2009 Big Ten Team-by-Team Schedule Breakdown
Illinois QB Juice Williams
Illinois QB Juice Williams
Posted Apr 6, 2009

In the Big Ten it's all about who you miss in conference play and how you can hold up with few breaks. However, Juice Williams and Illinois will have a stretched out season. Who has the toughest schedule (and the easiest)? Check out the analysis and breakdown for each team's schedule.

2009 Big Ten Team Schedule 

- 2009 Big Ten Composite Schedule & Top Games

- How To Fix The Big Ten Schedules
- 2008 Big Ten Team-by-Team Schedules & Analysis

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

Toughest schedules
Based on home games as well as who the teams play. when.

1. Minnesota
2. Iowa
3. Ohio State
4. Illinois
5. Michigan State
6. Michigan
7. Indiana
8. Northwestern
9. Wisconsin
10. Purdue
11. Penn State

Illinois Fighting Illini

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 10-2
Barring total disaster worst case record: 4-8
Realistic record: 8-4

Non-Conference Schedule: Missouri (in St. Louis), Illinois State, at Cincinnati, Fresno State
Big Ten Teams Missed: Iowa, Wisconsin
Summary: It's not all that bad even with some tough non-conference games. If the Illini can't beat Missouri this year, it's never going to happen, while there are two tough battles late going to Cincinnati after the Big Ten season is over and a home game against Fresno State. The battle with the Bulldogs was moved to December 5th; bust out the long johns. The Big Ten season starts out nasty with at Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State, but things ease up quickly. There's a tough mid-season stretch of three road games in four weeks, but they're against Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota. Missing Iowa and Wisconsin is a major plus.

Sept. 5 Missouri (St. Louis)
Sept. 12 Illinois State
Sept. 19 OPEN DATE
Sept. 26 at Ohio State
Oct. 3 Penn State
Oct. 10 Michigan State
Oct. 17 at Indiana
Oct. 24 at Purdue
Oct. 31 Michigan
Nov. 7 at Minnesota
Nov. 14 Northwestern
Nov. 28 at Cincinnati
Dec. 5 Fresno State

Indiana Hoosiers

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 7-5
Barring total disaster worst case record: 3-9
Realistic record: 5-7

Non-Conference Schedule: Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, at Akron, at Virginia
Big Ten Teams Missed: Michigan State, Minnesota
Indiana isn't exactly pushing it with the non-conference schedule starting off against Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan and at Akron, to go along with a midseason date at Virginia. However, the Hoosiers could go 2-2. Missing Michigan State is a nice break, but Minnesota would've been a winnable game. The midseason has a stretch of three road trips in four weeks and four in six, and the first three Big Ten home games aren't layups playing Ohio State, Illinois and Wisconsin before the regular season finale against Purdue.

Sept. 3 Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 12 Western Michigan
Sept. 19 at Akron
Sept. 26 at Michigan
Oct. 3 Ohio State
Oct. 10 at Virginia
Oct. 17 Illinois
Oct. 24 at Northwestern
Oct. 31 at Iowa
Nov. 7 Wisconsin
Nov. 14 at Penn State
Nov. 21 Purdue

Iowa Hawkeyes

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 9-3
Barring total disaster worst case record: 6-6
Realistic record: 8-4

Non-Conference Schedule: Northern Iowa, at Iowa State, Arizona, Arkansas State
Big Ten Teams Missed: Illinois, Purdue
Summary: While facing Arizona at home isn't going to be a walk in the park, the non-conference schedule is a joke unless Iowa State can play like it always does against the Hawkeyes. Northern Iowa and Arkansas State will be blowouts. Back-to-back October road games at Wisconsin and Michigan State will make or break the season, while a road trip to Penn State to start the Big Ten campaign could end title hopes before they begin. If those three conference road trips weren't bad enough, there's a mid-October date at Ohio State. When your toughest home game is likely going to be against Minnesota, things aren't too bad. Missing Purdue is an awful stroke of bad luck, but not getting Illinois on the schedule could be a break.

Sept. 5 Northern Iowa
Sept. 12 at Iowa State
Sept. 19 Arizona
Sept. 26 at Penn State
Oct. 3 Arkansas State
Oct. 10 Michigan
Oct. 17 at Wisconsin
Oct. 24 at Michigan State
Oct. 31 Indiana
Nov. 7 Northwestern
Nov. 14 at Ohio State
Nov. 21 Minnesota

Michigan Wolverines

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 8-4
Barring total disaster worst case record: 5-7
Realistic record: 6-6

Non-Conference Schedule: Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Delaware State
Big Ten Teams Missed: Minnesota, Northwestern
Starting out with four straight home games and six in the first eight should give Rich Rodriguez time to get his team ready for the tough finishing kick. If the Wolverines can beat Notre Dame, they'll likely be 4-0 in non-conference play (but don't assume an opening day win over a potent Western Michigan). If they can somehow split the back-to-back road trips against Michigan State and Iowa, they have a chance at a nice bounceback season. Penn State and Ohio State come to Ann Arbor, but going to Illinois and Wisconsin, especially with the Badgers thinking revenge after last year's choke, will be tough. Michigan almost never misses the truly good teams, and this year Minnesota and Northwestern aren't going to be elite.

