Back in July, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany announced a new “strength of schedule commitment” for its member teams beginning in 2016.
That commitment included several key stipulations:
- Each Big Ten school should schedule a non-conference game against an “autonomy five opponent” (commonly referred to as Power Five). That means a game against a team from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, or SEC.
- In addition, Delany stated that games against BYU and Notre Dame will count towards the strength of schedule requirement.
- Also, the Big Ten will discontinue the scheduling of FCS teams beginning in 2016. According to Delany, this component is considered an “athletic directors agreement” rather than a mandate.
Last week, it was reported by the Indianapolis Star that Indiana had been granted an exception to count Cincinnati and UConn as Power Five teams for scheduling purposes.
The Hoosiers already have future home-and-home series set up against both Cincinnati and UConn, which dates back to last year. IU and Cincinnati are set for 2021 and 2022, while the Hoosiers will take on UConn in 2019 and 2020.
According to Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner, more Group of Five teams could be included.
“We looked at their RPI for the last five or six years,” Rudner told the Star’s Mark Alesia. “If someone comes to us with a request, we’ll evaluate it. That’s what happened with these two. Those seemed to fit.”
Today we learned of two more schools, one Independent and one from the American Athletic Conference, that will supposedly count towards the Big Ten’s scheduling requirement. Those two teams are Army and Navy, per Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com.
If you think it’s starting to get a little confusing as to which conference can schedule a certain team and have it count under their mandate, you’re right. It would be easier to fall back to scheduling whoever you like and let the chips fall where they may, but I digress.
The ACC, Big Ten, and the SEC are the only three conferences that currently have a non-conference scheduling mandate. The Big Ten is the only conference of those three to play nine-conference games (beginning in 2016) and to discourage the scheduling of FCS schools moving forward.
Here’s a look at who each conference can currently schedule, per reports:
Any team from the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC, plus BYU and Notre Dame.
Big Ten (2016+)
Any team from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC, plus Army, BYU, Cincinnati, Navy, Notre Dame, and UConn. No FCS opponents.
Any team from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12, plus Army, BYU and Notre Dame.