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Always fun to look ahead at odd matchups

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Some of the bizarre early-season match-ups this season in college football got me wondering about future scheduling.

Of this state’s so-called “Big Three,” which program wins the award?

Notre Dame opens its 2014 season at home against Rice, which isn’t all that unusual. The Irish then host Michigan to officially end that rivalry, and then Purdue. Don’t be shocked if the ND-Purdue series concludes when the current contract runs out after the 2021 game in West Lafayette.

Speaking of the Boilers, they open at Marshall in 2015, host Nevada the following season and return the favor with a long flight west to play the Wolf Pack in 2019.

Indiana hosts North Texas next Oct. 4 and is contracted to play a home-and-home with South Florida in 2016 and 2017. The 2016 season also represents IU’s 832nd all-time game against Ball State.

Tough choices, but I’m going with Purdue’s two-gamer against Nevada. Must say I didn’t see that one on the horizon.

Here are this week’s picks:

MISSOURI 38, INDIANA 30: Mizzou produced a total of 96 points in its first two games and had last weekend off. Is there any reason not to like the Tigers even though the game is in Bloomington?

NOTRE DAME 23, MICHIGAN STATE 17: Irish have won three of the past four in this series, including the past two at home. Make that four of five and three straight in South Bend. Michigan State appears solid defensively, but its offense is a concern.

WISCONSIN 45, PURDUE 10: Badgers will have all the points they need and then some before their band, The Overbite 100, entertains the Camp Randall Stadium crowd at halftime. Alright, so that’s not the name of the band. You get my point.

MICHIGAN 40, CONNECTICUT 21: Let me see if I have this straight. One of college football’s elite and most tradition-rich programs is traveling to East Hartford to play in 40,000-seat Rentschler Field? Uh, OK. Won’t matter, though. The Wolverines rain all over this parade.

OHIO STATE 52, FLORIDA A&M 20: Hail the Rattlers, who if nothing else might just have the coolest nickname in all of college athletics. All of which means absolutely zilch the minute A&M players realize the game’s backdrop is 102,000 red-clad Buckeyes fans and freeze in their tracks.

PENN STATE 42, KENT STATE 20: The Flashes opened the season defeating Liberty by a single touchdown. Such impressive credentials aren’t going to mean anything in Happy Valley.

NEBRASKA 43, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 13: The Jackrabbits opened with a 55-14 dusting of Butler. Now they’re playing on the home field of the five-time national championship Cornhuskers. Seriously. Who makes these schedules?

NORTHWESTERN 38, MAINE 17: Throw out the records when the Black Bears visit Evanston. Hopefully, Maine won’t be caught looking ahead in this one. After all, the Black Bears are at Richmond next week.

MINNESOTA 28, SAN JOSE STATE 24: San Jose State had last week off to heal up from its 34-13 loss at Stanford in Week 2. Spartans keep this one tight, but Gophers too much at home.

IOWA 34, WESTERN MICHIGAN 20: All this means is that the Hawkeyes are slightly less lousy than the Broncos. WMU lost to Nicholls State, which in its season-opener was reduced to a fine powder by Oregon, 66-3.

Last week’s record: 9-3.

Season record: 31-5.

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