Division changes: What do our experts think?

BTN asked for your feedback on three ideas for Big Ten divisional realignment, and thousands of viewers and readers sounded off. On Monday night’s “BTN Football Report,” our experts kicked these ideas around and discussed the topic of divisional alignment.

Watch what BTN analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Antwaan Randle El say in this video, then take the survey at the bottom of this post.

This divisional survey was actually our second call for feedback. Our original survey on Big Ten expansion and realignment is still up, and you can take it right here.

Results for all surveys on this topic will be forwarded to the Big Ten Conference office.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (16 Comments)
Eric on 12/17/2012 @ 10:22pm EDT Said:

I don’t get the talk about wanting Penn State to play both eastern new teams AND keeping the current divisions. The current divisions do not allow Wisconsin to play 2 of the western teams (one of which it has a long history with). If we are talking about letting regional teams play, then go with inner-outer or maybe east-west, but the current alignment moving Illinois east is a compete double standard (and I’m not even a Wisconsin fan).

Bob on 12/17/2012 @ 10:35pm EDT Said:

The inner-outter plan requires too much travel for the outter schools compared to the inner schools.


Cal Burleson on 12/17/2012 @ 11:13pm EDT Said:

Gentlemen- let’s not omit the most important thing in Big Ten football by getting lost in endless details. The Ohio State Michigan rivalry is the biggest rivalry in all of sports. Ohio State and Michigan must be placed in the same division. To do otherwise will lead to them playing back to back games a high percentage of the time. This is not appropriate.The championship game would often be a rematch, REGARDLESS of who won the Big Game. Let the Buckeyes and the Wolverines lay it all on the line as they always have. Balance the rest as you may, but do not do anything to diminish the greatest tradition in the Big Ten.

Eric on 12/17/2012 @ 11:47pm EDT Said:

Travel is way, way overestimated here. This is football only divisions and you are talking one-two trips to the other side of the conference. Let’s also not forget the conference already has Wisconsin in a division without any of the other western schools and has Penn State and Nebraska as annual crossovers.

Really let’s think about the schedules. I’ll pick Minnesota at random (first school to pop in my head).

Annual games in east-west: Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, 2 game against other division

Annual games in inner-outer: Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, 2 games in other division. Honestly, how many fewer people are likely traveling 1-2 away games against of Penn State/Maryland/Rutgers vs. 1-2 away games vs. Purdue/Illinois/Northwestern?

Carl on 12/18/2012 @ 8:34am EDT Said:

Why not divide North/South between Illinois/Northwestern. Divisions would look like this:
North: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
South: Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Penn State, Purdue, Ohio State, Rutgers

Daniel on 12/18/2012 @ 9:40am EDT Said:

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

This alignment seems very balanced to me, in terms of modern day program strength. Superior to other options, imo.

sbuel2 on 12/18/2012 @ 11:36am EDT Said:

inner outer makes no sense whatsoever. travel expenses are an issue with the distance to travel. I like the east west best but daniel, now is michigan state in the west? purdue or indiana would make more sense. I think annual foes like nebraska and Penn State do not need to be retained. play the six in your division and then split the rest for three or four a year with a 9 or 10 game season. The annual foe makes weird scheduling. Nebraska played wisconsin and ohio state the first two years. and scheduled for illinois and purdue for the next two years. tenatively schedule to play indiana in year five with the league. other conferences have you play the opposite division members every other year so you meet them once every two years and home fields alter per meeting, fourteen makes makes it awkward but SEC has already got a plan in place for so follow a similar plan. Go to sixteen and split into four divisions then easier to balance the schedule. play the other three in your division and two from each of the other divisions each year give 9 conference games a year, no annual foe other than your division. you meet everyone in conference every two year. With the rapid shifting of conferences, to add two quality teams might be better sooner than later. Carl your north south puts Nebraska in the north and leaves the weakest teams for Ohio State in the south????? I believe Lincoln is one of the southern locations. The current legends leaves Ohio State with Penn State on probation going to be weakened for years and Wisconsin as only true challenger with the weakest of the B1G lined up for Ohio State to play each year, Maryland and Rutgers are probably not going to be strong teams. The east would be penn state, rutgers, maryland, ohio state, michigan, michigan state and purdue or indiana, whichever one is more eastern (which keeps ohio state and michigan as annual foes in the same division) michigan and michigan state would be in same division for their instate rivalry. west would be nebrask, minnesota, iowa, wisconsin, northwestern, illinois and purdue or indiana whichever is western most. no annual foes, just divisions play thier six members and rotate the other division, perhaps three one year and four the other year or whatever.

