A way to play all other 13 conference teams, home and away, within 4 seasons

Submitted by MaizeJacket on February 10th, 2017 at 9:48 PM

So, inspired by Seth's scheduling proposal earlier this week, I decided to take a pen and paper and sit down and see if I could, under the current 14-team Big Ten (yes, I'm leaving in Maryland and Rutgers, it's what we got, let's face reality and make the best of it), create a scheduling alignment that allowed every team in the conference to face every other team in the conference, home and away, within four seasons.

It can be done.  In short, there would be "floating" divisions that would reset every two years, in two groups of four, and two groups of three.  In long, well, keep reading!

The first order of business is that it's necessary to ditch the permanent 7-team divisions.  In order to create "fluid" divisions, we need two groups of four, and two groups of three, as stated above, in which each team in a given group would play every other team in that group every season.  Those groups are below.  I grouped based on proximity and traditional matchups.

 

Hate Quad Group
Wisconsin Minnesota Iowa Nebraska

 

Illiana Group
Illinois Northwestern Indiana Purdue

 

East Coast Group
Penn St* Maryland** Rutgers***

 

Toledo Strip Group
Ohio St* Michigan** Michigan St***

 

The asterisk represents teams that are in the same column in "small" groups, and are each team's permanent crossover opponents.  Crossover opponents in "small" groups are for schedule balancing purposes only and may or may not reflect historical "rivalries". Yes, Michigan gets a blah opponent to play every year, in addition to Ohio State and Michigan State, but it's necessary for schedule balancing, and I couldn't think of a better way to do it.

Now, all we have to do is take each team's group and, where necessary, small group crossover opponents, and combine them with those from other divisions to form our 4-year schedules, which I have done tabularly below.

 

Hate Quad Group
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
HQG at HQG HQG at HQG
at HQG HQG at HQG HQG
HQG at HQG HQG at HQG
at ECG1 ECG1 at TSG1 TSG1
ECG2 at ECG2 TSG2 at TSG2
at ECG3 ECG3 at TSG3 TSG3
IG1 at IG1 IG3 at IG3
at IG2 IG2 at IG4 IG4

 

Illiana Group
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
IG at IG IG at IG
at IG IG at IG IG
IG at IG IG at IG
at TSG1 TSG1 at ECG1 ECG1
TSG2 at TSG2 ECG2 at ECG2
at TSG3 TSG3 at ECG3 ECG3
HQG3 at HQG3 HQG1 at HQG1
at HQG4 HQG4 at HQG2 HQG2

 

East Coast Group
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
ECG at ECG ECG at ECG
at ECG ECG at ECG ECG
HQG1 at HQG1 IG1 at IG1
at HQG2 HQG2 at IG2 IG2
HQG3 at HQG3 IG3 at IG3
at HQG4 HQG4 at IG4 IG4
TSGp at TSGp TSGp at TSGp
at TSG1 TSG1 at TSG2 TSG2

 

Toledo Strip Group
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
TSG at TSG TSG at TSG
at TSG TSG at TSG TSG
IG1 at IG1 HQG1 at HQG1
at IG2 IG2 at HQG2 HQG2
IG3 at IG3 HQG3 at HQG3
at IG4 IG4 at HQG4 HQG4
ECGp at ECGp ECGp at ECGp
at ECG1 ECG1 at ECG2 ECG2

 

This all checks out.  For visualization's sake.  I've created 4-year schedules for Nebraska, who is in a 4-team group, and Michigan, who is in a 3-team group, to show that the math and rotations do check out.  Please note that these are simply lists of opponents and not a chronological order of when the actual games would be played.

 

Nebraska

(Hate Quad Group)

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Wisconsin at Wisconsin Wisconsin at Wisconsin
at Minnesota Minnesota at Minnesota Minnesota
Iowa at Iowa Iowa at Iowa
at Rutgers Rutgers at Michigan Michigan
Penn St at Penn St Michigan St at Michigan St
at Maryland Maryland at Ohio St Ohio St
Illinois at Illinois Indiana at Indiana
at Northwestern Northwestern at Purdue Purdue

 

Michigan

(Toledo Strip Group)

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Ohio St at Ohio St Ohio St at Ohio St
at Michigan St Michigan St at Michigan St Michigan St
Illinois at Illinois Wisconsin at Wisconsin
at Northwestern Northwestern at Minnesota Minnesota
Indiana at Indiana Nebraska at Nebraska
at Purdue Purdue at Iowa Iowa
Maryland at Maryland Maryland at Maryland
at Penn St Penn St at Rutgers Rutgers

 

I won't go through the 4-year schedules for every team, but I think it's clear that this algorithm works.  It wouldn't be perfect, and undoubtedly wouldn't satisfy everyone, especially if a strength of schedule discrepancy arose during a conference title run, but at least you're only going four years max between conference opponents.

Comments

M Ascending

February 12th, 2017 at 8:30 AM ^

Why do you provide 8-game conference schedules when the B1G has already gone to 9 games? With no real divisions, does this mean the will no longer be a championship game, which most conferences deem necessary for CFP optics? With all the work you put into this, there appears to be a number of unresolved issues.
BTW, if I were a B1G AD, I would demand to be placed in the Illiana division as a fifth team.

MaizeJacket

February 13th, 2017 at 10:10 AM ^

Your "group" is always part of your division, and it floats every two years.

Michigan will always have Ohio State and Michigan State as part of their division, since they're in the same group.  In Years 1 and 2, the rest of their division would be Illinois, N'Western, Indiana, and Purdue.  In Years 3 and 4, the rest of their division would be Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.  In Michigan's case, Maryland would never count as a division game, as well as the other rotating East Coast Group team.

Confusing to have to get used to new divisions every two yeas? Yeah.  But that's how you'd play everyone.

Concerning the 8-9 conference games issue, the Big Ten could get around that by simply enacting that each school play a P5 in the non-conference.  Hey, a better way to get Notre Dame back on the schedule without cancelling an existing series.

jman077

February 12th, 2017 at 1:27 PM ^

I like it, but I think it'd be more interesting to play teams every other year. Basically, I would propose it goes Year 1, Year 3, Year 2, Year 4, with venues adjusted for teams you play every year.

stephenrjking

February 15th, 2017 at 1:27 PM ^

Late to this. I like it, but OSU and PSU would object to gettng a perceived "tougher" rivalry pairing. Particularly unfair to PSU since Rutgers gets the easiest opponent. 

Still, I hope something like this can be arranged to meet the goal of playing every conference team home and away every four years. I have a personal interest in this, since I live in Minnesota and want Michigan to come to town regularly, and I think it suits the conference well to have this kind of arrangement.