The Big Ten presidents and chancellors are expected to vote next week on key agenda items, including future conference schedules and division alignment.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told CBSsports.com's Jeremy Fowler that the presidents and chancellors are expected to unanimously approve a nine-game conference schedule beginning in the 2016 season. The Big Ten announced in February that it would be increasing the number of league games with upcoming expansion, and while a 10-game schedule drew some consideration, the discussion quickly centered on a nine-game slate.
The big downside of the nine-game slate is the imbalance between home and road games, but a 10-game slate is too ambitious at this point. Also, the Big Ten is expected to work out a revenue plan that can satisfy schools that have required seven total home games per year to satisfy their budgets. The Pac-12 and Big 12 already play nine league games per season, and the ACC is making the move this season.
As we first reported, the Big Ten will use geographically based divisions this time around. All the teams in the Central time zone -- Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin -- will be in the same division. One team from the Eastern time zone will move West, and ESPN.com first reported that team would be Purdue or Indiana. The Boilers and Hoosiers will play the Big Ten's only annual crossover game. The other 10 teams will play six division games and three rotating crossover games per year.