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Badgers Release 2013 Schedule, Could Drastically Affect Big Ten Future

Will the conference schedule model stay the same?

The Wisconsin Badgers love their 2013 schedule, which was recently released by BadgersBlitz, a Rivals affiliate, but it may not please the rest of the Big Ten.

The Badgers sent a request to the Big Ten asking if they were able to open conference play a week before the rest of the league in order to accommodate a game with BYU in November. The league approved, and has now opened the door for significant scheduling flexibility for Big Ten teams in the future.

While right now the change is available on a per request basis, the Big Ten could potentially move to the SEC's scheduling model (which begins a week earlier) that allows teams to schedule marquee non-conference games late each season. The advantage of playing such a game in November, as opposed to September, is that the stakes are much higher as teams vie for a spot in the playoff.

If it were up to Bret Bielema, the Wisconsin coach, a late-season non-conference game would become a staple each year:

"I'm very excited because hopefully it's something that will continue to grow from here. There have been talks beyond next year and that's very intriguing to me." ~ Bret Bielema

A school that should be particularly happy about this development is Notre Dame, which is forced to play its traditional Big Ten opponents (Michigan, Michigan St, and Purdue) and the beginning of every season to avoid Big Ten conference play. If one (or more) of those teams decided to play them later in the year with a new scheduling model, the Irish could better balance out their schedule.