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Alternative Flakes: Rethinking the B1G Schedule

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What if we played Indiana every two years instead of twice a decade?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Nebraska
Nebraska-Wisconsin or Iowa-Wisconsin every year?
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, Bill Connelly and Jason Kirk from the Mothership dropped a piece about restructuring the SEC so that every team actually plays each other in the same decade. In fact, their restructuring allows every team to play the other thirteen teams in the conference twice every four years.

If we look at Nebraska’s schedule this fall, we can see the Big Ten has a similar problem. Nebraska will be playing Indiana (who carries a series advantage) for the FIRST TIME since they joined the Big Ten in 2011. That’s five years. We’ll play them again in 2017 and then probably won’t see them until the mid-2020s. That’s kind of crazy.

Connelly and Kirk are currently working with actual Big Ten people on the Big Ten version of this new scheduling paradigm, but I figured why don’t we as a community try and do this?

I’ll give us a starting table, but I ran into some issues. For starters, I’m also not sure if you can make this work with the Big Ten’s nine game schedule. If we stick in the confines of what they gave us, you’re looking at an 8 game conference slate, with three permanent opponents and the remaining opponents alternating to play every two years. Even so, I ran into big issues with balancing and asking what the three most important games are by team. The Big Ten’s long history of round-robin makes this a little hard, especially for us Big Ten newbies.

For instance, if I give America back the Wisconsin-Sparty game, you have to chose for Wisconsin to either play the Huskers or the Hawkeyes every year. I’d lean towards Iowa, because I hate Wisconsin and I also think Wisconsin is going to bottom out under Paul Chryst.

Minnesota is pretty easy, but what do I do with the other lower tier programs? Do you serve them up as fodder for the higher programs or do I set up a sad round robin for those programs? And how do you avoid setting up your best programs to eat each other, keeping the Big Ten out of the playoffs? Balance is an issue here, and I’m just not sure how to fix it.

Anyways, here’s the starting table with what I think are the critical games that have to be permanent. Help me fill it out, and we can see how close we are when the Mothership drops the Big Ten version.

Annual Teams
Ohio State Michigan
Michigan Ohio State Michigan State
Michigan State Wisconsin Michigan
Penn State Rutgers Maryland
Maryland Rutgers Penn State
Rutgers Maryland Penn State
Purdue Indiana
Indiana Purdue
Nebraska Iowa Minnesota
Wisconsin Michigan State Minnesota
Minnesota Wisconsin Iowa Nebraska
Iowa Nebraska Minnesota
Northwestern Illinois
Illinois Northwestern

Help me out, fam.