WISCONSIN
To my surprise, Washington State has Wisconsin have played twice: both Wisconsin victories. They played once in 1976 and once 2007. I will give you $100 if you can tell me the Wazzu head coach for that game. Don’t cheat.
SEPTEMBER 17: COLORADO AT MINNESOTA
Our third B1G vs Pac-12 game. Do I smell a B1G/Pac-12 football challenge on the horizon? No, I don’t because we, the B1G, are going to take all the important schools for our own benefit and leave the conference to wither away. #power #money #beat #it #nerd
SEPTEMBER 24: INDIANA AT CINCINNATI
I’d love to know why Indiana agreed to play an AAC team on the road. What self-respecting Big Ten program would play an AAC team on the road? Pathetic.
SEPTEMBER 17: SMU AT MARYLAND
The beautiful thing about Maryland football is that you could tell me they win this game by seven touchdowns or get out by seven touchdowns, and I would totally believe either. It’s just an impressive state that the program is continually in.
SEPTEMBER 10: VIRGINIA AT ILLINOIS
I honestly should have this game higher up because I am looking forward to taking Virginia minus-whatever to cover in this game. Brennan Armstrong’s Heisman campaign (+8,000 odds) starts in Champaign!
SEPTEMBER 3: RUTGERS AT BOSTON COLLEGE
This feels like it should be a conference matchup, and folks, Boston College shouldn’t be the one joining the Big Ten. Just tossing that idea out there, Commissioner Warren.
SEPTEMBER 17: PURDUE AT SYRACUSE
Remember ESPN GamePlan back in the mid-2000s? Had games for people out-of-market, or games that no one cared about? Yeah. This game should be on there, and I realize the hex I could be putting on myself by making fun of Purdue.
SEPTEMBER 10: DUKE AT NORTHWESTERN
The halftime entertainment is someone playing the cello.
SEPTEMBER 3: COLORADO STATE AT MICHIGAN
I have no interest in watching a second-rate program play Colorado State.