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Take Two: Big Ten's easiest 2015 schedule?

Our series of discussions on Big Ten schedules ends with the search for the league's easiest lineup of games. Last month, we debated over the toughest schedule in the Big Ten, so this topic only made sense.

On with the arguments.

Brian Bennett: Penn State

Any team in the West Division that doesn't play either Ohio State or Michigan State (looking at you, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern) is living a charmed life this season. But let's talk about Penn State's schedule, shall we? The Nittany Lions don't leave the state of Pennsylvania until Oct. 17. Their only road game in the first six games is the opener at Temple in nearby Philadelphia, where there will likely be more Penn State fans in the stands than Owls supporters.

Sure, James Franklin's team has to go to both Columbus and East Lansing, which are huge challenges. But they would be heavy underdogs against the Buckeyes and Spartans wherever those games were played. The only other Big Ten road games on the schedule are at Maryland and at Northwestern -- two more less-than-intimidating home fields where there should be a heavy Nittany Lions contingent on hand. In addition to the Northwestern game, the other crossover from the West is Illinois at home. The nonconference schedule includes Buffalo, San Diego State and Army at Beaver Stadium.

Mitch Sherman: Ohio State

My first inkling here was to go with Iowa, which faces three sub-.500 FBS teams in out-of-conference play, and, as Brian mentioned, avoids OSU and MSU in the East. But the Hawkeyes must visit Wisconsin and Nebraska. They open with a dangerous FBS foe in Illinois State and can’t count Iowa State or Pittsburgh as anything but a pair of major challenges.

Schedule strength is a matter of perspective. The slate Michigan State faces would rate as exponentially more difficult for Purdue. Such logic helps explain my choice of the Buckeyes.

There's also the fact that Ohio State, unlike the majority of Big Ten teams, doesn’t have to play Ohio State.

The Buckeyes might be in their most vulnerable state in the Labor Day opener at Virginia Tech, what with the QB situation perhaps not entirely settled and nine months of time to game plan being afforded to Bud Foster, the Hokies’ venerable defensive coordinator.

From there, Ohio State faces Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. Its best Big Ten foes -- Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State -- visit the Horseshoe. A potentially tricky visit to Michigan Stadium looms, but if the season plays out as planned, the Buckeyes will be a finely tuned machine by Thanksgiving.