Already hungry for anything game-related? Good. Because ESPN tossed out its roster for November's annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge lineup this afternoon. Let's examine, shall we?
First, here's which team got which:
|Tue, Nov 29||Miami at Purdue|
|Northwestern at Georgia Tech|
|Illinois at Maryland|
|Michigan at Virginia|
|Clemson at Iowa|
|Duke at Ohio State|
|Wed, Nov 30||Indiana at North Carolina State|
|Penn State at Boston College|
|Florida State at Michigan State|
|Virginia Tech at Minnesota|
|Wake Forest at Nebraska|
|Wisconsin at North Carolina|
For the first time in a long time, ESPN's chosen to have just two days dedicated to the affair. In the past, the Challenge got off with a whimper, a Tuesday night game between also-rans preceded Wednesday and Thursday entrees. The reason for the change: With Nebraska joining the Big Ten, every team can be involved in the Challenge, so it's now feasible and logical to lump the thing in two days, six games per night. Though, it was a little cool to see one conference take the early leg up with that meaningless-yet-not-meaningless game. As you can see, the Huskers got treated nicely in their first foray, receiving Wake Forest on Nov. 30.
(If you want the history behind the Challenge, with team records, etc., we've got you covered.)
Duke-Ohio State is obviously the big one, with Wisconsin-North Carolina hardly playing second fiddle. Illinois-Maryland is one I'll be interested to see, and Florida State-Michigan State could also have some value, as I think we're all interested to see how the Spartans fare after the rocky 2010-11 campaign. Hmm ... what else ... Indiana-North Carolina State provides a game with two fanbases that may already be angst-ridden by Thanksgiving. For entertainment's sake, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.
But, overall, if I can be frank: I'm not too excited about these games or the potential right now. The ACC is so down, and the Big Ten, though it's keeping most of its talent in house, won't be nearly as well-rounded as it was last year. Look at the teams involved -- there are a lot of houses without walls and carpet yet. Much building being done -- not that I won't embrace this eventually. It's exciting to see games set in stone for 2011-12, but I'll reserve my giddy until we creep closer to the fall and these teams seem more tangible.