Get ready, Wisconsin Badgers fans. The 2016 schedule just got even more loaded.
We've known for a few years now that Wisconsin's 2016 slate would be one of the most challenging in all of college football, with a brutal first half of Big Ten play that will almost assuredly make or break any College Football Playoff hopes the Badgers might have.
Monday brought good news, however. For the first time since 2011, Wisconsin will have a primetime Big Ten game under the lights of Camp Randall Stadium. In fact, it'll have two. On Oct. 15, Ohio State will come to Madison for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff. Nebraska will come two weeks later, on Oct. 29, for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Both games will air on an ESPN network to be determined.
Wisconsin fans have been imploring the schedule-makers-that-be for more games at Camp Randall because, as anyone who's been to one or holds any rational understanding of college football, it's one of the sports most incredible environments. For support to that argument, look no further than to Wisconsin's last two primetime conference home games: against, quite fittingly, Nebraska and Ohio State.
In Nebraska's first-ever Big Ten game, Wisconsin thrashed the Huskers 48-17 on Oct. 1, 2011. Russell Wilson threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another. Montee Ball rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns, while Jared Abbrederis and Nick Toon each had receiving touchdowns and at least 94 yards apiece. Mike Taylor tallied a game-high 14 tackles, and the Badgers forced the Huskers into three turnovers.
Previously, Ohio State came to Camp Randall on Oct. 16, 2010, with college football's No. 1 ranking and Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron, Dane Sanzenbacher & co. in tow. Wisconsin pulled off a 31-18 win in one of the most riveting games in Badger football history, with David Gilreath running back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Scott Tolzien going 13-of-16 for 152 yards, John Clay rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns and Toon catching six passes for 72 yards. J.J. Watt also posted four tackles -- three for loss -- and two sacks. Wisconsin hadn't defeated a No. 1 team since 1981, but did so that night.
Wisconsin is 12-4 all-time in night games at Camp Randall, and 6-3 against Big Ten opponents in those games.
These two games are the first kickoff times that have been set for Wisconsin's 2016 schedule, which you can see below. Again, that opening portion of Big Ten play: oof.
|DATE||OPPONENT||TIME (CT)||LAST MEETING|
|Sat, Sept 3||vs. LSU *(at Lambeau Field)||TBD||LSU won 28-24 in 2014|
|Sat, Sept 10||vs. Akron||TBD||UW won 38-17 in 2008|
|Sat, Sept 17||vs. Georgia State||TBD||None|
|Sat, Sept 24||at Michigan State||TBD||MSU won 16-13 in 2012|
|Sat, Oct 1||at Michigan||TBD||UW won 48-28 in 2010|
|Sat, Oct 15||vs. Ohio State||7 p.m.||OSU won 59-0 in 2014|
|Sat, Oct 22||at Iowa||TBD||UI won 10-6 in 2015|
|Sat, Oct 29||vs. Nebraska||6 p.m.||UW won 23-21 in 2015|
|Sat, Nov 5||at Northwestern||TBD||NU won 13-7 in 2015|
|Sat, Nov 12||vs. Illinois||TBD||Wisconsin won 24-13 in 2015|
|Sat, Nov 19||at Purdue||TBD||Wisconsin won 24-7 in 2015|
|Sat, Nov 26||vs. Minnesota||TBD||Wisconsin won 31-21 in 2015|