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Big Ten football schedule could move to 9 or 10 conference games

As it moves to 14 teams, the Big Ten might move to a nine- or ten-game conference schedule after attempts to add games to the schedule in past have failed.

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Big Ten is deciding on whether it wants to add extra games to its league schedule with an influx of new teams - and how many games it should add.

Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com reported that athletic directors will have several meetings over the upcoming months in which they'll discuss adding games to potentially give teams in the conference a nine- or ten-game slate. Right now, the league is at eight games, but with the conference soon to expand to 14 teams, that might not be sufficient: each division will have seven teams, and as of now, each team has one protected rival from the other division that it plays every year, so if the league were to expand to 14 without adding league games, each team would likely never play six teams from the other conference.

The league had said it would add a ninth Big Ten game after the addition of Nebraska, but eventually entered into an agreement with the Pac-12 that would have seen each Big Ten team play eight conference games and one against a Pac-12 opponent. The West Coast league backed out of that deal. They've been at eight ever since, but could move to more with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland.

Adding games would be a problem for teams that already have out-of-conference games scheduled in the future - as well as teams counting on playing four opponents, typically easier ones, out of conference in hopes of attaining bowl eligibility.