Well, it's official. First, the division alignment reported by ESPN was accurate. My speculation about protected crossovers was not. Over half a century after the strangest and least treasured of the Big Ten trophy games began, Indiana and Michigan State now will play for the Old Brass Spittoon every year. IU currently plays Purdue and Illinois every year year, and that will continue, as both are in IU's division. IU will play other divisional foes Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin every year as well, plus the crossover against MSU. In 2011 and 2012, IU will play rotating inter-division games against Northwestern and Iowa. Here is IU's 2011 Big Ten schedule:
Oct 1: Penn State
Oct. 8: Illinois
Oct. 15: @ Wisconsin
Oct. 22: @ Iowa
Oct 29: Northwestern
Nov. 5: @ Ohio State
Nov. 19: @ Michigan State
Nov 26: Purdue
A few thoughts:
- Those of us who have been complaining about the Penn State game can note that IU's first home game next year will be against Penn State.
- IU will play at Wisconsin and at Ohio State two years in a row. Northwestern will play in Bloomington for a second year in a row.
- For 2011, IU-Purdue and Michigan-Ohio State are the only traditional rivalry games that will be played on the final weekend.
- Nebraska, Minnesota, and Michigan are the teams that IU doesn't play in 2011 or 2012. It may be several more years before IU either plays its first conference game against Nebraska or makes its first visit to TCF Bank Stadium.
- Next year's home schedule will be fun: in addition to the four conference games, IU will host Virginia.