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Wisconsin, Purdue move up 2013 game

7/25/2012

Bret Bielema has made it clear in recent years that he'd like to play Big Ten games earlier in the season.

Thanks to some creative scheduling, he's getting his wish.

Wisconsin announced Wednesday that its 2013 game against Purdue has been moved from Oct. 26 to Sept. 21. The Oct. 26 date becomes a second open date for the Badgers, who also are idle Oct. 5. Wisconsin's original second open date fell on Nov. 9, but the team announced it will host BYU on that date as part of what reportedly will be a multigame agreement with the Cougars. BYU wasn't available to play Wisconsin on Sept. 21.

The moves allow Wisconsin to add the BYU game and avoid playing eight consecutive games without a break. Purdue and the Big Ten both were on board with the move. As a result, Wisconsin and Purdue will open league play one week earlier than everyone else in the conference.

From UWBadgers.com:

"One of the things that I'm excited about is adding a conference game to that beginning four weeks of the schedule, much the same as the SEC does," Bielema said. "It really does a nice job of highlighting your league and it would allow us to maybe play more of a quality opponent earlier in the season. ... I think it showed willingness on our part to make this BYU game happen. We did everything we could to make the 2013 schedule as good as we could."

It's good to see all three parties showing some flexibility here. I agree with Bielema that the Big Ten could benefit from having some league games in early to mid-September, as conferences like the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 do. While this could create a few more ho-hum nonleague games later in the year -- Wisconsin-BYU doesn't fall in this category -- those games would be overshadowed by the Big Ten pairings on those dates.

Here's a look at Wisconsin's adjusted 2013 schedule:

Aug. 31 Massachusetts

Sept. 7 Tennessee Tech

Sept. 14 at Arizona State

Sept. 21 Purdue

Sept. 28 at Ohio State

Oct. 5 Open

Oct. 12 Northwestern

Oct. 19 at Illinois

Oct. 26 Open

Nov. 2 at Iowa

Nov. 9 BYU

Nov. 16 Indiana

Nov. 23 at Minnesota

Nov. 30 Penn State

Here's Purdue's adjusted 2013 slate:

Aug. 31 at Cincinnati

Sept. 7 Indiana State

Sept. 14 Notre Dame

Sept. 21 at Wisconsin

Sept. 28 Northern Illinois

Oct. 5 Open

Oct. 12 Nebraska

Oct. 19 at Michigan State

Oct. 26 Open

Nov. 2 Ohio State

Nov. 9 Iowa

Nov. 16 at Penn State

Nov. 23 Illinois

Nov. 30 at Indiana