If there was any concern that the Wisconsin football team would go without a night game in head coach Gary Andersen’s first season, that was wiped away Monday. Wisconsin will face Ohio State on Sept. 28, opening its Big Ten season on either ESPN or ABC at 7 p.m.
It will be the ninth season in a row that Wisconsin includes at least one night game in its schedule and the fourth time in six seasons the Badgers and Buckeyes will play under the lights. Since 1995, the Badgers hold a record of 31-6 in night games.
Wisconsin has gotten its fair share of benefit from playing Ohio State in primetime. Just three years ago, Wisconsin toppled undefeated and top ranked Ohio State when they kicked off for a night game at Camp Randall. Although they’ve had their successes, when the Badgers step inside Ohio Stadium that evening, revenge will likely be on their minds.
The last time Wisconsin played there, a 4-3 and struggling Ohio State team dragged on the pain of Michigan State’s Hail Mary for another week with a lengthy touchdown of their own as a young Braxton Miller outdueled former Badger quarterback Russell Wilson just days before Halloween. That game was also at night and forced Wisconsin into extreme recovery mode to make a second straight Rose Bowl.
The situation will only be similar regarding the place, time and opponent. The Badgers will more than likely be the underdog that night as the Buckeyes are expecting a championship-worthy team to take the field in 2013 after an undefeated season in 2012 was kept short of the postseason due to the Buckeyes not being eligible.
Mark Schlabach, a college sports writer for ESPN, recently updated his top 25 rankings for the upcoming season and has Ohio State as the No. 1 team. The Badgers barely cracked his rankings, newly slated at 25th.
Nonetheless, the hype for a late September game with two ranked teams will not fall short of any meeting these two teams have had in past years. It seems only good things can come from that.