|Michigan and Ohio State could be in the same division come 2014. (US Presswire)|
The Big Ten could finally right a wrong in the coming years. With Rutgers and Maryland both scheduled to join the conference in 2014, the Big Ten is going to realign its divisions, and according to most athletic directors in the conference, odds are the conference will follow a logical east-west split.
"Maybe it was competitive balance last time," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips told ESPN.com. "Maybe geography wins the day this time. … It wasn't the most important [factor in 2010], but we should look at it this time because we are spread farther than we ever have been."
Of course, an east-west split would also mean that Ohio State and Michigan are in the same division. The two were originally split when the Big Ten went to the Legends and Leaders Divisions because the Big Ten was salivating at the idea of having Ohio State and Michigan play twice a season. Oh, and competitive balance.
However, both of the Big Ten's Big Two seem to prefer being in the same division.
"We will likely be a little bit more attentive to geographic alignment," Michigan AD Dave Brandon said. "If Michigan and Ohio State being in the same division turns out to be what's in the best interest of the conference, that would be great."
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was a bit more clear in his desires.
"I kind of lean toward having us in the same division," Smith told ESPN. "But I'm open to keeping it as it is, based on what my colleagues might share."
Now, I'm not an athletic director for any of the schools in the Big Ten, but I'm of the opinion that Michigan and Ohio State should be in the same division. The annual game between the two schools is one of the highlights of any college football season, and watching it every year was a big reason why I became such a big college football fan growing up.
Having them play two weeks in a row might be fun for a year or two when it first happens, but over time it would only diminish the importance of the regular season meeting. In a time like this, where conference realignment is ruining rivalries that helped build the sport, I think it's in the best interest that conferences keep the rivalries they have remaining as important as possible.
Keeping Michigan and Ohio State in the same division would do that for the Big Ten's marquee matchup.
I won't even be upset if the conference keeps the Legend and Leaders monikers for its new east and west divisions.
For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter here: @TomFornelli.