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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Big Ten releases 2016, 2017 schedules

By Brian Bennett


Ever since the Big Ten decided to go to a nine-game schedule beginning in 2016, we've been anxiously waiting to see how those schedules would line up.

The wait is now over, as the league has put out its schedules for 2016 and 2017, the first two years of the nine-game conference slates. This is big, because there are so many competitive balance questions with the uneven crossover opponents and home/road splits. As previously announced, all East Division teams will play five conference home games in 2016, while the West Division teams will play five at home in '17.

OK, let's delve into the important details ...

DIVISION CROSSOVERS

2016


East Division

Indiana: Nebraska, at Northwestern, Purdue (protected)
Maryland: Purdue, Minnesota, at Nebraska
Michigan: Wisconsin, Illinois, at Iowa
Michigan State: Wisconsin, Northwestern, at Illinois
Ohio State: at Wisconsin, Northwestern, Nebraska
Penn State: Minnesota, at Purdue, Iowa
Rutgers: Illinois, at Minnesota, Iowa

West Division

Illinois: at Rutgers, at Michigan, Michigan State
Iowa: at Rutgers, at Penn State, Michigan
Minnesota: at Penn State, at Maryland, Rutgers
Nebraska: at Indiana, at Ohio State, Maryland
Northwestern: at Michigan State, Indiana, at Ohio State
Purdue: at Maryland, Penn State, at Indiana (protected)
Wisconsin: at Michigan, at Michigan State, Ohio State

2017

East Division

Indiana: Wisconsin, at Illinois, at Purdue (protected)
Maryland: at Minnesota, Northwestern, at Wisconsin
Michigan: at Purdue, Minnesota, at Wisconsin
Michigan State: Iowa, at Minnesota, at Northwestern
Ohio State: at Nebraska, at Iowa, Illinois
Penn State: at Northwestern, at Iowa, Nebraska
Rutgers: at Nebraska, at Illinois, Purdue

West Division

Illinois: Rutgers, Indiana, at Ohio State
Iowa: at Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
Minnesota: Maryland, Michigan State, at Michigan
Nebraska: Rutgers, Ohio State, at Penn State
Northwestern: Penn State, at Maryland, Michigan State
Purdue: Michigan, at Rutgers, Indiana (protected)
Wisconsin: Maryland, at Indiana, Michigan

Now you see the effect of the so-called "parity-based" scheduling. There was some rumbling about the 2014 and 2015 schedules because a lot of the marquee programs don't play each other those years. Well, we get Ohio State-Nebraska and Wisconsin-Michigan in both 2016 and 2017, both Michigan State-Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Ohio State in '16, and Penn State-Nebraska in '17. While it's impossible to predict how good any team will be four or five seasons from now, these figure to be the marquee games for the league.

Sadly, there's no Nebraska-Michigan on the schedule, meaning the Huskers and Wolverines won't play for at least four consecutive years (2014-2017). I would imagine we'll see those two hook up in 2018, but it's the one real headliner matchup missing in the conference over that period. Savor this year's game in Ann Arbor, folks. We'll also miss Penn State-Wisconsin, as those teams also do not play from 2014-2017.

Let's look at the schedule in terms of opponents each team will miss in 2016 and 2017:

NO PLAYS

2016

East Division

Indiana: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Maryland:
Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Michigan: Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue
Michigan State: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue
Ohio State: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue
Penn State: Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Rutgers: Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin


West Division

Illinois: Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State
Iowa: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State
Minnesota: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State
Nebraska: Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers
Northwestern: Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers
Purdue: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Rutgers
Wisconsin: Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers,

2017

East Division

Indiana: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern
Maryland:
Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue
Michigan:
Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska,, Northwestern
Michigan State: Illinois, Nebraska, Purdue, Wisconsin
Ohio State: Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
Penn State: Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin
Rutgers: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin

West Division

Illinois: Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State
Iowa: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers
Minnesota: Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
Nebraska: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State
Northwestern: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State or Rutgers
Purdue: Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State
Wisconsin: Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers

Some more thoughts: