The 5 Hardest Non-Conference 2015 Schedules In The Big Ten

Some Big Ten football programs make a habit of scheduling cupcakes for their non-conference slates. These aren't those teams. Here's our list of The 5 Hardest Non-Conference 2015 Schedules In The Big Ten.

5) Ohio State Buckeyes

2015 Non-Conference Slate: at Virginia Tech, Hawaii, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan

The Buckeyes have a solid road test with Virginia Tech on the road. In addition to that, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan are no slouches -- combining for a 19-8 mark in 2014. While there's not a whole lot of landmines for the defending champs, it's not exactly an easy run out of conference.

4) Northwestern Wildcats

2015 Non-Conference Slate: Stanford, FCS Eastern Illinois, at Duke, Ball State

The crux of this schedule is a trip to much-improved Duke and a home game against a Stanford team looking to break out in QB Kevin Hogan's final season. Both of those games are toss-ups at best right now for the Wildcats.

3) Michigan Wolverines

2015 Non-Conference Slate: at Utah, Oregon State, UNLV, BYU

Two Pac-12 squads, with one on the road, plus a home game against a very solid independent in BYU. This is a very tricky first non-conference schedule for new Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.

2) Minnesota Golden Gophers

2015 Non-Conference Slate: TCU, at Colorado State, Kent State, Ohio

Traveling to face a still high-octane Colorado State squad is bad enough, but it's the home game against Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin and the TCU Horned Frogs which pushes this schedule into "uh oh" territory.

1) Michigan State Spartans

2015 Non-Conference Slate: at Western Michigan, Oregon, Air Force, Central Michigan

At least Michigan State gets Oregon at home. However, the combined record of 38-16 for the Spartans' four non-conference opponents is by far the best mark in the Big Ten.

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