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Northwestern football's early season schedule released

Four of NU's first six games in the 2015 season are against power conferences foes, two of which are against big recruiting rivals in Stanford and Duke.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With its 2015 season opener against Stanford in September less than three months away, Northwestern football has released the dates, times and broadcast information for the first half of its schedule, including non-conference games against Stanford and Duke as well as Big Ten meetings with Michigan and Iowa.

In a press release, Northwestern announced that the Stanford game at Ryan Field will be televised on ESPN at 11 a.m. central. The game the week after, an instate matchup with the Eastern Illinois Panthers--alma mater of NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo--will be on ESPNews.

Then, the Wildcats head out on the road for the first time to take on the Duke Blue Devils--with whom they have a home-and-home series until 2018--in a game on the ACC Network. NU then heads back to Evanston to finish up its non-conference slate against Ball State in a primetime Big Ten Network affair.

The next week, Northwestern opens up its conference schedule against Minnesota at home on October 3rd, but the time of that game has not been released yet. According to the release, gametime for that contest and for NU's others will be announced on a week-by-week basis.

Continuing in the Big Ten, the Wildcats will go to Ann Arbor to play the Michigan Wolverines to try to return the favor from last year's Parents Weekend slopfest which saw Michigan win 10-9 in one of the ugliest games college football has seen in a long time. The following week, NU welcomes the Iowa Hawkeyes to Evanston for a morning homecoming game on a yet-to-be-determined network.

Northwestern's five remaining games--against Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin and Illinois--are still at unknown times on unknown networks. That mostly depends on BTN's broadcast schedule and which teams are still in the bowl/conference title hunt come late October and November.