The Big Ten Conference office announced football division alignments set to begin in 2014 and nine-game conference schedules set to start in 2016. The changes were unanimously recommended by conference directors of athletics and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors.
The new Eastern Division will feature Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers, Penn State and Ohio State. The Western Division will feature Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. The cross-division games will include one protected match-up on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue.
With the start of the nine-game conference schedule in 2016, teams from the East Division will host five conference home games during even-numbered years, while teams from the West Division will host five conference home games during odd-numbered years. As a result of the nine-game conference schedule and the Big Ten’s schedule rotation, every student-athlete will have the opportunity to play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period.