Big Ten: South Florida Bulls

Before Wisconsin's recent run of Rose Bowls, the Badgers seemed to play postseason games in Florida every year. Their roster reveals a sizable contingent of players from the Sunshine State.

The next step? A regular-season game in Florida.

Wisconsin on Friday announced it has agreed to a home-and-home series against South Florida. The Badgers will host the Bulls on Sept. 27, 2014, and visit Tampa on Sept. 16, 2017. The two teams have never played one another.

"We obviously recruit a lot in the state of Florida and these games will be great for our exposure down there, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said in a prepared statement. "USF is traditionally a strong program so it's exciting to get a quality opponent on the schedule for our players and the fans."

Wisconsin also is scheduled to play Washington State on the road in 2014, although no date has been announced. The Badgers have games against Virginia Tech (home) and BYU (road) set for 2017.

The Big Ten is set to go to a nine-game league schedule beginning in 2016, and we should start to see more of these schedule announcements in the coming weeks from around the conference. There's a league-wide initiative to beef up nonconference scheduling and Wisconsin, which recently added a neutral-site game against Alabama to kick off the 2015 season, seems to be fully on board.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told CBSsports.com that he intends to schedule two more neutral-site games, one before the 2016 season and another afterward.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Spring practice in the Big Ten kicks off in less than two weeks. Excited yet? 

"On the University of Minnesota campus, workers have completed 80 percent of TCF Bank Stadium and are on schedule to finish the $288 million project by early August. More heavy lifting remains on the sales front, however. Terms of the state's financing deal require the university to cover 45 percent of the costs from donations, corporate sponsorships, parking revenues and student fees."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Illinois co-defensive coordinator Dan Disch won't be leaving after all. 

Disch turned down an offer today to become South Florida's defensive coordinator and will remain with the Fighting Illini and head coach Ron Zook, who he has worked for coached since 2004.

"I'm very happy that coach Disch has decided to stay here," Zook said in a prepared statement. "He's been with us from the beginning and has been a huge part of the success we've been able to build here. This was a good opportunity for him, but he felt loyal to this university, this program and the players."

Team spokesperson Cassie Arner told the Chicago Sun-Times, "When somebody offers you a coordinator position, you have to listen. But this shows how loyal Dan is to the program."

Disch's decision comes as a bit of a surprise for three reasons.

  • South Florida would have made him the sole defensive coordinator, a title he currently shares with Curt Mallory at Illinois.
  • Zook heavily pursued Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson for Illinois' defensive coordinator vacancy last month, indicating a possible demotion for Disch.  
  • Disch is a Jacksonville, Fla., native and a Florida State alum who was a successful high school coach in the state for 22 seasons before joining Zook at Florida in 2004.
Despite these factors, Disch decided to stay with Illinois and continue to recruit the state of Florida alongside Zook. He will once again oversee a defense that loses standouts in Vontae Davis and Brit Miller but returns several talented young players like Martez Wilson and Cory Liuget. 

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

"Since 1950, a Big Ten Conference school has combined for nine wins or less in football and basketball a total of 19 times."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Indiana has finalized its 2009 football schedule with a trip to Virginia, according to a report in the Charlottesville Daily Progress. 

The Hoosiers needed to fill an Oct. 10 game after South Florida rescheduled a visit to Bloomington for 2015. Virginia gives Indiana a BCS-conference foe and a good test in the middle of Big Ten play.

The teams have never played, and Indiana owns a 5-10 all-time mark against ACC foes. No word yet on a return game, though you figure Indiana will host Virginia sometime in the next few seasons. 

Barring any other scheduling changes, Indiana will play only six home games for the first time since 2005. 

UPDATE: Indiana has confirmed a home-and-home series with Virginia. The Hoosiers travel to Charlottesville on Oct. 10 and host Virginia on Sept. 10, 2011. This year's meeting will mark Indiana's first against an ACC team since it visited N.C. State in 2001. 

Early schedule snapshot: Indiana

February, 9, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

After a look at Illinois' near-complete schedule, it's time to examine Indiana, the only other Big Ten team without a finalized 2009 slate. 

Here's what we know at this point about the Hoosiers:

NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 12 Western Michigan
Sept. 19 at Akron
Oct. 10 ??? 

My take: Indiana's nonleague slate lost some flavor after South Florida rescheduled a 2009 trip to Bloomington for 2015 so it could face Florida State in Tallahassee this fall. Then again, the Hoosiers lost to two MAC teams (Ball State and Central Michigan) in 2008 and will have their hands full with Western Michigan and a trip to Akron. Last year's soft slate was set up for Indiana to return to a bowl game, but an easy opening stretch seemed to leave the team poorly prepared for Ball State in Week 3. Eastern Kentucky is a solid FCS program that produced new Purdue head coach Danny Hope and was knocked out of the playoffs last season by eventual national champion Richmond. It would be nice to see Indiana fill its final spot with a BCS program, but it could be tough at this late date. 

BIG TEN SCHEDULE

Sept. 26 at Michigan
Oct. 3 Ohio State
Oct. 17 Illinois
Oct. 24 at Northwestern
Oct. 31 at Iowa
Nov. 7 Wisconsin
Nov. 14 at Penn State
Nov. 21 Purdue 

Byes: Michigan State, Minnesota

My take: The road schedule is simply brutal, and Indiana has dropped eight consecutive games away from Memorial Stadium (7 road, 1 bowl), stretching back to Sept. 29, 2007. Indiana does catch Michigan fairly early on, and if the Wolverines are still finding their way, the Hoosiers could hang around in the Big House. The Hoosiers travel to Happy Valley for the second straight year, and they also visit an improved Iowa team and a Northwestern squad that won't take them lightly after last year's upset in Bloomington. The key is to survive September and October with something to play for and then take advantage of the November home games. 

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Walter Camp Award watch list is out, and seven Big Ten players are included on the list of 35.

Here's the rundown:

Travis Beckum, Sr., TE, Wisconsin

Arrelious Benn, So., WR, Illinois

P.J. Hill, Jr., RB, Wisconsin

Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., CB, Ohio State

James Laurinaitis, Sr., LB, Ohio State

Javon Ringer, Sr., RB, Michigan State

Chris "Beanie" Wells, Jr., RB, Ohio State

No surprising names here, though every other BCS conference has a quarterback representative. The Walter Camp Football Foundation could have included Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter, who could break several Big Ten passing records this fall. Ohio State's Todd Boeckman doesn't have a huge wow factor but could change that this fall. Indiana's Kellen Lewis is fighting for his starting job after being suspended this spring, and Illinois' Juice Williams still gets knocked for his passing.

Laurinaitis is the only two-time first-team Walter Camp All-American on the list, while Beckum earned first-team honors last season.

Only three defensive linemen made the list -- Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks, Oregon's Nick Reed and South Florida's George Selvie -- so national sacks leader Greg Middleton from Indiana evidently needs another strong season to generate more hype.

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