Big Ten football schedules for 2015 and 2016 released.

Five years after the announcement, IU and Nebraska finally will meet on the football field. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Yesterday, the Big Ten released conference football schedules for its members, including dates, for 2015 and 2016. Schedules through 2014 had been released previously. Of course, this is all subject to change, given the ever-shifting landscape of college football. The most relevant point for IU is that the Hoosiers' first intraconference matchup with the Nebraska Cornhuskers will be on November 14, 2015 in Lincoln. The Huskers' first trip to Bloomington as a Big Ten member will be on November 5, 2016. IU leads the all-time series with Nebraska 9-7-3, a fact that I will keep trumpeting until it ceases to be true.


Here's a quick recap of how the process now works:

Of course, the Big Ten is now aligned into divisions. IU is in the "Leaders Division," along with Purdue, Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The "Legends Division" is comprised of Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Each school's eight-game Big Ten schedule is comprised of 5 games against every other member of the same division, one "protected" (i.e., annual) game against a team for the other division, and two games against two other teams from the other division. IU's protected game is against Michigan State. On the current schedule, IU's rotating crossover games are against Northwestern and Iowa. In 2013 and 2014, they will be against Michigan and Minnesota. In 2015 and 2016, they will be against Northwestern and Nebraska.

The quirk in this scheduling format that I don't like is that it means that in all four year periods beginning with an odd numbered year, there will be one Big Ten school that IU never plays. For 2011-2014, that school is Nebraska. For 2013-2016, that school will be Iowa. This is why I would have preferred keeping all of the most important rivalries intra-division and avoiding the protected crossover. Had that happened, then every four year period would have included at least one home-and-home with every other Big Ten program. But, this is how those in charge decided to handle it.

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