Big Ten announces 2014 football division alignments, nine-game 2016 schedule

BY CODY GOODWIN | APRIL 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Big Ten announced its new football division alignments scheduled to begin in 2014. The conference also said nine-game conference schedules are set to begin in 2016.

Both decisions were made unanimously, according to a release from the conference Sunday.

“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of east/west geography," Big Ten Commissioner James Delany said in the release. “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by the Big Ten Network last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll."

The division alignments were made geographically. Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers make up the East Division; Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin make up the West Division.

Each school will play the other six schools in their respective divisions, along with two other opponents from the opposite division, during the 2014 and 2015 college football seasons. Beginning in 2016, each team will play three teams from the opposite division as a part of the nine-game schedule.

The nine-game schedule also allows teams from the East Division to host five conference home games during even-numbered years, while the West Division gains that advantage on odd-numbered years. This allows every student-athlete to play every team in the conference over a four-year span.

“Big Ten directors of athletics met in person or by conference call six times from December to March to discuss a new Big Ten football model,” Delany said. “The level of cooperation and collaboration was reflective of what we’ve come to expect from this group of administrators who have worked extremely well together on a number of complex matters over the past several years. We are all looking forward to ushering in this new era of Big Ten football.”

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