Wednesday the Big Ten Conference announced the divisions they will be using for football starting next season when Nebraska joins the league.
Division 1 – Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue.
Division 2 – Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
On first glance, the divisions look a little unbalanced and certainly not particularly based on geography. However, a closer look reveals that Division One has seven national championships (OSU 3, PSU 2, MSU 1) while Division Two has six (Nebraska 5, Michigan 1).
The biggest disappointment for Badger fans is the loss of a rivalry game with Iowa. Coming in close second is that fans will find traveling to away games a big more difficult. The new divisions aren’t geographically conducive to road trips
The biggest challenge will be facing Ohio State every year. They have won the conference five years running and have lost just four conference games over that stretch.
The flipside of the Ohio State coin is that you have to play (and beat) great teams to be considered great. If Wisconsin can’t consistently compete against the likes of Ohio State and Penn State, they don’t deserve to be credited with a top-tier program.
The splitting into divisions brings about a league championship game. It will be held on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.
Nebraska will play its first ever Big Ten game at Camp Randall Stadium in 2011.
The divisions didn’t take the East and West split that many thought they would. Wisconsin is kind of an island in the middle of Division 1 and both Michigan schools seem to be out of sync with the rest of their division.
So why did the divisions fall this way? Do you agree with them or disagree?
What about the conference name? Will this stay the Big Ten? Or will Nebraska’s addition next season bring about even more change?