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Tag:Big Ten Alignment
Posted on: September 1, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Big Ten division winners and losers

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The new Big Ten alignment doesn't come into effect until 2011, but who comes out the best and worst among conference members?

Winners: Most of the conference, actually. Michigan and Ohio State keep their end-of-season rivalry, and they're each the marquee members of their own divisions. If they're not to meet for the title, then effectively nothing has changed about their tradition; if they do, then so much the better, as far as the Big Ten's coffers go. Penn State and Nebraska are the second in command in their respective divisions, and they get to start a protected rivalry with each other that's sure to move needles for television rating. Northwestern and Illinois have an annual game guaranteed, plus their own divisions in which to play spoiler--and Wildcats fans must be especially pleased that they've now got an annual divisional game against the Hawkeyes in what's rapidly becoming a contentious showdown. Minnesota gets to be in a very geographically friendly division, and they get to play for every one of their trophies every year.

We'll call it a draw: Iowa and Purdue have no reason to be protected rivals, and Delany's explanation that "both teams have won conference titles recently" is at best a non sequitur. But Iowa was rewarded with a season-ending game against Nebraska, to the delight of both fanbases, and Purdue has all the protected games they could have asked for. Likewise, Michigan State-Indiana is a total head-scratcher, but at the very least, each team stays in the same division as their in-state rivals.  

Losers: Holy hell, must Wisconsin be upset about this new alignment. Consider A) that the Badgers were the only team in the Big Ten without a season-ending rivalry game up until Nebraska showed up, and B) the amount of work Barry Alvarez has done as the de facto mouthpiece of the conference during realignment talk. Surely the Big Ten would reward the Badgers, yes? Au contraire, bonjour: Wisconsin's request to get a rivalry game with Nebraska was flat-out denied, and the Badgers don't even share a division or protected rivalry with historical rivals Iowa anymore. Oh, also, they're in a league with Ohio State and Penn State, a top twosome that seems much tougher than Michigan or Nebraska do for the near future. Nobody's got more beef than the Badgers about this lineup.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:39 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:42 pm
 

ESPN: Sources reveal Big Ten division members

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Remember the clues the Big Ten may have been dropping about their new conference alignment? Yeah, maybe not. ESPN is citing multiple conference sources in this report about the new Big Ten divisions:

• Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.

• And Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois.


The new setup would also feature the protected "crossover" rivalries that have been expected--Michigan would play Ohio State every year, obviously, and ESPN's sources specifically predicted Wisconsin and Minnesota will have a protected rivalry. If true, that's bad news for Wisconsin brass, who had been lobbying for a protected end-of-year game with Nebraska.

If ESPN's reports are true, they're not terribly surprising; there's competitive balance all around, and where possible, the different tiers of teams are separated east and west (see Michigan and Nebraska staying west, and Penn State and Ohio State east). Expect this alignment (or, at the very least, something similar) to be announced by the Big Ten this evening.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:48 pm
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Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:15 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:50 pm
 

Did Big Ten reveal new divisions in promo photo?

Posted by Adam Jacobi 

Speculation about the Big Ten's new divisional alignment can end soon, as the conference is set to announce the divisions tonight on its Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. ET. 

Such word had filtered through various sources earlier this week, with most pointing to today as the day for the unveiling, so this news isn't a total surprise. But while the date of the announcement has been pretty well known, the specifics of the divisions remains the far more relevant--and unanswered--question. 

So with rumors about the fate of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry flying everywhere--will they join separate divisions or not? When will their rivalry game be played?--it might be worthwhile to look to the Big Ten for a clue. And my my, is there ever one attached to the Big Ten's announcement. 




The arrangement of helmets doesn't seem to be accidental, does it? Michigan and Ohio State are front and center... and opposing each other. Likewise, the duo of Penn State and Nebraska are in opposite divisions, which fits with Jim Delany's model of competitive balance. In the second row, Iowa and Wisconsin are on opposite sides--just like what Barry Alvarez told reporters last week. And there's Michigan State on Michigan's side, which would make sense for their annual rivalry. 

In total, the Big Ten divisions as indicated by this photo are as such: 

MichiganPenn StateWisconsinIndianaNorthwesternMichigan State 
Ohio StateNebraskaIowaIllinoisPurdueMinnesota 

Of course, this could be nothing more than a red herring to throw people off the trail of the real alignment, which is still 5 hours away. But maybe--just maybe--it's a treat the conference left for its sharper fans. We'll find out soon enough.
 
 
 
 
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