Rating the 2010 Non-Conference Slate, Part 3: Big Ten

Okay, I am really busy right now, but I should be able to finish all of these before the season starts. Let’s do one right now, shall we?

  1. Michigan (1.5 legit, 1 DI-AA): Connecticut, @Notre Dame, Massachusetts, Bowling Green. This schedule is pretty “meh” because they play Notre Dame pretty much every year. What gets them over the top is the game with UConn. UMass continues the new Michigan trend of scheduling patsies. I think RichRod can figure to get at least two, if not three, wins out of this part of the schedule. But then again, it’s difficult to image that Michigan has actually been as bad as they have been the past couple of years.
  2. Ohio State (1, 0): Marshall, Miami (FL), Ohio, Eastern Michigan. As I said during the ACC preview, Ohio State-Miami is one of the most interesting inter-conference games on the schedule this year. The rest of this schedule is pretty bad, though. Marshall and Ohio had decent years last year, but Eastern Michigan was 0-12.
  3. Pennsylvania State (1, 1): Youngstown State, @Alabama, Kent State, Temple. Also interesting is Penn State’s game at Alabama. I actually had to double-check to make sure this was happening, and yes it is. The rest of this schedule is fluff – there should be a law that Pitt and Penn State have to play each other every year.
  4. Minnesota (1, 1): @Middle Tennessee State, South Dakota, Southern California, Northern Illinois. There’s something to be said for offsetting your return trip to MTSU by getting USC at home. The question for the Gophers is will they manage to win both of those? And if they only win one, will it be the one they should win?
  5. Purdue (1, 1): @Notre Dame, Western Illinois, Ball State, Toledo. This is pretty much a boilerplate Big Ten schedule: Notre Dame, DI-AA team, and a double serving of some MACtion. Yawn.
  6. Michigan State (1, 1): Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Northern Colorado. Well, this one has some Sun Belt mixed in as well. For some reason the FAU game is in Detroit. I would guess that still counts as a home game for MSU.
  7. Iowa (0.75, 1): Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, @Arizona, Ball State. Yes, you may have two BCS conference teams on your schedule Iowa, but they’re not very good. Nonetheless, Iowa has managed to lose 5 of their last 10 games with Iowa State, which makes you scratch your head a bit.
  8. Illinois (0.5, 1): N-Missouri, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, @Fresno State. We continue to applaud the Illinois-Mizzou series, it’s just that neither team is very interesting or likely to be good this year. Illinois more so than Mizzou. If Zook hasn’t been fired already, the game at Fresno may be for his job.
  9. Wisconsin (0.5, 1): @Nevada-Las Vegas, San Jose State, Arizona State, Austin Peay. I wonder how many comp’ed casino drinks it takes to get a Wisconsinite drunk? (My guess: at least 20.) Nonetheless, the Arizona State game is somewhat interesting and hopefully Wisconsin continues to take their scheduling in that direction.
  10. Northwestern (0.25, 1): @Vanderbilt, Illinois State, @Rice, Central Michigan. Man, if NU played Duke this year they would’ve played the entirety of the “small DI-A private shcools” circuit. Other than that, there’s not much to say other than we’ll miss being able to make ourselves seem smarter than we actually are by making Kafka jokes.
  11. Indiana (0, 1): Towson, @Western Kentucky, Akron, Arkansas State. Indiana may not be the worst team in the Big Ten this year, but this schedule sure is. But hey, the objective I suspect is to go 4-0, beat two of Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, or Michigan and go to a bowl.

Anyway, I have to run, but hopefully next week I can go from one part of the heartland to another by taking on the Big XII. See you then!