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Continued: Burly, blue-collar Big Ten West is wide open

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 27, 2014 - 12:17 PM

One main challenge for the Gophers is the schedule. Each team plays two interdivision games against the Big Ten East. Minnesota drew Michigan and Ohio State, while Wisconsin gets Maryland and Rutgers, and Iowa gets Indiana and Maryland.

“I think there’s a philosophy to that,” coach Jerry Kill said. “I won’t share that with you, but I’ve got a pretty good idea after looking at the schedule, who got what, when.”

Though Kill wouldn’t say it, others have noted that the Big Ten schedule-makers gave many of its perennial contenders softer conference schedules, knowing that might help their chances of reaching the new four-team College Football Playoff.

Each conference game counts the same in the standings, even though a 7-1 Gophers finish would be more impressive than a 7-1 finish for the Badgers or Hawkeyes.

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Kill said. “And the great thing about that is if you win a couple [interdivision games] like that, you’re going to be playing [in] a pretty good situation.”

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