Link – Here’s why Illinois, not Northwestern, has brutal Big Ten East crossover games in the future

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This is a side-effect of conference conglomeration.

“The Big Ten on Wednesday released its football schedules for 2022-25, and not every fan base is thrilled with the division crossover games.

Take Illinois. The Illini appear to be have been dealt 2-7 against a pair of aces. They will face Penn State four times, Michigan and Michigan State twice and the following teams once: Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana and Rutgers.

Northwestern, meanwhile, gets Maryland four times, Ohio State and Indiana twice and Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan and Michigan State once.”

It’s simple. The more teams your conference has, the more each of those teams is not playing against equal competition. The Big Ten has seen this with Wisconsin over the last few years, who have a very good team, but the much easier road to winning their division than anyone in the East, assisted by not playing Ohio State, for example.

When the conference had 10 teams and 8 conference games, the team you didn’t play could have some effect on the conference championship. When it went to 11, 12 and then 14, that effect only grew. The more unbalanced the schedule becomes the more likely someone is going to win a conference championship without really having to face the toughest teams in their conference.

And unless you want to play 26 game seasons, and play everyone home and home, that’s just the way it is. It will never really be fair.

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