Joe Cork on 12/18/2012 @ 11:58am EDT Said:

East -West provides best geographic and competitive bbalance.

Jim on 12/18/2012 @ 3:33pm EDT Said:

East-West is a joke. No way that is balanced at all.

Inner/Outer travel concerns are largely unfounded, and not very well thought out.

Take Penn St for example:

Last year they played at Nebraska and Iowa. This stays the same.

Gophers and Badgers head to State College.

Maryland home/Rutgers away.

One team from the inner home at State College and one on the road.

At least 3 OCC games would be at State College/every other year probably 4.


3/4 OCC games home

4 Big Ten games home

2 away games @ Nebraska (current cross rival; nothing new) and either Iowa/MN/WI

1 away game @ Rutgers/Maryland (easy travel)

Last game in Ohio,Indiana.Illinois or Michigan

Not so much different than the current setup, especially with Nebraska as a current protected cross game.

8/9 games each year in Maryland/Rutgers/PA

1 games in OH/IN/IL/MI

2 games in West (played at Iowa and Nebraska this past season)

The travel expenses myth has been officially debunked!

dutch1257 on 12/18/2012 @ 7:31pm EDT Said:

If you really analyze this alignment…to keep with the Big Ten Traditions I’m a firm believer in the “SANDWICH SYSTEM” which keeps Michigan & Ohio State in the same division. Back in 1896, 7 schools formed the Big Ten. They were Chicago, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. If you take 6 of those schools (minus Chicago), and add Ohio State…this could be called the Legends Division. Then the Leaders Division would consist of the rest of the Big Ten with Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers. The cross-over rivalry games would be as great as they could be and played around mid-season. The match-ups would be Michigan-Michigan State, Ohio State-Penn State, Wisconsin-Nebraska, Minnesota-Iowa, Purdue-Indiana, Northwestern-Rutgers and Illinois-Maryland. Putting these schools in this alignment takes care of practically every trophy game. I believe this alignment has great merit and adds more depth and meaning into the Legends and Leaders divisional banners! Also, the Big Ten should nickname the Big Ten Championship Game in honor of Purdue’s President in 1895 who initiated and organized the meeting which started the Big Ten with football as its headliner…Mr. James Smart…which could be dubbed next year as “Smart Bowl III”.

Eric on 12/18/2012 @ 9:17pm EDT Said:

I do have a request for the Big Ten Report. That segment was honestly…kind of a joke. They didn’t do any analysis of the positives/negatives of the different set-ups, didn’t show how schedules would look, compare historic strength, etc. All they really did was state their opinion and that’s something we can all see plenty of right here. I recorded both the last two episodes, but am not going to make watching the next one a priority.

Steve on 12/19/2012 @ 7:46am EDT Said:

who cares … this is all a joke … asking us for “help” … they’ll do what they want and what brings in the most $$$$$$$$$!

John on 12/20/2012 @ 5:29pm EDT Said:

What about a north/south division?
North: Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan St
South: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio St, Penn St, Maryland, Rutgers
This will make both divisions more even in terms of strength

Tom on 12/20/2012 @ 6:47pm EDT Said:

Dutch, I sincerely doubt that would happen, but I love it!

primetime509 on 12/21/2012 @ 11:51am EDT Said:

The suggestion of North and South is the option that is a joke! That would keep Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions which should never have happend in the first place and there is no clear way to divide the conference that way anyways. East vs West is the obvious best choice. It is so much easier to divide it that way and it has a decent amount of competitive balance. The East will be the better half for the first few years but the West will eventually rise up. That’s the way it was with the SEC when they split into divisions. Most importantly, the East vs West puts Ohio State and Michigan in the same division where they belong. Most Ohio State and Michigan fans don’t want to see a rematch between their schools. That would cheapen the rivalry.

what's up Doc on 1/6/2013 @ 11:26am EDT Said:

Bring in Eastern Illinois, N.I.U., U.W. Whitewater, plus U.W Lacrosse and the travel costs are miniscule. In fact, we can bus the teams with box lunches.