College football is cyclical. Teams that are really good now may not be quite so good in 10 years and vice versa. So it’s unfair to cast complete judgment on the competitive imbalance of the two proposed divisions right now.
But having said that, at least for the forseeable future, the B1G West looks to be the Big 12 North 2.0.
Wisconsin is the three-time defending conference champion, but will be breaking in a new coach. Nebraska is a team that seems on the rise, but has yet to get over the line. Northwestern and Minnesota are teams on the rise, but likely with ceilings in terms of how good they can get.
Illinois looks to be a sleeping giant like Missouri, but the Illini have been napping for a long time. And Iowa and Purdue are schools with football programs in serious need of help.
Meanwhile, the East has both Ohio State and Michigan, not to mention Michigan State and Penn State. If you were to rank the schools in the conference one through 14 in terms of likely success in the next five years, you’d probably have three East schools in the top five.
The B1G already has a lousy perception nationwide. If the B1G West gets a Big 12 North 2.0 kind of reputation, that will further harm Nebraska’s perceived strength of schedule. And with the College Football Playoff starting after next season, strength of schedule will be even more important to fight for one of those four spots.
(I swear to heaven, “College Football Playoff” is what the thing is going to be called, according to ESPN. No word on whether the logo will be black stencil on a plain white background like the generic product craze of the 1970s.)
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