Wisconsin’s Big Ten football schedule is set for 2020 and 2021, and there is quite a shakeup in how the Badgers’ slate will look at the beginning and end.
For the first time since 1982, Wisconsin will face a league opponent in its season opener, with a home game against Indiana in 2020 and a road game against Penn State in 2021. But perhaps the most significant change comes in the regular-season finale, where Wisconsin will play West Division foe Iowa instead of Minnesota.
The Badgers and Gophers have met in the last regular-season game each season since 2014, when the Big Ten split into East and West divisions. That contest made for compelling theater between the two border rivals, which first played each other in 1890 and have battled for Paul Bunyan’s Axe since 1948.
Now, the focus will shift to the Heartland Trophy against Iowa in a matchup that has been far more competitive in recent seasons than Wisconsin’s game against Minnesota. The Wisconsin-Iowa game has been decided by single digits in each of the last three seasons, with the winner going on to capture the Big Ten West division title.
On the surface, Wisconsin’s 2020 schedule seems more manageable than its 2021 slate. Wisconsin’s crossover games against East Division opponents in 2020 will be at home against Indiana (Sept. 5), at Michigan (Sept. 26) and at Maryland (Oct. 24). In 2021, Wisconsin opens the season at home vs. Penn State (Sept. 4), has a home game against Michigan (Oct. 2) and plays at Rutgers (Nov. 6).
In 2020, Wisconsin follows its opener against Indiana with a home game against Syracuse, a home game against FCS foe Southern Illinois, a road game against Michigan, a neutral site game against Notre Dame in Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and a home game against Minnesota.
Wisconsin’s 2021 schedule opens with Penn State, followed by a road game at Syracuse, a neutral site game against Notre Dame in Chicago’s Solider Field, a home game against Michigan and a road game at Minnesota before a home game against Army.
Absent from Wisconsin’s schedule in either season is Big Ten East power Ohio State. The Badgers have lost the last five matchups against the Buckeyes, including four by single digits.
The last time Wisconsin faced a Big Ten opponent to open a season was a 1982 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. The previous year was the last time Camp Randall Stadium hosted a season-opening Big Ten matchup, with Wisconsin upsetting preseason No. 1 Michigan, 21-14.
Wisconsin: 2020 schedule released
- vs. Indiana, Sept. 5
- vs. Syracuse, Sept. 12
- vs. Southern Illinois, Sept. 19
- at Michigan, Sept. 26
- vs. Notre Dame (Green Bay, Wis), Oct. 3
- vs. Minnesota, Oct. 10
- at Maryland, Oct. 24
- vs. Illinois, Oct. 31
- at Northwestern, Nov. 7
- at Purdue, Nov. 14
- vs. Nebraska, Nov. 21
- at Iowa, Nov. 28
Wisconsin: 2021 schedule released
- vs. Penn State, Sept. 4
- at Syracuse, Sept. 11
- vs. Notre Dame (Chicago), Sept. 25
- vs. Michigan, Oct. 2
- at Minnesota, Oct. 9
- vs. Army, Oct. 16
- at Illinois, Oct. 23
- vs. Northwestern, Oct. 30
- at Rutgers, Nov. 6
- vs. Purdue, Nov. 13
- at Nebraska, Nov. 20
- vs. Iowa, Nov. 27