ESPN Big Ten Blog Proposals for Divisions

Iceland12

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http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/69992/our-proposals-for-b1g-division-alignment

Here's some excerpts:

Rittenberg proposal -

West division: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue

The West division has enough power and should command enough interest with Nebraska and Wisconsin, which moves back to the West. As I wrote in June 2010, there's a conundrum with Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, three regional rivals who want to play one another every year. Wisconsin's move to the Leaders Division -- with only one protected crossover against Minnesota -- has suspended its series against Iowa. Moving Wisconsin back to the same division not only eliminates this issue, but it adds more power to the division and helps foster the growing rivalry between Wisconsin and Nebraska. Northwestern's program undoubtedly is on the rise, and Minnesota showed promise in Year 2 under Jerry Kill. While Iowa is down right now, the Hawkeyes aren't too far removed from being one of the league's best programs.

Bennett's proposal -

West: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern

I agree with a lot of what Adam writes but have a few key differences of opinion.

I think his proposal of placing Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State in one division tips the balance of power too much, assuming that the Spartans can maintain a high level of play and that the Nittany Lions can emerge from their sanctions as an annual Big Ten championship contender. Instead, I'd move Michigan State to the West to give that division three very strong programs -- at least of late -- along with Nebraska and Wisconsin. That East Lansing is farther east than Purdue and Indiana doesn't bother me, because as I wrote, strict geographical assignments are not all that important.
 

As usual I like Adam's take better. I don't think Penn State will stay afloat much longer, so I don't see his proposal as unbalanced.
 

You can't predict the future including the power of any one team let alone trying to balance power between divisions. Delany was a dumbazz for thinking it could be done and he failed miserably. Rittenberg has the only logical option. Anything else is a fool's folly.
 

One of the keys to making this work will be the schedule. I know the U does not want to be in a situation where they play WI, Neb and IA all at home one year, and all on the road the next year. Ideally, you'd like to have WI and IA on opposite rotation, so you get to play 1 of the big rivalry games at home every year.

As far as the Jug and the always-coveted Victory Bell, it will depend on what kind of rotation they set up for the cross-divisional games. If you play 6 Divisional games every year, then you are left with 2 cross-division games - or 3 if you go to a 9-game conference schedule. So, the Gophs will likely only play Michigan and Penn St. once ever 3 years - or longer depending on how the schedule is set up. If it was up to me, I would rotate the cross-division games on a yearly basis, so each B1G team gets to play all the other teams within a decent time frame. Otherwise, you could potentially go for 6 years or longer without facing all the conference teams.
 

You can't predict the future including the power of any one team let alone trying to balance power between divisions. Delany was a dumbazz for thinking it could be done and he failed miserably. Rittenberg has the only logical option. Anything else is a fool's folly.

It took 2 short years to ding competative balance. Yes, you couldn't predict what happened to OSU and PSU, but sh!t happens all the time. Do it by geography and put it to bed. Revisit it in 10 years.

People forget that after 8 years, the Big 12 Play-off championship was 4-4. The South won the next 7, but it was only won by two teams (Tex and OU).
 


Competitive balance waxes and wanes.

Just protect as many rivalries as you can and make the divisions easy to remember.

As long as one division isn't Purdue/Indiana/Maryland/Rutgers/Northwestern/Iowa/Illinois you really can't *&^!#*&^!#*&^!#*&^!# it up.
 

Even if you did that, westcoastgopher, within a couple of years the cream would rise to the top and some team (or two) would become dominant.
 

And honestly guys, I wouldn't expend too much brain power thinking about how best to operate a 14 team conference, when it may only be one year that we are at 14. Within 1 year from today, we WILL be up to either 15, 16, 18 or 20.

I only threw out 15 as an option because for a short period of time, say one season, if it was needed, we could have 3 divisions with 5 teams each. I only see this happening if the planned move to 16 runs into some kind of snag and its unavoidable. They would never purposely move to 15. The conferences next move will be to 16 teams with future plans to move up to 18 and finally 20. How far into the future? It could all happen in one sudden rush. It's actually already happening, its basically all a done deal, they are just strategizing who and when and how so as to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. No one school in the ACC wants to be considered the bad guy that helped ruin the ACC, so the Big Ten could take them all at one time, or more likely they'll take 2, letting the ACC pick up Cincy and UConn to fill in for the departing schools, and then at a later time the Big Ten will take the other 2-4 teams and the ACC will dissolve. Cincy will got to the Big South or the SEC, Louisville will do the same, and poor poor UConn is probably going to be one team left out in the cold, unless they maybe join the Big South and Boston College will also possibly be left out in the cold, although BC has an outside shot of getting into the Big Ten.

But don't be surprised if the Big Ten moves to 16 soon, and starts up 4 team pods or divisions that would eventually expand to 5 teams in each, and also one reason why the last 4 teams will probably all come in at the same time.

I first thought that the ACC would be done in a year or two, but they may hang on for a couple of years with the Big at 16, while the Big waits for Notre Dame. I personally think we should leave Notre Dame out in the cold to fend for themselves or join some other conf. I'd rather have Boston College and the Boston footprint, although I am not sure how that would work for hockey? It might? But maybe they'd be given an exception so that they could stay in the HE? I don't know? The more likely option if we choose not to wait for ND, would be a school like Oklahoma. I love that idea, honestly, with OU and Neb in a division with Mn, Wisc and Iowa?! OU would probably start up their hockey team, too. Although I suppose that would be the ONE thing I'd be ok with about Notre Dame joining, getting another already established hockey team in the new BTHC.

