B1G football is just around the corner and I’m more fired up than Tim Beckman on Twitter!!! In an attempt to temper my excitement I’m looking at the B1G’s Top 15 Non-Conference games.
1. Michigan vs. Alabama in Arlington, TX (Sept. 1)
This is arguably the premier Non Conference game in the country. Can Shoelace and the Wolverines upset the Defending National Champions (but not SEC or SEC West Champs) in Jerryworld?
2. Boise State at Michigan State (Aug. 31)
This will be our first look at William Gholston and a dynamic Spartan Defense in action. Coach Petersen has called this Boise State’s biggest game of the year. No kidding…
3. Michigan at Notre Dame (Sept. 22)
Last year, this game was a classic decided by three lead changes in the closing few minutes. Can Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish slow down the Wolverine offense in South Bend?
4. Iowa State at Iowa (Sept. 8)
This in-state rivalry was decided in Triple Overtime last season. Paul Rhoads is working wonders in Ames (Oklahoma State) but can his Cyclones perform at Kinnick or will the pink visitor’s locker room give the Hawkeyes the edge.
5. Penn State at Virginia (Sept. 8)
Penn State is a mystery. How will the Nittany Lions deal with everything, on field and off, and play when they finally face adversity on the field? Who will be left on the team at this point? This trip to Charlottesville, VA will be Penn State’s first real test?
6. Vanderbilt at Northwestern (Sept. 8)
The Nerds of the B1G face the Geeks of the SEC. Both the Wildcats and the Commodores (seriously?) programs have improved significantly in recent years and both were bowl teams in 2011.
7. Notre Dame at Michigan State (Sept. 15)
This match-up has been extremely entertaining over the past couple of years. Coach Mark Dantonio and junior QB Andrew Maxwell should have his offense up and running at this point.
8. Northwestern at Syracuse (Sept. 1)
Northwestern has one of the better non-conference schedules in the B1G facing three BCS opponents. This is the Wildcats first game. Can Kain Colter pick up where he left off last season?
9. Syracuse at Minnesota (Sept. 22)
Jerry Kill and QB Marqueis Gray are hoping to turn around a struggling Minnesota program. Considering the Gophers are playing in the stacked Legends Division if Minnesota is going to have any hope to make a bowl this game is a must win.
10. Purdue at Notre Dame (Sept. 8)
Purdue is a dark horse candidate for the Leaders Division. If the Boilermakers can avoid injury this year, Danny Hope may be able to lead the Boilermakers to a repeat bowl appearance.
11. Cal at Ohio State (Sept. 15)
Ohio State has four non-conference games at Ohio Stadium this year. The
only most challenging exciting match up of Urban Meyer’s inaugural season is against the Golden Bears. Is Braxton Miller the second-coming of Tebow? This may give us our first clue.
12. Nebraska at UCLA (Sept. 15)
Nebraska’s non-conference leaves something to be desired. Bo Pelini’s Huskers greatest challenge will be traveling to California to face the Bruins in the Rose Bowl. Have T-Magic’s off-season workouts cured him of shot-putting arm punts?
13. Iowa at Northern Illinois in Chicago (Sept. 1)
Hear me out. Northern Illinois is a very good MAC team. The Hawkeyes are heading into Illinois for an “away game” at Soldier Field. This will be are first look at what new OC Greg Davis will do with the Hawkeye offense. Will Iowa have any running backs remaining by Sept. 1?
14. Southern Miss at Nebraska (Sept. 1)
Last year Southern Miss went 12-2. Sure the Golden Eagles are a Conference USA team the should put up enough of a fight to see how Nebraska’s defense will recover after losing a lot of talent to the NFL.
15. Wisconsin at Oregon State (Sept. 8)
Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule is terrible and despite playing at Reser Stadium, Oregon State should not be much of a challenge for the Badgers. That being said, this may be the only game where first year transfer quarterback Danny O’Brien gets tested before Wisconsin enters B1G play.
The Full B1G Non Conference Schedule is Below:
Western Michigan at Illinois
Indiana State at Indiana
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois, Chicago
Michigan vs. Alabama, Arlington, Texas
Boise State at Michigan State (Aug. 31)
Minnesota at UNLV (Aug. 30)
Southern Miss at Nebraska
Northwestern at Syracuse
Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State
Ohio at Penn State
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin
Iowa State at Iowa
Nebraska at UCLA
Air Force at Michigan
Illinois at Arizona State
Wisconsin at Oregon State
Vanderbilt at Northwestern
Penn State at Virginia
Purdue at Notre Dame
Central Florida at Ohio State
Michigan State at Central Michigan
New Hampshire at Minnesota
Indiana at UMass
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Cal at Ohio State
Navy at Penn State
Boston College at Northwestern
Western Michigan at Minnesota
Arkansas State at Nebraska
Utah State at Wisconsin
Northern Iowa at Iowa
Ball State at Indiana
Eastern Michigan at Purdue
UMass at Michigan
Charleston Southern at Illinois
Michigan at Notre Dame
Temple at Penn State
Syracuse at Minnesota
Louisiana Tech at Illinois
Central Michigan at Iowa
UAB at Ohio State
UTEP at Wisconsin
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State
Idaho State at Nebraska
South Dakota at Northwestern
Marshall at Purdue
Indiana at Navy