The divisions were announced last night, and they're more gerrymandered than a New York congressional district.
The conference had said previously that their three concerns in dividing up would be 1) maintaining a competitive balance, 2) maintaining rivalries, and 3) geography, and in that order.
So how did they do?
1) Maintaining a competitive balance. This is so dumb as to be hardly even worth considering. It assumes that schools become no better and no worse over time. And even if they don't, who is the current "competitive balance" to Ohio State in the other division? Michigan? Please. Michigan State? NORTHWESTERN? COME ON! What if say, Wisconsin, grows into a Ohio State-like powerhouse (one that wins its bowl games, though)? Will the divisions change? No. So, fail.
2) Maintaining rivalries. What are the tradition Big Ten rivalries, and were they "maintained?"
- Michigan - Ohio State: Obviously the biggest. Will still play each other in a "cross-division" rivalry game on the last week of each season. So, why put them in a different division? Georgia-Florida: both in the same division. UNC-Duke (hahaha... aaahhhahahahaha... no, not football): both in the same division. THAT'S how you make a rivalry. You don't make up some bullshit "cross-division" name and then call it a rivalry. I call this "not maintained." That they still play each other every year is a mere technicality. Playing the game on the last week of the season makes it sort of an "all or nothing" deal. Either the game has meaning for the championship, or it doesn't, whereas putting the two in the same division would make the game float in the schedule each year. With the addition of a championship game, can you see a situation where Ohio State has the division sewn up going into the Michigan game, and then plays scrubs so nobody gets hurt? I can.
- Minnesota - Wisconsin: Same deal. Huge game. We've been assured they'll play each other in a cross-division rivalry game. Just dumb.
- Wisconsin - Iowa: NOT MAINTAINED.
- Even the recent quasi-rivalries we've seen emerge over the past few years, like Wisconsin - Northwestern have not been maintained.
- ESPN says: "
- Other ones too dumb to mention. Except maybe Michigan - Michigan State, which I guess is sort of maintained.
I honestly don't see a whole lot of logic to the announced split, but we can be damned sure it was driven primarily by loudmouth Ohio State fans, and whatever beer-soaked corn dog logic they barfed up behind the Denny's.