The Big Ten Conference announced future football schedules on Wednesday afternoon, detailing each team’s opponents through the 2025 season.
Perhaps most importantly, Michigan will continue to play Michigan State and Ohio State both at home on odd years and both away on even years. This has become an unfortunate situation for the competitive balance of the schedules, as well as for season ticket holders, but it does not seem like an easy solution exists for this problem.
When the Big Ten switched to nine conference games each season in 2016, the league took on a three-year (or six-year, depending on how it is looked at) cycle. Every season, each team will play six games against its own division and three games against the other division. One of these three cross-division games is against the same opponent for the whole cycle; the other two games rotate between the remaining six teams.
For example, here is how Michigan’s Big Ten West opponents have cycled:
- 2016: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Illinois, at Iowa
- 2017: at Wisconsin, vs. Minnesota, at Purdue
- 2018: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Nebraska, at Northwestern
- 2019: at Wisconsin, vs. Iowa, at Illinois
- 2020: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Purdue, at Minnesota
- 2021: at Wisconsin, vs. Northwestern, at Nebraska
The cross-division pairings for the 2016-2021 seasons included Michigan/Wisconsin, Ohio State/Nebraska, Michigan State/Northwestern, Penn State/Iowa, Indiana/Purdue, Maryland/Minnesota, and Rutgers/Illinois.
Upon investigation of the 2022-2025 schedules, it appears Nebraska has replaced Wisconsin as Michigan’s new Big Ten West crossover game. The rest of the pairings are as follows:
- Ohio State/Wisconsin
- Michigan State/Minnesota
- Penn State/Illinois
Michigan’s future conference schedules will look very similar to now, with the exception of the Cornhuskers replacing the Badgers. The Maize and Blue will still play every opponent at least once every three years and will visit every Big Ten stadium within a six-year window.