A big news morning already for Indiana. The following is a press release from the Big Ten announcing the 2015 football conference schedule.
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten office announced the conference schedule for the 2015 football season today, which will consist of eight games for each of the Big Ten’s 14 teams before the conference moves to nine-game schedules in 2016. The 2015 schedule starts on and will culminate with the fifth annual Big Ten Football Championship Game.
The 2015 Big Ten season begins with Rutgers at Penn State in a matchup of East Division members on . The remaining 12 conference schools will kick off Big Ten play on Oct. 3, with two East Division contests in Michigan at Maryland and Ohio State at Indiana, three West Division games in Iowa at Wisconsin, Minnesota at Northwestern and Nebraska at Illinois and a cross-division game with Purdue at Michigan State.
From , the 2015 Big Ten schedule will feature nine consecutive weeks of Big Ten competition, boasting at least five conference games each week. All 14 teams will be in action during the final week of Big Ten play, including six division games. The final weekend of the 2015 season begins with Iowa at Nebraska in a matchup of West Division rivals on . The , schedule features two more West Division matchups in Northwestern at Illinois and Wisconsin at Minnesota, three East Division contests in Ohio State at Michigan, Penn State at Michigan State and Maryland at Rutgers and a cross-division game with Indiana at Purdue. The winners of each division will meet in the 2015 Big Ten Football Championship Game, scheduled for , at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Beginning in 2014, the Big Ten football division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. The cross-division games will include one protected matchup on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue.
The Big Ten will hold the 2013 Football Media Days and 42nd annual Kickoff Luncheon and , at the Hilton Chicago, featuring all 12 head coaches and some of the nation’s top returning players. The 118th season of Big Ten football kicks off , and culminates with the third annual Big Ten Football Championship Game on , to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
So it looks like we'll still get our beloved bucket game every year until at least 2016. That was the one major threat the conference expansion was throwing at us. We already have sports like baseball where we can go years without playing Purdue (it's been 2 since a matchup outside of the post season) or only play them once (basketball this year). So, we're lucky that Fred Glass and Morgan Burke were willing to go to bat for us on that. I know we all hate Purdue, but damn would I be upset if we didn't at least get the opportunity to show how much every year.
Other than that it appears we'll get our chances to showdown with only one other team from the west division. We may start to see where the protected game against Purdue becomes a burden on the schedule makers and we lose that. But for now it's here and we can continue on with the hate. Unfortunately, I don't think the outlook for the health of the annual game is too good.