Wisconsin Football Non-Conference Schedule Toughest in Years


The Wisconsin football will face the toughest stretch of non-conference opponents it has seen in several years

As fans begin to think about the upcoming Wisconsin football schedule, one thing is immediately apparent. The non-conference schedule looks tough this year compared to years’ past.

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The Badgers will play just three non-conference games this year as the Big Ten expands to a nine-game conference schedule, but all three teams Wisconsin is set to face in the non-conference slate this year were bowl game participants last season.

Obviously the opener against LSU is the game that stands out, but both Akron and Georgia State are a step up from the regular competition Wisconsin typically sees in the non-conference portion.

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LSU fell apart and finished the regular season 8-3 after starting 6-0, but still went on to crush Texas Tech in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.

Last year Akron went 7-5 in the regular season, finishing second in the MAC West, and went on to win the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Utah State.

Georgia State went 6-6 in the regular season and finished fourth in the Sun Belt Conference before falling in the Autonantion Cure Bowl to San Jose State.

That’s a stark contrast from last season, when the Badgers played Alabama and then three teams (Troy, Hawaii and Miami OH) who combined for a 9-28 record the season prior.

There’s two ways you can look at the stronger schedule to begin the season.

Some will argue the tougher competition will be beneficial for the Badgers as they move on to a four game stretch after the non-conference season that includes Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State.

Others will argue playing against lesser opponents in those early games will keep the team more fresh, give starters a tune-up, and allow the team to play young players in early blowouts.

I’m more in line with the first method of thinking.

The conference, in addition to scheduling one more Big Ten game per team, has also moved away from scheduling FCS opponents.

All Big Ten teams are also required to schedule at least one game against a “fellow power league” school, adding to the collective strength of Big Ten scheduling.

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The Badgers will certainly see a tougher non-conference schedule than has been the norm in recent years, but the team should come out better because of it.