Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: Big Ten

Next up, the Big Ten. As usual, the “N-” prefix indicates a neutral site game and, though it’s not going to come up a lot in this one, italics indicates the team is in the FCS. Let’s get to it.

  1. Northwestern (1.25 legit, 0 FCS): Duke, Akron, Notre Dame. Hey, look, Duke got a 0.25 this year, okay? At this point David Cutcliffe has be considered more of a quaterback warlock than a guru.
  2. Ohio State (1, 0): Oregon State, @Texas Christian, Tulane. In reality, we’ve got some interesting ones here. While Oregon State stands no chance of winning, it could be a useful gauge for both teams. Ohio State @ TCU a stand-out game that will definitely warrant mention at the end of this series of posts.
  3. Maryland (1, 0): N-Texas, @Bowling Green, Temple. Let’s take a moment to Bowling Green’s loaded out-of-conference schedule: @Oregon, Maryland, Eastern Kentucky, and @Georgia Tech. That’s three Power 5 teams (and, well, three paychecks, but sshhh). As for the Terps, well, this could also be relatively loaded. Texas should be better this year, and Temple is occasionally feisty.
  4. Michigan (1, 0): @Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Southern Methodist. They don’t play Notre Dame every year, but nonetheless they play them reasonably often, so I had to rank them fourth instead, of you know, third.
  5. Pennsylvania State (0.25, 0): Appalachian State, @Pittsburgh, Kent State. I already wrote about playing Pitt, but the gist of it is that it’s a Good Thing. The rest of this schedule is, like a Murphy bed, functional.
  6. Nebraska (0.25, 0): Akron, Colorado, Troy State. Speaking of dormant rivalries, I wholly support former Big 8/12 teams playing each other again. Especially when neither of them is still in the Big 12.
  7. Michigan State (0.25, 0): Utah State, @Arizona State, Central Michigan. I enjoy that Michigan State is playing two Western teams, and I enjoy even more that they’re going on the road to Tempe. Surely more than one Spartan will leave wondering why they didn’t consider Arizona State.
  8. Illinois (0.25, 1): Kent State, Western Illinois, N-South Florida. As I’m sure I’ll say a few weeks from now, that USF game is at Wrigley Field for some reason. As for this schedule, Illinois are really, really hoping that they win two f these games.
  9. Iowa (0.25, 1): Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Iowa. NIU is pretty spicy usually, the Cyclones are improving, and UNI usually makes the FCS playoffs every year. Look, Iowa should pretty much always go 3-0 against this slate, but I’m just saying there’s a chance.
  10. Purdue (0, 0): Eastern Michigan, Missouri, Boston College. I feels like a schedule with two P5 teams should rate higher, but alas, those are the breaks when those teams are Mizzou and Boston College. But hey, that Purdue-Mizzou game figures to be pretty poinsty, so this may wind up being a fun OOC schedule nonetheless.
  11. Wisconsin (0, 0): Western Kentucky, New Mexico, Brigham Young. Three games at home, no threat to the road-paving Wisconsin offense, three very probable victories.
  12. Indiana (0, 0): @Florida International, Virginia, Ball State. I think the Indianas of the world should try to schedule those trips to Boca Raton at the end of the season, but what do I know?
  13. Rutgers (0, 0): Texas State, @Kansas, Buffalo. Whatever the opposite of the “Game of the Week” concept is, I’m pretty sure Rutgers at Kansas is going to be it.
  14. Minnesota (0, 0): New Mexico State, Fresno State, Miami. That’s the Miami in Ohio at the end there, and all the games at at home, so, alas, the boats will continue to be rowed strictly in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.