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A way-too-early look at Wisconsin football’s 2017 schedule

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Is it next season already?

NCAA Football: Cowboys Classic-Wisconsin vs Alabama Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 college football season is over. Sad!

After more than four months of grade-A, thoroughly entertaining, Fleck-beatin’, West winnin’, Axe retainin’, historically good Badgers football, the dark and empty Saturdays of January and February are upon us.

Girls and boys, it’s time to face it. Winter has come.

The King in the North.

There is much to keep us occupied until spring. Greg Gard has the men’s basketball team ranked and looking like a legitimate national title contender. Women’s hockey is No. 1 in the country and boasts a generational goaltender. Tony Granato is doing some pretty fun things with men’s hockey, which blew the doors off Michigan State last weekend. These are glorious Badgers teams, all worth our time and support.

But the fact that you are reading this in the bathroom tells me that, like yours truly, no matter how many wonderful, marvelous things are going on in the world, there will be a college football-sized hole that won’t really be filled until August.

Since we are still about 200 or so days from fall camp, let’s take the edge off with a way-too-early look at next year’s schedule:

  • Sept. 1, 2017 vs. Utah State: Friday Night Lights! The Big Ten has because money, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, decided to play Friday night games in 2017 and the Badgers are first up. The last time Utah State came to town, Gary Andersen’s Aggies nearly pulled off the upset at Camp Randall.
  • Sept. 9 vs. Florida Atlantic: This first-ever meeting between the Owls and Badgers was supposed to be Charlie Partridge’s return to Madison. Instead, the Lane Kiffin-out-of-control-dumpster-fire rolls into town.
The press conference is going to be unbearable.
  • Sept. 16 at BYU: The away half of a home-and-home series with the Cougars was supposed to have been played in 2019 but was moved up to 2017 because it’s not entirely clear we’ll all still be here in two years. The last time these teams tangled was in 2013, with the Badgers coming out on top.
  • Sept. 30 vs. Northwestern: The Wildcats come to Camp Randall in the annual we-should-totally-win-this-game-by-20-but-we’re-going-to-sweat-all-week matchup with Pat Fitzgerald’s squad.
  • Oct. 7 at Nebraska: Wisconsin’s win over then-No. 7 Nebraska at Camp Randall this year set the Huskers on a downward spiral from which they never really recovered. Mike Riley’s team will look for revenge in Lincoln.
  • Oct. 14 vs. Purdue: My guess is Camp Randall won’t be nearly as lit as Ross-Ade was this year.
  • Oct. 21 vs. Maryland: Hey! Maryland is back in our (football) lives after a year apart. D.J. Durkin had the Terps playing well to start 2016 before coming back to earth. Hopefully they are still a year or three away.
  • Oct. 28 at Illinois: The Badgers should be back with a win in time for the State Street Halloween party.
  • Nov. 4 at Indiana: The Hoosiers fired coach Kevin Wilson for abusing players, ultimately naming defensive coordinator Tom Allen head coach. For a team that had been on the upswing, that doesn’t bode well for 2017.
  • Nov. 11 vs. Iowa: Now that P.J. Fleck is at Minnesota, can we please get Bret Bielema to return to his alma mater? If only Kirk Ferentz’s contract buyout hadn’t been negotiated by Satan himself.
That stack of paper in his hand is actually Ferentz’s prized collection of incriminating photos of Iowa AD Gary Barta.
  • Nov. 18 vs. Michigan: The King of Khaki (barring a surprise return to the National Football League) makes an appearance at Camp Randall. 3-to-1 this one’s under the lights.
Captain Inseam.
  • Nov. 25 at Minnesota: By delivering unto us FLECK!™, the Gophers have given us yet another reason to be thankful. B5Q’s own Drew Hamm said it best in this week’s B1G Roast:

The Big Ten certainly has vastly improved its quality of football coach over the last five years. P.J. Fleck is just what the doctor ordered to revitalize the rivalry with Wisconsin. I already hate him and his stupid motivational tactics and that is GOOD for the rivalry. The last few years, it has taken some real effort from me to gin up enough hate for Axe Week. Now with Fleck saying nonsense like this all the time it will be so, so easy to hate the Gophers with the appropriate amount of vitriol that they deserve.

Here’s to the start of a beautiful enemyship.

Oh yeah, we’re excited too.

Man, I can’t wait. See you next year.