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Opening league play on the third weekend of September breaks with tradition in the Big Ten, which usually doesn't begin conference action until the fourth week of the season at the earliest. But Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has been an outspoken proponent of playing Big Ten games earlier in the season to match what the SEC does. Purdue was able to accommodate the change because it had a scheduled bye on Sept. 21.
Wisconsin has been criticized for its weak nonconference schedule in recent years. But the Badgers will play at Arizona State in addition to hosting BYU in 2013.