Wisconsin finalizes 2011 slate with South Dakota

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
5:41
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Wisconsin is still looking for two home games in 2010, but the Badgers completed their 2011 slate today with the addition of South Dakota. 

The season opens with home games against UNLV (Sept. 3) and Oregon State (Sept. 10), followed by a neutral-site meeting with Northern Illinois on Sept. 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Wisconsin then wraps up non-league play Sept. 24 at home against South Dakota, an FCS team that finished fourth in the Great West Conference last season.

"What I like about the 2011 schedule is that our fans will have the opportunity to see a variety of quality football programs from around the country," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. "We're also very excited about the chance to play in a historic venue like Soldier Field. The Big Ten schedule is always tough, and we're pleased to have our bye week in the middle of October."

The addition of the Coyotes, who recently moved up from Division II, won't change the growing frustration with Wisconsin's scheduling approach. Wisconsin has faced FCS teams in each of the last three seasons, nearly losing to Cal Poly in 2008, and figures to do so for the foreseeable future.

Wofford is on the slate this fall. 

As The Capital Times' Jim Polzin writes in his blog:

"Bielema made it clear last fall that Football Championship Subdivision [formerly I-AA] opponents will continue to appear on the Badgers' schedule, mainly because UW can save a ton of money by booking a 'buy game' against an FCS program as opposed to a mid-major Football Bowl Subdivision program."

Wisconsin needs to fill two games for its 2010 slate -- a road game at UNLV and a home game against Arizona State are already set -- and as Polzin points out, you can bet an FCS team will fill one of the dates. 

Unfortunately, these games are the reality in the Big Ten, not just at Wisconsin. As much as all of us would rather see Big Ten teams play more BCS foes or top non-BCS squads, we had better familiarize ourselves with the Great West, Missouri Valley and the Ohio Valley.  

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