Ranking 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge games

It’s time to talk the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The event might be six-plus months away, but the 2013 matchups were released Wednesday afternoon. This year’s event is Dec. 3-4, with six games each night, and it features first-year ACC members Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

That last part, the addition of the three perennial Big East contenders, makes this event even more intriguing and far more daunting for the Big Ten. Not only does the ACC gain those three teams, but with 15 teams total, it gets to keep last year’s three-worst teams (Clemson, Virginia Tech & Wake Forest) out of the event.

No matter, after losing the first 10 events, the Big Ten hasn’t lost since 2008. A season ago, the two conferences tied, 6-6, ending the Big Ten’s three-year winning streak.

Let’s take a look at the official schedule (times and ESPN stations TBA):

Tuesday, December 3
Florida State at Minnesota
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
Notre Dame at Iowa
Penn State at Pittsburgh

Wednesday, December 4
Boston College at Purdue
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami, FL at Nebraska
North Carolina at Michigan State
Northwestern at North Carolina State
Wisconsin at Virginia

Ranking the Games
1. Michigan at Duke – NBA scouts will be all over this game, with players like Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Jabari Parker playing starring roles.
2. North Carolina at Michigan State – Part of me wishes Michigan State and Michigan flipped perennial power opponents, so the Spartans could face Jabari Parker.
3. Indiana at Syracuse – A rematch of last season’s Sweet 16 matchup, which the Orange won, and the 1987 NCAA title game, which Indiana won.
4. Notre Dame at Iowa – One of the Big Ten’s deepest and most intriguing teams welcomes an Irish roster that returns three of its top four players.
5. Wisconsin at Virginia – A rematch of last season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge game, which saw the Cavaliers card a rare win at the Kohl Center.
6. Maryland at Ohio State – In its last year competing in the event as an ACC member, Maryland draws Big Ten title contender Ohio State in Columbus. Good luck!
7. Penn State at Pittsburgh – These two in-state foes haven’t met since 2005, believe it or not, and the Nittany Lions haven’t topped the Panthers since 2000.
8. Illinois at Georgia Tech – Illinois has won a Big Ten-best four consecutive Challenge games, including a win over the Yellow Jackets last year, and a victory would put it over .500 in the event.
9. Florida State at Minnesota – Both teams lost arguably their best player to graduation (Michael Snaer & Trevor Mbakwe), but each returns its share of experience.
10. Northwestern at North Carolina State – The Wildcats are better than they showed down the stretch, and Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb’s returns can only help in Chris Collins’ first year.
11. Miami (FL) at Nebraska – Yes, the Hurricanes are fresh off the ACC title and a Sweet 16 run, but they lost their six top scorers, including breakout star Shane Larkin.
12. Boston College at Purdue – Neither team finished above .500 last season, however they both feature promising sophomore talents who will be relied on heavily.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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9 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (9 Comments)
James Patrick Cordell on 5/8/2013 @ 2:41pm EST Said:

IU Syracuse obviously penned before CZ and Ola left

Arran on 5/8/2013 @ 3:19pm EST Said:

Maryland doesn’t need any luck but thanks for the warm welcome

HuskerCoug on 5/8/2013 @ 3:29pm EST Said:

I thought Maryland would do an intersquad scrimmage.

shookwriter27 on 5/8/2013 @ 4:02pm EST Said:

The Big Ten is slowly catching up with the ACC in this event.

briar on 5/8/2013 @ 4:19pm EST Said:

I half expected and NU@Duke matchup, just so Collins could see what it’s like playing at Cameron against his mentor. It probably wouldn’t have made for a very good game but it would have been amusing.

Art Davis on 5/8/2013 @ 5:01pm EST Said:

Pitt, trying to upgrade its non-conference schedule is paired with a Big Ten weakling in a “Made for ESPN” contest. Go figure!

N8! on 5/8/2013 @ 5:27pm EST Said:

Love the matchup for the Hawkeyes! This is sure to be an intense game in Iowa City. Go Hawkeyes!

rick hempel on 5/8/2013 @ 6:06pm EST Said:

wanted msu duke

Andy Coppens on 5/9/2013 @ 1:19pm EST Said:

Love those who piss & moan about Indiana vs. Syracuse near the top… You do realize that these two teams bring in some of the best recruiting classes in the country once again to go with some very good parts, right?

All this coming from a guy who loathes Tom Crean & can’t wait to see him lose to Wisconsin once again!