Ohio State, Michigan To Play In Season Finale; Join Separate Divisions


UPDATED: Thursday September 2, 2010 12:56 PM

The Big Ten announced Wednesday night that Ohio State and Michigan would be in separate divisions in the newly aligned conference in 2011, but would continue the tradition of playing the last game of the regular season.

According to the conference, Ohio State would be part of a division including Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

The other division would consist of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and the Big Ten's newest member, Nebraska.

In June, the Cornhuskers announced that they would leave the Big 12 Conference for the Big Ten.

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Despite rumors about Ohio State and Michigan playing earlier in the season, the conference announced that the teams would continue their regular-season finale and continue the tradition that has been in place since 1943.

Each school will play the other five schools within its division and will also face three teams from the other division, including one cross-division matchup guaranteed on an annual basis.

Besides Ohio State-Michigan, the other guaranteed cross-division matchups are Illinois-Northwestern, Indiana-Michigan State, Penn State-Nebraska, Purdue-Iowa and Wisconsin-Minnesota. Names for each Big Ten football division will be announced at a later date.

The winner of each Big Ten division will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, to be played Dec. 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The championship game will determine the Big Ten Champion and the conference's participant in the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.

Big Ten teams will continue to play an eight-game conference schedule.  In 2011, the Buckeyes open with Michigan State at home on Oct. 1, before traveling to Nebraska the following week to play the Cornhuskers for the first time as members of the Big Ten.

Ohio State then travels to Illinois on Oct. 15 before taking the weekend of Oct. 22 off.

The Buckeyes return home on Oct. 29 against Wisconsin and host the Indiana Hoosiers the next week.

On Nov. 12, Ohio State plays at Purdue.  The Buckeyes host Penn State on Nov. 19 and play at Michigan on Nov. 26.

In 2012, Ohio State opens the Big Ten season on the road against Michigan State on Sept. 29.  Then, on Oct. 6, the Buckeyes host Nebraska.  The team plays at Indiana on Oct. 13 and hosts Purdue the next week.

The Buckeyes play at Penn State on Oct. 27 and then host Illinois on Nov. 3, before taking a week off.

Ohio State plays at Wisconsin on Nov. 17 and then hosts Michigan on Nov. 24 in the season finale.

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