Big Ten announces first 9-game conference slates

Josh Walfish, Summer Reporter

The Big Ten on Thursday released its 2016 and 2017 conference schedules, the first two with nine-game conference slates.

Northwestern will begin Big Ten play on the road both seasons, starting at Iowa in 2016 and Wisconsin in 2017. The Wildcats will play five conference away games in 2016 and four in 2017.

The 2016 and 2017 campaigns will be the third and fourth seasons with new divisions starting in 2014. NU will play its West Division foes – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin – in both seasons and will take on three opponents from the East Division.

(Northwestern to play in Big Ten’s new West Division)

In 2016, the cross-division matchups are a three-week stretch at the end of October when a visit from Indiana is sandwiched between road trips to Michigan State and Ohio State. The following year, the cross-over games are a return trip to Evanston from the Spartans, a home game against Penn State and an away matchup with Maryland. The game with the Terrapins will likely be the first ever between the new conference opponents, assuming the schools do not meet in a bowl game this year.

Josh Walfish