Power Ranking Non-Conference Schedules in the Big Ten East
1. Ohio State Buckeyes: Aug. 30, Navy Midshipmen (9-4); Sept. 6, Virginia Tech Hokies (8-5); Sept. 13, Kent State Golden Flashes (4-8); Sept. 27, Cincinnati Bearcats (9-4).
Why: While still not too demanding, Ohio State won’t be ridiculed as much in 2014 for a lacking schedule. It will open in Annapolis, and the last time these two squared off, it was a four-point finish in Columbus.
2. Michigan State Spartans: Aug. 30, Jacksonville State Gamecocks (11-4)*; Sept. 6, Oregon Ducks (11-2); Sept. 20, Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-10); Sept. 27, Wyoming Cowboys (5-7).
Why: With Marcus Mariota returning, there’s no doubt Oregon will be a Top-5 team to start the season and should give the Spartans’ new-look defensive line all that it can handle in Eugene. Also: Keep your eye out for Wyoming.
3. Indiana Hoosiers: Aug. 30, Indiana State Sycamores (1-11)*; Sept. 13, Bowling Green Falcons (10-4); Sept. 20, Missouri Tigers (12-2); Oct. 4, North Texas Mean Green (9-4).
Why: Bowling Green should once again compete for the MAC, Missouri will continue to be a contender in the SEC East, and North Texas is a well-ran program by Dan McCarney. It’s a tough slate for the Hoosiers.
4. Michigan Wolverines: Aug. 30, Appalachian State Mountaineers (4-8)*; Sept. 6, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4); Sept. 13, Miami-of-Ohio RedHawks (0-12); Sept. 20, Utah Utes (5-7).
Why: Uh oh, Wolverine fans. Could we see this again?
5. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Aug. 28, Washington State Cougars (6-7); Sept. 6, Howard Bison (6-6)*; Sept. 20, Navy Midshipmen (9-4); Sept. 27, Tulane Green Wave (7-6).
Why: Wazzu, Navy and Tulane were all bowl members last season and should prepare the Scarlet Knights for Big Ten competition.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions: Aug. 30, UCF Knights (12-1); Sept. 6, Akron Zips (5-7); Sept. 20, UMass Minutemen (1-11); Nov. 15, Temple Owls (2-10).
Why: Penn State should be able to take revenge on UCF without Blake Bortles, and although Akron was oh-so-close to beating Michigan and reaching the postseason in 2013, it’s still Akron.
7. Maryland Terrapins: Aug. 30, James Madison Dukes (6-6)*; Sept. 6, USF Bulls (2-10); Sept. 13, West Virginia Mountaineers (4-8); Sept. 20, Syracuse Orange (7-6).
Why: Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Everett Withers and former Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee are now with JMU, which gives a molecule of intrigue with this “meh”-worthy list.
*denotes FCS team
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