Never mind that the season kicks off 135 days from now. Never mind that most of the state of Wisconsin is still seeing snow come down. Never mind that the spring game (not much of a spring in the Badger state) was just five short days ago. I’m ready for the Wisconsin Badgers football season to begin. And I’m ready to take a way-too-early look at their 2014 schedule.
Let’s just dive head first into it, shall we?
The Badgers kick off their 2014 campaign with their most high-profile, early season non-conference opponent that I can ever remember, the LSU Tigers. On August 30th, the Badgers and Tigers will face each other at the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. If head coach Gary Andersen really wants to see what his team is made of, who better than one of the top teams in the very tough SEC. Honestly I don’t know what to expect in this game. Not only is it the first game of the regular season, but the Badgers competition is going to be difficult. It will be a nice early season test for Andersen and this Wisconsin team.
Hopefully Houston treats Wisconsin nicely, because we all know what happened the last time the Badgers were in the state of Texas (see: 2014 Final Four in case you happened to forget). After the showdown with the Tigers, the Badgers schedule gets a little easier.
Not exactly cupcake material, but it will be a nice reprieve after the LSU game and before Big Ten play starts. Western Illinois, open date, Bowling Green and USF are what will be facing the Badgers after the Tigers. Those three opponents have a combined 16 wins, with 10 of those coming from defending MAC champion Bowling Green.
After that we dive right into the Big Ten schedule. At Northwestern and a tilt against Illinois opens up the conference schedule for Wisconsin. Both of those should be wins. After another open date, the Badgers will then face the two new Big Ten teams in consecutive weeks.
Wisconsin will host the Maryland Terrapins in the seventh game of the season. The next week they will travel to New Jersey to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Maryland finished in the bottom half of the ACC, while Rutgers was near the bottom as well in the American Athletic Conference. The Big Ten will be a huge eye-opener for both these teams, as I see the Badgers should get past them as well.
The final four games of the season see the Badgers travel to Purdue, host Nebraska, travel to Iowa and finally host Minnesota. Wisconsin did not play Nebraska a year ago, but hey did knock off Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota in 2013. The Cornhuskers are always tough and traveling to Iowa City is never easy. And don’t count out the Gophers this year, they’re an up-and-coming team. The final stretch of the season could get very interesting.
So there you have it folks. A very early look ahead to the 2014 Wisconsin Badgers football season, even though we find ourselves in the middle of April. Don’t blame me, blame mother nature. She’s the one who is tricking us all to believe we are in the middle of fall.