Big Ten football schedule is a phrase that one CBS analyst sat down to debate recently. The strength of schedule for all 14 B1G teams was ranked from hardest to easiest.

The team with the easiest strength of schedule according to CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli was Penn State.

The Nittany Lions’ nonconference slate includes West Virginia (Sept. 2), Delaware (Sept. 9) and UMass (Oct. 14). The first three conference opponents for Penn State are Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern. Two of the tougher games on the schedule for Penn State will once again be Ohio State (Oct. 21) and Michigan (Nov. 11).

Fornelli is expecting Penn State to be favored in at least 10 of its 12 games in 2023.

I’m expecting a big season for the Nittany Lions, and this schedule is part of the thought process. The opener against West Virginia shouldn’t be a problem, and the other two nonconference opponents are Delaware and UMass. That’s basically playing two FCS schools. The conference slate isn’t easy, and in an odd quirk, Penn State’s first three B1G games are against West opponents (Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern). I’d expect the Nittany Lions to be favored in 10 of their 12 games at a minimum.

The B1G school with the hardest schedule is Minnesota, according to CBS Sports. The Golden Gophers take on North Carolina in nonconference play. Minnesota will also be facing Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State from the B1G East.

Penn State’s season opener against West Virginia will be broadcast on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s how the rest of the B1G schools stacked up:

  • No. 1: Minnesota
  • No. 2: Purdue
  • No. 3: Michigan State
  • No. 4: Indiana
  • No. 5: Illinois
  • No. 6: Rutgers
  • No. 7: Ohio State
  • No. 8: Nebraska
  • No. 9: Michigan
  • No. 10: Northwestern
  • No. 11: Wisconsin
  • No. 12: Iowa
  • No. 13: Maryland
  • No. 14: Penn State