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Big Ten Will Play Nine Conference Games Beginning In 2017

In a move that's been in the works since the conference added Nebraska as its 12th member last June, the Big Ten announced today its football teams will move to a nine game conference schedule beginning in 2017.

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This will reduce the number of non-conference slots on Penn State's schedule from four to three moving forward, however, it will increase the number of interdivision games per decade against teams like Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa in conference as well.

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Penn State will play four conference home games and five conference road games in even numbered years. That will reverse in odd numbered years.

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This should help Big Ten teams like Penn State avoid cupcake games against lower level FBS programs and FCS programs. It will also take away from their flexibility to schedule BCS-level programs in home-and-hom series, though. That, of course, doesn't mean they'll disappear, it simply gives schools less dates to work with in making marquee non-conference games happen.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.