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Big Ten Releases 2013 and 2014 Football Schedules

Are you ready for some Big Ten football? Well, too bad -- it's a ways off. But if you're the type who likes to plan ahead (way ahead), you can fire up your smart phone's calendar app and virtually pencil in a few key dates right now.

That's because the Big Ten office announced its the 2013 and 2014 football schedules today for both the Legends and Leaders divisions. (All dates were approved by the Big Ten Directors of Athletics in March.) Skip past the jump to see how it breaks down for the Northwestern University Wildcats and University of Illinois Fighting Illini.

Northwestern Wildcats

In 2013, NU kicks off the season on Sept. 28 ... with a bye week. In October, they host Ohio State (10/5), visit Wisconsin (10/12), host Minnesota (10/19) and visit Iowa (10/26). In November, the team visits Nebraska (11/2), enjoys a bye week (11/9), hosts Michigan (11/16) and Michigan State (11/23), and winds up the season down in Chambana playing the Illini on Nov. 30.

In 2014, the Wildcats kick off the season on Sept. 27 ... also with a bye week. In October, the team hosts Nebraska (10/4), visits Minnesota (10/11), hosts Wisconsin (10/18) and visits Ohio State (10/25). In November, the Wildcats visit Michigan State (11/1), host Iowa (11/8), enjoy another bye week (11/15), visit Michigan (11/22) and then close the season by hosting a huge game against the Illini on Nov. 29.

University of Illinois Fighting Illini

In 2013, the Illini blast off with a bye week on Sept. 28. In October, they visit Nebraska (10/5), enjoy another bye week (10/12), and host Wisconsin (10/19) and Michigan State (10/26). In November, the team visits Penn State (11/2) and Indiana (11/9), hosts Ohio State (11/16), visits Purdue (11/23), and welcomes the Wildcats to the regular season closer on Nov. 30.

In 2014, Illinois starts again with a bye on Sept. 27. In October, the Illini visit Michigan State (10/4), host Indiana (10/11) and Nebraska (10/18), and visit Wisconsin (10/25). In November, they begin with a bye week (11/1), travel to Ohio State (11/8), host Purdue (11/15) and Penn State (11/22), and drive up to Evanston to face the Wildcats for their final regular season game on Nov. 29.

Going forward, the Big Ten Football Championship Game will take place on the first Saturday of December. That means Dec. 7 in 2013 and Dec. 6 in 2014. (This year, the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game will go down on Dec. 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.) Winning a Big Ten Championship earns a team the chance to play in the Rose Bowl or another Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.