Sept. 5 Western Michigan
Sept. 12 Notre Dame
Sept. 19 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 26 Indiana
Oct. 3 at Michigan State
Oct. 10 at Iowa
Oct. 17 Delaware State
Oct. 24 Penn State
Oct. 31 at Illinois
Nov. 7 Purdue
Nov. 14 at Wisconsin
Nov. 21 Ohio State

Michigan State Spartans

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 10-2
Barring total disaster worst case record: 5-7
Realistic record: 8-4

Non-Conference Schedule: Montana State, Central Michigan, at Notre Dame, Western Michigan
Big Ten Teams Missed: Indiana, Ohio State
Summary: The non-conference slate is sneaky-tough considering Central Michigan and Western Michigan might be the two best teams in the MAC, and going to Notre Dame isn't like going to Notre Dame last year. It'll be an emotionally charged start to the Big Ten season with a trip to Wisconsin, Michigan, and a date at Illinois to start, but things ease up a bit. Penn State could be in for a tremendous season, but it could all unravel in the regular season finale in East Lansing on November 21st. It's a nice trade-off when it comes to the teams MSU misses. Not getting Indiana hurts, but not having to play Ohio State more than makes up for it.

Sept. 5 Montana State
Sept. 12 Central Michigan
Sept. 19 at Notre Dame
Sept. 26 at Wisconsin
Oct. 3 Michigan
Oct. 10 at Illinois
Oct. 17 Northwestern
Oct. 24 Iowa
Oct. 31 at Minnesota
Nov. 7 Western Michigan
Nov. 14 at Purdue
Nov. 21 Penn State

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 8-4
Barring total disaster worst case record: 2-10
Realistic record: 6-6

Non-Conference Schedule: at Syracuse, Air Force, California, South Dakota State
Big Ten Teams Missed: Indiana, Michigan
Summary: It'll be an interesting start to the season with the Gophers the first opponent in the Doug Marrone era at Syracuse, and then they come home to play two tough home games to christen the new TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota probably can't beat Penn State or Ohio State, so those games might as well be on the road and back-to-back in mid-October to get them out of the way. Closing out at Iowa isn't a positive, but it least it comes after three straight home games. Missing Indiana and Michigan, even though the Wolverines stomped on the Gophers last year, is disastrous.

Sept. 5 at Syracuse
Sept. 12 Air Force
Sept. 19 California
Sept. 26 at Northwestern
Oct. 3 Wisconsin
Oct. 10 Purdue
Oct. 17 at Penn State
Oct. 24 at Ohio State
Oct. 31 Michigan State
Nov. 7 Illinois
Nov. 14 South Dakota State
Nov. 21 at Iowa

Northwestern Wildcats

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 8-4
Barring total disaster worst case record: 4-8
Realistic record: 7-5

Non-Conference Schedule: Towson, Eastern Michigan, at Syracuse, Miami University
Big Ten Teams Missed: Michigan, Ohio State
It's not bad. If the Wildcats can win at Syracuse, and as long as they don't screw up at home early on, they should be at least 6-2 before dealing with Penn State. The non-conference schedule is laughable playing Towson, Eastern Michigan, at Syracuse and Miami University. Going on the road to face Iowa and Illinois in back-to-back weeks in November will be tough, and to close out against Wisconsin will be difficult meaning the first half of the season has to be fantastic. Not playing Ohio State is as big a plus as it gets, and while it might seem like a plus to miss Michigan, it's not a break this year.

Sept. 5 Towson
Sept. 12 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 19 at Syracuse
Sept. 26 Minnesota
Oct. 3 at Purdue
Oct. 10 Miami University
Oct. 17 at Michigan State
Oct. 24 Indiana
Oct. 31 Penn State
Nov. 7 at Iowa
Nov. 14 at Illinois
Nov. 21 Wisconsin

Ohio State Buckeyes

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 12-0
Barring total disaster worst case record: 7-5
Realistic record: 9-3

Non-Conference Schedule: Navy, USC, at Toledo, New Mexico State
Big Ten Teams Missed: Michigan State, Northwestern
Summary: The last thing a team with so many new defensive starters needs is to deal with Navy in the opener, and worse yet, everyone will be looking ahead to the showdown against USC. If the Buckeyes can pull off the win that could redefine and turn around the program, it should be smooth sailing until November when the trip to Penn State could turn out to be for the Big Ten title. The other three Big Ten road games are against Indiana, Purdue and Michigan; the three duds of last year. There aren't two road games in a row and playing USC is offset by non-conference dates against Toledo and New Mexico State. While OSU might still be the top dog in the conference, missing Michigan State is a major bonus. Not playing Northwestern isn't a positive.

