We've looked at the ACC possibilities and checked out who we could play from The Big East to replace UTEP, now it's time to look at the Big Te(leve)n and see if any of its members can put some punch in an otherwise dismal out of conference schedule for 2008. Normally an SEC team playing a Big Ten team means a bowl game in Florida (or a BCS title game), but they have occasionally met during the regular season (Michigan/Vanderbilt last year, Alabama/Ohio State in the 80s, etc.)
Illinois: Missouri (8/30), Eastern Illinois (9/6), 2 more games to be scheduled.
Indiana: Ball State (TBA), Western Kentucky (TBA), 2 more games to be scheduled.
Iowa: Florida International (9/6), Iowa State (9/13), Pitt (9/20), 1 more game to be scheduled.
Michigan: Miami(OH) (9/6), Notre Dame (9/13), Toledo (10/11), 1 more game to be scheduled.
Michigan State: The Spartans have completed their 2008 schedule.
Minnesota: Bowling Green (9/6), Montana State (9/13), Florida Atlantic (9/20), 1 game to be scheduled
Northwestern: The Wildcats have completed their 2008 schedule.
Ohio State: THE Buckeyes have completed their THE 2008 schedule.
Penn State: UCF (TBA), Syracuse (9/13), 2 games to be scheduled.
Purdue: Central Michigan (9/13), Oregon (9/20), Notre Dame (9/27), 1 game to be scheduled.
Wisconsin: Akron (8/30), Marshall (9/6), Fresno State (9/13), 1 game to be scheduled.
Illinois has room on their schedule and there are three good reasons I can think of to add them to our schedule:
- It would give Orson even more opportunities to put [Name Redacted] on EDSBS
- It'd give the college football world what it's been waiting 26 years for: a rematch of Bear Bryant's last game.
- Countless opportunities for Sufjan Stevens inspired Come on Beat the Illinoise parties in Tuscaloosa.
It would be awesome, and you KNOW it
The Hoosiers and the Tide facing each other would be one gigantic "our football tradition is better than your basketball tradition vs. our basketball tradition is better than your football tradition" party. In all seriousness though, it would be better than playing a Sun Belt team...or Duke. We could also have a "who beat Western Kentucky by a bigger margin" smack talk fest at season's end.
Iowa would actually be a fun game. They were a part of one of the best football games I've ever seen in person. I say we shift Western Kentucky to a later date in the season (if not drop them all together) and open against Iowa. That game would definitely be televised unlike many of our "PPV only" openers of recent years.
We all know a game with Michigan isn't going to happen, but it's nice to dream...and we wouldn't want to steal Kyle's thunder.
Once again, Minnesota would be a good team to play. It wouldn't be epic, but it would definitely grab a few headlines and it would give us a chance for sweet sweet revenge for one of only two or three losses you'll ever hear me endlessly bitch and moan about a botched call.
Penn State is on future schedules so they're a no go.
Purdue is not going to add Alabama to an OOC schedule that already includes Oregon and Notre Dame.
The dates for Wisconsin don't mesh with ours though I'd love for the Tide to visit Camp Randall eventually. Our basketball series a few years ago was quite memorable and I'm sure a football series would be even more appealing.
Illinois is the only truly workable game out of the Big 10 with the way things are currently scheduled. A little bit of shifting would open up possibilities with Iowa, Minnesota and few others, but I just don't see that happening.