2012 Big Ten Leaders Schedule Breakdown

Posted Feb 24, 2012

Breakdowns and analysis of each Big Ten Leaders schedule

2012 Big Ten Schedules - Leaders

Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern

Big Ten Composite Schedules  2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Big Ten Team-By-Team Breakdowns  2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
- 2012 Big Ten Legends Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2012 Big Ten Composite Schedule & Week Rankings 

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Toughest Schedules
Based on home games as well as who the teams play. when. From toughest to easiest ...
1. Ohio State
2. Wisconsin
3. Illinois
4. Purdue
5. Indiana
6. Penn State

1. Nebraska
2. Michigan
3. Michigan State
4. Iowa
5. Northwestern
6. Minnesota

Non-Conference Games: Western Michigan, at Arizona State, Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech
Games Against The Legends: at Michigan, Minnesota, at Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Western Michigan, Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Arizona State, Penn State, at Wisconsin, at Michigan, at Ohio State, at Northwestern

Summary: The start of the Tim Beckman era isn't quite as nice and breezy as he might like. Western Michigan and Louisiana Tech aren't the run-of-the-mill non-BCS teams – they could each win their respective conferences – while going to Arizona State will be a big early test. Fortunately, the trip to Tempe is the only road game until October, but the Illini can't afford to blow the Big Ten home opener to Penn State.

Getting Minnesota and the yearly date with Northwestern from the Legends isn't a bad deal, but this year, the road trip to Michigan stinks. It's going to be that much tougher coming off a date at Wisconsin, while going to Ohio State to start November all but ends any dreams of winning the Leaders. Fortunately, the finishing kick isn't all that bad with Minnesota, Purdue, and the date in Evanston.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Western Michigan
Sep. 8 at Arizona State
Sep. 15 Charleston Southern
Sep. 22 Louisiana Tech
Sep. 29 Penn State
Oct. 6 at Wisconsin
Oct. 13 at Michigan
Oct. 27 Indiana
Nov. 3 at Ohio State
Nov. 10 Minnesota
Nov. 17 Purdue
Nov. 24 at Northwestern


Non-Conference Games: Ball State, Indiana State, at Massachusetts, at Navy
Games Against The Legends: Iowa, Michigan State, at Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 4-8

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Indiana State, at Massachusetts, Ball State, at Navy

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, at Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, at Penn State, at Purdue

Summary: The Hoosiers have a nice and soft start to the year, but that's what it seemed like last year, too. Considering IU lost to Ball State, the early game against the Cardinals isn't a lock. However, there's no reason to not be 3-0 to start the year with Indiana State, at UMass, and Ball State to kick things off before getting a week off to prepare for Northwestern.

IU misses Michigan from the Legends, but it has a rough finishing kick with four road games in the final six coming off home games against Michigan State and Ohio State. There's no Minnesota on the slate, meaning that ever Big Ten game is against a team that ended up in a bowl game last season, meaning the road date against Navy – along with a perfect first three weeks of the season – will be a must win to have any dreams of finishing with a winning record.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Indiana State
Sep. 8 at Massachusetts
Sep. 15 Ball State
Sep. 29 at Northwestern
Oct. 6 Michigan State
Oct. 13 Ohio State
Oct. 20 at Navy
Oct. 27 at Illinois
Nov. 3 Iowa
Nov. 10 Wisconsin
Nov. 17 at Penn State
Nov. 24 at Purdue

Ohio State

Non-Conference Games: California, Miami University, UCF, UAB
Games Against The Legends: at Michigan State, Nebraska, Michigan
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 10-2

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Miami Univ., UCF, California, UAB, Nebraska, at Indiana, Purdue, at Penn State, Illinois, Michigan

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Michigan State, at Wisconsin

Summary: The Urban era really starts in 2013 when the team can play for the Big Ten title and more, but this year needs to set the tone and it starts with the league's toughest interdivision schedule going to Michigan State and getting Nebraska and Michigan. The Leaders slate isn't a positive, either, with road trips to both Penn State and Wisconsin, but at least there's a week off to prepare to the date in Camp Randall.

The non-conference slate isn't taxing outside of a good test against Cal, but UCF will be more than just a speed bump. Getting UAB at the end of September is a nice tune-up before going to Michigan State and kicking off the Big Ten season.

