Written by Nate Woelfel | 21 May 2012



When Big Ten Hockey drops the puck for its inaugural season in 2013, Michigan and Michigan State will be bringing the tenacity of one of college hockey's most stories rivalries to a new venue.

For years, the schools have been the primary road block on the other's path to a Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship. The two programs have combined for an unprecedented 20 CCHA Tournament titles and an additional 18 regular season championships.

On top of that, Sparty and Big Blue mix it up annually at the Great Lakes Invitational, one of the most prestigious holiday tournaments in the nation. Michigan has won the event a record 15 times. State is a close second with 12 first place finishes.

The Spartans and the Wolverines have faced off 284 times. Michigan currently owns the all-time series with a 141-124-19 mark.

Last year, the Wolverines took the season series 3-1-1. The five games were decided by a combined four goals and three of the contests went to overtime.

Close games are not the only reason that the battles between these two in-state foes have risen to national prominence. The programs have combined to win 12 national titles and currently boast 36 alumni who are playing in the NHL.

A pair of the most respected coaches have also made their mark on this rivalry. Ron Mason paced the bunch for the Spartans from 1979-2002. During his tenure he posted a 635-270-69 record. He received the Spencer Penrose Award as the nation's top college coach in 1972. He retired college hockey's all-time winningest coach with 924 wins throughout his 36 seasons.

Wolverines head man Red Berenson has also compiled an impressive list of superlatives. In 28 seasons he has led Michigan to 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of National Championships. His 752 wins are good enough for fifth place on the all-time coaching wins list. He is one of only six coaches to have eclipsed the 700 win plateau.

It is no wonder that these games draw record breaking crowds. Michigan's Yost Arena has been in use as a hockey facility since 1973 and both the pre and post rennovation attendance records were set in games against Michigan State. The pre-rennovation record of 8.411 was set back on January 29, 1988. The post-rennovation record crowd of 6.986 came out on January 19, 2002.

The spectacle also draws a crowd in East Lansing. The Munn Ice Arena opened in 1974, seven of the top-10 most highly attended games have featured Michigan. This includes the single-game record crowd of 7,121 back on March 1, 2001. This pales in comparison to the outdoor endeavours that the teams have undertaken. 74,554 saw MSU and U of M skate to a 3-3 draw at Spartan Stadium in the first ever outdoor game on October 6, 2001.

In an effort to up the ante, Michigan hosted the "Big Chill in the Big House" on December 11, 2010. The event drew 104,173 people, a new world record. The Wolverines took the contest by a final count of 5-0.

Regardless of the venue, the atmosphere that these two teams create when the hit the rink together is a sight to behold for any college sports fan.




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Written by Andrew Coppens | 21 May 2012



In a release from the Big Ten offices this morning we now know what the 2015 & 2016 conference schedules will look like for Bucky.  It's always fun to look down the road and see what's ahead of us, so with that let's take a look at what's in store for the Badgers in those years.


9/05 vs. Washington State
9/12 TBA
9/19 TBA
9/26 TBA
10/10 @ MICHIGAN
10/17 @ ILLINOIS
11/07 @ OHIO STATE
11/14 PURDUE

A quick look at the 2015 schedule shows Wisconsin has about as hard a pair of cross over games in 2015 & 2016 as they possibly could having to travel to Michigan and hosting Nebraska.  While it may prove to be that Nebraska might not be the super game depending on where this team goes in it's first few years in the conference, it's still a team with national cache at this point.  The four game stretch of @ Michigan, @ Illinois, vs. Nebraska, and @ Ohio State is very brutal and will be the key to the 2015 season in my book.


10/01 @ INDIANA
10/08 @ NEBRASKA
11/05 @ PURDUE
11/26 @ PENN STATE

This schedule isn't quite as worrisome despite getting Michigan and Ohio State in 2 out of 3 weeks.  I say it's not as worrisome because the Badgers get both at home along with Illinois and the Gophers.  Call me crazy, but this schedule just doesn't jump out to you in the same way that 2015 does as being very difficult inside the conference.

