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NCAA Football Big 10 Football

Big Ten Conference Got Football Divisional Alignment Right The Second Time Around

Reid Compton – US PRESSWIRE

When the Big Ten Conference announced that the league will realign its football divisions for the 2014 football season to accommodate the entrance of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland, I knew people would immediately start complaining that the league would now be too lopsided in the East, and that it would be a cakewalk for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the West.

But I’m here to tell you that, despite what the national pundits want you to believe, this new Big Ten is about as balanced as can be and, more importantly, it also preserves (and reignites) some of the annual regional rivalries in the process.

If you didn’t already know, here is how the conference divisions will break down:

East: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
West: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

What makes people believe that the proposed East Division is going to be so much better than the West?

Is it because the traditional powers of Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State are now all together?  Who cares?  Just because those three schools are traditional powers doesn’t mean that the East is — or will be — automatically better than the West.

Take a look at the overall records of the Big Ten members since 2000:

Team—————W/L Record (East in BOLD):

Ohio State…………………….132-33 (.800)
Wisconsin……………………….116-54 (.682)
Nebraska………………………..113-58 (.661)
Michigan……………………….107-56 (.656)
Penn State……………………101-60 (.627)

Iowa……………………………….99-64 (.607)
Michigan State……………….89-73 (.549)
Maryland……………………….86-74 (.538)
Northwestern……………………84-77 (.522)
Purdue…………………………….84-78 (.519)
Rutgers………………………….80-79 (.503)
Minnesota………………………..74-87 (.460)
Illinois……………………………..61-97 (.386)
Indiana…………………………49-104 (.320)

East Combined—————644-479 (.573)
West Combined————–631-515 (.551)

Hmmm….those combined records seem pretty balanced to me.

For all of the talk that the East has such a deeper division, one would think that would create a gap worth more than just 13 games in the win column.

People need to stop looking at things from a strictly historical context and start understanding that this isn’t the “Big 2 and the Little 8 ( + 4)” anymore.  This is a conference that has plenty of teams that are capable of making it to — and winning — the conference championship game in Indianapolis each December and this is a move that needed to be done not only for the schools, but for the fans as well.

Before we start declaring one division superior (or unfair) over the other, let’s just see how everything pans out in a couple of years. We will still see Wisconsin play Ohio State. Penn State and Nebraska will still meet every fall.  Illinois and Iowa will reunite once again. Plus, Michigan and Ohio State will be able to eliminate one another from a spot in the conference title game at the end of the regular season every year.

With all this in mind, remind me again as to why I’m not supposed to like the new Big Ten division alignment?

Shawn Muller is a Big Ten Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @shawn_muller24. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.