Aug. 4, 2011
RIDGE, Ill. -- The Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday (Aug. 4) that its football schedule will expand to nine conference games per team for the 2017 season. Three schools each from the Legends and Leaders divisions will alternate years having five Big Ten home games. The University of Michigan football team will play host to four games in odd-numbered seasons beginning in 2017 and will have five home games in even-numbered seasons starting in 2018.
"I believe this is another improvement in the strength of our schedule," said University of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. "First, it is great for our conference as it makes the challenge of winning a Big Ten championship that much more significant. And most importantly, it's a tremendous addition for our fans, since every year we will face yet another traditional opponent from our own conference."
The Big Ten played a nine-game conference schedule during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 schools played nine-game schedules in 1981 and 1982, while two schools featured nine-game slates from 1971-72 and 1977-80.
The Big Ten will join the Pac-12 and Big 12 as BCS conferences that play nine-game conference schedules. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big East also play unbalanced home and away conference slates.
Michigan's 2011 campaign gets underway on Sept. 3 against Western Michigan at Michigan Stadium. U-M's Big Ten season kicks off at home on Oct. 1 against Minnesota in the battle for the Little Brown Jug. Preseason practice begins on Monday, Aug. 8, with freshmen reporting to Ann Arbor on Saturday, Aug. 6, and upperclassmen returning on Sunday, Aug. 7.
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