2. Really … who has the easiest Big Ten schedule?
Look, you’re Illinois. You take wins, you don’t apologize, and you don’t try to see just how good you are by taking chances against decent Power Five programs if you don’t have to.
The Illini have to come up with a bowl trip this season under Lovie Smith, and starting out against Akron, at UConn, and Eastern Michigan should help the cause.
Best of all, there’s no Ohio State on the slate. There’s a trip to Michigan State, and facing Michigan is harsh, but that’s in Champaign along with the dates against Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Northwestern. The other game against the East is at home against Rutgers.
Minnesota doesn’t have a whole lot to complain about, either. Fresno State and Georgia Southern are going to challenge for their respective conference titles, and South Dakota State was FCS playoff-good, but there isn’t a non-conference game against a Power Five team.
The fighting Flecks play Penn State, but they catch a massive break by getting Rutgers and Maryland from the East. Even better, Nebraska and Wisconsin have to come to TCF Bank Stadium.
On the other side of things …
2019 Big Ten Football Schedules
Big Ten Composite, Ranking Top Games
East Indiana | Maryland | Michigan
Michigan St | Ohio St | Penn St | Rutgers
West Illinois | Iowa | Minnesota | Nebraska
Northwestern | Purdue | Wisconsin