Sept. 5 Navy
Sept. 12 USC
Sept. 19 Toledo (in Cleveland)
Sept. 26 Illinois
Oct. 3 at Indiana
Oct. 10 Wisconsin
Oct. 17 at Purdue
Oct. 24 Minnesota
Oct. 31 New Mexico State
Nov. 7 at Penn State
Nov. 14 Iowa
Nov. 21 at Michigan

Penn State Nittany Lions

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 11-1
Barring total disaster worst case record: 7-5
Realistic record: 10-2

Non-Conference Schedule: Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois
Big Ten Teams Missed: Purdue, Wisconsin
While the Nittany Lions have a ton of work to do to rebuild, the schedule is so light and breezy that they should be able to throw on the helmet and win ten games without breathing hard. The only down side is missing Purdue off the Big Ten slate, but missing Wisconsin is a positive. The non-conference slate is a jaw-dropping embarrassment for a superpower playing Akron, Syracuse, Temple and Eastern Illinois. The trip to Illinois is as tough as it gets on the road until the regular season finale at Michigan State. The battle with the Spartans could be for the Rose Bowl, and even more, if Penn State can beat Ohio State in the Big Ten game of the year on November 7th.

Sept. 5 Akron
Sept. 12 Syracuse
Sept. 19 Temple
Sept. 26 Iowa
Oct. 3 at Illinois
Oct. 10 Eastern Illinois
Oct. 17 Minnesota
Oct. 24 at Michigan
Oct. 31 at Northwestern
Nov. 7 Ohio State
Nov. 14 Indiana
Nov. 21 at Michigan State

Purdue Boilermakers

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 7-5
Barring total disaster worst case record: 3-9
Realistic record: 4-8

Non-Conference Schedule: Toledo, at Oregon, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame
Big Ten Teams Missed: Iowa, Penn State
Summary: The start of the Danny Hope era shouldn't be too bad if the team can hold serve at home. The Boilermakers likely won't have a shot at beating Oregon in Autzen Stadium, but they should be strong enough to get by Toledo and Northern Illinois and a statement could be made against Notre Dame. With the Big Ten opener against Northwestern at home, Purdue gets to play in West Lafayette four times in the first five games and six times in eight games before Halloween. However, there are three road games in the final four. Not playing Iowa or Penn State will be a huge help in the drive for a decent year.

Sept. 5 Toledo
Sept. 12 at Oregon
Sept. 19 Northern Illinois
Sept. 26 Notre Dame
Oct. 3 Northwestern
Oct. 10 at Minnesota
Oct. 17 Ohio State
Oct. 24 Illinois
Oct. 31 at Wisconsin
Nov. 7 at Michigan
Nov. 14 Michigan State
Nov. 21 at Indiana

Wisconsin Badgers

Realistic best case record with this schedule: 10-2
Barring total disaster worst case record: 7-5
Realistic record: 8-4

Non-Conference Schedule: Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, at Hawaii
Big Ten Teams Missed: Illinois, Penn State
If Wisconsin gets solid quarterbacking and plays up to its capabilities on both sides of the ball, a double-digit win season is possible. However, there will likely be a bad loss somewhere on the board. The non-conference schedule is squishy-soft even with games against Fresno State and Hawaii (in Hawaii) from the WAC. If the Badgers can beat Michigan State in the conference opener and can pull off the upset in Columbus in mid-October, the Big Ten title is theirs for the taking with no Penn State and no Illinois (who has improved) to deal with. Considering most of the Big Ten teams go straight through the season and end early, there's a huge luxury of a week off in October. After the October 17th game against Iowa, there's only one more game against a bowl team from last year (Northwestern) before facing Hawaii.

Sept. 5 Northern Illinois
Sept. 12 Fresno State
Sept. 19 Wofford
Sept. 26 Michigan State
Oct. 3 at Minnesota
Oct. 10 at Ohio State
Oct. 17 Iowa
Oct. 31 Purdue
Nov. 7 at Indiana
Nov. 14 Michigan
Nov. 21 at Northwestern
Dec. 5 at Hawaii