The one thing that will be really interesting to see is where Nebraska and Michigan are in terms of the conference and national picture when these games come around.  They replace Iowa and Northwestern who appear on the schedules of 2013 and 2014 so it will be interesting to see if we are replacing those schools with more difficult ones, about the same level of competition, or more difficult.  If it's the last one, which I happen to think will be the case (at least for Michigan) these two years become a lot more difficult for the Badgers.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 20 May 2012



It's a two-for-one deal in our next step on the MTB College Sports Bucket List as we move from the Orange Bowl (No. 86) to the heartland of America.  The state of Indiana plays host to the two-for-one special we're giving you today in the world of college football. 

No. 85: DePauw vs. Wabash (DIII Football): 

This game is simply one of the best and longest standing games in all of college sports.  Every year the co-ed DePauw and the all-male Wabash square off for the Monon Bell in a game that was even voted as the best rivalry in the state of Indiana.  Yep, not Purdue vs. Indiana or even Notre Dame vs. Purdue, but a DIII rivalry best known as the Battle for the Monon Bell.

But why?  Well, the two schools are separated by just 27 miles and in most cases family members and good high school friends have been on opposite sides of the field from each other.  

Monon BellAlso, they've been playing each other since 1890 and have met 118 times since then, 11 in a row.  They didn't start playing for the trophy, which is a 300 pound Monon Railroad bell, until 1930.  What really makes this game one of the best in all of college sports is the fact that it's not slanted one way or another in any big fashion.  Wabash currently leads 56-53-9, but since the 1930 introduction of the trophy it's a dead heat at 37-37-6.  That's what a true rivalry should be about, long term competitiveness.  

This game is also the oldest college football rivalry west of the Allegheny mountains and has an interesting history of ties as the overall record shows.  Up until the introduction of overtime in college football in 1996 in the event of a tie the team that won the game last retained possession of the bell.  

One of the more famous incidents in this series happened because of this rule.  In 

Off the field this game has a rich history of pranks and attempted heists of the Monon Bell.  None are as famous as 1965's "Operation Frijoles" where a Wabash student claimed to be a member of the United States Information Service in Mexico City that was looking to take a meeting with DePauw's Dean.  He got the meeting, got the Dean to offer two scholarships for Mexican students and then got him to reveal the location of the Monon Bell because the impostor student wanted to take a picture with it to "seal the deal."  Of course that information went back to Wabash and the Monon Bell was promptly stolen by fellow Wabash students.  

The bell was returned, but Wabash won the game that season to bring it right back home and after the game sombrero wearing students pelted the field with taco shells in response to the victory in celebration of the Little Giants victory over DePauw.

There are many other heists and attempted heists and they are all part of what makes this and other rivalries like it so great.

Heck, they even have their own TV deal for this game as it's played every year on HDNet, with the current contract set to expire after this season's game, so I suggest checking it out or at least DVRing it for a sense of just how important this game is to the two institutions that play it.

No. 84: Indiana vs. Purdue (FBS Football) 

As you can tell, we're staying in the state of Indiana and probably the more famous of the two rivalry games we are featuring here.  Most of you probably think of these two in terms of basketball and while those sets of games are amazing (perhaps they'll even be higher on our list... wink, wink) this game has been entertaining in it's own right.  It's a battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.  

Oaken BucketThe series started one season later than the DePauw vs. Wabash one, with the Hoosiers and Boilermakers meeting for the first time in 1891.  They didn't start playing for the Old Oaken Bucket until 1925 however.  Purdue leads the series 71-37-6 and had a 10 year winning streak that was broken by a tie and saw the Boilers take the three games following it for a 13-0-1 streak.  Indiana's longest winning streak sits at a whole 4 games.

Truly, this game is the 3rd most important between the two schools, but it's also a trophy that means a lot to the teams as the last few seasons have produced a make or break for the Boilermakers chances of a bowl game appearances and they've actually been more competitive as of late.  

With Kevin Wilson's hire at Indiana and Danny Hope seemingly holding on to his job by the Old Oaken Bucket this game has risen to a new level in terms of importance and for that it lands in the 80's in our countdown.

