Scheduling hijinks, or, Is the B1G garbage?

Pretty interesting past week for the conference, if by "interesting" you mean "seemingly losing every game of any import". Hot takes are spilling in from all over Twitter, Reddit and the like. The only conference taking on more water, from these opinions, is the Pac 12. From first glance, I'd assume that all the bellyaching is a toxic brew of small sample size and selective memory. Is this true? Let's take a look.
First, let's see how the B1G's Thanksgiving-and-before performance has held up over its own recent past. I've chosen the years since the Accession of Rutgers and the Capitulation of Maryland (subjects of pre-Raphaelite paintings) as the recent past:


From this, it certainly appears that the Big Ten's performance has been lacking; we can ascribe part of this to poor scheduling. Note the large number of 250+ games-B1G schools, driven by the dual imperatives of an odd nubbin of conference play in early December and the desire to win inexpensively for home fans, have chosen to play weak siblings at a frequency hitherto unseen. You can expect this trend to continue. Consider Iowa: their non-conference schedule must include two of the three other in-state D-1 schools, a game in the ACC-B1G challenge, doubtless an exempt event (two weak games, typically, and two tougher matchups) along with probable participation in the Gavitt games. With a 20-game league slate looming, this leaves precious little room for a straight-up home and home. And Iowa is not alone: Illinois plays Missouri in St. Louis every year, along with its two interconference challenges and a neutral site game at the United Center in Chicago, which also has return-game implications. These are probably the two most stringent examples, but there are a variety of obligations each B1G school requires itself to meet.

How does this record compare to other conferences this year? Well, the picture there is not too pleasant either:

discrepancies the result of KenPom updating right in the middle
of my research!

To sum up: the Big Ten has the worst record against the top 100, and has played the most games against the bottom echelon of Division I. Now, they haven't lost any games against truly low-level competition, a dishonor which only the Pac-12 amongst the Big Six has managed to obtain. To this point, though, it's pretty clear that the Pac-12 and the B1G are the laggards amongst P5+1 conferences. {Huh, having just written that, I realized that I may want to consider including the American amongst those power conferences. I'll have to consult with the editorial board about that.}

This is not an across-the-board indictment of the Big Ten. I do believe that there will be increase opportunities in the coming weeks to improve its record against quality opponents, and encounters with the Sisters of the Poor will correspondingly become less frequent. But to this point, the B1G will need to step up its game if it wants the bevy of NCAA bids to which its become accustomed.