Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, May 31, 2016
For the first time since 1984, the Big Ten will play nine conference games. Schools will play the other six teams in their division ? and three from the opposite division. And, schedule strengths can vary a great deal based on which schools a team does not have to play from the other division.
Here is a look at the teams from the West that Big East clubs will miss in 2016. They are ranked on the winning percentage of the teams they miss.
1. Maryland: Iowa (12-2), Wisconsin (10-3), Northwestern (10-3), Illinois (5-7)
Composite record: 37-15 (.712)
Comment: New coach D.J. Durkin gets a big break missing three teams that won double-digit games. Iowa should be the favorite in the West. The Terps must play Minnesota and Nebraska.
2. Penn State: Nebraska (6-7), Wisconsin (10-3), Northwestern (10-3), Illinois (5-7)
Composite record: 31-20 (.608)
Comment: James Franklin's bid for a breakthrough season is helped by missing three of the best teams in the West in the Huskers, Badgers and Wildcats. But Penn State must play Iowa and Minnesota.
3. Indiana: Minnesota (6-7), Iowa (12-2), Illinois (5-7), Wisconsin (10-3)
Composite record: 33-19 (.635)
Comment: The Hoosiers may get back to a bowl for a second season in a row. IU hasn?t been to back-to-back bowls since 1990-91. Missing heavies like the Hawkeyes and Badgers helps. But Indiana must take on toughies Nebraska and Northwestern.
4. Rutgers: Nebraska (6-7), Purdue (2-10), Northwestern (10-3), Wisconsin (10-3)
Composite record: 28-23 (.540)
Comment: Chris Ash?s push for a good debut is helped by missing three likely bowl teams in the Huskers, Wildcats and Badgers. Games with Iowa and Minnesota will be a challenge, however.
5. Michigan State: Purdue (2-10), Minnesota (6-7), Iowa (12-2), Nebraska (6-7)
Composite record: 26-26 (.500)
Comment: This is a mixed bag, as the Spartans miss three West teams that had losing marks last season and must play Wisconsin and Northwestern.
6. Ohio State: Purdue (2-10), Illinois (5-7), Minnesota (6-7), Iowa (12-2)
Composite: 25-26 (.490)
Comment: The retooling Buckeyes have a tough path back to the top of the Big Ten, as they miss three West foes who had losing marks in 2015 and must play Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
7. Michigan: Purdue (2-10), Minnesota (6-7), Northwestern (10-3), Nebraska (6-7)
Composite record: 24-27 (.471)
Comment: If the Wolverines are gonna win the East, they will have to earn it. On top of getting no breaks in cross-division games by playing Iowa and Wisconsin, Michigan also plays East division road games at Michigan State and at Ohio State.