Breaking down the Big Ten non-con sked

Breaking down the Big Ten non-con sked

The formula for building a non-conference schedule is pretty standard: play one challenging game vs. a team from a Power 5 league (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten) and three games vs. foes from “lesser” conferences. And ideally, three of the four games are at home. But, as you can see, not all non-conference games are created equally.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the Big Ten’s non-conference schedule.

Power 5 foes: 17
Bowl teams: 24
FCS foes: 11

Foes by Power 5 league
Pac-12:
5 (Cal, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Washington State)
ACC: 4 (Pitt, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia Tech)
Big 12: 3 (Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia)
SEC: 2 (LSU, Missouri)

The MAC remains a Big Ten favorite, as the conferences will meet 11 times. Bowling Green plays two Big Ten teams (Indiana and Wisconsin).

Notre Dame is popular, too, as it will play three Big Ten foes (Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern)

[ MORE: Your Big Ten team’s toughest non-conference game ]

OTHER NOTES
Most Power 5 foes:
2 (Iowa; Maryland; Michigan; Northwestern)
Most bowl teams: 3 (Indiana; Ohio State; Rutgers)
Fewest Power 5 foes: 0 (Penn State)
Fewest bowl teams: 1 (Illinois; Maryland; Michigan; Michigan State; Minnesota; Penn State; Purdue)
Fewest FCS foes: 0 (Michigan, Ohio State; Penn State)
Worst combined record of non-conference foes: 18-31 (Michigan)
Best combined record of non-conference foes: 36-15 (Nebraska)
Fewest true road games: 0 (Ohio State; Purdue; Purdue; Wisconsin)

[ MORE: Check out Tom Dienhart’s 2014 schedule analysis posts ]

ILLINOIS
Foes: Youngstown State; Western Kentucky; at Washington; Texas State
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 31-18
Comment: Two Sun Belt teams and a FCS foe? Should go 3-1. NEED to go 3-1.

INDIANA
Foes: Indiana State; at Bowling Green; at Missouri; North Texas
Power 5: 1
Bowl teams: 3
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 32-21
Comment: Hoosiers, Rutgers and Maryland are only teams with two road games in non-league action.

IOWA
Foes: Northern Iowa; Ball State; Iowa State; at Pitt
Power 5 foes: 2
Bowl teams: 2
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 27-23
Comment: A first glance, this looks easy. But it’s a tougher slate than you think.

MARYLAND
Foes: James Madison; at South Florida; West Virginia; at Syracuse
Power 5 foes: 2
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 19-30
Comment: Terps will be fortunate to go 2-2.

MICHIGAN
Foes: Appalachian State, at Notre Dame; Miami (Ohio); Utah
Power 5 foes: 2
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 0
Combined record: 18-31
Comment: Could App State pull another stunner? Miami went winless last season. If Michigan isn’t 3-1, it may be in trouble.

MICHIGAN STATE
Foes: Jacksonville State; at Oregon; Eastern Michigan; Wyoming
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 29-23
Comment: Win in Eugene, and the Spartans may run the table.

MINNESOTA
Foes: Eastern Illinois; Middle Tennessee; at TCU; San Jose State
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 30-21
Comment: EIU is a great FCS program, going 12-2 last year. Trip to TCU will be good measuring stick.

NEBRASKA
Foes: Florida Atlantic; McNeese State; at Fresno State; Miami (Fla.)
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 2
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 36-15
Comment: Fresno State won 11 games. Visit from Miami will be a hot ticket. McNeese a 10-win FCS foe.

NORTHWESTERN
Foes: Cal; Northern Illinois; Western Illinois; at Notre Dame
Power 5 foes: 2
Bowl teams: 2
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 26-18
Comment: A rugged slate highlight by Wildcats’ first trip to ND since magical 1995 season.

OHIO STATE
Foes: Navy (at Baltimore); Virginia Tech; Kent State; Cincinnati
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 3
FCS foes: 0
Combined record: 30-21
Comment: Buckeyes will play no true road game. Visit from Hokies could be perilous.

PENN STATE
Foes: UCF (in Dublin, Ireland); Akron; UMass; Temple
Power 5 foes: 0
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 0
Combined record: 20-29
Comment: UCF is coming off a season for the ages, going 12-1. UMass and Temple were awful.

PURDUE
Foes: Western Michigan; Central Michigan; Notre Dame (at Indianapolis); Southern Illinois
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 1
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 23-26
Comment: Boilermakers need to go 3-1. Purdue played ND in first game ever in old Hoosier Dome in 1984.

RUTGERS
Foes: Washington State (in Seattle); Howard; at Navy; Tulane
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 3
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 28-23
Comment: Tougher than you think. Could Scarlet Knights go 2-2?

WISCONSIN
Foes: LSU (at Houston); Western Illinois; Bowling Green; South Florida
Power 5 foes: 1
Bowl teams: 2
FCS foes: 1
Combined record: 26-25
Comment: A win vs. LSU would be a huge confidence boost. Beware Bowling Green.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.

Advertisement

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

all times ET
Today
4:00 PMBowling Green at Michigan St.Watch
7:00 PMSIUE at Ohio St.Watch
7:30 PMButler at IndianaWatch
7:30 PMDetroit Mercy at MichiganWatch
8:00 PMMaryland at IowaWatch
Tomorrow
4:00 PMMaryland at Michigan St.Watch
Friday Sep 30
2:30 PMNorthwestern at Rutgers Watch
3:00 PMIowa at IndianaWatch

Watch hundreds of live non-televised Big Ten events via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.