Big 10 Strength of Schedule Rankings

The Big 10 has some major offenders on the weak non-conference list. Nebraska,  Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State each only play one team that made a bowl game in 2012. Michigan will take on 9 teams that made a bowl game. Who has the toughest schedule in the Big 10? We break that down for you here.

12 Minnesota: After finishing 2-7 in Big 10 play last season, Minnesota needs to make some improvements. Minnesota did finish the non-conference 4-0, and there is a good chance of the Gophers doing that again. San Jose State is the only team on Minnesota’s non-conference schedule that made a bowl game, and they are replacing a head coach. The rest of Minnesota’s non-conference finished the 2012 season with a 6-28 record. Those teams are UNLV, at New Mexico State, and Western Illinois. Minnesota’s toughest road game comes at Michigan on Oct. 5. The Golden Gophers other 2 Conference road games are Oct. 19 at Northwestern, Nov. 2 at Indiana, and Nov. 30 at Michigan State.

Minnesota’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time
Aug. 29, 2013 UNLV TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 at New Mexico State 8:00 pm ET
Sept. 14, 2013 Western Illinois  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 San Jose State  TBA
Sept. 28, 2013 Iowa TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 at Michigan  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 at Northwestern  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 Nebraska TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 at Indiana  TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 Penn State  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Wisconsin  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 at Michigan State  TBA

11. Nebraska:  Nebraska finished the regular season 10-2. Their only loses being to UCLA and Ohio State. Nebraska had to travel to Los Angeles to take on the Bruins last season. UCLA comes to Lincoln this fall. The rest of the non-conference is made up of  Southern Mississippi (0-12), Wyoming (4-8), and South Dakota an FCS school. Nebraska does not play Ohio State or Wisconsin in the regular season in 2013. The Huskers do not have a road trip until week 6 when they go to Purdue. The toughest road test  of the season will be a Nov. 9 trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. Nebraska’s other 3 road games are Purdue Oct. 12, Minnesota Oct. 26,   Penn State Nov. 23.

Nebraska’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 Wyoming 7:00 pm C
Sept. 7, 2013 Southern Mississippi 5:00 pm C
Sept. 14, 2013 UCLA TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 South Dakota State TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 Illinois  TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 at Purdue TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 at Minnesota  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 Northwestern TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 at Michigan  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 Michigan State  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Penn State TBA
Nov. 29, 2013 Iowa TBA

 10. Ohio State:  Ohio State finished the 2012 season undefeated, but due to NCAA Sanctions they were unable to make a bowl game, and they would have more than likely played for a National Championship. The chances of going 12-0 again this season are very likely. In their non-conference the only team on the Buckeye’s schedule that made a bowl game was San Diego State (9-3). The rest of their out of conference schedule includes Buffalo (4-8), at Cal (3-9), Florida A&M (4-7).  Ohio State’s toughest road game will be the last game of the season at Michigan on Nov. 30. The rest of the Buckeyes road games include Oct. 5 at Northwestern, Nov. 2 at Purdue, Nov. 16 at Illinois.

Ohio State’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 Buffalo TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 San Diego State TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 at California  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Florida A&M TBA
Sept. 28, 2013 Wisconsin  8:00 pm ET
Oct. 5, 2013 at Northwestern 8:00 pm ET
Oct. 19, 2013 Iowa TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 Penn State 8:00 pm ET
Nov. 2, 2013 at Purdue  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 at Illinois  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Indiana  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 at Michigan  TBA

9. Northwestern: The Wildcats have one of the easiest non-conference schedules. Their 4 opponents finished the season 20-28. Northwestern plays one FCS opponent in Maine. The toughest road game on the schedule is at Nebraska on Nov. 2. Northwestern’s other road games consist of at California Aug. 30, Oct. 12 at Wisconsin, Oct. 26 at Iowa, and Nov. 30 at Illinois.

Northwestern’s Schedule

Date       Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 at California TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Syracuse  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 Western Michigan  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Maine  TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 Ohio State  8:00 pm ET
Oct. 12, 2013 at Wisconsin TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 Minnesota  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 at Iowa TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 at Nebraska TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 Michigan  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Michigan State  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 at Illinois  TBA

8. Iowa: After finishing the season 4-8, Iowa has a lot of question marks going forward, and needs to answer them in 2013. In Iowa’s non-conference the Hawkeyes play 2 teams that made a bowl game last year. Iowa beat one of those teams last season in Northern Illinois, and only lost to the other by 3 points in Iowa State. Iowa’s toughest road test is at Ohio State on Oct. 19. The other Hawkeye road games Sep. 14 at Iowa State, Sep. 28 at Minnesota, Nov. 9 at Purdue, Nov. 29 at Nebraska.

Iowa’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 Northern Illinois  TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Missouri State  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 at Iowa State  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Western Michigan TBA
Sept. 28, 2013 at Minnesota  TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 Michigan State  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 at Ohio State  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 Northwestern  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 Wisconsin  TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 at Purdue TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Michigan  TBA
Nov. 29, 2013 at Nebraska  TBA

7. Wisconsin: Wisconsin will have a new look with former Utah State head coach Gary Anderson calling the shots in Madison. The Badgers have been a run l first team under former coach Bret Bielema, it will be an interesting look with Anderson’s spread formation. They have a somewhat tough non-conference schedule with 2 teams that went to a bowl game in Arizona State and BUY. The other 2 games are UMASS (1-11) and FCS Tennessee Tech (3-8). Wisconsin’s toughest road game is at Ohio State on Sep. 28.  The other road games include Sep. 14 at Arizona State, Oct. 19 at Illinois, Nov. 2 at Iowa, and Nov. 23 at Minnesota.

