With 14 teams and an 18 game conference schedule, each Big Ten team will play five opponents twice and the remaining eight just one time. We usually get the five mirror games announced ahead of the schedule and it usually provides a good idea of what the schedule will look like.
Well it appears that we now have an idea of how the 2017-18 conference schedule will look as Jon Rothstein of Fanrag Sports has revealed the mirror games for this winter.
The double-plays can be seen below:
Illinois: Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Indiana: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State
Iowa: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State
Maryland: Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, TBD
Michigan: Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue
Michigan State: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Minnesota: Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue
Nebraska: Illinois, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Northwestern: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin
Ohio State: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers
Penn State: Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State
Purdue: TBD, Michigan, Minnesota, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Rutgers: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue
Wisconsin: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue
The most interesting takeaway from the reported mirror games is protected rivalry games, or lack thereof. It’s been a notable discussion point for both schools and fan bases, with most people advocating that the Big Ten needs to protect rivalries so they’ll play twice each season.
Looking at this years double-plays and it appears the Big Ten still hasn’t gotten the memo.
Purdue and Indiana? Only play once. Wisconsin and Minnesota? Just once. Michigan and Michigan? Take a guess.
At the end of the day it doesn’t make sense that the Big Ten can’t figure out a conference schedule that will allow for each rival school to host a home game. Instead we have schools like Purdue and Michigan State playing Rutgers twice instead of getting Indiana and Michigan twice. That of course means there will be years where rivalry games will only be played at one school, removing a potentially appealing home game from the schedule.
So while the talk of protected rivalries has heated up recently, it looks like we’ll have to wait another year to see if the Big Ten will finally implement it.