by Fitzgerald Cecilio
New Brunswick, NJ
Marquee programs in the Big Ten will play each other outside of division play as often as possible in 2016 and 2017 as confirmed by its newly-released football schedules.
This "parity-based" allows players to face each of the other 13 conference teams during a four-year career, so cross-division opponents will change from season to season.
Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner said the players, who want high level of competition, and the fans who will witness these games are the winners.
"Every week in the Big Ten, we're going to be playing big conference games," Rudner quipped.
Even with rotating opponents, not every marquee team will face one another. But the conference hopes that the schedules will even out over time, according to Rudner.
The league also starts playing nine conference games in 2016, which means earlier Big Ten action which will begin in September.
In recent years, Big Ten play usually has begun no earlier than the fourth or fifth week of the season. Previously scheduled nonconference games prevented the league from pushing more Big Ten games into early September in 2016 and '17.