Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 3: Big Ten

On to everyone’s conference where Joe Paterno is the voice of reason and progress, the Big Ten!

  1. Purdue (2 legit, 0 DI-AA): Toledo, @Oregon, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame. I’ll admit there’s not a lot of meat on these bones, but there are worse MAC teams they could’ve picked. And there’s no DI-AA teams, which earns them the top spot over Illinois.
  2. Illinois (2, 1): N-Missouri, Illinois State, Fresno State, @Cincinatti: Mostly interesting due to the continuing neutral-ground series with Mizzou. Away game at Cincy may also bear some fruit for the Illinoize.
  3. Ohio State (1, 0): Navy, Southern California, N-Toledo, New Mexico State. Kudos to OSU for avoiding the DI-AA cupcake, though not so much for the “neutral” site game with Toledo. (If I had to bet, I’d guess it’ll probably go in the book as a “home” game for the Rockets, but anyway.) The game with Southern Cal is, like last year, one of the most interesting intersectional games of the year and for each team will define their national title hopes.
  4. Minnesota (1, 1): @Syracuse, Air Force, California, South Dakota State. This is actually a decent schedule. Air Force won’t make it easy, and Cal is in the upper tier of the Pac-10. If course, it remains to see the ‘Cuse won’t be a joke this year, and if UMN can repeat their respectiable performace from last year as well.
  5. Michigan State (1, 1): Montana State, Central Michigan, @Notre Dame, Western Michigan. MSU has enrolled in the Directional Michigan Derby this year, it seems. I don’t really have anything else to say about this, except they’re above Michigan because they go on the road to ND.
  6. Michigan (1, 1): Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Delaware State. Is the AD of Western Michigan asleep at the wheel? While I doubt it’s the first time one of the directional Michigans has played both the big boys in the same year that’s basically 2 losses right there. Oh, also, vigilant Dr. Saturday readers know all about Michigan paying off Delaware State to come over to the Big House and get waxed for homecoming – while causing Delaware State to forfeit a conference game. Fun fact: until they played Appalachian State two years ago, Michigan had never played a DI-AA team. Let’s hope history repeats itself.
  7. Iowa (0.75, 1): Northern Iowa, @Iowa State, Arizona, Arkansas State. Kudos for playing the Iowa derby, I guess? There’s not much to this.
  8. Indiana (0.5, 1): Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, @Akron, @Virginia. Okay, so Western Michigan is playing 3 Big Ten teams this year. I know DI-AA programs could use the money, but geez. Anyway, Indiana@Virgini has to be one of the least interesting inter-BCS-conference games I can think of.
  9. Wisconsin (0.25, 1): Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, @Hawaii. The home game on the islands means Wisconsin can actually add an additional game, but I haven’t been able to find any indication that have done so as of yet. Apparently ESPN tried to organize a game with Texas for this year, but Wisconsin declined. Oh well. Oh, and if you think this is bad…
  10. Northwestern (0.25, 1): Towson, Eastern Michigan, @Syracuse, Miami (Ohio). Well, at least this is Northwestern and not, say, Penn State.
  11. Pennsylvania State (0.25, 1): Akron, Syracause, Temple, Eastern Illinois. Whille JoePa may be in favor of Big Ten expansion and a playoff, he’s apparently not a fan of out-of-conference schedule. For one of the two Big Ten teams that probably can make a title game run this year, this schedule will do Penn State no favors at all, which will make their conference games extremely important this year.

And if you thought that was bad, well, wait until next time, when we cover the Big 12!