Wisconsin’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 Massachusetts TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Tennessee Tech TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 at Arizona State TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Purdue  TBA
Sept. 28, 2013 at Ohio State  8:00 pm ET
Oct. 12, 2013 Northwestern  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 at Illinois  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 at Iowa  TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 BYU  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 Indiana  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Minnesota TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 Penn State  TBA

6.  Illinois: Illinois beat one FBS school last year. They finished the year 2-10 in 2012. There schedule is not going to help them in 2013. Illinois road games are at Nebraska, at Penn State, at Indiana, and at Purdue. Illinois plays two non-conference teams who had a successful season in 2012, Cincinnati, and Washington. They don’t go on the road till week 6 when they take on Nebraska. That will easily be the toughest road game for the Illini.

Illinois Schedule

Date Opponent* Time Record
Aug. 31, 2013 Southern Illinois TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Cincinnati  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 Washington 5:00 pm CT
Sept. 28, 2013 Miami-OH TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 at Nebraska  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 Wisconsin  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 Michigan State  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 at Penn State TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 at Indiana  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 Ohio State  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Purdue  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 Northwestern  TBA

 

5. Michigan: The Wolverines play Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, but those are all home games. Michigan’s toughetst road game will be at Michigan State Nov. 2. Aside from Notre Dame Michigan’s non-conference opponents finished the 2012 season with a 13-24 record. It is much easier non-confernece schedule from a year ago where Michigan took on Alabama, Notre Dame and Air Force.

Michigans Schedule

Date Opponent* Time
Aug. 31, 2013 Central Michigan TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Notre Dame  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 Akron  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 at Connecticut TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 Minnesota  TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 at Penn State  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 Indiana  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 at Michigan State TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 Nebraska  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 at Northwestern  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Iowa TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 Ohio State  TBA

4. Michigan State: Michigan State takes on National Championship runner up Notre Dame on the road in their non-conference schedule. The rest of the Spartans non-conference went 14-21 last season. Michigan State does play Youngstown State an FCS school. Other than at Notre Dame, Michigan State has to travel to Iowa Oct. 5, Illinois Oct. 26, Nebraska Nov. 16, and Northwestern Nov. 23.

Michigan State’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Times 
Aug. 31, 2013 Western Michigan TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 South Florida  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 Youngstown State  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 at Notre Dame  2:30 pm CT
Oct. 5, 2013 at Iowa  TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 Indiana TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 Purdue  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 at Illinois  TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 Michigan  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 at Nebraska  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Northwestern  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 Minnesota  TBA |

3. Indiana: The Hoosiers made a little progress in 2012. They went from 1-11 to 4-8. Indiana did win 2 Conference games. All signs point to them making more improvements this season. The non-conference will consist of 2 bowl game participants and SEC member Missouri. Indiana could realistically finish the non-conference 3-1. They do play Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all on the road. There first 5 games are at home though.

Indiana’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 29, 2013 Indiana State 7:00 pm ET
Sept. 7, 2013 Navy 6:00 pm ET
Sept. 14, 2013 Bowling Green  TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Missouri  8:00 pm ET
Oct. 5, 2013 Penn State  TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 At Michigan State  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 At Michigan TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 Minnesota  TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 Illinois  TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 at Wisconsin  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 at Ohio State  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 Purdue  TBA

2. Purdue: Purdue has the toughest non-conference schedule of any team in the Big 10. Their non-conference opponents finished the season with a .850 winning percentage in 2012. They play Northern Illinois (12-2), Cincinnati (10-3), Notre Dame (12-1), and Indiana State (7-4). Prudue’s regular conference schedule is not as tough. There is no Michigan, and they get Nebraska and Ohio State at home. The toughest road game the Boilermakers have is at Penn State on Nov. 16.

Purdue’s Schedule 

Date Opponent* Time 
Aug. 31, 2013 at Cincinnati TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Indiana State  TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 Notre Dame 11:00 pm CT
Sept. 21, 2013 at Wisconsin  TBA
Sept. 28, 2013 Northern Illinois TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 Nebraska  TBA
Oct. 19, 2013 at Michigan State TBA
Nov. 2, 2013 Ohio State  TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 Iowa TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 at Penn State  TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Illinois TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 at Indiana TBA

1. Penn State: Penn State plays 3 teams that went to a bowl game last season in their non-conference. They have to travel to Syracuse, Ohio State and Wisconsin. They play Nebraska, and Michigan from the Legends Division. The only thing the Nittany Lions got lucky with is that they didn’t draw Michigan State during the regular season. Head Coach Bill O’Brien did a great job last season, and had Penn State 2nd in the Leaders Division only behind Ohio State. A similar finnish this season would be nothing short of a miricle with NCAA sanctions and limited scholarships. Adding this schedule onto that list gives Penn State a huge hill to climb.

Penn State’s Schedule

Date Opponent* Time
Aug. 31, 2013 at Syracuse  TBA
Sept. 7, 2013 Eastern Michigan TBA
Sept. 14, 2013 UCF TBA
Sept. 21, 2013 Kent State  TBA
Oct. 5, 2013 at Indiana  TBA
Oct. 12, 2013 Michigan  TBA
Oct. 26, 2013 at Ohio State  8:00 pm ET
Nov. 2, 2013 Illinois TBA
Nov. 9, 2013 at Minnesota TBA
Nov. 16, 2013 Purdue TBA
Nov. 23, 2013 Nebraska  TBA
Nov. 30, 2013 at Wisconsin  TBA

By Jimmie Allen

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Topics: Big 10 Football, Leaders, Legends, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue

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