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Geographical division split all but certain for Big Ten

New Big Ten Logo I

The additions of Maryland and Rutgers in 2014 will push the Big Ten to 14 members, forcing the conference that may or may not drop from the FCS level (chuckle) to reshape the look of its two divisions.

In January, commissioner Jim Delany strongly hinted that the league would use this opportunity to divide the membership geographically.  A couple of months later, that appears to be the direction in which the conference is headed.

ESPN.com writes that, “[b]arring a late shift in the discussions between athletic directors and league officials,” the Big Ten “will go with a geographic split for its divisions in 2014.”  With eight members in the Eastern time zone — Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Rutgers — and six in the Central — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin — one of the former schools will be forced to move into what for now we’ll call the West division.

It’s expected, ESPN.com reports, that either Indiana or Purdue will move west, with their annual Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game protected in what’s expected to become a nine-game conference schedule a couple of years down the road.

Regardless of whether it’s the Hoosiers or Boilermakers, the Big Ten divisions will certainly take on a significantly different look if they are split geographically.  Below is the current makeup of the Leaders and Legends divisions — those pretentious and self-serving names, incidentally, are expected to mercifully go the way of New Coke and Morton Downey Jr. — with their projected new divisions in parentheses:

LEADERS*
Indiana (TBD)
Illinois (West)
Ohio State (East)
Penn State (East)
Purdue (TBD)
Wisconsin (West)

LEGENDS
Iowa (West)
Michigan (East)
Michigan State (East)
Minnesota (West)
Nebraska (West)
Northwestern (West)

*Maryland and Rutgers would be expected to join the “Eastern” teams upon entering the league next year

On paper, the balance of power football-wise would appear to heavily favor the East with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State compared to Nebraska and Wisconsin in the West.  Given the cyclical nature of the sport, though, it would be prudent for the Big Ten to base its divisional split geographically and not worry which programs happen to be “up” at the moment.

Just when the Big Ten will announce how its two-division setup will look is not known, although ESPN.com notes that a decision is not imminent and that discussions will continue.

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17 Responses to “Geographical division split all but certain for Big Ten”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 19, 2013 12:20 PM

    The SEC has proven this geographical division does work, though like Coach Miles has stated, it can be patently unbalanced when requirements are made for permanent inter-divisional contests putting LSU v. Florida contrasted to Alabama v. Tennessee rather than a rotating basis which would bring much greater fairness and balance.

    I would recommend to Delany to improve upon the SEC system and institute a rotating inter-divisional system of games.

  2. freerayray52 says: Mar 19, 2013 12:38 PM

    why not just put purdue and indiana in the west and have the divisions unbalanced until 2 of GaTech, UNC, UVA are added, since they will obviously be in the East

  3. dumbpollack says: Mar 19, 2013 12:49 PM

    put us where you want. just as long as we get a game with our ‘bitch, up north’. each year.

  4. halbert53 says: Mar 19, 2013 12:51 PM

    At any given time, it isn’t unusual for one division in any conference to be much stronger than the other division. Look at the SEC and PAC 12. But, it gives the teams in the weaker division an opportunity to grow and balance out over time.

  5. buckeye1nation says: Mar 19, 2013 1:25 PM

    The one thing I never liked about the current division set up (other than the names) was tOSU and that team up north in different divisions. It could have potentially led to the late November (traditional regular season ending) game losing some luster. If each team had already clinched it’s division, and no NC implications on the line, arguably, the next weeks game could be more important that the traditional game since it would be for a Conference Championship and BCS Bid. This eliminates that possibility.

  6. jrs45 says: Mar 19, 2013 2:31 PM

    Dumbpollack,

    Lmao!!!!!!

  7. normtide says: Mar 19, 2013 3:38 PM

    Two issues played into the SEC divisions. First, there was never going to be an SEC North. Second, the SEC wanted to split it’s ‘big six’, Bama, Auburn, LSU, UF, UGA, and Tennessee. I for one like keeping the one rival set up. I’m sure the B1G will as well.

    The west looks weaker, but that gives a team, like Iowa, a chance to build. The SEC power cycles from east to west, with 5 of the ‘big 6′ winning bcs titles.

  8. imaduffer says: Mar 19, 2013 4:55 PM

    What I do like about the B1G is the number of conference games they play. Unlike a certain conference that only play six conference games and load up on D-2 teams.

  9. normtide says: Mar 19, 2013 4:56 PM

    Who plays only 6 league games? The big east?

  10. Jeff says: Mar 19, 2013 5:12 PM

    Purdue to the west, it just makes the most sense because it’s closer to the Central time zone.

  11. Jeff says: Mar 19, 2013 5:13 PM

    Purdue is closer to the central time zone.

  12. mtheparrothead says: Mar 19, 2013 9:05 PM

    Pollack,

    Please. Everyone knows that you dont have a bitch.

  13. mcjon22 says: Mar 19, 2013 9:22 PM

    What division will FSU and Georgia Tech be in?

  14. sssjim7 says: Mar 20, 2013 1:40 AM

    It won’t much matter after Ohio State and Michigan join the SEC north pod… ROFLMAO:)

  15. bigdinla says: Mar 20, 2013 7:42 AM

    Who cares. This conference has not been relevant other than Ohio State in decades.

  16. packerbadger says: Mar 20, 2013 8:28 AM

    SEC divisions should be called for what they are. Dumb and Dumber.

  17. pastabelly says: Mar 21, 2013 7:52 PM

    UConn and Temple to the East.

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