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Written by Cole Brown | 20 May 2012


On this sports heavy Sunday we return with Madtown Badger's College Sports Bucket List. Today we'll be looking at one of the most tradition heavy games in college football.

No. 86 - The Orange Bowl (FBS Football)

Since starting as the "Palm Festival Game" in 1933, the Orange Bowl has grown in to one of College Football's most beloved games. The first "Orange Bowl" was played on January 1st, 1935. Since then, the modern Orange Bowl has been played 78 times, making it College Football's 2nd oldest game. The game has been played annually since the first game in 1935, where Bucknell took down Miami 26-0. 

Orange BowlSince the BCS' birth in 1998, the Orange Bowl has hosted three national championship games, played in 2001, 2005, and 2009. In today's BCS format, the ACC Champion (assuming they're not ranked #1 or #2) faces off against a team with an at-large bid. The game is played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The most recent Orange Bowl was played on January 4th, 2012, when West Virginia defeated Clemson 70-33 in a game which set many records.

Arguably the most memorable Orange Bowl game was the 1965 game between #1 ranked Alabama and Texas. The game was the first ever college bowl game to be played at night and broadcasted on prime-time television. After the Longhorns took a big lead, Alabama put in backup Joe Namath, who led Alabama all the way back to within one score. In the final minute of the game, Texas led Alabama 21-17 with the Crimson Tide in scoring distance. Texas stuffed Alabama on three straight goal-line runs, the last being a Namath QB sneak. Many people believed that Namath was in the end zone, but the refs called him just short, crushing the Crimson Tide's championship season and giving Texas the 21-17 upset victory.

Another one of the greatest Orange Bowl games was the 1984 matchup between the seemingly un-beatable, undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Miami Hurricanes. The upset-minded Hurricanes jumped out to a early 17-0 lead, shocking the football world. The Huskers fought back to bring the score to 17-14 at half. Miami came out strong once again, controlling the game with a 31-17 lead late in the 3rd. The Huskers again fought back and a late touchdown on 4th and 8 made it 31-30 Miami. Nebraska coach Tom Osborne had a decision to make. A tie would virtually guarantee the Huskers the title with the two teams behind them both struggling. Osborne decided to go for two to win the game and complete a undefeated national championship season. With the game on the line, Freshman QB Turner Gill's pass was batted down by Kenny Calhoun, giving Miami the 31-30 victory. Later the Hurricanes would soar in the polls to finish #1 and claim their first Championship.

The Orange Bowl is a game a lot of teams and players dream of playing in. Each year, every ACC team sets a goal to make it to Miami. There's something about the Orange Bowl that makes it so special. Maybe it's the Miami sun, the warm night games, or the lights of Sun Light Stadium. Whatever it is, the Orange Bowl holds special memories in the minds of hardcore college football fans and for that it lands on our bucket lis.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 19 May 2012



The Badger of Honor reported Saturday morning that scout.com has ranked the 2013 football recruiting class as the No. 28 class in the nation. Currently, the class is made up of six recruits, four of which are from the state of Wisconsin.

As it currently stands, Michigan boasts the top class in the nation.

Eight of 12 Big Ten Schools are in the top-30. Wisconsin ranks seventh best among conference schools.

The men's soccer schedule was released Saturday. The Badgers, who finished 10-8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, will open on the road against Louisville on August 17th. The home opener is Spetember 7 against Florida International at 7 p.m. Wisconsin will host Penn State in the Big Ten opener on September 21 at 7:30 p.m. Reigning conference champion Northwestern comes to town on October 28. The kickoff for that match is slated for 2 p.m.

Hitting the rink, former Badgers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh recorded an assist in the New York Rangers' 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. McDonagh, who played in Madison from 2007-2009, now has two points in 17 career playoff games.

The Rangers now lead the series 2-1. Game four will be played Monday night in New Jersey.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 17 May 2012



After a day of layoff from the series we are back with an oldy, but goody for your viewing pleasure today.  It's the fourth most played football game in America and unfortunately most in the Midwest have probably never heard of the game or see it in action, hence it's spot on our Bucket List. 

