Memorial Day is here, officially ushering in the summer break for most people across the country.

With kids out of school, now is the time to pack up the car and hit the road for summer vacations. If you’re like my family, we took the first week possible to kick off the summer with some relaxation on the beach.

And with the summer break comes a traditionally down period for college football. Training camp is right around the corner, but the next few months provide a chance to rest and recover before the grind of the season arrives.

With that in mind, let’s take a stroll through the Big Ten with some summer vacation plans for every program.

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Illinois — Pray the injury bug stays away from Josh McCray.

As a true freshman, Josh McCray lit things up with 549 yards while playing behind Chase Brown. Unfortunately, he has just 62 carries in the 2 seasons since then while battling injuries throughout. If McCray stays healthy, he could rebound in a big way this fall.

Indiana — Fire up the BBQ and reminisce about the Bill Mallory days.

Indiana does not exactly have a star-studded football past. Even during the high-water mark of the Tom Allen era, the Hoosiers were unable to breakthrough with a bowl win. The last bowl victory for Indiana came in 1991 under Bill Mallory, and he holds 2 of the program’s 3 all-time bowl wins. It’s okay to reflect on those glory days while also daydreaming that Curt Cignetti can live up to his “I win. Google me” comments.

Iowa — Throw a backyard party in honor of Brian Ferentz’s departure.

Life around Iowa City has been pretty good lately. Pretty good as is in some parts have been really good while others have been rather lackluster. Speaking of lackluster, Brian Ferentz is no longer the OC of the Hawkeyes, bringing a reign of offensive terror to an end. That’s a reason to celebrate this summer.

Maryland — Relish in a prominent 3-year stretch for the Terps with some softshell crab.

Maryland has 3 straight winning seasons with 3 straight bowl wins under Mike Locksley. Who knows what the future holds without Taulia Tagovailoa under center, so take the summer to kick back and throw on the highlights from the Pinstripe, Duke’s Mayo and and Music City Bowl wins.

Michigan — Buy more national championship gear and JJ McCarthy’s rookie jersey.

Listen, Michigan will do everything in its power to keep Jim Harbaugh’s run of dominance going under new head coach Sherrone Moore. But it’s not quite time to get off the high of last season, considering the Wolverines will wear the title of “reigning national champs” throughout the fall. Live a little and splurge on more championship gear to keep the good times rolling! (And toss in JJ McCarthy’s rookie jersey with the Minnesota Vikings for good measure.)

Michigan State — Pick some peaches and reflect on 2021.

Is Jonathan Smith the right coach to return the Spartans to the consistency of the Mark Dantonio era? We’ll soon find out, but there’s no point wasting the summer thinking about “what ifs?” Seeing as the summer is peak peach season, why not buy a bushel and reflect on the 2021 Peach Bowl victory?

Minnesota — Row the boat.

It’s pretty simple. Even for the program’s worst season since 2017, PJ Fleck was still able to deliver his 5th bowl victory since joining the Gophers, leading the program to a 5-0 mark in the postseason. Use the summer to get out on the lake, row some boats, and buckle up to see if Minnesota can get back to 8-9 wins this fall.

Nebraska — Save the vacation money for a bowl trip.

Okay, I get it. Nebraska fans have heard and seen it all since the program’s last bowl game in 2016. However, things have got to change at some point… right? Matt Rhule appears to have things trending upward, and new quarterback Dylan Raiola looks like the right guy under center to turn things around. Can they get to 6 wins? If I had to choose between summer vacation or a bowl game, take the chance and save the dough.

Northwestern — Get used to being around the lake.

Summer vacation is the opportune time to hit the lake. Northwestern should also spend a bit more time than others at the lake in preparation for the fall. While Ryan Field is under construction, the Wildcats will play some home games on the shores of Lake Michigan. Might as well take the chance and get used to be around the water.

Ohio State — Calculate travel costs for the fall.

The motto around Columbus is national championship or bust, and that’s particularly true this season. With one of the deepest rosters in the country, it will be a failure of the season if the Buckeyes are not on the field for the CFP National Championship. To get there, Ohio State will be a fair way from home, including a regular season road trip some 2,000+ miles out west to Eugene to face Oregon. If Ohio State does reach the quarterfinals of the Playoff, the Buckeyes must travel to one of the Fiesta, Peach, Rose or Sugar Bowls, and the semifinals will be played at the Cotton and Orange Bowls before the championship game in Atlanta. If you’re a fan of the Buckeyes, now is the time to count the gas and ticket prices.

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Oregon — Do your homework on Indianapolis.

Oregon enters the 2024 season as some of the new kids on the B1G block. However, Dan Lanning’s group should not have much trouble acclimating to the environment based on the roster and makeup of the Ducks. With a team likely to compete for the College Football Playoff and B1G title, Oregon fans should check out the history of Indianapolis in preparation for a potential B1G Championship Game appearance.

Penn State — Save up for that plane ticket to LA.

Sure, a trip to the lake or beach this summer sounds cool, but you know what sounds even cooler? A trip to Los Angeles and the Memorial Coliseum to check out USC football on the Trojans home turf. Save up the money for a plane ticket to California, and save a little extra to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of LA.

Purdue — Watch Zach Edey in the NBA’s Summer League.

Without football on the docket, Purdue fans can get their fill of some Zach Edey coverage this summer. The dominant big man is likely to be a 1st-round pick in the NBA Draft in June, and he’s likely to follow that up by playing one of the summer leagues in July.

Rutgers — Beef up on pronouncing “Kaliakmanis.”

Rutgers was able to deliver the first winning season and a bowl win for the program since 2014 last season, even as Gavin Wimsatt completed less than 50% of his passes. Moving forward, the Scarlet Knights are handing the reins of the offense to former Minnesota starter Athan Kaliakmanis, a player with ties to OC Kirk Ciarrocca.

UCLA — Book those sky miles for the fall.

Sorry Bruins fans, but there’s no time for a big trip this summer. Why? Just look at the fall football schedule. Road trips to Hawaii, LSU, Penn State, Rutgers and Nebraska will require multiple trips across the country.

USC — Book that trip to Ann Arbor.

With summer break arriving, September will be here before we know it. And once the football season kicks off, USC will have 3 trips to the middle of the country or the east coast. The most prominent of those is a late-September game against Michigan in the Big House. Considering it’s also the first B1G game for the Trojans and against the national champions, it’s a trip worth investing in.

Washington — Throw a boat party in honor of Kalen DeBoer.

All good things must come to an end. Washington unfortunately experienced that hard truth quickly with some star talent off to the NFL and Kalen DeBoer bolting to replace Nick Saban at Alabama. The Huskies can find their way into being a contender in the B1G, but that’s unlikely to come true right away considering the massive losses from the 2023 roster.

Wisconsin — Invest in Phil Longo’s offense.

I get it, the 2023 performance of the Badger offense was far from encouraging. However, adding Tyler Van Dyke via the portal gives some upside entering 2024. Coming off the disappointing debut in Madison, invest in the offense before the unit delivers a breakout in the new-look B1G.

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