Blog Entry

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:52 pm
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Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big Ten conference season is going to be getting longer in a few years. Jim Delany announced Thursday that in 2017, the Big Ten is moving to a nine-game conference schedule. Yes, that means some teams get five home conference games a year, but fear not: the conference has a plan:

Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division. 

The upshot of this is that unless there's a 13th regular season game about to be added (which seems unlikely right now), Big Ten teams are going to be left with three non-conference games to be filled. And being that college football programs still covet home games and bowl bids above all other things, those three non-conference games are probably going to be almost exclusively home dates against cupcakes. Those programs with regular non-conference rivalries (namely Iowa-Iowa State and Michigan-Notre Dame) are going to have to coordinate the schedules so that the road games don't come in years with the extra in-conference road game, otherwise that's only six games at home for the season -- a Big Ten athletic director's worst nightmare.

That all said, nine conference games is still nine conference games, and it's going to make the conference even more fiercely competitive. Say what you will about the Big Ten not being the SEC, but there really aren't that many cupcakes to be found. Between the regular season and the conference title game, whoever the Big Ten champion is will have had to face 10 Big Ten opponents to get there, and at least seven of them will have been teams other than Minnesota, Indiana, or Illinois. That's pretty rough. 

All in all, it's a bold move for the Big Ten. and if there's one thing I would change, it's the distribution of home and away games. While it evens out over time, the division races are going to be unfairly tilted toward the three teams given five home games. Penn State probably can't expect to win many division titles in odd-numbered years when it has five road games and Ohio State's over there with five home games. I'd rather see it alternate between entire divisions (Legends host the protected inter-divisional rivalry game in even-numbered years, Leaders host it in the odds), so at the very least divisional crowns are decided on more equal footing.

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Comments

Since: Aug 8, 2011
Posted on: August 8, 2011 2:12 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

I think the Big Ten schedule has to be an even number of games.     
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Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:17 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Hey dk13beso, considering the Big Ten actually has a winning record all-time vs teams currently in the SEC, I somehow doubt they would feel the need to try to avoid them. It's also been 24 years since a Pac Ten team other than USC or Washington has won the Rose Bowl, and I'm sure USC doesn't have any advantage playing in their home town right?

But don't let facts get in your way. 



Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

I hope Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota and Indiana enjoy the money from the extra games on the conference network because they're rarely going to be bowl eligible again.



Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:31 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Hey Nitrohack; Notre Dame will be the soft spot in the schedule for many of these teams. I fondly remember Army being one of the elite in college football and the Irish are closing ground quickly on being yesterday's news. All the hype and exposure can't mask an inferior squad that is basically a middle-of-the- pack Big 10 team.



Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:00 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Let me see; a Legend Division winner with a 7-2 conference record vs. a Leader Division winner @ 9-0. That seems fair, but the stiffs @ Big 10 headquarters have the choice to pull the "best interests of the league" card and have the Ohio State-Michigan winner be the sacrificial lamb in the Rose Bowl. The main focus of the league is to avoid as many contests vs. the SEC as possible to not repeat last season's embarrassing and pathetic performances on New Years Day.Maybe the Huskers can elevate this archaic conference to new levels where SEC and PAC-12 teams don't humiliate these pedestrian squads from the midwest.



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: August 5, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

I don't expect to see Big Ten teams sign a lot of non-conference home-and-home contracts anymore.


I can't speak for all of the B1G, but OSU has marquee home & home deals scheduled over the next dozen years, and is trending toward adding a second BCS conference caliber OOC opponent each year.  I'm pretty sure Michigan, Michigan St and Purdue will continue to schedule Notre Dame each year too.



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: August 5, 2011 9:40 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

10 out of the 12 Big Ten teams did that too.  I guess the SEC must be copying the Big Ten.


Hey troll, I clearly said "any BCS conference", meaning all of them.  I wasn't trying to single out the SEC, it was just an example.  



But you left out Vandy.  They play the Big East and the ACC.  That makes it 9 out of 12
   
Sure, if you really want to claim Wake Forest as a legit opponent.  Undecided



Since: Nov 26, 2008
Posted on: August 5, 2011 8:36 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

If you look at any BCS conference (Pac Ten excluded), most OOC schedules include 3 patsies and 1 legit opponent.  A quick glance shows that 10 of the 12 SEC teams fit that bill, with Georgia (Boise State, Georgia Tech), and LSU (Oregon, West Virginia) being the only exceptions
Hahahahahaha Big Ten homer.  10 out of the 12 Big Ten teams did that too.  I guess the SEC must be copying the Big Ten.

But you left out Vandy.  They play the Big East and the ACC.  That makes it 9 out of 12.  It looks like you should be talking about the Big Ten's scheduling problems.


 At least Wisconsin is playing a non BCS school this year.  



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: August 5, 2011 12:52 am
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Please explain how it's "not fair".


Their schedules certainly aren't going to be getting any easier in most cases. For instance, Michigan usually plays Notre Dame and three patsies every year. They aren't going to be dropping their home & away series with ND, so that means replacing one of the patsies with a Big Ten team from the other division.  

If you look at any BCS conference (Pac Ten excluded), most OOC schedules include 3 patsies and 1 legit opponent.  A quick glance shows that 10 of the 12 SEC teams fit that bill, with Georgia (Boise State, Georgia Tech), and LSU (Oregon, West Virginia) being the only exceptions.



Since: Mar 26, 2008
Posted on: August 4, 2011 11:32 pm
 

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

First, they give us a stupid logo, than they give us divisions called Legends and Leaders and know they are not smart enough to see that it makes more sense to alternate home games between entire divisions.

Really!! McFly! Hello, anyone home?

How did these choices make it out of the board room. Some one needs to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

I'll give Jim Delany credit for turning the Big 10 into the second best conference in the nation, but when looking at the decisions made above it makes me wonder if it was Jim or a fluke.

Thanks Adam for pointing out the obvious, lets pray all 3 of these faux pas are corrected in short order.


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