Badgers finalize 2013 schedule

After a few weeks of speculation, the Wisconsin Badgers finalized their 2013 football schedule, but it comes with a twist. Instead of playing their four non-conference games and moving into the Big Ten slate in early October, the Badgers will open Big Ten play a week earlier than the rest of the league by playing the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 21.
"One of the things that I'm excited about is adding a conference game to that beginning four weeks of the schedule, much the same as the SEC does," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said in a statement. "It really does a nice job of highlighting your league and it would allow us to maybe play more of a quality opponent earlier in the season."
Scheduling a conference game earlier in the season is a departure from the norm, but moving the Purdue game into September allowed the Badgers to schedule a non-conference game with the BYU Cougars later in the season on Nov. 9. The series with BYU had been rumored for a few days, and it seems like the Badgers and the conference-independent BYU are hopeful they can work together in the future.
"I'm very excited because hopefully it's something that will continue to grow from here," Bielema said. "There have been talks beyond next year and that's very intriguing to me."
In addition, the Badgers will complete their home-and-home series with Arizona State in 2013. The Badgers will make a return trip to Phoenix on Sept. 14 after hosting the Sun Devils in 2010. Even though the official scheduling agreement between the Big Ten and the Pac-12 fell apart earlier this month, the Badgers still have several Pac-12 teams on their schedule. The Badgers are also schedule to play a home-and-home with Washington State during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The Badgers will also play an FCS school in 2013. Tennessee Tech will come to Madison, Wis., on Sept. 7. In addition, the Badgers will host the UMass Minutemen to open their 2013 season on Aug. 31.
Wisconsin's complete 2013 schedule is as follows:
Aug. 31 UMASS
Sept. 14 at Arizona State
Sept. 21 PURDUE
Sept. 28 at Ohio State
Oct. 5 BYE
Oct. 19 at Illinois
Oct. 26 BYE
Nov. 2 at Iowa
Nov. 9 BYU
Nov. 23 at Minnesota
Dec. 7 Big Ten Championship
(Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.)
For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.