Ranking the Big Ten Out of Conference Schedules

Each member of the Big Ten plays eight conference games and four out-of-conference games. Simple enough.

The fun comes in dissecting that little section of games that the individual teams/schools get to choose their opponents. Do they choose to aim high and test their skills, or do they schedule teams like Northeastern Indiana Tech to get in some extra practices?

Here is the breakdown of each team’s non-B1G schedule.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana State
Ball State

BCS Teams: 0
FCS Teams: 2
Sure they go on the road twice (AT UMASS???) but they don’t play a single team from a BSC conference and play two FSC schools. They may come out of this at 2-2, but that’s not because of the schedule.

11. Minnesota Gophers

New Hampshire
Western Michigan

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 1
A 5-7 Syracuse team and a 2-10 UNLV just don’t cut it.

10. Wisconsin Badgers

Northern Iowa
@Oregon State
Utah State

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 1
I honestly thought Northern Iowa was a Division III program until today. Turns out, they were the third ranked FCS team last year. That makes them maybe the best team on Wisconsin’s out of conference schedule. Give them credit for traveling to play the Beavers, but note that they were 3-9 last season.

9. Illinois Fighting Illini

Western Michigan
@Arizona State
Charleston Southern
Louisanna Tech

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 1
Headlined by the 8-5, WAC Champion LA Tech…

8. Iowa Hawkeyes

@Northern Illinois (soldier field)
Iowa State
Northern Iowa
Central Michigan

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 1
This could have been lower, but Iowa State always gives Iowa trouble and I like Northern Illinois at “home.”

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Southern Miss
Arkansas State
Idaho State

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 1
Southern Miss beat Houston to win the Conference USA championship and Arkansas State won the Sun Belt. Not amazing, but stronger than some.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes

Miami (OH)

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 0
Four FBS programs but only one team with a winning record (7-6), a combined 19-30 record and zero away games.

5. Purdue Boilermakers

Eastern Kentucky
@Notre Dame
Eastern Michigan

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 0
It doesn’t look extremely strong on the surface, but each team won at least 6 games and none had a losing record.

4. Northwestern Wildcats

Boston College
South Dakota

BCS Teams: 3
FCS Teams: 0
Give credit to Northwestern for playing three teams from big-time conferences, but those teams were a combined 15-22 and none had a winning record.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Ohio University

BCS Teams: 2
FCS Teams: 0
Penn State is one of two B1G teams that plays three bowl teams from last year and the four teams are coming off of a combined 32-20 record.

2. Michigan State Spartans

Boise State
@Central Michigan
Notre Dame
Eastern Michigan

BCS Teams: 1
FCS Teams: 0
Boise isn’t technically a BCS team yet, but they play like one. The two directional Michigan teams aren’t strong, but they’re being held up by the other two.

1. Michigan Wolverines

@Alabama (cowboys stadium)
Air Force
@Notre Dame

BCS Teams: 2
FCS Teams:1
Michigan gets the nod, despite UMass. Three bowl teams from last season, including the National Champions at Cowboys stadium made this one easy. Michigan looks to have a strong team in 2012 but they may start out 2-2.


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