2014 Big Ten Schedule Breakdown

Posted Feb 13, 2014

Breakdowns and analysis of each Big Ten team's schedule

2014 Big Ten Schedules


East Indiana | Maryland | Michigan | Michigan State | Ohio State | Penn State | Rutgers
West Illinois | Iowa | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern | Purdue | Wisconsin

Big Ten Composite Schedules   2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Big Ten Team-By-Team Breakdowns  2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
- 2014 Big Ten East Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2014 Big Ten West Division Breakdown & Analysis
- 2014 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. Rutgers
2. Indiana
3. Maryland
4. Michigan
5. Ohio State
6. Penn State
7. Michigan State

1. Wisconsin
2. Purdue
3. Northwestern
4. Nebraska
5. Minnesota
6. Illinois
7. Iowa


Non-Conference Games: Indiana State, at Bowling Green, at Missouri, North Texas
Games Against The West: at Iowa, Purdue
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Indiana State, at Bowling Green, Maryland, North Texas, Penn State, Purdue

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Missouri, at Iowa, Michigan State, at Michigan, at Rutgers, at Ohio State

Summary: The Hoosiers will never have a nasty defense, but the offense could be good enough and dangerous enough to come up with an upset or three. Opening up against Indiana State and with a week off to follow eases the way into the season, but then it's on the road to face a strong Bowling Green team and deal with Missouri. North Texas isn't a layup of a non-conference team – the Mean Green can run the ball.

IU starts out its Big Ten season against newcomer Maryland, and it could be a must-win with the hard part of the schedule coming. After dealing with the Big Ten champs, Michigan State, there's a week off before going on the road for three games in four weeks with dates at Michigan, Rutgers and Ohio State around a game with Penn State. The battle for the Old Oaken Bucket against Purdue could be for a bowl bid.

2014 Schedule
8/30 Indiana State
9/13 at Bowling Green
9/20 at Missouri
9/27 Maryland
10/4 North Texas
10/11 at Iowa
10/18 Michigan State
11/1 at Michigan
11/8 Penn State
11/15 at Rutgers
11/22 at Ohio State
11/29 Purdue


Non-Conference Games: James Madison, at South Florida, West Virginia, at Syracuse
Games Against The West: Iowa, at Wisconsin
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 5-7

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: James Madison, at South Florida, West Virginia, Iowa, Rutgers

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Syracuse, at Indiana, Ohio State, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan State, at Michigan

Summary: Welcome to the Big Ten – now play Ohio State, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan State and at Michigan. The Terps kickoff life in the new conference against Indiana and its dangerous offense, but the Big Ten made sure the Big Ten home opener is doable, right? Ohio State. There's a nicely-timed week off before hosting Iowa and going on the road to Wisconsin and Penn State, and there's another week off before getting Michigan State in College Park. Two of the final three games are at home, including the regular season finale against Rutgers, but that's after starting out with September with several key road games.

The hopes for a bowl game might be made or broken in the first half of the season. After starting out with James Madison, the Terps go on the road to deal with a USF team looking to rebound and has to face a dangerous Syracuse team before going to Bloomington. In the midst of all of that is a game with West Virginia – outside of JMU, maybe, there's not a true layup on the non-conference lot.

2014 Schedule
8/30 James Madison
9/6 at USF
9/13 West Virginia
9/20 at Syracuse
9/27 at Indiana
10/4 Ohio State
10/18 Iowa
10/25 at Wisconsin
11/1 at Penn State
11/15 Michigan State
11/22 at Michigan
11/29 Rutgers


Non-Conference Games: Appalachian State, Miami University, Notre Dame, Utah
Games Against The West: Minnesota, at Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 9-3

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Appalachian State, Miami University, Utah, Minnesota, at Rutgers, Penn State, Indiana, at Northwestern, Maryland

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Notre Dame, at Michigan State, at Ohio State

Summary: It's all about the big road games. Will it be 2007 all over again with Appalachian State coming in to open the season? No, not this time, and hosting Miami University will be a layup and battling with Utah should toughen the team up for the Big Ten regular season, but September will be made or broken in South Bend against Notre Dame on the night of September 6th.

The fight for the Little Brown Jug against Minnesota kicks off the Big Ten slate, and it's not that bad early going to Rutgers and hosting Penn State in a revenge game before getting a week off to rest up for Michigan State. The Wolverines have to go on the road to face the Spartans, and then, again, it's not that bad, hosting Indiana and going to Northwestern for the second year in a row. The final week off comes before the regular season home finale against Maryland and not before the road game at Ohio State.

