Quick thoughts on the B1G's revised 2022 football schedule
There’s a new schedule for the 2022 B1G football season.
On Wednesday, the B1G reconstructed its slate for the upcoming year, correcting some issues that needed to be adjusted after the pandemic-hit 2020 campaign.
Not much changed in terms of matchups, but there were multiple date changes, six games altered locations and two cross-division contests were altered. It provides fans with just enough to talk about now that we’ve hit offseason mode.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 12, 2022
Here are just a few quick takeaways from Wednesday’s revised schedule release:
Ohio State looks like the biggest beneficiary
Let’s start with the biggest winner — Ohio State. At least that’s how it looks once you compare the original 2022 schedule to the new one.
Ohio State was originally going to open B1G play with back-to-back road trips to Michigan State and Penn State, potentially one of the toughest two-week stretches the Buckeyes could face. That will no longer be the case.
Instead, Ohio State will open up the year with 5 straight home games. After matchups against Notre Dame, Arkansas State and Toledo, the Buckeyes will begin conference competition with home games against Wisconsin and Rutgers on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, respectively.
The trip to East Lansing has been pushed back to Oct. 8 and Ryan Day’s team will enjoy an off week before hosting Iowa on Oct. 22 and a road trip to Penn State on Oct. 29.
Ohio State rarely has much trouble with its schedule, but there’s no question that getting rid of back-to-back road games to open the B1G season is a huge benefit for the 2022 season.
Purdue might have the easiest schedule in the B1G
There are no easy games in the B1G, but having said that, Jeff Brohm has to be pretty happy about the way this schedule sets up. On paper, Purdue is in a good position for another strong season.
A B1G opener against Penn State is far from easy, but the Boilermakers do get that game at home. That’s followed by a 3-game stretch against Indiana State, Syracuse and FAU. Purdue should be no worse than 3-1 by the time a trip to Minneapolis beckons on Oct. 1.
Purdue’s most difficult 4-game window basically consumes the month of October. Back-to-back road games against Minnesota and Maryland followed by a home contest against Nebraska. The Boilers then travel to Madison to play Wisconsin before a much-needed off week.
The season concludes with games against Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana.
Is this slate guaranteeing Purdue will be in the same situation it found itself in late in the 2021 season? Of course not. But avoiding Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State in cross-over games is a huge advantage for the Boilers.
It’s a tough road ahead for Penn State and Northwestern
Life is going to be tough for Penn State and Northwestern. It’s only appropriate that these two will face off midway through the season.
Penn State opens with a road contest at Purdue in Week 1 then will hit the road again in Week 3 to play Auburn in the second game of a home-and-home series. After closing out nonconference play with a home game against Central Michigan, the Nittany Lions will host Northwestern on Oct. 1 before an off week.
Then comes a pretty rough 3-game stretch. Penn State will travel to Michigan before playing home games against Minnesota and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. The month of November is much milder, playing Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers before closing the year with a rivalry game against Michigan State.
For Northwestern, the difficulty really lasts all season long.
To open the year, the Wildcats will travel to Dublin, Ireland to play Nebraska in Week 0. Following matchups against Duke, Southern Illinois and Miami (OH) in nonconference action, Northwestern returns to B1G play with the road trip to Penn State. Pat Fitzgerald’s group then hosts Wisconsin before a bye week.
Four of Northwestern’s final 6 games will be played on the road, traveling to Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue in a 5-week span. The only home game? A Nov. 5 clash against Ohio State. The season finale is also at home, hosting Illinois.
Both teams are going to have their work cut out for them in 2022.
Halloween weekend is full of treats
Two premier matchups are set for Saturday, Oct. 29.
Michigan State and Michigan will battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy in Ann Arbor and Ohio State and Penn State will battle for B1G East positioning in Happy Valley. Both games will likely have significant impacts on the race in the division.
There’s a good chance that one of those games fills the Big Noon Kickoff slot on FOX and the other is pegged as the ABC Game of the Week with the other selected as the ABC Game of the Week with a night kick.
In addition to the those two colossal B1G East matchups, there are three other games on the docket that weekend:
- Illinois vs. Nebraska
- Northwestern vs. Iowa
- Rutgers vs. Minnesota
Michigan State-Michigan and Ohio State-Penn State will steal the spotlight, but it should be a fun weekend across the board in the B1G.
The B1G should be doing this every 2 years
The B1G initially released a multi-year schedule so it could have stability. But Wednesday’s decision to reshuffle the schedules around — while not a ton changed — was a nice change of pace. Plus, it provided fans with something to discuss now that the season is over.
Commissioner Kevin Warren and the powers that be don’t need to do this every year, but what about every other year? Set the schedules just two years in advance, reveal the home-and-home cross-division matchups and dates of some of the biggest games of the year.
It would probably garner some ratings, too.
There’s really nothing wrong with the way the B1G has done it in the past, this just provided some entertainment value to the schedule release, rather than looking at a 10-year plan.