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College Football Rankings: Ranking Big Ten Teams Based on Schedule

Samantha CookeCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2016

College Football Rankings: Ranking Big Ten Teams Based on Schedule

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The Big Ten Conference only plays eight conference games every year. This gives all 11 teams four out-of-conference games. Most of the conference picks up Notre Dame as one extra game. The other three games are usually Mid American Conference or FCS opponents.

    This year, several Big Ten teams went outside their geographical region to find opponents. Other teams did not take any chances and scheduled "weaker" opponents.

    With the Big Ten season starting on Saturday, here is a look at each team's schedule and how they rank. The rankings of each opponent are based on Week 4 Rankings.

    The Big Ten schedules were ranked based on a point system. Here is how the points break down:

    +1 = neutral site game

    +2 = away game

    +3 = major conference opponent

    +4 = ranked Big Ten opponent

    +5 = ranked non-Big Ten opponent

    -1 = FCS games

    The only time an opinion was needed was when there was a tie.

11. Michigan State: 24 Points

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    photo courtesy of msuspartans.com

    Here is a look at Michigan State's schedule:

     

    Western Michigan

    at Florida Atlantic (Ford Field)

    Notre Dame

    Northern Colorado

    No. 11 Wisconsin

    at No. 20 Michigan

    Illinois

    at Northwestern

    at No. 17 Iowa

    Minnesota

    Purdue

    at No. 22 Penn State

     

    They only have, arguably, three difficult games at Michigan, Iowa, and Penn State. Yes, Wisconsin will be tough, but the Spartans get them at home.

    This year, the Spartans only leave the state of Michigan for three games. They got "dinged" for the Florida Atlantic game because it was at Ford Field, only an hour away from campus. They also lost a point for the Northern Colorado game.

    For Big Ten play, the Spartans do not have to play Ohio State or Indiana. They have lost seven in a row against Ohio State.

10. Purdue: 25 Points

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Here is a look at Purdue's schedule:

     

    at Notre Dame

    Western Illinois

    Ball State

    Toledo

    at Northwestern

    Minnesota

    at No. 2 Ohio State

    at Illinois

    No. 11 Wisconsin

    No. 20 Michigan

    at No. 24 Michigan State

    Indiana

     

    Purdue did go on the road to play Notre Dame, but they have turned out not to be a very good team so far. Purdue lost a point for their FCS opponent, Western Illinois.

    The Boilermakers have a semi-tough Big Ten schedule, travelling to Ohio State and Michigan State. They do get Wisconsin and Michigan at home.

    Purdue does not play Iowa and Penn State this year, so they really escaped in their scheduling.

9. Wisconsin: 28 Points

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Here is Wisconsin's schedule:

     

    at UNLV

    San Jose State

    Arizona State

    Austin Peay

    at No. 24 Michigan State

    Minnesota

    No. 2 Ohio State

    at No. 17 Iowa

    at Purdue

    Indiana

    at No. 20 Michigan

    Northwestern

     

    Wisconsin got some points for scheduling a Pac-10 opponent in Arizona State. They also travelled to UNLV, giving them an extra road game outside the Big Ten schedule. The Badgers were another team to lose a point for an FCS opponent.

    The Badgers begin their Big Ten Conference play on the road at Michigan State. They also travel to Iowa and Michigan and host Ohio State. This is a pretty tough Big Ten schedule.

    They do not play Purdue and Illinois this year.

8. Indiana: 29 Points

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Indiana's Schedule:

     

    Towson

    at Western Kentucky

    Akron

    No. 20 Michigan

    at No. 2 Ohio State

    Arkansas State

    at Illinois

    Northwestern

    No. 17 Iowa

    at No. 11 Wisconsin

    No. 22 Penn State

    at Purdue

     

    Indiana travelled to Western Kentucky for an extra road game. They got knocked down a point for their opening game against Towson.

    Indiana opens up Big Ten play at home against a ranked Michigan team. They also travel to Ohio State and Wisconsin, both tough road games. Indiana will host two other ranked teams in Iowa and Penn State.

    The Hoosiers do not play Michigan State or Illinois.

7. Northwestern: 30 Points

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Here is a look at Northwestern's schedule:

     

    at Vanderbilt

    Illinois State

    at Rice

    Central Michigan

    at Minnesota

    Purdue

    No. 24 Michigan State

    at Indiana

    at No. 23 Penn State

    No. 17 Iowa

    Illinois

    at No. 11 Wisconsin

     

    Northwestern has six away games this season after travelling to Vanderbilt and Rice. While Vanderbilt is traditionally a lowly-SEC school, they did travel to SEC country.

    Northwestern opens up Big Ten play on the road at Minnesota, who has struggled a bit this season. The Wildcats play a number of ranked teams including Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin and Penn State are always tough places to play.

