Andersen In Favor of Early B1G Games

Much like his predecessor, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is in favor of playing Big Ten games earlier in September.

CHICAGO - While trying to make all the pieces of Wisconsin's 2013 nonconference schedule work last summer, then-Badgers head coach Bret Bielema asked permission from the Big Ten to move its scheduled 2013 conference game against Purdue from Nov. 9 to Sept. 21 so it could start its three-game series against BYU.

Opening league play on the third weekend of September breaks with conference tradition, which usually doesn't begin conference action until the fourth week of the season, but Bielema was a proponent during his seven years at UW of playing Big Ten games earlier in the season to match what the SEC does.

It turns out that current Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen has the same thought process.

"If you are going to play that many conference games, let's play them up top and get them in," said Andersen during Thursday's Big Ten preseason meetings.

Andersen drew comparison to his time in the WAC at Utah State when the Aggies would have games on Thursdays or Fridays in order to get a national television audience; something he'll get weekly at Wisconsin. Utah State will play three non-weekend games this upcoming season, including opening the season at Utah August 29.

Wisconsin opened the 2011 season on Thursday for a national television audience, and Andersen is a proponent of doing that in the future.

"I think it gives you a great opportunity for the next week to get another couple days ahead," he said.

But while some ACC and SEC schools play conference games in week one this year, Andersen wants to stick with the current model, especially since Wisconsin is scheduled to open the 2015 season playing Alabama in Arlington, Texas, and potentially could open next season in Houston against LSU.

"We are going to walk into some pretty big games the first game of the year of our future schedules," he said. "I like to get a couple games under our belt before we walk into our first conference game."

The home game against Purdue is between two challenging road tests for Wisconsin – playing at Arizona State Sept. 14 and traveling to Ohio State.

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