2014 Schedule
8/30 Appalachian State
9/6 at Notre Dame
9/13 Miami Univ.
9/20 Utah
9/27 Minnesota
10/4 at Rutgers
10/11 Penn State
10/25 at Michigan State
11/1 Indiana
11/8 at Northwestern
11/22 Maryland
11/29 at Ohio State

Michigan State

Non-Conference Games: Eastern Michigan, Jacksonville State, at Oregon, Wyoming
Games Against The West: Nebraska, at Purdue
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 11-1

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, at Purdue, at Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, at Maryland, Rutgers, at Penn State

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Oregon

Summary: There's no Notre Dame on the slate and the non-conference schedule is nice and easy with Jacksonville State, Eastern Michigan and Wyoming coming to East Lansing, but it all comes down to the road game at Oregon. If the Spartans win that, there's no excuse to not come up with another special season.

The East might be the tougher of the two divisions, and playing Nebraska is never easy, but the interdivisional game is at home – the other game with the West is at Purdue. The huge showdowns against Michigan and Ohio State are at home – with a week off between the two games – and the final run isn't bad going to Maryland, hosting Rutgers and finishing up at Penn State.

2014 Schedule
8/30 Jacksonville St
9/6 at Oregon
9/20 Eastern Michigan
9/27 Wyoming
10/4 Nebraska
10/11 at Purdue
10/18 at Indiana
10/25 Michigan
11/8 Ohio State
11/15 at Maryland
11/22 Rutgers
11/29 at Penn State

Ohio State

Non-Conference Games: Cincinnati, Kent State, at Navy, Virginia Tech
Games Against The West: Illinois, at Minnesota
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 9-3
Likely Finish: 11-1

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: at Navy, Virginia Tech, Kent State, Cincinnati, at Maryland, Rutgers, at Penn State, Illinois, at Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan State

Summary: It's a fun non-conference slate dealing with the Navy rushing attack in Baltimore to kick things off, and then hosting Virginia Tech in an interesting BCS conference matchup before rolling through Kent State. Cincinnati is dangerous, but the Buckeyes get a week off to prepare before hosting the Bearcats and then coming off to kick off the Big Ten season at Maryland.

OSU gets the two new guys in the first two conference games, facing Rutgers after a week off following the Maryland game, and then there's a run of three road games in four weeks going to Penn State, Michigan State and Minnesota along with a home game against Illinois. Closing out at home against Indiana and Michigan could be shootouts.

2014 Schedule
8/30 at Navy
9/6 Virginia Tech
9/13 Kent State
9/27 Cincinnati
10/4 at Maryland
10/18 Rutgers
10/25 at Penn State
11/1 Illinois
11/8 at Michigan State
11/15 at Minnesota
11/22 Indiana
11/29 Michigan

Penn State

Non-Conference Games: Akron, Massachusetts, Temple, at UCF
Games Against The West: at Illinois, Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Akron, at Rutgers, Massachusetts, Maryland, Temple, at Illinois

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: UCF, Northwestern, at Michigan, Ohio State, at Indiana, Michigan State

Summary: Will the Nittany Lions be able to kick off the James Franklin era with a revenge win against UCF? If so, they'll have to do it in Dublin, Ireland, and then they come back for what should be an easy win over Akron. The team isn't exactly stretching itself with UMass on the slate and the annual win over Temple coming in mid-November.

The Big Ten schedule starts out with a trip to Rutgers in what could seem like a Penn State home game, and Northwestern starts out the official conference home run before getting a week off to prepare for Michigan. The Wolverines and Ohio State might come up back-to-back, but there's a bye week before facing each team. The problem is that it's it – there aren't any more breaks, playing six straight games to close out the year with Michigan State to finish things up. However, there's a winnable November stretch of Maryland, at Indiana, Temple and at Illinois.

2014 Schedule
8/30 UCF (in Ireland)
9/6 Akron
9/13 at Rutgers
9/20 UMass
9/27 Northwestern
10/11 at Michigan
10/25 Ohio State
11/1 Maryland
11/8 at Indiana
11/15 Temple
11/22 at Illinois
11/29 Michigan State


Non-Conference Games: Howard, at Navy, Tulane, at Washington State
Games Against The West: at Nebraska, Wisconsin
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 4-8

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Howard, at Navy, Tulane, Indiana

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Washington State, Penn State, Michigan, at Ohio State, at Nebraska, Wisconsin, at Michigan State, at Maryland

Summary: The Scarlet Knights need as many breathers as they can get, and starting out the season against Washington State in Seattle isn't a way to do it. Four of the next five games are at home, with relatively easy non-conference dates against Howard and Tulane, with the one road game at Navy. Penn State starts out life in the Big Ten, and Michigan comes to Piscataway on October 4th.

The schedule the following weeks couldn't be more brutal after playing Michigan, but at least there's a week off before going to Ohio State, going to Nebraska and hosting Wisconsin. The team deserves another week off after that, and there aren't any major breaks with the Indiana game the final home date of the year before closing out at Michigan State and at Maryland.

2014 Schedule
8/30 at Wash St (in Seattle)
9/6 Howard
9/13 Penn State
9/20 at Navy
9/27 Tulane
10/4 Michigan
10/18 at Ohio State
10/25 at Nebraska
11/1 Wisconsin
11/15 Indiana
11/22 at Michigan State
11/29 at Maryland