Big Ten Announces 2014-15 Conference Slate - Rivalries Revamped

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has released next season's conference slate.

At long last, we finally get to see next season's Big Ten conference slate.  Much of the schedule was up in the air with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers and we finally have some answers.  Some teams benefited, some teams will have a tougher route, and many of the rivalries will be featured twice next year.  Here is the full slate via B1G:

Home: Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers
Away: Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue

Home: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State
Away: Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers

Home: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, Rutgers
Away: Indiana, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue
Home/Away: Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Home: Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Away: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Purdue
Home/Away: Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers

Home: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Away: Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Purdue
Home/Away: Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers

Home: Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Away: Iowa, Nebraska, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern

Home: Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers
Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State
Home/Away: Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Home: Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Rutgers
Away: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Home: Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Away: Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rutgers
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin

Home: Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Away: Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers
Home/Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue

Home: Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue
Away: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern
Home/Away: Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin

Home: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska
Away: Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers

Home: Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Away: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska
Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Purdue

Home: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue 
Away: Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers
Home/Away: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State


Arguably the biggest benefactors of the new slate are Michigan and Wisconsin.  The Wolverines have some challenging double plays, but have a pretty forgiving slate of home vs. road games.  Along with this, Wisconsin avoided most of the conference powers in their double plays.  Yes, they did get some challenging road games like Michigan and OSU, but they only play them once.

All the main rivalries are back.  This was clearly a goal of the new schedule.  Indiana plays Purdue twice, Michigan plays MSU twice, Michigan plays OSU twice, Wisconsin plays Iowa twice, Wisconsin plays Minnesota twice, and Minnesota plays Iowa twice.  Smaller rivalries also play twice such as Northwestern and Illinois.  The only downside to this is that we all know there is going to be a massive dropoff in 2017 and 2018.  The only way this will be avoided is if the Big Ten makes some effort to protect rivalries.  It's also kind of odd that the Big Ten has opted not to protect rivalries because it could make scheduling unfair, but then make a coordinated effort to schedule them all when they are given the opportunity.

Newcomers Maryland and Rutgers really weren't given any gauntlet entering conference play, which is definitely unlike what they're receiving in football.  They both are going to get some top notch home games and did not get too hard of a draw in the double plays.  It will be interesting to see how both do in their first seasons.

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