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Dr. Saturday

Big Ten’s expansion means fewer good games among its best teams, as 2015 schedule shows

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The Big Ten released its 2015 football schedule, and the most important takeaway seems to be the games that won't be played.

Wisconsin and Nebraska, in the West Division, won't play any games against Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State from the East Division. What fun. Because we don't want to see good games between the top teams or anything. Well worth eliminating good matchups to bring Rutgers aboard.

Just for kicks, here's Wisconsin's 2015 schedule:

Iowa
at Nebraska
Purdue
at Illinois
Rutgers
at Maryland
Northwestern
at Minnesota

Zzzzzzzzzz ... realignment, everyone! That might be the dullest conference schedule in league history, for a team that has been to the Rose Bowl three straight years. But this is what happens when leagues chase a few extra dollars to expand. The schedule gets watered down. Fans, who won't exactly see lower ticket prices or free parking as the school presidents find every way to monetize the sport, get treated to slates like that beauty Wisconsin has in 2015.

The nine-game schedule, which starts in 2016, will help produce better games, or at least one would hope. There's really no reason for Big Ten fans to be excited about this latest round of expansion. It doesn't benefit them or the league in the slightest. The 2015 schedule is just a sad reminder of that. But hey, at least the schools are making a little more television money than they were before. That should warm your heart when season-ticket prices go up again.

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