Big Ten's 2015 schedule unveiled

The Big Ten has released its conference schedule for 2015, and if you've already studied the 2014 schedule, you shouldn't be too surprised. Each teams' opponents -- including crossover games -- remains the same, while the home and road games are reversed from '14. The full 2015 conference schedule is here.

As a reminder, 2015 is the final season of eight conference games before the Big Ten switches to a nine-game league schedule in 2016. As such, the schedules may go through some more adjustments in '16.

So here's what the crossover games will look like in 2015:

East Division

Indiana: at Purdue (protected), vs. Iowa

Maryland: at Iowa, vs. Wisconsin

Michigan: at Minnesota, vs. Northwestern

Michigan State: at Nebraska, vs. Purdue

Ohio State: at Illinois, vs. Minnesota

Penn State: at Northwestern, vs. Illinois

Rutgers: vs. Nebraska, at Wisconsin

West Division

Illinois: vs. Ohio State, at Penn State

Iowa: at Indiana, vs. Maryland

Minnesota: vs. Michigan, at Ohio State

Nebraska: vs. Michigan State, at Rutgers

Northwestern: vs. Penn State, at Michigan

Purdue: vs. Indiana (protected), at Michigan State

Wisconsin: at Maryland, vs. Rutgers

Some thoughts:

  • Like in 2014, the conference season will start early, as Rutgers plays at Penn State on Sept. 19. The two teams had a series scheduled before Rutgers became a Big Ten member, and the conference opted to keep it where it was scheduled. Every other team will start league play on Oct. 3.

  • Every team will have one week off during Big Ten play. Nebraska doesn't get its first free Saturday of league action until Nov. 21, which is six days before the season finale against Iowa.

  • Several big rivalry games remain on the final weekend, including Ohio State at Michigan, Wisconsin at Minnesota, and Indiana at Purdue, with the Boilers hosting the Hoosiers after playing two straight years in Bloomington. Every team will have the same final-week opponent as it did in 2014.

  • Michigan State (Oct. 10), Ohio State (Oct. 24) and Nebraska (Nov. 14) will make their first trips to Rutgers in Big Ten play, while Michigan (Oct. 3), Penn State (Oct. 24), Wisconsin (Nov. 7) and Indiana (Nov. 21) do the same at Maryland.

  • Michigan State fans worried about how the Spartans will fare in the stacked East Division might shudder at the 2015 road slate: at Michigan (Oct. 17), at Nebraska (Nov. 7) and at Ohio State (Nov. 21), as well as at Rutgers. Northwestern has a similarly tough road schedule, playing at Michigan (Oct. 10), at Nebraska (Oct. 24), at Wisconsin (Nov. 21) and at rival Illinois (Nov. 28).

  • Nebraska's dud of a home schedule in 2014 looks a bit better in 2015, as Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa all come to Memorial Stadium.

  • Ohio State again looks set up for success, as the Buckeyes first three Big Ten road games are at Indiana, at Rutgers and at Illinois before the season-ender in Ann Arbor. Penn State is the only traditional league power Ohio State will play until the final two weeks of the regular season, and the Lions come to the 'Shoe.

  • Wisconsin should feel good about its 2015 chances. The Badgers play at Nebraska on Oct. 10, but the only other league road games are against Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland. As in 2014, Wisconsin doesn't play Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State or Michigan State. Could the West title be decided in the second week of October?

  • Minnesota plays Nebraska, Michigan and at Ohio State in one three-game stretch in October. Though there's a bye after the Huskers game, that will be put up or shut up time for the Gophers. Meanwhile, Maryland opens with Michigan, then goes to Ohio State, then has a bye before Penn State comes to College Park. Randy Edsall -- assuming he's still the coach in 2015 -- better have his team ready.

  • The Iowa ticket sales department might have to work overtime in the summer of 2015 to get fans excited about this Big Ten home schedule: Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Purdue.

There's nothing really controversial about this schedule that's any different from the 2014 slate. The real fun will be in seeing how the first nine-game schedule sets up in 2016.