Sept. 1, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Big Ten Conference office this evening 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 will include a division featuring Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin, and a division featuring Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. Each school will play the other five schools within its division and will also face three teams from the other division, including one cross-division matchup guaranteed on an annual basis. The guaranteed cross-division matchups are Illinois-Northwestern, Indiana-Michigan State, Ohio State-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, 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," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. "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."
Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke complimented the Big Ten for its swift and democratic efforts involving the realignment.
"Getting from where we were on June 11, the day it was announced that Nebraska would join the Big Ten, to today has taken an incredible effort from many individuals," Burke said. "Commissioner Delany and his staff deserve a tremendous amount of credit for developing a plan for division alignments and executing it. From Purdue's perspective, we are grateful for the opportunity to play our trophy rivals on an annual basis and value the competitive balance between the two divisions."
Head coach Danny Hope noted the highlights that the alignment brings to future schedules.
"I think the division alignment is great for Purdue football and Boilermaker Nation," Hope said. "Protecting the Bucket Game against Indiana for the final weekend of the regular season is very important to us and our fans, as is maintaining the trophy game against Illinois each year.
"Having said that, with the Notre Dame game just days away, our focus remains squarely on the Fighting Irish and the 2010 season."
With the division alignments finalized, the Big Ten also announced updated conference schedules for the 2011 and 2012 football seasons. Below are the Purdue schedules, including non-conference games:
Sept. 3 - KENT STATE
Sept. 10 - at Rice
Sept. 17 - SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE (Band Day/Family Day)
Oct. 1 - NOTRE DAME
Oct. 8 - MINNESOTA
Oct. 15 - at Penn State
Oct. 22 - ILLINOIS
Oct. 29 - at Michigan
Nov. 5 - at Wisconsin
Nov. 12 - OHIO STATE
Nov. 19 - IOWA
Nov. 26 - at Indiana
Sept. 1 - EASTERN KENTUCKY
Sept. 8 - at Notre Dame
Sept. 15 - EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 29 - MARSHALL
Oct. 6 - MICHIGAN
Oct. 13 - WISCONSIN
Oct. 20 - at Ohio State
Oct. 27 - at Minnesota
Nov. 3 - PENN STATE
Nov. 10 - at Iowa
Nov. 17 - at Illinois
Nov. 24 - INDIANA
One final scheduling announcement: Purdue and Oklahoma State have agreed to cancel their previously scheduled home-and-home series for the 2016 and 2019 seasons.