Michigan Wolverines React to Divisional Realignment, Announce future schedules

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As you know Big Ten Conference office announced tonight (Sept. 1) the football division alignments and conference schedules for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The University of Michigan will compete in a division that features Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

The other division consists of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Each school will play the five institutions within its division and will face three teams from the other division, including one cross-division matchup guaranteed on an annual basis. Michigan’s protected cross-divisional rival is Ohio State. “The Game,” regarded as college football’s greatest rivalry, will continue to be played as the final contest of the regular season.

The winner of each Big Ten division will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. The championship game will determine the Big Ten champion and the conference’s participant in the Rose Bowl Game or BCS National Championship Game.

Following are Michigan’s conference schedules for the 2011 and 2012 seasons:

2011

Oct. 1            Minnesota

Oct. 8            at Northwestern

Oct. 15          at Michigan State

Oct. 22          BYE WEEK

Oct. 29          Purdue

Nov. 5           at Iowa

Nov. 12         at Illinois

Nov. 19         Nebraska

Nov. 26         Ohio State

Off Schedule: Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin

2012

Oct. 6            at Purdue

Oct. 13          Illinois

Oct. 20          Michigan State

Oct. 27          at Nebraska

Nov. 3           at Minnesota

Nov. 10         Northwestern

Nov. 17         Iowa

Nov. 24         at Ohio State

Off Schedule: Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin

Statement from Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon

As Michigan Athletic Director, I’m elated by this new divisional alignment. Our goal entering the discussion was to preserve our great rivalries with Michigan State and Ohio State. We were able to do both and the best news is “The Game” will continue to be played during the final week of the regular season. We also added Nebraska as a member of our division which will create a great new rival for our team. As a bonus, we could face Ohio State again in the title game and play for the championship of the conference and a trip to the Rose Bowl. This is the best possible scenario we could have asked for at the beginning of this process.

Statement from Michigan Football Coach Rich Rodriguez

This is a great scenario for the University of Michigan and our football program. I commend the efforts made by Dave Brandon, President Mary Sue Coleman and their colleagues for working hard to reach an agreement and put together balanced divisional alignments. Dave worked to preserve our great traditional rivalry games – Ohio State and Michigan State – and got our newest member, Nebraska, placed into our division. It’s great that we could keep the greatest rivalry in college football, The Game, the regular season finale, and the bonus is we could still face Ohio State in the championship game.

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