Full Big Ten Schedules Breakdown: West Division

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Full Big Ten Schedules Breakdown: West Division

Bradley T. Allen

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Champions | Nebraska

Division Record: 5-1
Conference Record: 7-1
Overall Record: 10-2

Tommy Armstrong Jr. returns with a vengeance in his junior season and leads the Cornhuskers to the promise land. A minor hiccup in the conference opener at Illinois and a loss at home to Michigan State will be the only blemishes on Nebraska’s conference record. It’s really a three team race for the Big Ten West crown between Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota. I think Nebraska has the best chance to make it out on top, but the best chance of any Big Ten West school to sneak into the College Football Playoff (not going to happen, though).

Games to watch

@ Miami (FL) |September 19
vs. Wisconsin | October 10
vs. Michigan State | November 7
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No. 2 | Wisconsin

Division Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 6-2
Overall Record: 9-3

The Badgers have been the top dogs in the Big Ten West since the conference was realigned. Their schedule will not be on their side this year, though. I predict Nebraska to take care of Wisconsin at home, and for Northwestern to shock the world in late November in Madison.

Games to watch

vs. Alabama | September 9
@ Nebraska | October 10
@ Minnesota | November 28

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No. 3 | Minnesota

Division Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 5-3
Overall Record: 8-4

Minnesota’s the team to watch in the Big Ten West this year. We all know Wisconsin and Nebraska are the teams to look at in the often forgotten West Division, but this year Minnesota has something to prove. I don’t think they have what it takes to win the division this year, largely due to a rather difficult conference schedule. But I do expect the Golden Gophers to win the games they are expected to. A showdown in Madison during the last game of the season is a beautiful stage to set for a potential Division Championship Game, unfortunately for both the Gophers and the Badgers, it will only be a battle for the silver medal of the West.

Games to watch

vs. TCU | September 3
@ OSU | November 7
vs Wisconsin | November 28

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No. 4 | Northwestern

Division Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 4-4
Overall Record: 7-5

This is the year Northwestern FINALLY becomes bowl eligible and is my sleeper team to sneak out of the Big Ten West, although it is highly unlikely to happen. I predict Chicago’s Big Ten team to earn W’s in all but one of its non conference games, and against Iowa, Purdue and Illinois in conference. An upset over the Badgers late in the season makes the season of dreams for Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern is infamous for starting off strong, and then collapsing at the end of the season. If Northwestern can finish games in November, they can finish with one of its best records in school history.

Games to watch

vs. Stanford | September 9
@ Wisconsin | November 21
vs. Illinois @ Soldier Field | November 28

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No. 5 | Iowa

Division Record: 2-6
Conference Record: 4-4
Overall Record: 6-6

Iowa stays in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten West in 2015. A couple big wins could catapult the Hawkeyes into contention for the Division Title, but losses on the road at Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska keep them from taking the next step.

Games to watch

vs. Pittsburgh | September 19
@ Wisconsin | October 3
@ Nebraska | November 27

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No. 6 | Purdue

Division Record: 1-5
Conference Record: 2-6
Overall Record: 4-8

Not much to see here. Purdue should handle Indiana State pretty easily. The Boilermakers also look good in a matchup with Bowling Green in West-Lafayette. And they may grind out some conference victories against the Illini and Hoosiers at home. Hopefully we see Purdue back in the picture in years to come.

Games to watch

vs. Illinois | November 7

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No. 7 | Illinois

Division Record: 1-5
Conference Record: 1-7
Overall Record: 4-8

There won’t be much on the field success to distract the world from the off the field controversy surrounding Illinois athletics. The Fighting Illini have a cupcake non conference schedule in which a couple games can be won. An upset over Nebraska in his conference home opener will be the highlight of a disappointing season.

Games to watch

@ Nebraska | October 3

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ILLINOIS IOWA MINNESOTA NEBRASKA NORTHWESTERN PURDUE WISCONSIN
Kent St. (W) Illinois St. (W) TCU (L) BYU (W) Stanford (L) @ Marshall (L) Alabama (L)
W. Illinois (W) Iowa St. (W) Colorado St. (W) S. Alabama (W) E. ILL (W) Indiana St. (W) Miami (OH) (W)
@ UNC (L) Pitt (L) Kent St. (W) @ Miami (FL) (L) @ Duke (W) VT (L) Troy (W)
Mid. Tenn (W) N. Texas (W) Ohio (W) S. Miss (W) Ball St. (W) BGSU (W) Hawaii (W)
NEB (W) @ WIS (L) @ NW (W) @ ILL (L) MIN (L) @ MSU (L) Iowa (W)
@ Iowa (L) ILL (W) @ PUR (W) WIS (W) @ UM (L) MIN (L) @ NEB (L)
BYE @ NW (L) NEB (L) @ MIN (W) Iowa (W) @ WIS (L) PUR (W)
WIS (L) BYE BYE NW (W) @ NEB (L) BYE @ ILL (W)
@ PSU (L) MD (W) UM (W) @ PUR (W) BYE NEB (L) RUT (W)
@ PUR (L) IU (W) @ OSU (L) MSU (W) PSU (L) ILL (W) @ MD (W)
OSU (L) MIN (L) @ Iowa (W) @ RUT (W) PUR (W) @ NW (L) BYE
@ MIN (L) PUR (W) ILL (W) BYE @ WIS (W) @ Iowa (L) NW (L)
NW (L) NEB (L) WIS (L) Iowa (W) @ ILL (W) IND (W) @ MIN (W)

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Full Big Ten Schedules Breakdown: East Division