Good afternoon, Big Ten football fans!
Earlier today the ACC announced their new 3-5-5 scheduling model which will be enacted prior to the start of the 2023 season. Under this new model, each of the ACC’s 14 (football) members’ eight conference games will consist of 3 against the same 3 teams each year, and 5 games against half of the remaining 10 which will flip each year. The ACC chose this model so they could maintain beloved rivalries while ridding themselves of divisions and the Championship Game controversies that come with them. Pour one out for the Coastal, y’all.
Given the fact that the B1G also has 14 members, we thought it would be fun to create our own 3-5-5 and assign each team their 3 yearly opponents. Here’s what we came up with:
- Illinois: Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue. Land of Lincoln game and Purdue are easy geographically. Bielema gets Nebraska annually because that game last year was funny.
- Indiana: Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers. Keeping the Bucket and Spittoon were no-brainers. Consider the last pairing “skill-based matchmaking”.
- Iowa: Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin. Despite none of these teams being the Hawkeyes’ biggest rival, each of these matchups is indeed a “trophy” game.
- Maryland: Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers. Geography and recruiting battles were the main factors for Rutgers and PSU. Terps get Northwestern to add a little more traditional B1G flavor to their schedule and to further J-school discourse.
- Michigan: Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State. The conference’s best football rivalry plus Little Brother plus the 2nd-longest tenured trophy in CFB. Wolverines get what they want out of this exercise.
- Michigan State: Indiana, Michigan, Purdue. Three old-school Big Ten clashes. The Land Grant Trophy missing the cut is probably this solution’s biggest weakness.
- Minnesota: Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin. These matchups combine to have been played a grand total of 344 times. Floyd of Rosedale is a personal favorite when it comes to trophies.
- Nebraska: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State. The Iowa rivalry is legit. Huskers-Buckeyes is wishful thinking for the future of Nebraska football, whereas Huskers-Illini is for the realists. We’re hedging a bit to account for both possibilities.
- Northwestern: Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin. Land of Lincoln, J-school, and the beautiful uniform matchup that is Northwestern-Wisconsin.
- Ohio State: Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State. The Game, one of the best rivalries in recent memory, and Nebraska just in case they get their act together someday.
- Penn State: Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers. Fighting over DMV ‘cruits, actual good game, and the Battle for New Jersey. Penn State does not “deserve better”.
- Purdue: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State. Boilers lead the Illini in Cannon games 46-45. The Old Oaken Bucket game was also a lock. MSU gets thrown in here because the bleak grass fields of Ross-Ade and Spartan Stadium deserve each other.
- Rutgers: Indiana, Maryland, Penn State. Scarlet Knights get three schools that excel at pulling students out of New Jersey. “Section 19” ensures that the histories of Indiana and Rutgers will be forever intertwined.
- Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern. Nothing exceptional but three solid games/rivalries for Bucky. Big Ten West purists rejoice.
Given the recent influx of teams that lack in-conference rivals, there is no solution that makes every Big Ten fanbase totally happy. We think we did fine though! One underrated consequence of this new scheduling protocol is the potential for more than two teams to go undefeated. We dream of a world in which three schools like Indiana, Northwestern, and Ohio State all go undefeated. Watching Brutus draw the short straw and get left out of the title game would lead to record levels of schadenfreude across the land.
What do you think? Feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know what changes you would’ve made, just keep in mind that it is June and none of this is real!