University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez raised some eyebrows Thursday when he said that Big Ten Conference schools have been urged to include two Bowl Championship Series teams in non-league schedules starting in 2014.

Alvarez was taping a segment of "Sidelines'' on WISC-TV when he noted that Big Ten ADs and football coaches had agreed to upgrade schedules to coincide with the debut of a four-team playoff in 2014. He said that league schools have been urged to play two BCS opponents because strength of schedule will be a prominent criteria for playoff qualifiers.

But Alvarez didn't mean the Big Ten would exclusively target members of the five other BCS conferences: Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern. He later clarified his definition of BCS opponents "as Division I schools ... that can compete with anyone.''

Alvarez said Brigham Young fits that definition. Not only are the Cougars, a Football Bowl Subdivision independent, on the schedule for 2013, Alvarez revealed that UW is finalizing a 2-for-1 deal with BYU.

In separate interviews Thursday, Alvarez and UW coach Bret Bielema said multiple agreements with future non-conference opponents are close to being completed.

Bielema noted that he likes the idea of opening the season on a Thursday night, which could be reflected in schedules starting in 2014.

"It drew a lot of attention to us and got us national exposure,'' he said, referring to the 2011 season opener vs. Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Badgers have a contract to play a genuine BCS opponent -- Washington State of the Pac-12 -- in 2014 and '15.

"We have some agreements with some very good schools,'' Alvarez said. "But the schedules that we have right now are not etched in stone. We've had to do some shuffling.''

Alvarez reiterated that he would continue to schedule Football Championship Subdivision opponents like Northern Iowa, which comes to Camp Randall Stadium for the season opener Saturday.

"If that's all we can get, that's what we're going to end up getting,'' he said, noting that UW must have seven home games to pay the bills. "It really gets difficult when you're scheduling BCS (opponents) because those are home-and-home (deals). To get the other (two non-conference games) you're going to have to (pay guarantees) and there are only so many available.''

 

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