Before we go any further though please make sure to check out all the other games that have graced us on the countdown so far.

No's 100 - 91 

No. 90 - Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence (DI Hockey)

No. 89 - NCAA College Soccer Cup (DI Men's Soccer)

No. 88 - Cincinnati vs. Louisville (FBS Football)

Now that you're all caught up on the greatest college sports adventure ever created it's time to continue that adventure by taking a trip down I-64!!

No. 87 - William & Mary vs. Richmond (FCS Football): 

Lately there's been a crazy trend of FCS schools looking for a piece of the FBS pie and the CAA had it's share done to it today as Old Dominion is leaving it's FCS status behind for membership in Conference USA.  However, if you are looking for pure, clean, old fashioned rivalries than you needet look any further than two members of the CAA by the names of William & Mary and Richmond.  

These two play every year for what is now called the Capital Cup (previously known as the I-64 Cup) and they've been going at it so long it is the 4th oldest rivalry in Division I football with 121 meetings between the two schools.  Only Lafayette - Lehigh, Princeton - Yale, and Harvard - Yale are older.

1898 is the year this game started and it's only missed 4 games since it's inception.  Currently the lead belongs to William & Mary who hold a 61-55-5 record over the Spiders of Richmond.  

What makes this rivalry so interesting is the fact that the schools are located in the home of the last two Virginia capitals - Williamsburg (W&M) and Richmond (Richmond) and they are closely related because of that and the short trip down I-64 that connects the two schools.  

William & Mary not only holds the lead but also has the longest streak in the series that dates from 1939 to 1954 and spans a 15 game winning streak.  Lately this series has really taken a turn as the CAA is recognized as one of the best conferences in all of FCS football and of course both Richmond and William & Mary have been at or near the top of the CAA heap. 

Perhaps the most compelling game of the series actually happened recently.  In the first game since the switch to the Capital Cup in the South's Oldest Rivalry, Richmond needed a victory and a Villanova upset of Delaware to take the conference crown.  Well, they pulled out a last second 13-10 victory and got the help needed from Villanova to take the CAA crown home.  Lately it's been a series a bit back and forth with Richmond winning five followed by two victories in the past two seasons by William & Mary.  

It may not have the fancy tricks or the crazy shennanigans of some of the other games that may or may not be on this list, but you have to respect the longevity and the importance this game has for both schools and for that they land in the 80's on our list. Let's just hope a lust for money and FBS status doesn't derail this proud and historic rivalry.

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 17 May 2012



The UW Athletic Department announced Wednesday that men's basketball team accepted an invitation to play in the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational November 23 and 24 at the Orleans Arena. The field for the 10th installment of the event includes Creighton, Arkansas, and Arizona State.

Creighton is fresh off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. Arkansas finished the 2011-12 season with an 18-14 record and a 6-10 mark in the SEC. Arizona State went 10-21 with a 6-12 record in Pac-12 play.

The men's hockey team added another recruit to the 2012-13 class with the signing of defenseman Eddie Wittchow. Wittchow was selected by the Florida Panthers in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He spent this past season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL where he recorded 18 points.

In other hockey news, Andy Baggotof the Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday that it appeared likely that the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee is planning to formally submit a request to switch from full shields to three-quarter visors on hockey helmets. The Committee is set to meet next month in Indianapolis.

Former Badger forward Craig Smith recorded an assist in Team USA's 3-2 loss to Finland in the Quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships. He finished the tournament with a pair of assists.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 16 May 2012


While the Badger softball program didn't make the NCAA tournament it still was a banner year for the program.  They tied a program record for most conference wins with 13 as well as overall wins with 34 and on Wednesday Wisconsin tied a school record with four players on All-Big Ten teams.  

A first was made when juniors Whitney Massey and Kendall Grimm became the first duo of Badgers to be named to the All-Big Ten first team.  

Massey, a second baseman, led Wisconsin with a .358 batting average and 36 RBI's.  She also set a school record with 22 doubles on the season and led the conference with 12 doubles in Big Ten play.  

