Indiana, Purdue to play twice each season under new Big Ten scheduling format

  • 10/19/2017 8:45 am in

The Big Ten officially confirmed on Thursday morning that it will be moving to a 20-game schedule in men’s basketball beginning with the 2018-19 season.

Under the new format, teams will have seven double plays and six single plays each season.

There will also be three protected rivalries that will play twice every season: Indiana-Purdue, Michigan-Michigan State and Illinois-Northwestern.

The league also announced there will be a “regional component” to the new format to “increase the frequency of games among teams in similar areas.” That means all in-state opponents will play 12 times over a six-year period, regional opponents will play 10 games and all other teams will play nine times.

A list of regional opponents for each school was not included in the Big Ten’s release, nor was each program’s list of single- and double-play opponents for next season.

The Big Ten also announced that women’s basketball will move to an 18-game conference schedule.

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  • Arch Puddington

    Well, good.

  • calbert40

    This is better, but it still isn’t good enough. It is still unbalanced, so it is still unfair. The solution is so easy, and that is to divide the league into divisions of 7 teams. Play your divisional opponents twice (12 games) and all others once (7 games). If they wanted to add one more random opponent to make it an even number, that’d be fine too.

    The only difficulty is how to split the divisions, while still maintaining geographical and competitive balance as well as natural rivalries. I’d split it like this:

    East: MSU, UM, OSU, PSU, MD, RU, NW
    West: IU, PU, IL, UW, Minny, Iowa, Neb

    I never knew that IL and NW was a rivalry that needed “protected” on the same level as IU-PU or UM-MSU, but if the league feels that way, give the East UW and the West can take NW…I know that I would be completely fine with that exchange!!

  • pcantidote

    Great news. Now we need to start dominating them.

  • Ole Man

    I wouldn’t call that either easy or fair.
    Why would you put two schools west of us in the Eastern division?
    It might be fair for IU but not for the other schools.
    See what I mean?
    Just an opinion.

  • Kyl470

    Exactly. Two divisions. You play your division twice and the other division once. Why is that so hard?

  • Kyl470

    Also if I’m Maryland I’m doing everything I can to convince the Big 10 that Rutgers is our rival and we need that protected.

  • IdahoHoosier

    If “fairness” is what we are seeking I think it is a fool’s errand. Being fair is subjective and there is no way to make everyone happy. I think the changes are a positive step and being completely balanced is impossible.

  • calbert40

    I disagree with that. Seeking fairness isn’t a fool’s errand. Seeking a perfect schedule that everyone thinks is perfectly fair is, but seeking something that is balanced isn’t. The current schedule and the proposed 20 game schedule aren’t balanced; therefore, they are less fair than they could be.

    If each team knows each year they will play the same teams the same number of times, it is difficult to argue that isn’t at least fair and balanced, IMO.

  • Donnie Vick

    the 18-19 team is already 2-0

  • Sandra Wilson

    Protected rivalries are, by themselves, unfair. Lucky Michigan, they get to play MSU twice EVERY year. Hopefully, the same could be said for Purdue with Indiana EVERY year. Why is NW and Ill. a protected rivalry? After Collins takes Duke, NW will be back in the basement and Ill. will have a nice weak rival to play twice every year. Divisions are the only way to make things reasonably fair.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I guess I don’t see that big of a difference in the new changes and the division system you are suggesting. Both would put teams closer together playing more often. How would divisions make it more “fair”? The divisions would be set up in an attempt at being equal (as far as quality of teams and balance of power). But then teams rise and fall over time so one year the divisions seem balanced, the next they are not when say Iowa, Minny, UW, IU, PU are all up and in the other division only MSU and UM are good (just an example). So MSU runs away with their division and ekes out a narrow contest to win the conference. Now we are back to “the schedules are unbalanced, it’s not fair”, etc.

  • calbert40

    “The only difficulty is how to split the divisions, while still maintaining geographical and competitive balance as well as natural rivalries.”

    I suggested that would be the difficulty. Geographically speaking, the split is between IU and PU. Considering that is the #1 basketball rivalry in the B1G, I think every AD from Rutgers to Nebraska would understand that those two schools need to be in the same division. I’d think that they’d feel the same about UM and MSU. I don’t believe it is a ridiculous or “unfair” notion to put NW, whose main campus is about 40 miles west of Purdue’s, go to the East instead of the West.

    I think the competitive balance angle is overplayed. Some years, the West will be tougher than the East and vice versa. When I have more time, I may check and see what the ten year records are for the teams to prove this point. On the whole, I could argue that the West is tougher, because it doesn’t have any “guaranteed” wins like the East does. The West may not have the same high end competition each year, but I think it’s tougher.

    As I said to Idaho, I think we confuse perfection with fairness. Nothing that would be done will be perfect, but this system would be fair…at least more fair than the current draw-names-out-of-a-hat approach to the schedule we have currently.

  • Molon Labe

    On a totally separate note. I thought it was interesting to see how small Swanigan’s arms look compared to Freddy’s.

  • Outoftheloop

    Have NW go East and MSU go West. In football have East #1 play West #1,2,3 (from last season); East #7 play West # 7,6, 5; etc.

  • calbert40

    How are protected rivalries unfair? I don’t understand that.

