Northwestern completes '15, '16 schedules

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
11:06
AM ET
Northwestern has announced its complete schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, which includes one change to the 2015 nonconference slate.

The Wildcats will play home-and-home series with Stanford and Duke in both seasons. A scheduled 2015 game against Army has been replaced with a home date against Eastern Illinois. Northwestern will also play Ball State in 2015 and Western Michigan and Illinois State as part of the 2016 nonconference schedule.

While Army likely would have been a more interesting game than Eastern Illinois, the Wildcats appear to have a sound strategy in their nonconference scheduling. They're playing one really good BCS opponent (even though there might not be such a thing as BCS in 2015) in Stanford, another major-conference foe but a winnable game in Duke and then two games against lower-level competition.

This year's schedule, which opens with Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Boston College in successive weeks, is probably a bit too ambitious. Sure, none of those teams is an elite-caliber opponent, but all are major-conference teams that will provide difficult games. Since Northwestern has been hovering around the 6-6 or 7-5 mark the past two years, it makes little sense to build so many obstacles in the pre-conference portion of the schedule. And by 2015, seven wins may be the requirement to reach a bowl game.

Here are the complete 2015 and 2016 schedules for the Wildcats:

2015

Sept. 5 vs. Stanford
Sept. 12 vs. Eastern Illinois
Sept. 19 at Duke
Sept. 26 vs. Ball State
Oct. 3 at Iowa
Oct. 10 vs. Minnesota
Oct. 17 at Nebraska
Oct. 24 Open Date
Oct. 31 vs. Purdue
Nov. 7 at Indiana
Nov. 14 vs. Michigan
Nov. 21 vs. Michigan State
Nov. 28 at Illinois

2016
Sept. 3 vs. Western Michigan
Sept. 10 vs. Illinois State
Sept. 17 vs. Duke
Sept. 24 at Stanford
Oct. 1 vs. Nebraska
Oct. 8 at Purdue
Oct. 15 at Michigan
Oct. 22 vs. Iowa
Oct. 29 at Minnesota
Nov. 5 Open Date
Nov. 12 vs. Indiana
Nov. 19 at Michigan State
Nov. 26 vs. Illinois

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