The Big Ten announced it will go to a nine-game conference schedule in football beginning in 2017.
Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years.
In 2017, the schedule will include five conference home games for Indiana Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division and Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division and Michgan, Minnesota and Northwestern from the Legends Division.
From 2017 to 2021, Purdue's schedule will be sequenced such that the Boilermakers will play five home Big Ten games in those years they play at Notre Dame (2018 and 2020) and four home conference contests when the Fighting Irish come to Ross-Ade Stadium (2017, 2019 and 2021). The Purdue-Notre Dame series currently is set through 2021. "Today's announcement is another significant step for the Big Ten," Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said in a statement. "Nothing beats two conference teams getting after one another on Saturdays, and I know our fans will embrace the additional Big Ten matchup."
The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.
"It's an exciting time to be a part of the Big Ten Conference," Purdue head coach Danny Hope said in a statement. "The addition of Nebraska, the Legends and Leaders Divisions, the championship game in Indianapolis and now a nine-game league schedule in the future gives fans a lot to look forward to."