The 2010 NIU Football Schedule is a mixed bag

Per NIUHuskies.com:

Date Opponent / Event Location Time
09/02/10 (Thurs)
at Iowa State Ames, Iowa TBA
09/11/10 vs. North Dakota DeKalb, Ill. TBA
09/18/10 at Illinois Champaign, Ill. TBA
09/25/10 at Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. TBA
10/02/10 at Akron # Akron, Ohio TBA
10/09/10 vs. Temple # DeKalb, Ill. TBA
10/16/10 vs. Buffalo # DeKalb, Ill. TBA
10/23/10 vs. Central Michigan # DeKalb, Ill. TBA
10/30/10 at Western Michigan # Kalamazoo, Mich. TBA
11/09/10 (Tues)
vs. Toledo # TV (ESPN2)
DeKalb, Ill. 6:00 p.m. CT
11/20/10 at Ball State # Muncie, Ind. TBA
11/26/10 (Fri)
at Eastern Michigan # (ESPNU)
Ypsilanti, Mich. TBA

Initial Thoughts

We'll go in to more detail about the non-conference part of the schedule later this week, but here's a summary: We already know how to beat Iowa State, the Fighting Illini are a program in shambles and Minnesota is beating on Ron Zook's door to become part of the Big 10 cellar.  North Dakota is a nice home re-tooling game to give us have to get us through three straight road games.  Also, we don't have to travel very far to any of our OOC sites.

Road Trippin'

The hardest part of the schedule is the 3-game road trip to Illinois, Minnesota & Akron.  These three games will shape the season for the Huskies.  It's scary because even though the first two opponents are exciting to play, the third game is the only one that matters in the entire scheme of things.  Akron has a new coach and everything, but MAC road games are always tough.  If we beat Illinois, Minnesota could be a trap game.  If we beat Minnesota, Akron could be a trap game.  Here's hoping to go at least 2-1 with that loss not being to the Zips.

One cool thing for the team and Huskie Road Crew members is that they get to visit two brand new stadiums in Minnesota's TCF Bank and Akron's InfoCision.

Seeing Triple

The biggest eyesore on the schedule is the 3-game homestand against Temple, Buffalo & Central Michigan.  It's the same thing they did in 2008 with the Toledo homecoming beatdown sandwiched in between Miami and BGSU.  It not only lessens the aura of homecoming (which will likely be Buffalo), three games in a row at home is just overkill for fans.  It's basically a pick and choose one or two to attend if you work weekends or have prior commitments.

Temple will be hugely attended not only because they will be a great team next year, but also the fact that not seeing the Huskies play live for three straight weeks is like delaying an orgasm.  UB will get a boost because of homecoming...CMU gets by on name recognition alone, despite the fact LeFevour and friends have passed on to greener pastures.

The season will come down to...

Early season: MAC East favorites Temple at home.

Late season: Toledo at home, on a Tues on ESPN2.  I'm actually scared what might happen to the Rockets in this one.  Kill owns the Rockets at home, despite the small sample size (1-0).

Surrounding that Toledo game is a whole mess of off-days for the Huskies so that they can heal up for their last two road games and the MAC Championship.  But then again if the MAC West is wrapped up by then, we'll have nothing to worry about.

This is the schedule of a MAC Champion

I'm not saying the Huskies will win the MAC in 2010 (even though I think they will), but judging by schedule alone they have a winner.  Their toughest few games will be in Huskie Stadium: Temple, Buffalo, Toledo and even a deconstructed Central Michigan who we usually own anyways.  Akron, WMU and Ball State will be tricky opponents on the road, but these teams will be nothing like the Toledo's and the Bowling Green's of 2002-04.

The non-conference schedule is just mediocre enough for the Huskies to find that mid-range of getting enough experience for conference, while also not getting to beat up on the football field.

I speak for every fan when I say it's about time the Huskies get their sh*t together and win the MAC for once.  This schedule gives the Huskies their best chance since the 2004 season.  Hey, we played Iowa State that season as well.  Hmm...and we only had 5 home games that year too.

What do you guys think about the schedule?

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