  • calbert40

    It is fair, because it isn’t random. Randomness in scheduling is unfair. The way the B1G currently does its schedule is similar to a Bingo caller pulling out B-10 out of the tumbler: completely random chance. In my scenario, the schedule is identical every year (outside of home and home with the other division, but that gets switched the next season). There is nothing random about it, so it is more fair.

    From year to year, one division will be tougher than the other. No argument here, but that doesn’t indicate a lack of competitive balance. That’s just the nature of sports. I’m a big Cubs fan, and this year they won their division with 92 wins. In 2015, they finished 3rd with 97 wins despite having the third best record in ALL of baseball. The only better teams were in their division. They would’ve won every other division crown, but instead had to play a road Wild Card game. That wasn’t unfair to them, though. The rules are the rules. MLB or the B1G can’t do anything about that.

  • Outoftheloop

    No, different divisions with a special provision for home and away in basketball and a game every year in football, as we currently will have in 2018-19.

  • Oldguyy

    My guess as to why NW-IL is a protected rivalry is that they decided that it would be too complicated and unnecessary to have a protected rivalry for each school, so they limited it to those with in-state rivals. Everything’s a compromise.

  • calbert40

    Well, I did three years instead of ten, because Rutgers and Maryland have only been in the B1G that long. Going past that mark adds a variable that I don’t want to deal with.

    Three year records:

    B1G EAST
    1. Maryland (38-16) 3 top 4 finishes
    2. Michigan St (35-19) 2 top 4 finishes
    3. Ohio St (29-25)
    4. Michigan (28-26)
    5. Northwestern (24-30)
    6. Penn St (17-37)
    7. Rutgers (6-48)

    B1G WEST
    1. Wisconsin (40-14) 1 B1G title, 2 top 4 finishes (1 tied)
    2. Purdue (38-16) 1 B1G title, 3 top 4 finishes
    3. Iowa (34-20) twice tied for 4th but never a top 4 seed
    4. Indiana (31-23) 1 B1G title, 1 top 4 finish
    5. Illinois (22-32)
    6. Minnesota (19-35) 1 top 4 finish
    7. Nebraska (17-37)

    The West has a better record (201-177), but much of that discrepancy is from Rutgers.

  • IdahoHoosier

    The new rules attempt to prioritize geography and rivalries, which seems like a step toward more consistency while still allowing all teams to play each other. Divisions would just be another way of trying to be more consistent. But consistency doesn’t necessarily mean more “fair”. I stand by my first comment. As a completely subjective metric, “fairness” will never be completely reached. I think the B1G made strides toward consistency and I’ll take it.

  • calbert40

    I think we are working either with different connotations of “fairness,” or you have a much higher standard for calling something fair. To me, a fair schedule is one that removes randomness from it. Right now, the double plays are completely random. The new suggestion that adds some protected rivalries is less random, but still too random for my liking. I don’t see what it would hurt to add some symmetry to the schedule of the conference.

    The only way to make it fair by your standard is to go back to a ten team league and play everyone twice. That isn’t ever going to happen, so a divisional lineup is the next best thing, IMO.

  • ArchToSix

    Calbert, what is your goal with the schedule and what is unfair about the current one in your mind? That some teams only play certain ones once? And who those teams are has a significant factor in determining who wins the conference? Your solution does nothing to solve that….

  • ArchToSix

    And neither does the new proposed schedule btw…

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Good teams win.. bad teams complain about the schedule… beat the teams you can beat unbalanced or not.. #31yrs&counting

  • calbert40

    The issue is that the “double play” opponents are randomly assigned year to year. Adding two additional games to the schedule increased the “double play” opponents from five to seven, but outside of a scant number of protected rivalries, they are still randomly assigned.

    My solution is to break the league into two divisions. This would eliminate the random nature of the B1G schedule. Each team would ALWAYS play the same “double play” teams twice.

    For comparison’s sake, look at the NFL schedule. Each season, the schedule is normalized. Every team plays divisional opponents twice each (6 games). Then, each team within the same division will play all of the opponents from two other divisions – one from the AFC and one from the NFC – (8 games). Then, they add two “non-standard” games, but they weight them based upon a team’s order of finish within their division from the previous season, i.e, 1st place teams play two other 1st place teams and last place teams play two other last place teams. Double check any team’s schedule, and you will see that is exactly what the NFL does every year. It promotes continuity, competitive balance as well as rivalries.

    Why is it anything but a fantastic idea to have the B1G do the same? I really have great difficulty understanding how anyone could be opposed to this.

  • ArchToSix

    I’m not opposed to it at all. I’m just saying you spent another 4 paragraphs and who knows how much time debating something that doesn’t fix the problem (my point is b/c it can’t be fixed unless everyone plays every other team the same amount of times).

    If the schedule is unbalanced it’s unbalanced. Your proposal just shifts the “randomness” over to who the good teams are that year, instead of who is on your schedule. Competing for the conference title will now just be random based on how good the teams are in your division vs. the other the fact that you know who you will play every year does not change the fact that the schedule is unbalanced.

    The point is WHO CARES? as long as we play PU twice and put 2 games in their loss column every year…

  • IdahoHoosier

    If you win games, beat good teams, your opportunities will increase (ie. playing better competition in non-con, more national attention, smaller schools moving to different leagues, etc.). Schedule will never be “fair” for all so just make it as interesting as you can and win games!

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    A B1G regular season champ hasn’t won a NCAA title since 2000.. so it hasn’t really helped or hurt anyone.. just a moot talking point