I understand that we are only in spring (at least that’s what they tell me, feels like fall here in Wisconsin), but why not take a look at the Wisconsin Badgers Big Ten schedule. Realignment has not only jumbled some teams around, but gone are the horrendous Leaders and Legends division names. Now are the more geographical West (where the Badgers are) and East.
So how does this all translate into the easiest Big Ten schedule for the Badgers? I thought you’d never ask. Joining Wisconsin in the West is Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. Per the conference guidelines, the Badgers will always face these six teams no matter what. Makes sense, right?
That leaves Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and newcomers Maryland and Rutgers in the East. I feel really bad for Indiana and Rutgers. Again, per the guidelines set, Wisconsin–and any other team from the West–will face two opponents from the East.
Cut to the chase Taylor, what two opponents from the East do the Badgers have to play?
This season, Wisconsin will face Maryland and Rutgers from the East division. Not exactly the best-of-the-best from that side of the Big Ten.
The combined conference record of the eight Big Ten opponents the Badgers face this season went a meager 22-42 last season. That comes out to a .343 winning percentage. Who has the hardest Big Ten schedule this year? That would be inaugural Big Ten member Rutgers, whose opponents this season went a combined 41-23 (.640).
But Taylor, what about the rest of the Big Ten?
Alright, keep your cool. Here how the rest of the conference shapes up:
Wisconsin: 22-42 (.343)
Iowa: 23-41 (.359)
Nebraska: 28-36 (.437)
Northwestern: 28-36 (.437)
Michigan State: 29-35 (.453)
Minnesota: 29-35 (.453)
Ohio State: 29-35 (.453)
Penn State: 31-33 (.484)
Illinois: 33-31 (.515)
Purdue: 33-31 (.515)
Michigan: 34-30 (.531)
Indiana: 35-29 (.546)
Maryland: 40-24 (.625)
Rutgers: 41-23 (.640)
The road to the Big Ten championship might be a little easier than most this year for the Badgers. And with all the questions and holes that need to be filled, I’m sure head coach Gary Andersen doesn’t mind a smoother road.
Could be worse. Wisconsin could find themselves in the East.