Aug. 4, 2011
IOWA CITY, IA - The University of Iowa, along with other Big Ten teams, will play a nine-game league schedule beginning with the 2017 season. The announcement came today from the conference office.
The Iowa football program has played nine Big Ten games four times (1971, 1972, 1983, 1984) previously.
Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home games for the Hawkeyes, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.
The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons (Iowa and Ohio State played eight). Iowa and Northwestern featured nine-game schedules in 1971 and 1972. Two league teams also played nine games from 1977-80.
"We spent a great deal of time, as a conference, considering the move to nine games," said Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta. "There are positives and negatives, but in the end most everyone agrees it's the best way to go. The Big Ten worked with us regarding our series with Iowa State. At this point it appears it will go forward without interruption." The 2011 campaign, the Big Ten's 116th football season, kicks off with prime time home games for the defending Big Ten co-Champions. Wisconsin will host UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 1, and Michigan State will face Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2nd. The conference's remaining 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 3rd, including Iowa hosting Tennessee Tech at 11 a.m. in Kinnick Stadium.
Nebraska officially enters the league this year and will play its first conference game at Wisconsin on Oct. 1st. The league will also begin division play for the first time this season. The champions of each division will meet on Saturday, Dec. 3rd, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX Sports. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.