Big Ten Football: Division Decision Announced - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Big Ten Football: Division Decision Announced

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MADISON (WAOW) - The Big Ten Conference office announced football division alignments beginning with the 2011 season as recommended by conference directors of athletics and reviewed and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. Nebraska will officially begin conference competition in 2011, giving the Big Ten 12 football programs for the first time in conference history.

The Big Ten football division alignments will include a division featuring Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin, and a division featuring Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. Each school will play the other five schools within its division and will also face three teams from the other division, including one cross-division matchup guaranteed on an annual basis. The guaranteed cross-division matchups are Illinois-Northwestern, Indiana-Michigan State, Ohio State-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, Purdue-Iowa and Wisconsin-Minnesota. Names for each Big Ten football division will be announced at a later date.

"The Big Ten staff and directors of athletics focused on three criteria as we discussed the divisional alignments: competitive equality, maintaining traditional rivalries and geography," Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. "A lot went into this and there was a lot of give and take amongst all the schools in the conference. I'm happy with the way things have turned out for our program and our department."

The Big Ten also announced the conference schedules for 2011 and 2012. In a historic match-up, the Badgers will play host to Nebraska's first Big Ten conference game with the Huskers visiting Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 1, 2011. Wisconsin then has a bye week and hosts Indiana on Oct. 15. A pair of road games, at Michigan State and at Ohio State, follow. Purdue visits Camp Randall on Nov. 5 then the Badgers embark on another two-game road swing, at Minnesota and at Illinois. The regular season concludes with a match-up against Penn State in Madison on Nov. 26. The complete 2011 schedule and the confirmed games for 2012 appear in the column on the right.

"This is an ever-changing world in college football and we are excited to be a part of it," head coach Bret Bielema said. "I know a lot of different scenarios were discussed at the administrative level and we are pleased with the results. It was important to us to keep the longest running continuous rivalry in college football history alive so we are happy that we will play Minnesota every year. And we'll be part of history when we host Nebraska in its first Big Ten Conference game next October. Also, I think the addition of a championship game will be tremendous for the league and a fantastic opportunity for our players."

The winner of each Big Ten division will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, to be played December 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The championship game will determine the Big Ten Champion and the conference's participant in the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.

"Over the past several months, Big Ten staff and directors of athletics have met on several occasions to discuss and finalize division alignments," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "We focused on competitive equality, traditional rivalries and geography. We considered multiple models and countless permutations in an effort to achieve the most competitively balanced divisions while at the same time respecting our traditions, preserving existing rivalries, and creating opportunities for the establishment and growth of new rivalries. We have listened to the feedback from our institutions, alumni and fans, and while we understand that no final alignments could possibly satisfy all of our constituents, we believe that we have achieved a very exciting result."

 

Related: Jayson blogs about his division disapproval

 

UW Future Football Schedules (home games in bold):

2011

Sept. 3   vs. UNLV

Sept 10.   vs. Oregon State

Sept. 17   vs. Northern Illinois (at Soldier Field in Chicago)

Sept. 24   vs. South Dakota

Oct. 1   vs. Nebraska

Oct. 8   BYE WEEK

Oct. 15   vs. Indiana

Oct. 22   at Michigan State

Oct. 29   at Ohio State

Nov. 5   vs. Purdue

Nov. 12   at Minnesota

Nov. 19   at Illinois

Nov. 26   vs. Penn State 

 

2012

Sept. 1   TBA Home Game

Sept. 8   at Oregon State

Sept. 15   TBA Home Game

Sept. 22   TBA Home Game

Sept. 29   at Nebraska

Oct. 6   vs. Illinois

Oct. 13   at Purdue

Oct. 20   vs. Minnesota

Oct. 27   vs. Michigan State

Nov. 3   BYE WEEK

Nov. 10   at Indiana

Nov. 17   vs. Ohio State

Nov. 24   at Penn State

 

Courtesy: UW Press Releases

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