B1G 2023 master schedule released: Predicting each team's crossover record next year
The Big Ten will play 1 more season with its current East-West football alignment before scrapping the format when USC and UCLA join the fun in 2024.
The league put out next year’s schedules for all 14 teams on Wednesday, so let’s dive in and assess and predict the 3 divisional crossover games for each team. We’ll hit the East from top to bottom based on the current standings, then tackle the West.
Add it all up and we have the East going 21-6, even though the West teams all get 2 of their 3 crossover games at home. It probably won’t work out that way; the East so far this year leads 9-5.
Crossovers: @Purdue, @Wisconsin, Minnesota
Buckeyes go 3-0: Even if CJ Stroud moves on to the NFL, the Buckeyes will be big favorites in any games against the West until further notice. But there was that 49-20 stinker of a loss at Purdue in 2018.
Crossovers: @Nebraska, @Minnesota, Purdue
Wolverines go 3-0: JJ McCarthy will be back and better. Minnesota loses Mohamed Ibrahim and Tanner Morgan. Purdue loses QB Aidan O’Connell.
Crossovers: @Illinois, Iowa, @Northwestern
Lions go 3-0: Penn State will have a new QB but a couple of stud sophomore running backs returning. They Lions will again open B1G play on the road, but this time after 2 non-cons at home. Up-and-coming Illinois under Bret Bielema will be a challenge, but Chase Brown will probably be an NFL running back by then. Iowa can’t compete, no offense.
Crossovers: Illinois, @Northwestern, @Nebraska
Terps go 2-1: Maryland will lose some key weapons on offense, though Taulia Tagovailoa could return. Bret Bielema appears to have a real makeover in progress at Illinois, so the Terps will have to be crossover road warriors to take 2 of 3. Dynamic current freshman RB Roman Hemby will be the key.
Crossovers: Northwestern, @Wisconsin, @Iowa
Scarlet Knights go 1-2: Rutgers will grind one out in its home opener; that’s its M.O. But mid- to late-season Midwest road trips to face teams that can match its grit won’t go the Knights’ way. Home field advantage will matter in all of these games.
Crossovers: @Iowa, @Minneota, Nebraska
Spartans go 3-0: Iowa could be even more of a mess next year, and won’t be able to take advantage even if MSU’s pass defense remains suspect. Minnesota will need a major re-build. And getting Nebraska at home works in the Spartans’ favor.
Crossovers: Wisconsin, @Illinois, @Purdue
Hoosiers go 0-3: The crossover games will be played over the final 4 weeks of the season, and Indiana probably will be beat up by then. The Hoosiers’ breakthrough in the abbreviated 2020 season was a fluke. Tom Allen currently has the lowest-ranked 2023 recruiting class in the conference. No immediate help will be coming.
Crossovers: Penn State, @Maryland, Indiana
Illini go 2-1: Penn State will bring back a lot of young players who are getting major run this season, including backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Maryland could be a test depending on who returns for the Terps.
Crossovers: Ohio State, @Michigan, Indiana
Boilermakers go 1-2: Purdue gets the double-whammy of facing the East’s 2 best teams. Ouch.
Crossovers: Michigan, @Michigan State, Maryland
Cornhuskers go 0-3: With its coaching situation up in the air right now, it’s hard to guess where Nebraska will be a year from now. The Huskers are battling under interim leader Mickey Joseph, and could easily go 2-1 against these opponents next year. It’s just hard to lean that way right now.
Crossovers: Rutgers, Ohio State, @Indiana
Badgers go 2-1: The Wisconsin program made a bold move to protect the brand, sending Paul Chryst packing and promoting Jim Leonhard on an interim basis. Unlike Iowa, this is a program adapting, improvising and overcoming. Expect the Badgers to finish strong this year, and beat the teams they normally beat in 2023.
Crossovers: Michigan, Michigan State, @Ohio State
Golden Gophers go 0-3: Minnesota gets the same double-whammy as Purdue, having to face the East’s 2 best teams. PJ Fleck will be struggling to keep the boat afloat, but might have a shot at home against Michigan State.
Crossovers: @Penn State, Michigan State, Rutgers
Hawkeyes go 1-2: Penn State will return a bunch of established young players and bring in more 4-stars than Iowa probably will have on its full roster. Michigan State could be a toss-up, but Kirk Ferentz is so stuck in antiquated ways that it’s hard to give the Hawkeyes the nod. Enjoy the slugfest win over Rutgers.
Crossovers: @Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland
Wildcats go 0-3: Pat Fitzgerald’s program could prove us wrong by A) Thinking of New Jersey as a foreign country (most recent win was in Ireland), B) Getting a late-September monsoon in Evanston and this time actually taking advantage of 5 Penn State turnovers, and C) Forcing the Turtles into their shells in late October.