Iowa Football

Did Wisconsin Badgers bribe Big Ten football schedule-makers with bratwurst?

Wisconsin has softest out-of-division schedule in the Big Ten West

Iowa defensive back Matt Hankins (8) celebrates after intercepting a pass intended for Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson
Iowa defensive back Matt Hankins (8) celebrates after intercepting a pass intended for Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson (84) during Iowa’s 24-22 loss at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 9, 2019. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Iowa’s football team needs to beat Wisconsin in Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 14.

That kind of goes without saying. The Badgers have played in six of the Big Ten’s nine championship games, the Hawkeyes just one.

But this year, the league schedule dictates that Iowa and everyone else in the West Division will have to make hay against Wisconsin, because the schedule-makers appear to have been bribed with bratwurst.

Of the four games Wisconsin is to play against East teams this year, none of the opponents are named “Ohio State” or “Penn State.” The East teams the Badgers do play had a combined conference record of 12-24 last year.

Iowa, on the other hand, is scheduled to play Penn State and Ohio State, and on the road to boot. That’s the way the original schedule was.

The reality is Wednesday’s change in the Big Ten schedule didn’t change anything for Iowa. It got a home game in Maryland that it will be a considerable favorite to win, and Wisconsin got a home game in Rutgers that it will be a considerable favorite to win.

If anything, it gave Iowa a little more of an advantage over the rest of the West. But the rest of the West doesn’t contain Wisconsin.

Here are the West’s out-of-division games, and their combined league records in 2019:

Iowa (21-15): Maryland (1-8), at Penn State (7-2), Michigan State (4-5), at Ohio State (9-0)

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Illinois (21-15): Ohio State, at Indiana (5-4), at Rutgers (0-9), Penn State

Nebraska (20-16): at Rutgers, at Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State

Purdue (20-16): at Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers, at Indiana

Northwestern (18-18): at Penn State, at Michigan State, Maryland, Michigan

Minnesota (16-20): at Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, at Maryland

Wisconsin (12-24): Indiana, at Maryland, at Michigan, Rutgers

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