On Thursday night, the Big Ten released its upcoming 2015-16 conference schedule and it could be set to be one of the most interesting one in recent years. The conference is bringing back a great deal of talent from last season and has many incoming recruits expected to contribute, which should make for an exciting season. Along with this, teams like Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, and Purdue are expected to continue and build off their success last season.
There are several interesting things to note about this year's conference schedule, which have been addressed in part below, but first, here is a full look at this year's schedule.
2015-16 Big Ten Conference Schedule:
- Illinois Fighting Illini
- Indiana Hoosiers
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Maryland Terrapins
- Michigan Wolverines
- Michigan State Spartans
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Penn State Nittany Lions
- Purdue Boilermakers
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Wisconsin Badgers
One of things that was already known before this schedule release, but is worth noting is that many of the conference's biggest rivalry games will only be played once this season. Here is a look at some of the rivalry games that will not be played twice this season.
Single Play Rivalries In 2015-16:
- Michigan-Michigan State
- Michigan-Ohio State
Again, this was already something known before the release of this year's conference schedule, but considering its impact on the fanbases of the impacted teams, it definitely deserves a mention. Many fans will miss seeing these games twice, but it should at least add more rotation to the schedules.
Another really notable thing to keep an eye on about the Big Ten's scheduling is which games get placed on Saturday night. These are typically considered the biggest matchups and often will receive national spotlight attention. Last season, matchups such as Wisconsin at Michigan got major national attention, including an ESPN College Gameday appearance. So keeping an eye on where these fell would also be interesting.
Some of the matchups on Saturday nights that look exciting include Michigan State traveling to face Michigan in Ann Arbor, Maryland facing Wisconsiny, Maryland facing Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, and a game at the end of the season between Indiana and Maryland, which could be an absolute thriller and nice appetizer heading into the Big Ten Tournament and March Madness.
Overall, it looks like a great conference slate that should feature a lot of Top 25 matchups and battles between potential Final Four contenders in Indiana, Maryland, and Michigan State among others.