The B-10 plays 9 conference games and 3 NC to reach the limit of 12 games. It should be noted, if a team schedules a game in Hawaii, they are awarded a 13th game to off-set travel expenses.The B-12 and the P-12 also play 9 conferences games, while the ACC and SEC schedule 8 in-house, so to speak, conference dates.
The B-10 is divided into 2 division, the East Division (Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, & Rutgers) and the West Division (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, & Wisconsin). The general consensus is the East is significantly better that the West, we will take a look at recruiting rankings and head to head match-ups to try to determine the validity of this concept via the facts.
We will, per usual, break the NC opponents into three groups, Power 5 (P5), Group of 5 (G5), and Football Championship Subdivision, (FCS). It should be noted, that the descriptors P5 and G5 are not NCAA language, NC2A would identify both of these groupings (P5/G5) as Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and, as mentioned the other NCAA classification is the FCS!The simple difference between the FBS and FCS is the number of scholarships they award, The FBS can give up to 85 full scholarships and must give that many to remain in good standing, while the FCS can give up to 63 full scholarships they are not required to do so! The IVY & Pioneer Leagues do not award athletic scholarships and yet, maintain their good standing in the FCS membership!
So with all that, let’s get back to the task at hand … NC opponents vs the B-10. There are b14 teams in the B-10, who each schedule 3 games, so the conference plays 42 NC opponents!
Indiana does not play a P5 opponent in the 2019 season. They take on 2 G5’s Ball State (MAC) and U-Conn (AAC) and 1 FCS team, Eastern Illinois out of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).
Maryland plays one P5, Syracuse (ACC) @ home, 1 G5, @ Temple (AAC) and 1 FCS, Howard, out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)
Michigan challenges one P5, Notre Dame (IND) in the Big House and takes on two G5’s Army (IND) & Middle Tennessee (C-USA) both games are @ home!
Michigan State kicks it off vs 1 P5, Arizona State (P-12) and 2 G5’s Tulsa (AAC) & Western Michigan (MAC) all three of these games will be played in Spartan Stadium!
Ohio State has not scheduled a P5 for the 2019 season and if things are tight for the CFP Committee, this oversight could become a negative factor for the Bucks! They will line it up’ against 3 G5’s, Florida Atlantic (C-USA, Cincinnati (AAC), & Miami (MAC) all 3 games are @ the Shoe!
Penn State battles 1 P5, in-state rival, Pitt, @ Beaver Stadium, 1 G5 opponent, Buffalo (MAC) and 1 FCS team, Idaho out of the Big Sky (B-Sky) with both games being played in State College!
Rutgers battles one P5, Boston College (ACC) a home in High Point Solution Stadium and takes on 2 G5’s U-Mass (IND) and Liberty (IND) in New Brunswick!
The East Division will play 21 NC games in 2019, (7 teams with 3 NC games each, 7 X 3 = 21). The East plays 5 P5’s or 24% of their NC schedule is against P5’s. Further, no team out of the East Division plays 2 P5’s (a common practice in the ACC & SEC) and 2 teams (Indiana & Ohio State) elected to schedule a Power 5 opponent! They play 13 G5’s or 62% of their schedule and 3 FCS teams equaling 14% of the 19′ NC games!
The West Division
Illinois did not schedule a P5 program for the coming season, a reasonable measure as the Illini are desperate to make a bowl game in 2019! Instead they have schedule 3 G5’s, @ UConn (AAC) and 2 MAC teams, Akron & Eastern Michigan, both of these games are @ Champaign’s Memorial Stadium. Hopefully the AD attempted to schedule a FCS opponent!
Iowa travels to Ames to take on, in-state rival, Iowa State, a P5 representative of the B-12. The Hawks also get it on’ with 2 G5’s Middle Tennessee (C-USA) and Miami (MAC), both of these games are at Kinnick Stadium!
Minnesota is the 2nd team in the West that has elected not to schedule a P5 opponent in 2019. They will battle 2 G5’s, @ Fresno State (MWC) and Georgia Southern (SBC) and a FCS team, South Dakota State out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC). These last 2 games will be played at Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
Nebraska plays and old rival, from both their B-8 and B-12 days, Colorado (P-12) and 2 directional G5 teams, Northern Illinois (MAC) & South Alabama (SBC) in Lincoln @ Memorial Stadium!
Northwestern travels to take on brother academic power, Stanford, P5 out of the P-12! The Cats will rangle with 2 G5’s, UNLV (MWC) & UMass (IND) @ Ryan Field!
Purdue is the heavy lifter in the B-10, as they are the 1st team and only team covered in this blog that has stepped up to challenge 2 P5’s. The Boilers take on Vanderbilt from the Might SEC and TCU (B-12), both games are in West Lafayette’s Ross-Aise Stadium. They round out their NC schedule vs a G5, Nevada (MWC) @ Mackay Stadium!
Wisconsin continues the trend of avoiding P5 opponents, as the Badgers become the 3rd of 7 West Division teams that decided not to schedule a Power 5 opponent in 2019. Bucky has scheduled 3 G5’s, @ USF (AAC) and 2 home games vs the MAC’s Central Michigan & Kent State!
The West plays 21 NC games. They scheduled exactly the same number of P5’s, 5 or 24% on their NC schedule, as their counterparts in the East Division! They will play 15 G5’s or 71% of their work will be done vs the Group of Five and 1 FCS team or 5% of their NCgames! The West NC schedule gets a slight nod over the East NC schedule do to the fact they player fewer FCS opponents 1 for the West to 3 for the East!