Grimm, an outfielder, didn't commit a single error this season and batted .333 (.407 in conference play).

Besides Grimm and Massey the Badgers placed sophomore pitcher Cassandra Darrah on the All-Big Ten 2nd team.  She was twice named the Big Ten pitcher of the week during the season and Darrah had a 22-13 overall record (10-9 in B1G) with a 2.27 ERA (2.50 in B1G).

The final Badger to garner All-Big Ten honors was senior designated player Karla Powell, who was named to the 3rd team.  A year after being named to the 1st team Powell had a battle with injuries all season but managed a .314 batting average in conference play (.268 batting average overall).  She only started 22 of 50 games she played this season.  

Michigan won the conference and as you'd expect they took a ton of honors including Player of the Year (Amanda Chidester 1B), Pitcher of the Year (Haylie Wagner - unanimous selection), Freshman of the Year (Haylie Wagner), and Coach of the Year (Carol Hutchins).  Only Michigan and Iowa had more players on the first team than Wisconsin with three a piece. 

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 16 May 2012


Just over a week ago we began to give you a look inside the Badgers 2012 opponents coming off of Spring.  We featured a look at Northern Iowa last time out, and now it's time to visit with our friends from the University of Texas - El Paso (UTEP) to see what the Miners bring to the table since spring practice is behind them.  

UTEP logoThanks to our friends at MINER RUSH for checking in with us and answering the questions we had for them.  Enjoy getting to know a very unfamiliar opponent a bit better with Anthony and be sure to check out their site for all the news on UTEP ahead of the game this season.

Opposition Q&A: UTEP 

MTB: Mike Price was seen as a hire that could bring back UTEP football, but he hasn't exactly set the world on fire, going just 45-52 in his time at the helm of the Miners.  It's also been 9 years with just 2 bowl game appearances, is their a sense of him being on the hot seat this year?

Miner Rush: Coach Mike Price is on the hot seat, and really has been for quite some time now. Last year was nearly the final straw, but with only one year left on his contract he was given the opportunity to finish things out. That said, people should realize that Mike Price has done a lot for UTEP football. While his 45-52 record, and 3 bowl appearances don't exactly scream success, its a vast improvement from the three consecutive 2-10 years before he was here, and the 3 bowl appearances in the previous three decades. So, he is definitely on the hot seat, but at the same time, credit should be given where it is due.

MTB: A lot of the talk around the college football world has centered on conference realignment and the Miners home is Conference USA, is this a place the fans want to be in or would they want to see a move to say the Mountain West?  

MR: Since the MWC was formed, UTEP fans have felt that we belonged in that conference. After all, we competed with the founding members of it for decades. But time and time again, we've felt like an invite should be coming, and time and again we've been snubbed. I think we definitely are a better fit for the MWC than C-USA, but at this point, the fan base as a whole is kind of indifferent towards a move. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't...oh well. I actually did a write up on that for anyone who cares to read.

MTB: On the field, what are the biggest question marks coming out of spring football on each side of the ball?

MR: I think as a whole, its a matter of being able to stay healthy. Last year we suffered a ton of injuries, and that ultimately, was the main reason for our lack of success on the season. This year, in the spring, our O-Line has been banged up. Mostly knicks and dings more than anything, but still not comforting to see key guys miss time. Offensively, our success will rely on whether on not they can stay healthy. Defensively, I'd say the biggest question mark is how well we can transition, after losing so much production from out LBs and secondary. We replace those losses with some solid players, but it takes time to put it all together. How long it takes is the key.

MTB: Looking at the UTEP schedule makes me cringe just a bit with games against Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss on top of the annual rivalry game with New Mexico State, how do you manage bowl eligibility with that kind of non-conference slate?

MR: There's no doubt its going to be tough to make a bowl, but I think it's completely possible. Again, and I've been preaching it all spring, it's a matter of whether or not we can stay healthy. I don't think many expect more than 1, possibly 2 wins in non-conference, but coming out of it in relatively good shape will be the real victory. I think that brutal non-conference slate can actually prepare us for a solid conference run. Tulsa did it last year. They played Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., and Boise St. in the non-conference, lost all three, but wound up winning 8 games on the season. So, why can't we?

