It's all about taking a risk.
NCAA football out of conference schedules often lack opportunities to take a chance.
But once in a while, a school steps up and goes all in.
Sometimes, it's better to make an early statement, than never make one at all.
This list will not include the yearly Notre Dame vs. Michigan, Michigan State, or Purdue games. Because, Notre Dame still isn't that good. It will also not include any Nebraska out of conference games.
After an offseason, where the Big Ten flexed its muscle, the conference knows a statement must be made on the field.
These five games will allow them to try just that.
Let's be honest.
Minnesota Golden Gophers have little chance at beating the USC Trojans.
USC will be entering the game angry and looking to dismantle all opponents in their way.
And Minnesota will be entering the season as one of the worst teams in the Big Ten.
But the game gets mentioned for a few reasons.
First, it's at Minnesota. That leaves a smidgen of a hope the game will be competitive for a little while.
Next, USC is still a very solid opponent to have on the schedule. Maybe to them Minnesota is the cupcake, but for Minnesota it's a legit opponent to have on the schedule.
And lastly, you just never know. A few strange plays, the home crowd behind the team, and an intense focus may leave the Gophers with a fighting chance.
This is and interesting game.
Two years removed from almost upsetting the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Ohio Bobcats look to get the job done.
And despite being a member of the MAC, they bring a very strong football team into 2010.
The game arrives at the perfect time for the Bobcats, a week after the (soon to be addressed) OSU vs. Miami Hurricanes game. The Buckeyes won't overlook the Bobcats, but might be coming off an emotional high.
Ohio returns a team filled with plenty of seniors on both sides of the ball. Coach Frank Solich and his defense are known for creating turnovers and play that is extremely physical.
Solich has been around big time programs and will have his team ready to play.
On offense, Ohio isn't too shabby either. They have the potential to hit big plays in the passing game and keep themselves around in tough games.
Ohio State of course, comes in on a totally different level.
The OSU offense will be their strong suit this year and it may be too much for Ohio's veteran defense.
Expect a sluggish game early for the Buckeyes and a real test coming off their game versus Miami.
But, as good as the Ohio defense will be, OSU should wear them down with their running game and pull away in the second half.
The college football world will find out very quickly how far Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines have come.
After two-straight losing seasons, the Wolverines open against a very talented Connecticut Huskies squad.
More importantly, the team will unveil the additions to the stadium.
UConn will enter the game coming off an emotional 2009 season. They faced adversity after Jasper Howard, former captain of the squad, was killed. After a few losses following the death, they rebounded to win their final four games of the season.
The UConn team returns 16 starters, an established coach in Randy Edsall, and plenty of depth.
For the Huskies, a victory on the road against Michigan could help their prospects in obtaining a Big East BCS bid. In addition, Edsall who has never had success against Rich Rod, he wouldn't mind starting now.
Michigan on the other hand could use a solid opening win at home. After an offseason marred by bad press, the Wolverines come in slightly under the radar.
Many spectators think Rodriguez and his team will fail miserably, ending his brief stint as coach.
Michigan, however, returns an offense that has the potential to do some damage. If the team can find itself a quarterback, the weapons around him may help lead a strong attack.
As for the defense, Michigan loses Brandon Graham, but can't get much worse as a team.
Talent has never been the problem, but making it all work together has been a struggle. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson knows he has to find away to limit opponent opportunities.
Look for a high scoring game as neither has great secondaries. Michigan will be riding high and coming in as perhaps a home underdog, don't be surprised to watch the Wolverines start off their season looking good.
The Iowa Hawkeyes enter the season with extremely high expectations.
Those will be put to the test when they travel to the southwest and play the Arizona Wildcats.
With coach Mike Stoops, Arizona has been all about defense. Their defense might not have the same power as in year's past after losing seven starters, but the scheme always has them prepared.
More importantly, the Wildcats still have an impressive defensive line that could pose problems for Iowa.
On offense, Arizona has quarterback Nick Foles behind a veteran offensive line. Foles showed solid potential in games last season. And with most of his receivers returning, familiarity should be on his side.
The team also has a running quarterback in Matt Scott who will be used to mix things up.
Iowa's defense should be stout and ready to stifle the Wildcats. Their secondary should continue to give them one of the premiere passing defenses in college football. Add in senior Adrian Clayborn and their defense may rival last seasons.
The big question for Iowa, which will face a test against Arizona, is the offensive line.
Iowa is replacing four of their linemen. The team's successes throughout the year may hinge on them. The running game still needs a breakthrough starter and a good line would help.
For Ricky Stanzi, Iowa quarterback, his turnovers must decrease. But, if the o-line can't protect him it may be a difficult task.
Expect this to be the first real challenge Iowa faces. Although Arizona shouldn't be as good as the past couple years, don't be surprised to see a Pac-10 upset.
The Miami Hurricanes travel to Ohio State early in the season. The game should be a formidable test for both squads.
Ohio State and Miami each have the potential to make BCS games. But both do have some weaknesses that could have them fall from graces.
This game, will be the test for both.
Ohio State has a high powered offense, but some defensive question marks.
Miami has a lot of offensive weapons, but many are returning from injury. Jacory Harris at the QB position will be the key for their offense to become a well oiled machine.
The Miami defense comes in with a fantastic secondary and a defensive line ready to make an impact. The defensive speed may be enough to keep up with the Ohio State offense.
This game could go anyway.
If the Miami offensive is still trying to find it's bearings, OSU could blow them out by eventually breaking down the defense.
If the Ohio State defense struggles, Miami might gain the offensive confidence needed to spark an upset. If Miami can control the ball and keep their defense fresh, OSU fans may be in for a long day.
This probably would have been a better game last season.
The Penn State Nittany Lions enter the season with a lot of inexperience and question marks.
The team always brings in solid talent, but there is no way to tell how they'll respond early.
But, with Joe Paterno's 400th career win looming the team will be motivated from the start.
Evan Royster will be the key to any offensive success for PSU.
He will be behind an offensive line looking for an identity. The 1,100 yard rusher though, will need to find holes to keep the ball moving.
On defense, Penn State lost many valuable players. They'll have to play aggressive and create turnovers every game. If they find themselves on the field too long, it may crack them.
As for Alabama, they may be primed for a repeat. Their offensive line should remain great and the weapons at running back and wide receiver will keep them strong.
The defense will be the questioned area. After losing plenty of starters, the team will need to plug holes quickly. The secondary and defensive line may be slightly vulnerable.
With the game at Alabama, Penn State stands little chance to win. Most spectators believe this game will be a blow out.
If Evan Royster can find himself with some holes they can keep it competitive. PSU must match Alabama's offensive output.
Bama should have no trouble moving the ball, so taking advantage of mistakes becomes key.