Wisconsin Football Non-Conference Schedule Weak Despite Alabama Opener


The Wisconsin football schedule in 2015 features a big-time non-conference match up against the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5 to open the Badgers season. Beyond the Crimson Tide game, though, Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule is pretty vanilla.

Recently, the Badgers have made an attempt to schedule better non-conference games, with this year’s season opener against Alabama and a pair of games against LSU in 2014 and 2016 standing out.

Despite those additions to the schedule, the non-conference slate the Badgers welcome each season leaves much to be desired.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

This year, in addition to Alabama Sept. 5, the Badgers will host the following teams in non-conference action:

• Miami (Ohio), Sept. 12

• Troy, Sept. 19

• Hawaii, Sept. 26

In 2015, those three teams went a combined 9-28. None of the three were bowl eligible.

Not exactly great competition.

For the next several years, the Badgers will continue to play similar teams. In 2016, Akron and Georgia State are on the schedule in addition to LSU. 2017’s schedule features Utah State, Florida Atlantic and South Florida.

Clearly, with the addition of games such as Alabama and LSU, UW officials are trying to bring better competition to Camp Randall, but these games are few and far between

Maybe its time to think about giving up a home game here and there to play a team from the top half of a power five conference. What’s the harm in scheduling a home-and-away with Auburn? Why not hit the road to take on Stanford and bring them to Camp Randall a year later?

Obviously scheduling isn’t as simple as calling up a team and writing down a date. The schedules are set so far ahead that sometimes a game looks good when you schedule it, but by the time it comes around all the talent has graduated.

More from Football

Heck, Colt Brennan was probably slinging touchdowns for the Rainbow Warriors when this year’s Wisconsin-Hawaii match up was scheduled.

Still, Wisconsin seems content to feature one non-conference match up each season while continuing to load up on smaller programs to fill the weeks before Big Ten play begins. With the Badgers currently sitting on the weaker side of the Big Ten, those games aren’t going to prepare Wisconsin for the juggernaut that is the Big Ten East.

Prior to 2014’s season opener against No. 13 LSU, the last time the Badgers faced a ranked opponent in non-conference play was in 2008 when Wisconsin traveled to Fresno State to play the No. 21 team in the nation (the Badgers hosted an unranked Fresno in 2009 as part of the home-and-away series).

Wisconsin needs to get its act together and schedule tougher competition in the non-conference portion of its schedule if it wants to take the program to the next level.

Next: Top 5 games in 2015

More from Football