While the SEC is still catching its collective breath after getting the 2014 league schedule out (and don’t you even think about asking for 2015 and beyond), the Big Ten released its 2018 and 2019 conference schedule on Wednesday.
For some perspective on just how far in advance we’re looking, know that a true freshman in 2018 is in eighth grade today. There’s a decent chance that over half of the current Big Ten coaches will be gone by the time these schedules are played.
A few things to keep in mind before we get to the schedules:
– The conference will be will into its next phase of existence by 2018-19. Rutgers and Maryland join after this year, bringing a new East-West divisional alignment with them.
– The Big Ten will also move to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016.
– We’re beginning to see the toll of balancing a 14-team league takes on traditional scheduling. After hosting Michigan last season, Nebraska won’t see the Wolverines in Lincoln again until 2020 at the earliest. Wisconsin doesn’t play either Ohio State or Michigan in 2018.
– And for mid-level schools like Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue, life in the 14-team Big Ten means much fewer shots at Michigan and Ohio State. Of the 36 games those four teams will host in 2018-19, only two of them (Ohio State at Purdue on Oct. 20, 2018 and Michigan at Illinois on Oct. 12, 2019) will be against the two all-important traditional Big Ten powers.