Wednesday, September 1, 2010

IU Locked Into Future With New Divisions

Fred Glass is a forward-thinking guy. While others enjoy the status quo, Indiana’s athletic director pushes the envelope, from fireworks displays leading to Thursday night’s football season opener against Towson to a video showing bison stampeding through Memorial Stadium to any ideas the promote the athletics department in general, football in particular.

So with the Big Ten announcing its realignment into two six-team divisions, Glass is locked into the future, and that includes the 2011 and 2012 Big Ten schedules. In 2011, the Hoosiers open with home games against Penn State and Illinois.

“I’m sure our fans will be excited,” Glass said. “I’m also pleased that the Old Oaken Bucket game remains as the regular season finale for IU and Purdue.”

After a month of consideration, the division results are in and challenges await. Indiana, Purdue, Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Illinois are in one division. Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern are in the other.

Purdue and IU will still meet at the end of the regular season. So will Ohio State and Michigan.

“It’s great to see that our traditional rivalries are respected in the new divisions,” IU coach Bill Lynch said in a university release. “We look forward to years of competitive football and showing the country why the Big Ten is the best conference in the nation.”

The Hoosiers will have to face that best every season. Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin have been the Big Ten's top teams in recent years. They do avoid Nebraska in the first two seasons of the new format.

IU had a big say in figuring out the new divisions. Indiana President Michael A. McRobbie chaired the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors that unanimously accepted the two-division format that was proposed by conference athletic directors.

“We felt they did a very good job of preserving storied rivalries while maintaining a competitive balance across the conference,” McRobbie said in a release. “We’re convinced these new alignments will bring even more excitement and interest to Big Ten football competition.”

Interest is good, winning is better, and that job, of course, falls to Lynch. Here is a look at what IU will face in the next two seasons:

2011 Big Ten Schedule
10/1 Penn State
10/8 Illinois
10/15 @Wisconsin
10/22 @Iowa
10/29 Northwestern
11/5 @Ohio State
11/19 @Michigan State
11/26 Purdue

2012 Big Ten Schedule
9/29 @Northwestern
10/6 Michigan State
10/13 Ohio State
10/27 @Illinois
11/3 Iowa
11/10 Wisconsin
11/17 @Penn State
11/24 @ Purdue

Challenging? You'd better believe it. And by 2015, when athletic directors hope to add a ninth conference game, it will be even more so.

1 comment:

  1. Playing Ohio State and Penn State every year is a recipe to help keep IU at current W-L levels for many years to come. Maybe IU should join the MAC for football?!?