|Date||Opponent / Event||Location||Time|
|09/05/09||at Wisconsin||Madison, Wisc.||TBA|
|09/12/09||vs. Western Illinois||DeKalb, Ill.||TBA|
|09/19/09||at Purdue||West Lafayette, Ind.||TBA|
|09/26/09||vs. Idaho||DeKalb, Ill.||TBA|
|10/03/09||vs. Western Michigan (HC) #||DeKalb, Ill.||TBA|
|10/17/09||at Toledo #||Toledo, Ohio||TBA|
|10/24/09||at Miami (Ohio) #||Oxford, Ohio||TBA|
|10/31/09||vs. Akron #||DeKalb, Ill.||TBA|
|11/05/09||vs. Eastern Michigan #||DeKalb, Ill.||6:30 p.m. CT|
|11/12/09||vs. Ball State #||DeKalb, Ill.||5:00 p.m. CT|
|11/21/09||at Ohio #||Athens, Ohio||TBA|
|11/27/09||at Central Michigan #||Mt. Pleasant, Mich.||TBA|
|12/04/09||vs. Marathon MAC Championship||Detroit, Mich.||7:00 p.m. CT|
Televised Weekday games:
NIU vs EMU on a Thurs (ESPNU)
NIU vs Ball State on a Thurs (ESPNU)
NIU @ Central Michigan on a Friday (ESPNU/ESPN 360)
I like this schedule a lot.. Now that I look at it more, it's truly a thing of beauty and much better than last year's.We start off on the road in what will likely be our toughest opponent all year against the Badgers. We then get a nice break at home against WIU to retool things for another B10 matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers.
After our second B10 game, we get another 'retool' game against Idaho before we start conference play against WMU on homecoming. It's an early homecoming and we have a bye week after that before hitting the road against Toledo.
I really like the scheduling of the home games. The three early games provides a great environment for fans when the weather is still nice outside.
With the three straight home games in a row, it's a ton more convenient for fans to make plans to attend the game on Thursday nights rather than earlier in the week. Students party on Thursday nights anyways and this should provide a great atmosphere even though the weather might be a little bit chilly out. I'm a little confused as to why our Thursday game against Ball State is scheduled for 5 PM. That's a little early for a weekday game.
An interesting note is that there is only a 5-day turnaround between the Akron game on a Saturday and the EMU game on the Thursday after. Those teams aren't tops in the league but should be fascinating how the team reacts when that comes around.
Our toughest conference game is on the road against Central Michigan. It's a short week for us and the Chips should be the best team in the MAC West. Other than that game, the rest of our conference slate is manageable.
Coach Kill's thoughts:
"I like our home schedule," Kill continued. "Our fans will be able to see us early in the season at home, and we've got the three straight home games at the back half."
"It's nice to have our two Thursday night games at home," Kill said. "Last year it was difficult for our student-athletes when we had to travel to Ball State and play on a weekday. These Thursday night home games will give us the ESPN exposure, but will not cost us any class time."
Overall, this schedule could have been a lot worse and I am pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. There's no ridiculous road stretch like at the beginning of the year last year when we played 4 of 5 starting out. It should be fun to play in-state rivals in Western Illinois and hopefully we see a lot of their fans come out. Joe Novak was 0-3 against WIU during his tenure and it's time for some revenge against the Leathernecks...and Wisconsin
"We all know the last time we played Wisconsin [a 44-3 loss on Oct. 20, 2007], things didn't go so well, so hopefully that will motivate our guys more to get ready for the opener," Kill said. "The one advantage for our fans in playing these two Big 10 schools is that our fans have a chance to drive to both games. When we go into venues like these, we will need all the support we can get.