In the ongoing saga of a potentially blockbuster series of meetings between LSU and Wisconsin we may have had the final chapter written as it appears almost all things are set with Wisconsin playing the Bayou Bengals in Houston in 2014 and LSU coming to play Wisconsin in Lambeau Field somewhere between 2016-18.
So, if you are counting along with us that is three Big Ten vs. SEC neutral site matchups in the works and they all involve the Wisconsin Badgers (Wisconsin plays Alabama in 2015 at Cowboys Stadium). That's all well and good (and frankly as a resident of the city that houses Lambeau Field this writer is personally jacked as all get out about seeing that matchup happen in my back yard), but as fans it sure would be nice if the SEC actually had the guts to face the Big Ten in it's own territory anytime in the near future.
Thankfully, we are likely to get that wish to come true… sort of. Currently there are ten games scheduled between the two big dogs of college football from this upcoming season to the 2018 season. Perhaps the SEC powers that be have become less afraid of playing in Big Ten country? Either that or they are realizing that strength of schedule will be massively important to the College Football Playoff in the future.
No doubt about it, the future is a vast departure from what has gone down over the past thirteen seasons, where the Big Ten and SEC met during the regular season just eleven times. Only five of those contests happened in Big Ten territory and those numbers are skewed by a full five of the eleven matchups being between lowly Kentucky and Indiana.
Outside of that the only real big time matchup between the two conferences was the one home-and-home series between Alabama and Penn State in 2010 and 2011.
That's not exactly setting the world on fire, but credit where credit is due, Bama under Nick Saban isn't afraid to play big games and do big series', something the vast majority of his top level counterparts on either side of the divide haven't exactly been willing to do (OSU excluded on the B1G side).
However, looking into the future there are potentially awesome matchups to look forward to in a home-and home series between Arkansas and Michigan as well as Alabama and Michigan State.
Not to mention the neutral site games between LSU and Wisconsin and Alabama and Wisconsin.
Hey, maybe there's an idea in those old UK vs. IU matchups…. take one week of the non-conference schedule and play teams that finished in similar spots between the two conferences. It would be hugely popular and simply done over a two year period of home-and-home series'. After that you recalculate where the teams ranked in their divisions and you play the corresponding team from the division you didn't play the last time around… Say East vs. East/West vs. West first and then East vs. West the next two year period.
Of course that's a pipe dream to say the least. Getting the majority of SEC teams to play a game outside of the deep south isn't going to happen and for the bottom of the SEC, which went a mind blowing 0-29 versus the top 6 of the SEC just this past season, its not advantageous in making themselves bowl eligible.
Besides, weren't we supposed to have an agreement like that with the Pac-12? Look how far that got us all….
It's only good for college football to have it's powers meeting on a more regular basis and amazingly, the SEC is sorta, kinda stepping out of its own shadow. At least a few of them are willing to dip their foot in the waters of Big Ten country more now than ever before. Let's just all hope it is a trend that continues beyond the next five years and moves more to on campus games versus these off site games.