I just think OU would be a better fit, and would have a natural rival in Nebraska, and we could do that without having to stall and wait for Notre Dame.
 

I think the next conference alignment will see Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa in the same division.
 



You could do a north/south aligment that would work as well. North: Neb, IA, Minn, WI, NW, MI MSU. South: IL, IN, Pur, OSU, PSU, Md, Rut

This would make geographic sense. It would be more balanced if Penn State can become a power again, although right now it would be football heavy in the north. But like people are saying you can't predeict future balance.bigten.jpg
 

You could do a north/south aligment that would work as well. North: Neb, IA, Minn, WI, NW, MI MSU. South: IL, IN, Pur, OSU, PSU, Md, Rut

This would make geographic sense. It would be more balanced if Penn State can become a power again, although right now it would be football heavy in the north. But like people are saying you can't predeict future balance.View attachment 1918

While you can't predict what the balance will look like, OSU could win the South with their second string most years.
 

While you can't predict what the balance will look like, OSU could win the South with their second string most years.

On the other hand it will qualify as a geographical divide(as Delany mentioned) and will protect the sacred opportunity for Michigan and OSU to play twice each year.

I'm getting sick and tired for cow-towing to Mich and OSU.
 

1nHcky... makes a good point about not worrying too much about this because this probably will be in place for only a few years before we expand to 16. So in that case, it'd make the most sense just to do geographical. I like either Adam & Brian's plans and as long as we end up with Iowa & Wisconsin I'll be happy.

That said, this was discussed before when that guy had a long article on it, but you probably can't (or at least shouldn't) do 8 conf games w/protected rivalries (you'd only play the other 6 teams once/6 years). So you could do 9 w/protected or 8 w/o. Anyway, I think you could do 8 w/o and use Rittenberg's. The only real rivalry you're breaking up then is Indiana-Purdue. So maybe you could protect only that rivalry or have them schedule a non-conf game in years they wouldn't meet (roughly 5 out of 7, maybe only 4 out of 6).

But I'd like Rittenberg's true geography the best. And yes, it probably wouldn't last all that long anyway.
 



You could do a north/south aligment that would work as well. North: Neb, IA, Minn, WI, NW, MI MSU. South: IL, IN, Pur, OSU, PSU, Md, Rut

This would make geographic sense. It would be more balanced if Penn State can become a power again, although right now it would be football heavy in the north. But like people are saying you can't predeict future balance.View attachment 1918

Well, this qualifies as "geographic"..kinda. But I guarantee the league (and Mich/OSU) won't allow for them to be part of a cross-division rotation schedule. So that means protected rivalries for every team. I haven't been opposed to this if we move to a 9 game conference schedule, but the challenge is most definitely coming up with meaningful protected games for half the teams.

In this situation it would be (ranked in order of what makes sense, at least to me):
Michigan - OSU
Northwestern - Illinois
MSU - Purdue
Nebraska - PSU
Iowa - Indiana?
MN - Maryland?
WI - Rutgers?

I haven't seen a situation with x-division protected rivalries that makes sense. And why should it.. you've already created 2 divisions that protect historic rivals as much as possible and you're ADDING 2 NEW TEAMS.

It's really a shame they just can't stop adding teams, it would settle the discussion now and get the league in to a groove of rivalries and importance of games. If they KNEW UNC and Ga Tech were the next 2 to be added, they could set up the divisions to allow it now with no change. But we have no clue for sure if the next 2 will be east coast/southeast like UNC, GaTech, UVA, etc or midwestern to western teams like Kansas, K-St, or even Notre Dame (ha).

Frustrating cuz we are in limbo and getting the casual fan understanding of who matters and why requires a semblance of continuity. I don't even know that we'll be done with 16. Why not 20?
 

1nHcky... makes a good point about not worrying too much about this because this probably will be in place for only a few years before we expand to 16. So in that case, it'd make the most sense just to do geographical. I like either Adam & Brian's plans and as long as we end up with Iowa & Wisconsin I'll be happy.

That said, this was discussed before when that guy had a long article on it, but you probably can't (or at least shouldn't) do 8 conf games w/protected rivalries (you'd only play the other 6 teams once/6 years). So you could do 9 w/protected or 8 w/o. Anyway, I think you could do 8 w/o and use Rittenberg's. The only real rivalry you're breaking up then is Indiana-Purdue. So maybe you could protect only that rivalry or have them schedule a non-conf game in years they wouldn't meet (roughly 5 out of 7, maybe only 4 out of 6).

But I'd like Rittenberg's true geography the best. And yes, it probably wouldn't last all that long anyway.

I'd also say the Jug game is important. I know I've argued this several times, but one could easily say the game is somewhat important from a trophy/brand perspective. As in, if you had to do protected cross-overs they would likely make that the one for MN-Mich.

I like the E-W split because it a) makes sense, and b) is pretty darn competitive over the last 10-12 years in terms of overall and conference records (as well as teams who finished the season ranked)

But yeah, if we go to 16 teams all bets are off on alignment, even if they could be changed relatively easily. I could see 4 pods of 4 just as easily as 2 x 8. And where the teams come from, who knows. They may shock us with a get like Oklahoma or Notre Dame or we could get more of the same in media market expansion to NC/Atlanta.
 




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