Big Ten announces football division alignments, conference schedules

University Park, Pa. -- The Big Ten Conference has 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 winner of each Big Ten division will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, to be played Dec. 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.

The Big Ten football division alignments are:

-- Penn State, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin; and

-- Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

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

"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."

"We are pleased with the final divisional alignments and look forward to playing our divisional opponents starting next season," said Tim Curley, Penn State director of athletics. "Divisional play will add a new dimension to Big Ten football and this new era will add to the tremendous interest and excitement for all Penn State, Big Ten and college football fans. We have had outstanding contests with Nebraska in the past and look forward to hosting the Cornhuskers in Beaver Stadium in 2011."

With the division alignments finalized, the Big Ten also announced updated conference schedules for the 2011 and 2012 football seasons. In 2011, the Nittany Lions will host Big Ten foes Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue and visit Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue. In 2012, Penn State will host Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin in Beaver Stadium (See below for Penn State's 2011 and 2012 schedules).

The 115th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, Sept. 2, as Indiana hosts Towson, Minnesota plays at Middle Tennessee State, and Ohio State welcomes Marshall. The games involving the Hoosiers and Buckeyes will air on the Big Ten Network.

Coach Joe Paterno's Penn State squad begins its 18th year as a Big Ten member on Saturday, Sept. 4, hosting Youngstown State at noon Eastern time. Tickets are available at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. The contest will air on Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.

Penn State Football Schedules

 2011

Sept. 3: INDIANA STATE

Sept. 10: ALABAMA

Sept. 17 at Temple

Sept. 24: EASTERN MICHIGAN

Oct. 1 at Indiana

Oct. 8: IOWA

Oct. 15: PURDUE

Oct. 22 at Northwestern

Oct. 29: ILLINOIS

Nov. 12: NEBRASKA

Nov. 19 at Ohio State

Nov. 26 at Wisconsin

Dec. 3 Big Ten Championship Game

2012

Sept. 1: OHIO

Sept. 8 at Virginia

Sept. 15: NAVY

Sept. 22: TEMPLE

Sept. 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

TBD Big Ten Championship Game

Contacts: 
Last Updated September 03, 2010