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Wisconsin vs. Michigan State set for 11 a.m. CT kickoff

Not the later kickoff fans were hoping for.

Michigan State v Notre Dame Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Sorry, fans. You’re stuck with an early kickoff for Wisconsin’s trip to Michigan State next Saturday. The Badgers and Spartans will kick off at 11 a.m. CT on BTN, the Big Ten announced late Saturday night.

The game, both teams’ Big Ten conference opener, could pit two top-10 teams, depending on how the latest rankings shake out. Wisconsin entered Saturday ranked No. 9 in the AP Top 25, but struggled to put away Georgia State. Michigan State was No. 12 and defeated No. 18 Notre Dame on the road.

Without knowing the intricacies of scheduling broadcast times, this seems like another “the Big Ten just can’t help itself” situation. With so many top-tier teams this season—Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa are all in the top 25, and Nebraska just beat No. 22 Oregon—a more ideal showing for the Badgers and Spartans would seem ideal. Especially considering Wisconsin’s status as a top-10 team that holds arguably college football’s toughest schedule this season, you’d think its first big test since knocking off LSU would be a major draw.

Also, as highlighted in the release Wisconsin sent out to announce the kickoff time, there a number of other milestones at play:

  • This will be Wisconsin’s first trip to East Lansing since 2011. The Spartans won that game 37-31 behind three touchdowns and 290 passing yards by Kirk Cousins, but the Badgers gained revenge in the inaugural Big Ten championship game with a 42-39 win in Indianapolis.
  • A win Saturday would be Wisconsin’s first at Spartan Stadium since 2002. Michigan State has a four-game home winning streak over Wisconsin (2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011).
  • Another “the Big Ten just can’t help itself” indicator: this will be the first matchup between Wisconsin and Michigan State since 2012. Arguably the conference’s biggest non-Ohio State or Michigan draws, these two teams absolutely should’ve met way more frequently.

Alas, we’re stuck with the early kickoff time. Such is life. Below is the full slate of next Saturday’s Big Ten games.

Wake Forest Indiana 2:30 p.m. BTN/BTN2Go Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
Penn State #4 Michigan TBD TBD Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
#9 Wisconsin #12 Michigan State 11 a.m. BTN/BTN2Go Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
#13 Iowa Rutgers 11 a.m. ESPN2/ABC/WatchESPN High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
Colorado State Minnesota 11 a.m. ESPNU/WatchESPN TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
Nevada Purdue 11 a.m. ESPNN/WatchESPN Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
Nebraska Northwestern 6:30 p.m. BTN/BTN2Go Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.