Big Ten Football 2015: Ranking the schedules

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Which Big Ten football team is playing the toughest schedule in 2015? Who is playing the softest schedule? The answers are all found here.

College Football scheduling is seriously flawed. The expansion of conferences has caused severe imbalance among rival schedules. 14 team ACC, Big Ten and SEC leagues mean every team only plays two of the seven teams from the other division. The format in some instances causes great inequity.

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This season, defending ACC Coastal Division Champion Georgia Tech and Miami must face the two toughest outs from the Atlantic in Florida State and Clemson (14-2 in the ACC) while the other teams most expected to challenge for the title, Virginia Tech (7-9), Duke (5-11) and North Carolina (4-12) get much lighter touches.

The SEC hasn’t avoided the same issue. The contrast of Arkansas (13-3) and Mississippi State’s (3-13) non-division games is one of many huge discrepancies in schedule equality.

Enter the Big Ten with the best example involving Rutgers who paid the price for drawing the Big Ten West’s two highest win totals in Wisconsin and Nebraska (12-4). In contrast, Penn State faced Northwestern and Illinois (6-10). Here’s a ranking of Big Ten schedules with the cross division factor weighing heavily on the analysis.

We, of course, begin with the six division games and the East’s edge over the West based on Ohio State and Michigan State’s dominance as well as an expected surge from Michigan and Penn State. We also give major points to matchups vs quality non-conference competition as well as looking at the most difficult stretch a team must face.

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