Outside of the dates with the Leaders, the Buckeyes don't have it too bad considering Nebraska and Michigan have to come to Columbus, Penn State might be a shadow of its former self, and Michigan State and Indiana are the only road games before the end of October.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Miami Univ.
Sep. 8 UCF
Sep. 15 California
Sep. 22 UAB
Sep. 29 at Michigan State
Oct. 6 Nebraska
Oct. 13 at Indiana
Oct. 20 Purdue
Oct. 27 at Penn State
Nov. 3 Illinois
Nov. 17 at Wisconsin
Nov. 24 Michigan

Penn State

Non-Conference Games: Navy, Ohio, Temple, at Virginia
Games Against The Legends: at Iowa, at Nebraska, Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Ohio, Navy, Temple, at Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Virginia, at Iowa, Ohio State, at Purdue, at Nebraska, Wisconsin

Summary: Under any normal circumstances for Penn State, the schedule would be more than manageable enough for a huge season. The Ohio State and Wisconsin games are at home, the non-conference slate isn't too bad, and there's a well-timed week off in the middle of the year to let everyone catch their breath. Of course, these aren't normal circumstances in Happy Valley.

Forgetting all the other issues, and even the coaching change, the Nittany Lions need a lot of work and there's not going to be a lot of time to tune up. Ohio might be the best team in the MAC East and could absolutely start the season off with a thud. Going to Virginia is going to be a problem, and this could finally be the year that Temple – who should've won last year's game – breaks the epic losing streak.

Missing Michigan and Michigan State from the Legends is a break, but going to Iowa and Nebraska as part of a rough run of three road games in four weeks could be a backbreaker. It might take wins over both Indiana and Wisconsin to close out the regular season to go bowling.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Ohio
Sep. 8 at Virginia
Sep. 15 Navy
Sep. 22 Temple
Sep. 29 at Illinois
Oct. 6 Northwestern
Oct. 20 at Iowa
Oct. 27 Ohio State
Nov. 3 at Purdue
Nov. 10 at Nebraska
Nov. 17 Indiana
Nov. 24 Wisconsin


Non-Conference Games: Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Marshall, at Notre Dame
Games Against The Legends: at Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Marshall, at Minnesota, Penn State, Indiana

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin, at Ohio State, at Iowa, at Illinois

Summary: There's no reason to shoot for anything less than a winning season with a decent team returning and a not-that-bad schedule to help the cause. Going to Notre Dame is more winnable for the Boilermakers than it might seem, but even if that's a loss, hosting Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall should ensure a big start.

There's a brutal midseason stretch of Michigan, Wisconsin, and at Ohio State, but the Boilermakers don't leave the state of Indiana until October 20th. Then it's time road warrior time with four away games in five weeks with an oasis against Penn State in the middle. Coming up with a win at Minnesota could be a must, and beating the Nittany Lions at home would be nice, but it'll be all about the final three weeks with winnable road games at Iowa and Illinois before closing out against Indiana. Win two of those three, and it'll be time to go bowling.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Eastern Kentucky
Sep. 8 at Notre Dame
Sep. 15 Eastern Michigan
Sep. 29 Marshall
Oct. 6 Michigan
Oct. 13 Wisconsin
Oct. 20 at Ohio State
Oct. 27 at Minnesota
Nov. 3 Penn State
Nov. 10 at Iowa
Nov. 17 at Illinois
Nov. 24 Indiana


Non-Conference Games: Northern Iowa, at Oregon State, Utah State, UTEP
Games Against The Legends: Michigan State, Minnesota, at Nebraska
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 11-1

Pre-Spring Projected Wins: Northern Iowa, at Oregon State, Utah State, UTEP, Illinois, at Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State, at Indiana, Ohio State, at Penn State

Pre-Spring Projected Losses: at Nebraska

Summary: The 2012 Badgers don't appear to be as strong as the previous two versions, but if they're close, they have a schedule to run the table.

It's Wisconsin, so the non-conference schedule is light and breezy. However, it's not the Badgers' fault that Oregon State stinks now, but when the game was schedule the road trip looked like a landmine. Utah State isn't the Utah State of last year and UTEP and Northern Iowa will have offenses, but shouldn't be a problem.

There's no Michigan on the Legends slate, but the Badgers can't seem to get Michigan State out of their hair and they have to go to Nebraska to open up the Big Ten season. The Leaders schedule isn't bad with the huge showdown against Ohio State in Madison and getting Illinois at home. After going to Lincoln, the Big Ten road games are to Purdue, Indiana, and Penn State. That's not bad.

2012 Schedule
Sep. 1 Northern Iowa
Sep. 8 at Oregon State
Sep. 15 Utah State
Sep. 22 UTEP
Sep. 29 at Nebraska
Oct. 6 Illinois
Oct. 13 at Purdue
Oct. 20 Minnesota
Oct. 27 Michigan State
Nov. 10 at Indiana
Nov. 17 Ohio State
Nov. 24 at Penn State
- 2012 Big Ten Legends Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2012 Big Ten Composite Schedule & Week Rankings