MTB: Defensively you only return 4 starters from last season, but is that necessarily a bad thing?  

MR: It's always a bad thing to have to replace nearly two-thirds of your team. But, while the Miners lost a ton of starters, they do return a lot of key reserves. The defensive line shouldn't skip a beat, and will probably be better than it was a year ago. The LBs lose all three starters, but return Jamie Irving from injury, who was the leading tackler in 2010. And, we've got plenty of other extremely capable LBs. The secondary definitely loses a couple of guys in Blake and Nixon who should be on NFL rosters next year. But, we return two starters, and also return some key reserves back there as well. Again, its tough to lose 7 of your 11 starters, but I wouldn't exactly say we're in bad shape. I think these guys are going to surprise some people.

MTB: Looking at some of the highlights and video I've seen on the Miners it appears you have a QB that can be very productive, at least mechanically he looks that way.  What needs to happen for him to improve on his 1,700 yard 12TD/10INT season from a year ago?

MR: I've said it a couple of times, and I'll say it again. It's all about being able to stay healthy. Nick's numbers last year weren't great, but honestly, he just didn't have time to throw. Injuries plagued our team, and Nick was even knocked out with a shoulder injury in week 2. The O-Line will have to be healthy, and will have to give him some protection. The guy certainly has the tools to make all the throws, it's just a matter of giving him the opportunity to make those throws. I'd expect that to happen.

Continue to check back throughout the rest of the week as we complete our looks at the opposition on our 2012 schedule.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 15 May 2012



After a few days away, it's back to business in the off-season countdown we like to call the MTB College Sports Bucket List.  Today we will dive in to the first known football rivalry and it's coming from one of the most controversial conferences in the country.  

Of course it's been a few days so, here's a reminder of where we stand in our countdown:

No. 100 - Army vs. Canadian Royal Military College (DI Hockey)

No. 99 - Adrian vs. MSOE (DIII Hockey)

No. 98 - VMI vs. The Citadel (FCS Football)

No. 97 - Iowa vs. Iowa State (FBS Football)

No. 96 - Hope vs. Calvin (DIII Basketball)

No. 95 - UCLA vs. Arizona (DI Basketball)

No. 94 - Texas vs. TCU (FBS Football)

No. 93 - Alaska-Anchorage vs. Alaska-Fairbanks (DI Hockey)

No. 92 - Plastburg vs. Oswego (DIII Hockey)

No. 91 - RPI vs. Union (DIII Football)

No. 90 - Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence (DI Hockey)

No. 89 - College Cup (DI Men's Soccer)

With that done, let's get on to the newest addition to our bucket list!

No. 88 - Cincinnati vs. Louisville (FBS Football): 

It's known as the Battle for the Keg of Nails and it's history dates back to 1929 when these two teams first met on the gridiron.  Where the heck did the Keg of Nails come from?  Well, lore states that it was started by fraternities at Louisville and Cincinnati to signify their players "were tough as nails."  

This rivalry is huge in basketball, but the proximity of the two schools along with both programs being at the top of the Big East as of late has really made this game even moreKeg important.

Overall Cincinnati leads the series 30-20-1 including a 25-16 victory by the Bearcats in last year's meeting.  Currently Cincinnati has a four game winnings streak in the series.  The Bearcats have the longest winning streak in the series as well, winning the first 12 meetings between the two schools.  Louisville's longest winning streak is just 5 games in length.

For Louisville the Bearcats are their oldest football rivals, while Cincinnati claims the Cardinals as their second oldest rival behind Miami (OH), whom they play every year in a non-conference tilt.

What makes this a must see for any college football fan is the fact that these two schools have played this game through three conferences (Missouri Valley, Conference-USA, and now the Big East) and because in the past ten years both teams have become more relevant players in the conference as well as nationally.

It's also a game that could be in jeopardy thanks to all the conference realignment, so putting it our list is a bit of a leap of faith that it still will be played should Louisville get it's wish and possibly move to the Big 12.   

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