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 

Aug. 29, 2013UNLVTBA
Sept. 7, 2013at New Mexico State8:00 pm ET
Sept. 14, 2013Western Illinois TBA
Sept. 21, 2013San Jose State TBA
Sept. 28, 2013IowaTBA
Oct. 5, 2013at Michigan TBA
Oct. 19, 2013at Northwestern TBA
Oct. 26, 2013NebraskaTBA
Nov. 2, 2013at Indiana TBA
Nov. 9, 2013Penn State TBA
Nov. 23, 2013Wisconsin TBA
Nov. 30, 2013at 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 

Aug. 31, 2013Wyoming7:00 pm C
Sept. 7, 2013Southern Mississippi5:00 pm C
Sept. 14, 2013UCLATBA
Sept. 21, 2013South Dakota StateTBA
Oct. 5, 2013Illinois TBA
Oct. 12, 2013at PurdueTBA
Oct. 26, 2013at Minnesota TBA
Nov. 2, 2013NorthwesternTBA
Nov. 9, 2013at Michigan TBA
Nov. 16, 2013Michigan State TBA
Nov. 23, 2013at Penn StateTBA
Nov. 29, 2013IowaTBA

 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 

Aug. 31, 2013BuffaloTBA
Sept. 7, 2013San Diego StateTBA
Sept. 14, 2013at California TBA
Sept. 21, 2013Florida A&MTBA
Sept. 28, 2013Wisconsin 8:00 pm ET
Oct. 5, 2013at Northwestern8:00 pm ET
Oct. 19, 2013IowaTBA
Oct. 26, 2013Penn State8:00 pm ET
Nov. 2, 2013at Purdue TBA
Nov. 16, 2013at Illinois TBA
Nov. 23, 2013Indiana TBA
Nov. 30, 2013at 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, 2013at CaliforniaTBA
Sept. 7, 2013Syracuse TBA
Sept. 14, 2013Western Michigan TBA
Sept. 21, 2013Maine TBA
Oct. 5, 2013Ohio State 8:00 pm ET
Oct. 12, 2013at WisconsinTBA
Oct. 19, 2013Minnesota TBA
Oct. 26, 2013at IowaTBA
Nov. 2, 2013at NebraskaTBA
Nov. 16, 2013Michigan TBA
Nov. 23, 2013Michigan State TBA
Nov. 30, 2013at 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 

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

Aug. 31, 2013MassachusettsTBA
Sept. 7, 2013Tennessee TechTBA
Sept. 14, 2013at Arizona StateTBA
Sept. 21, 2013Purdue TBA
Sept. 28, 2013at Ohio State 8:00 pm ET
Oct. 12, 2013Northwestern TBA
Oct. 19, 2013at Illinois TBA
Nov. 2, 2013at Iowa TBA
Nov. 9, 2013BYU TBA
Nov. 16, 2013Indiana TBA
Nov. 23, 2013at MinnesotaTBA
Nov. 30, 2013Penn 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

Aug. 31, 2013Southern IllinoisTBA
Sept. 7, 2013Cincinnati TBA
Sept. 14, 2013Washington5:00 pm CT
Sept. 28, 2013Miami-OHTBA
Oct. 5, 2013at Nebraska TBA
Oct. 19, 2013Wisconsin TBA
Oct. 26, 2013Michigan State TBA
Nov. 2, 2013at Penn StateTBA
Nov. 9, 2013at Indiana TBA
Nov. 16, 2013Ohio State TBA
Nov. 23, 2013at Purdue TBA
Nov. 30, 2013Northwestern 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

Aug. 31, 2013Central MichiganTBA
Sept. 7, 2013Notre Dame TBA
Sept. 14, 2013Akron TBA
Sept. 21, 2013at ConnecticutTBA
Oct. 5, 2013Minnesota TBA
Oct. 12, 2013at Penn State TBA
Oct. 19, 2013Indiana TBA
Nov. 2, 2013at Michigan StateTBA
Nov. 9, 2013Nebraska TBA
Nov. 16, 2013at Northwestern TBA
Nov. 23, 2013at IowaTBA
Nov. 30, 2013Ohio 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 

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

Aug. 29, 2013Indiana State7:00 pm ET
Sept. 7, 2013Navy6:00 pm ET
Sept. 14, 2013Bowling Green TBA
Sept. 21, 2013Missouri 8:00 pm ET
Oct. 5, 2013Penn State TBA
Oct. 12, 2013At Michigan State TBA
Oct. 19, 2013At MichiganTBA
Nov. 2, 2013Minnesota TBA
Nov. 9, 2013Illinois TBA
Nov. 16, 2013at Wisconsin TBA
Nov. 23, 2013at Ohio State TBA
Nov. 30, 2013Purdue 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 

Aug. 31, 2013at CincinnatiTBA
Sept. 7, 2013Indiana State TBA
Sept. 14, 2013Notre Dame11:00 pm CT
Sept. 21, 2013at Wisconsin TBA
Sept. 28, 2013Northern IllinoisTBA
Oct. 12, 2013Nebraska TBA
Oct. 19, 2013at Michigan StateTBA
Nov. 2, 2013Ohio State TBA
Nov. 9, 2013IowaTBA
Nov. 16, 2013at Penn State TBA
Nov. 23, 2013IllinoisTBA
Nov. 30, 2013at IndianaTBA

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

Aug. 31, 2013at Syracuse TBA
Sept. 7, 2013Eastern MichiganTBA
Sept. 14, 2013UCFTBA
Sept. 21, 2013Kent State TBA
Oct. 5, 2013at Indiana TBA
Oct. 12, 2013Michigan TBA
Oct. 26, 2013at Ohio State 8:00 pm ET
Nov. 2, 2013IllinoisTBA
Nov. 9, 2013at MinnesotaTBA
Nov. 16, 2013PurdueTBA
Nov. 23, 2013Nebraska TBA
Nov. 30, 2013at Wisconsin TBA

By Jimmie Allen

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