When Wisconsin and BYU leave the field next November at Camp Randall Stadium, it'll be more of a see-you-soon than a goodbye.
As expected, the two teams will be seeing each other more often as the schools on Thursday announced a home-and-home series for 2017 and 2018. Wisconsin will visit BYU in 2017 and host the Cougars the following year. The two teams have played just once before, in 1980 in Madison, but will meet three times in the next six seasons.
"I'm excited to play three games against BYU," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said in a prepared statement. "As we continue to strengthen our nonconference schedule, it's great to have a team with the history of success that BYU has come to Camp Randall Stadium. It also provides an opportunity for our fans to travel to one of the great venues in college football, LaVell Edwards Stadium."
Although Thursday's announcement won't generate the same buzz as the talk earlier this week of a possible Wisconsin-Alabama game in 2015, it shows that the Badgers are continuing to be more proactive about scheduling as the playoff era approaches. Wisconsin's old scheduling philosophy -- cupcake city -- simply won't fly if it wants to impress the selection committee enough to make the top four.
Looking down the line, the Badgers will play at least one seemingly good opponent and often two in most seasons.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
UW has games set with Washington State (2014 in Pullman and 2015 in Madison), Virginia Tech (2016 in Blacksburg and 2017 in Madison) and Washington (2018 in Seattle and 2019 in Madison).
BYU isn't at the level it was several years ago, but the Cougars could get back there under Bronco Mendenhall. The bottom line is Wisconsin, like other Big Ten teams, is showing a greater understanding of how you need to schedule when the playoff arrives.