IOWA CITY — Border foes Wisconsin and Illinois will rotate back on to Iowa's Big Ten football schedule for 2013 and 2014.
Iowa and Wisconsin had played 72 of the last 74 seasons but the series was halted as an annual event when the Big Ten split into two divisions for this upcoming season. Iowa will compete in the Legends Division, while Wisconsin will play in the Leaders Division. The series is tied 42-42-4.
Iowa and Illinois currently are in the midst of a four-year hiatus. The teams last played in 2008. Iowa and Ohio State will not meet in the regular season from 2011 through at least 2014.
The Big Ten schedule is complete for those years but dates and locations have yet to be released.
"It’s just a matter of a non-conference game having to move off of a date and on to another date, and we hear that’s going to be done pretty soon," said Mark Rudner, Big Ten associate commissioner for television administration. "When that gets done, we’ll put it out there."
In both years Iowa is slated to play divisional foes Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State, protected rival Purdue along with Wisconsin and Illinois.
In 2013 Iowa's non-conference opponents are Northern Illinois, Iowa State (at Ames), Missouri State and Western Michigan. In 2014, Iowa is slated to play Ball State, Northern Iowa and Iowa State at home and Pittsburgh on the road.
Each Big Ten team will have two idle dates within the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Both football seasons have 14-week schedules beginning the last Saturday in August through the final Saturday in November.
"You can’t go through the season and have no games on a particular week so we’re trying to figure out how to mix and match conference games and non-conference games during that extra week," Rudner said.
League administrators and school officials met in Indianapolis two weeks ago and discussed increasing the Big Ten schedule from eight games to nine beginning in 2015. Rudner said no decision has been made.
"The importance of having seven home games continues to be the most important consideration for going to a nine-game schedule," Rudner said. "We were asked to continue to look at it and do a financial analysis of what it means to stay at eight games, go to nine games, how those home games get allocated. ..."Whenever you start nine games, whether it’s 2015 or later, you have to look at who has non-conference road games. If a school has a non-conference road game in consecutive years, then it’s problematic because you can’t provide that institution with five conference home games back-to-back. It’s just not fair. So I think we’ll probably — whether it’s this spring or this summer — we’ll probably have a better clue as to how we’re going to do it, if we’re going to do it, and if we are, when we’re going to do it."