The B-10 NC schedule in 2019, in my humble opinion, is shameful. They should be playing in the neighborhood of 20 P5’s not 10! If their champion does not go undefeated, we could be looking at 4 straight years where the B-10 champion does not make the CFP. With a one loss champions in the respective P5 Conference, the committee looks at cross conference games, who will the B-10 point to besides Notre Dame? Five of their teams (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, & Indiana) elected to not schedule a Power 5 for the 19′ season. Where are the Oregon’s or Washington’s? The Oklahoma’s and Texas’, The LSU’s, Alabama’s or Georgia’s? The B-10 champ better win em’ all and Wolverines better beat the Irish and hope ND finds a way against Georgia, as that win in the ‘Big House’ would be their only signature win!
There has been a lot of discussion across the various conferences about division in-balance, where one division clearly has better teams the then her sister division. The B-10 is no stranger to these discussions, as the East is typically regarded as the better side of the B-10. The belief that Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan & Michigan State ate simply better programs than Iowa, Purdue, Minnesota & Illinois is pretty much universitally thought to be true. But are they? Besides the historical perspectives ,what is going today that backs up that type of claim.
We will look at how these respective divisions recruit and the head to head results since the 2016 season. First the Recruiting. These ranking are based on the 64 P5 teams, with ND & BYU added into the mix. So the number of teams factored into the ranking was 66. In other words Illinois is current ranked better than only 5 teams, while Ohio State recruits better than 63 teams in the Power Five! Please note, each division’s teams are ranked 1 to 7 and their national ranking is listed behind the identified team!
1) Ohio State / 3rd, 2) Michigan / 9th, 3) Penn State /14th, 4) Michigan St. / 26th, 5) Maryland / 33rd; 6) Indiana / 48th, 7) Rutgers 60th,
1) Nebraska / 21st, 2) Wisconsin / 34th, 3 Iowa / 40th, 4) Minnesota / 46th, 5) Northwestern / 50th, 6) Purdue / 51st, 7) Illinois / 61st Clearly, the East recruits better than the West! Three teams from the East (Ohio State, Michigan, & Penn State) recruit better than the #1 team in the West (Nebraska) and five teams from the East recruit better than Wisconsin, the 2nd best recruiting program on the West side of the B-10! While recruiting is a critical element in who wins games, it is not the only factor. Prospects fitting into schemes, player development, academic eligibility and social issues must can all impact a team’s performance!
So speaking of performance, lets see how divisions have settled these questions on the playing field! We will take each team in the East and determine their divisional crossover records beginning in 2016. The 2016 season is when the B-10 began playing 9 conference games, so each team in the B-10 will have played in 9 crossover games ( 3 in in of the year’s assessed, 16′, 17′, & 18;)! The East’s record will be an inversion of the West’s wins & losses!
Ohio State 2016: beat Wisconsin, 30-23, Northwestern, 24-20, & Nebraska, 62-3; 2017: OSU beat Nebraska, 56-14, lost to Iowa, 55-24, & beat Illinois, 52-14; 2018: the Bucks beat Minnesota 30-14, lost to Purdue, 49-20, & beat Nebraska, 36-31! OSU is 7-2 vs the West!
Michigan 2016: beat Wisconsin, 14-7, hammered the Illini, 41-6, & lost to Iowa, 14-13; 2017: The Wolverines beat Purdue, 28-10, handled Minnesota, 33-10, lost to Wisconsin, 24-10; 2018: Michigan beat Nebraska, 56-10, slipped by Northwestern, 20-17, and beat up Wisconsin, 38-13! Michigan is 7-2 vs the West
Penn State 2016: beat Minnesota 29-26 in OT, beat Purdue, 62-24, & beat Iowa, 41-14; 2017: beat Iowa 21-19, beat Northwestern, 31-7, & beat Nebraska, 56-44; 2018: beat Illinois, 63-24, beat Iowa, 30-24, & stopped Wisconsin, 22-10! PSU is 9-0 vs the West!
Michigan State 2016: lost to Wisconsin, 30-6, lost to Northwestern, 54-40, & lost to Illinois, 31-27; 2017: beat Iowa, 17-10, beat Minnesota, 30-27, & lost to Northwestern, 39-31; 2018: lost to Northwestern, 29-19, beat Purdue, 23-13, & lost to Nebraska, 9-6! MSU is 3-6 vs the West
Maryland 2016: beat Purdue, 50-7, lost to Minnesota, 31-10, & lost to Nebraska, 28-7; 2017: beat Minnesota, 31-24, lost to Northwestern, 37-21, & lost to Wisconsin, 38-13; 2018: beat Minnesota, 42-13, lost to Iowa, 23-0, & beat Illinois, 63-33! Maryland is 4-5 vs the West!
Indiana 2016: the Hoosiers lost to Nebraska, 27-22, lost to Northwestern, 24-14, & beat Purdue, 26-24; 2017: lost to Wisconsin, 45-17, beat Illinois, 24-14, & lost to Purdue, 31-24; 2018: lost to Iowa, 42-16, lost to Minnesota, 38-31, & lost to Purdue, 28-21. Indiana is 2-7 vs the West!
Rutgers 2016: lost to Iowa 14-7, beat Illinois, 24-7, lost to Minnesota, 34-32; 2017: lost to Nebraska 2717, lost Illinois, 26-24, beat Purdue, 14-12; 2018: lost to Illinois, 38-17, lost to Northwestern, 18-15, & lost to Wisconsin, 31-17. Rutgers is 2-7 vs the West!
In regular season games the East hold the advantage, 34 wins to 29 losses. The East has not lost a championship game to the West, since the divisions were formed and began play in the 2014 season. The West is 0-5 vs the East in the B-10 Championship game! Including these five games, the East is 39-29 vs their counterparts in the West!