There's testing yourself and then there's crazy and the 2014 Badger softball schedule is tetering between the two, that's for sure.
On Wednesday afternoon the reigning Big Ten Tournament champions announced their full schedule and it will feature a few perennial powerhouse schools amongst its over dozen games against NCAA tournament qualifiers.
“It is the hardest schedule we have put together at Wisconsin,” head coach Yvette Healy told UWBadgers.com. “The fact that we have Florida, Texas A&M, and all of the ranked teams makes this one of the most difficult schedules.”
Not only do the Gators and Aggies appear on the schedule, but other headline games include USF, Illinois State, and a slate of really difficult Big Ten games series' with Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern.
However, unlike past seasons where very few home contests were on the schedule the Badgers have 16 games scheduled to be played at home this year.
Iowa and Nebraska highlight the home contets in Big Ten play, with the Hawkeyes playing a three-game series and the Huskers coming to the Goodman Diamond for a double-header.
So, why the tough front of the schedule for this team? According to Healy, it's all part of the plan leading up to the biggest series of the year—Michigan at the end of the season.
“We are playing a tough schedule, and I know we are not there yet, but we will learn by fire,” Healy explained to UWBadgers.com. “This schedule will give us a test early of what we need to do to be prepared for Michigan on the road at the end of the season. It provides a tough starting point.”
Of course, having just four seniors on the roster could well be another reason for the "growth by fire," if you will.
You can find the full schedule by going here.