Winners and losers of the new B1G schedule
The B1G became the latest Power 5 conference to announce its scheduling plans for the 2020 college football season. The official announcement came on a Big Ten Network special Wednesday morning with each team now set for a 10-game, conference-only slate. Each team kept all 9 scheduled conference games and added an additional crossover game.
Breakdown new BigTen schedule
All 9 original opponents remain same
Penn St at Illinois
Ohio St at Purdue
Mich St at Nebraska
Indiana at Minnesota
Michigan at Northwestern
Maryland at Iowa
Rutgers at Wisconsin
— Phil Steele (@philsteele042) August 5, 2020
The B1G was the first to announce it would go to a conference-only format on July 9 and nearly 4 weeks later, the plan has been revealed. The 10-week season will stretch over 13 weeks starting the weekend of Sept. 5. Each team has 2 scheduled bye weeks, and the week of Nov. 28 is an open date for all schools. The conference title is still scheduled for Dec. 5 with the possibility of moving it back to Dec. 12 or Dec. 19.
Let’s break down some of the B1G teams that got a break in the upcoming season and those whose season became a little tougher.
Wisconsin could have seen Penn State or Ohio State in its crossover game but instead, the Badgers wound up with Rutgers, which is on the short list of worst Power 5 teams. In the nonconference, Wisconsin will no longer play a solid Appalachian State team or the highly-anticipated matchup with Notre Dame at Lambeau Field.
Ohio State should never take Purdue lightly after the 2018 debacle, but the Buckeyes added the Boilermakers to their slate. The Buckeyes won’t face Wisconsin or Minnesota. Ohio State missed out on one of the most anticipated nonconference games of the season with a road matchup at Oregon.
The B1G did 2 super smart things for Playoff purposes.
1) It made sure its contenders wouldn't have massive headliners to open the season after this weird offseason.
2) It made sure its B1G East contenders didn't add Wisconsin, Iowa or Minnesota.
That's not by accident.
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) August 5, 2020
Unlike Wisconsin, Iowa already had Ohio State and Penn State on its schedule, both of which are on the road. The Hawkeyes added a home game at Maryland, which should not be an issue. Iowa’s main nonconference threat would have been a home game against Iowa State.
The Nittany Lions added Illinois for its final regular-season matchup, which shouldn’t be a huge problem despite it being a road game. Penn State’s only test in the nonconference would have been at Virginia Tech.
If there was ever a season to want Michigan State on the schedule, this would be it as the Spartans are going in with a shortened season with a new head coach and new quarterback. In the nonconference, Nebraska avoided Cincinnati, which is among the best Group of 5 teams in the country.
The Gophers were a slight winner Wednesday. Indiana could be a tough team, but getting the Hoosiers at home should be enough for Minnesota. The Gophers had a relatively easy nonconference schedule set up with only BYU at home as the lone challenger.
The Wolverines added a Northwestern team that should be much improved from last season’s dip, but Michigan shouldn’t be scared even if it’s on the road. Michigan’s lone interesting game outside the B1G would have been at Washington to start the season.
The Terrapins added Iowa to make their already difficult schedule even tougher. It sure looks like Maryland is going up against the 6 best teams in the B1G with Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan. It could be a rough go of it in Year 2 under Mike Locksley. Maryland likely had at least 2 easy wins previously scheduled in the nonconference with a road contest with West Virginia as its lone challenger.
It probably didn’t matter who Rutgers drew as its new crossover opponent since the Scarlet Knights are likely going to be the worst team in the conference, but it certainly didn’t help that it will be Wisconsin to close the season. Rutgers had Syracuse and Temple on its nonconference schedule, so it’s certainly possible its game against Monmouth would have been the Scarlet Knights’ lone victory in Greg Schiano’s first season back.
Whichever team added Ohio State to its schedule was going to be on the losers’ list. It’s not ideal to be adding a game against a team that might be the best in the country. The Boilermakers avoided a sneaky tough nonconference slate with Memphis, Air Force and a road game at Boston College.
Just like whoever added Ohio State, whichever team was stuck going up against Penn State would be an automatic loser. Tough scheduling break for Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini. Illinois had an easy 3-0 nonconference season ready to go before seeing the games all canceled.
The Hoosiers drew a tough crossover game on the road at Minnesota, which is looking to continue off its breakout 2019 season. Indiana had a weak nonconference slate, so it will be missing out on 3 wins it very likely would have added to its win total.
It’s not a huge hit to the schedule, but in a rebuilding year, the Spartans added another road game with Nebraska, which is tough to predict. Michigan State avoided a tough nonconference slate that included BYU, Miami and Toledo.
Northwestern drew Michigan at home as its crossover game, and it would be quite the story if the Wildcats close out the regular season with a win over the Wolverines. Northwestern’s biggest nonconference challenger would have been Tulane.