    The Wildcats escape playing Michigan and Ohio State this year.

6. Illinois: 30 Points

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Here is Illinois's schedule:

     

    at Missouri

    Southern Illinois

    Northern Illinois

    No. 2 Ohio State

    at No. 22 Penn State

    at No. 24 Michigan State

    Indiana

    Purdue

    at No. 20 Michigan

    Minnesota

    at Northwestern

    at Fresno State

     

    Illinois begins and ends their season on the road. They got the edge over Northwestern because Missouri is arguably a tougher opponent than Vanderbilt. They also travel across the country to Fresno State at the end of the season.

    Illinois has to host the No. 2 Buckeyes in their Big Ten opener. Their other ranked opponents are all road games, at Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan.

    The Fighting Illini do not have to play the other ranked Big Ten teams in Iowa and Wisconsin.

5. Michigan: 32 Points

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Michigan's schedule:

     

    Connecticut

    at Notre Dame

    Massachusetts

    Bowling Green

    at Indiana

    No. 24 Michigan State

    No. 18 Iowa

    at No. 23 Penn State

    Illinois

    at Purdue

    No. 11 Wisconsin

    at No. 2 Ohio State

     

    Michigan played UConn to start the season. Last year, this looked like a better game than it was. They also travelled to Notre Dame. They got minus a point for their FCS opponent, UMass.

    Michigan will open Big Ten play at Indiana before playing three ranked opponents in a row. They host Michigan State and Iowa, then play a night game at Penn State. The Wolverines also get to host Wisconsin before playing "The Big Game" in the Horseshoe.

    Michigan does not play Northwestern and Minnesota (no brown jug this year).

4. Ohio State: 32 Points

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Ohio State's schedule:

     

    Marshall

    No. 12 Miami (FL)

    Ohio

    Eastern Michigan

    at Illinois

    Indiana

    at No. 11 Wisconsin

    Purdue

    at Minnesota

    No. 22 Penn State

    at No. 18 Iowa

    No. 20 Michigan

     

    Ohio State got the edge over Michigan because they do not play an FCS opponent and play, instead, a ranked ACC opponent. While they did not leave the state of Ohio, they started the season with a tough game.

    Ohio State will travel to Illinois for opening weekend. The really tough part of their schedule comes at the end of the season when they host Penn State, travel to Iowa, and host Michigan. Any of those games could be a potential trap game.

    The Buckeyes do not play Michigan State or Northwestern this year.

3. Penn State: 33 Points

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Here is Penn State's schedule:

     

    Youngstown State

    at No. 1 Alabama

    Kent State

    Temple

    at No. 17 Iowa

    Illinois

    at Minnesota

    No. 20 Michigan

    Northwestern

    at No. 2 Ohio State

    at Indiana

    No. 24 Michigan State

     

    Any time you play the defending National Champion at their house, you deserve props. Penn State did that this year at Alabama. They did, however, play their typical FCS opponent, which docked them a point.

    Penn State has a decent Big Ten schedule. They travel to Iowa and Ohio State and host Michigan and Michigan State. These will all be tests.

    Penn State does not play Wisconsin or Minnesota this season.

2. Minnesota: 37 Points

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Minnesota's schedule:

     

    at Middle Tennessee

    South Dakota

    No. 18 USC

    Northern Illinois

    Northwestern

    at No. 11 Wisconsin

    at Purdue

    No. 22 Penn State

    No. 2 Ohio State

    at No. 24 Michigan State

    at Illinois

    No. 17 Iowa

     

    Minnesota did start out on the road to a Sun Belt opponent before hosting an FCS team and USC. While they do play four home games in a row, they play six ranked teams this season.

    Minnesota will have to travel to Wisconsin and Michigan State, both tough games. They lucked out with Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa all at home.

    The Gophers do not play Michigan for the Little Brown Jug or Indiana.

1. Iowa: 40 Points

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Iowa's schedule:

     

    Eastern Illinois

    Iowa State

    at No. 14 Arizona

    Ball State

    No. 23 Penn State

    at No. 20 Michigan

    No. 11 Wisconsin

    No. 24 Michigan State

    at Indiana

    at Northwestern

    No. 2 Ohio State

    at Minnesota

     

    Iowa played two Big Six opponents this season. Yes, Iowa State is a rivalry and they play every year. Iowa also travelled to Pac-10 country to take on a ranked Arizona team.

    As for Big Ten opponents, Iowa has to play every ranked Big Ten team they could possibly play. They play most at home, hosting Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. These are all tough home games. They only travel to the Big House to face Michigan.

    Iowa does not play Illinois and Purdue this season, which basically means Iowa plays just about the toughest Big Ten schedule they can.

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