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Big Ten Football Will Return To Nine-Game Conference Schedule In 2017

The Big Ten conference announced that football teams will begin playing a nine-game conference schedule that will begin with the 2017 season.

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Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.

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The Big Ten last used a nine-game schedule back in 1984. Big Ten teams currently play eight conference games, but with the addition of Nebraska to the conference starting this year it makes sense to eventually add an extra game. This will also eliminate one of the four required non-conference games (as the NCAA mandates a 12-game schedule), making it easier to schedule opponents. Expect to see less FCS (formerly 1-AA) schools in the future.

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