Big Ten announces 9-game football schedule beginning in 2017

The Big Ten announced Thursday morning that it has approved the move to a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2017. The conference announced that Indiana will be one of the teams that has five home games in odd numbered years, four home games in even numbered years.

This idea has been discussed by the conference for some time. It first came up at Media Days last year when Jim Delany brought it up shortly after the addition of Nebraska was announced.

From the Big Ten office.


Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten announced today that conference football programs will move to a nine-game Big Ten schedule beginning with the 2017 season.

Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.

The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.

The 116th season of Big Ten football kicks off with prime time home games for the defending Big Ten co-Champions, with Wisconsin hosting UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 1, and Michigan State facing Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2. The conference’s remaining 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 3, including Nebraska’s first official game as a member of the Big Ten. Conference play will begin on Saturday, Oct. 1, and will feature divisional play for the first time. The champions of each division will meet on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX Sports. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.


  1. Because football schedules are made years in advance, as well as, home and away contracts. Odds are 2017 was the first clean slate year available. I think the 9 game schedule is great! Personally, I’d go 10 games with only 2 non-conference games.

  2. Schedules are already set for several years in advance. This allows time for contracts to be adjusted, broken, whatever. It is also courteous to those universities that may have to look elsewhere for a new opponent.

  3. Hey, maybe this means we’ll actually play Nebraska beginning in 2017. I still don’t understand why IU doesn’t face the ‘huskers any time soon. We play Wisconsin 3 of the next 4 years, but don’t play Nebraska. ???

    I also like the 9-game schedule.

  4. We play Wiscy 4 of the next 4 years, Eric. They’re in the Leaders Division with us, so we play them every season, regardless. The B1G schedule is done in two year “installments”, if you will, so in 11 and 12 we play Iowa and N’W from the Legends Division; in 13 and 14 we play Minny and Michigan. Michigan St. is our protected, cross-over game—we play them every season. So, in the next four seasons, every B1G team has one conference opponent they don’t play; ours just happens to be Nebraska.

    And since we lead the overall series w/ the Huskers, we can puff our chests out and bring it to everyone’s attention (for the next 4 years, at least).

  5. eric; we shoult count our blessings. Playing Wisc and NE in the same season would not be good for IU, at least until Wilson and company can build up the team. It’s going to take three years and some luck before IU can stay on the field with either NE or WI. Wilson’s off to a great start, but these program turn-arounds take some time.

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