Big Ten: New Divisions Would Have Been Perfect With Just One Change

By Shawn Muller
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Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

When the Big Ten Conference came to its senses and ditched the “Legends” and “Leaders” divisional names in favor of the more traditional “East” and “West”, and decided to realign the conference to cater to more regional rivalries, I was one of the first to say that the new divisional breakdown was much more balanced than it looks on paper.

However, for as much as I like the idea of a team like the Wisconsin Badgers being in the same division as the Iowa Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the Michigan Wolverines facing the Ohio State Buckeyes for the right to advance to the conference championship game every season instead of potentially seeing them play in back-to-back weeks, I do feel like I may have jumped the gun just a bit.

I commend Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and the league’s AD’s for thinking a bit more logical about the geographical alignment, but if I did have one — and I literally mean just one — suggestion, it would have been a “North” and “South” split.

Actually no, that wouldn’t be it … it probably wouldn’t have even come to that.  In all honesty, I would have just flip-flopped Michigan State and Purdue.

No matter what, there was going to be one team from the Eastern Time zone that was going to be stuck playing in the Central, so it might as well have been a program with more recent successes than Purdue.

That’s what made Michigan State the most logical choice.

Besides their matchup with the Wolverines (and that fabricated rivalry with Penn State), the majority of the Spartans “rivals” reside in the West. Anyone who has paid attention to Big Ten football over the past couple of seasons knows that the Spartans don’t like the Badgers, aren’t too fond of the Hawkeyes, and won’t be exchanging pleasantries with the Cornhuskers any time soon either.

Other than that, I can’t really complain. It is what it is, and there is nothing we can do to change it — until 2016, of course, when we hear people complain that the West is stronger.

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