Big Ten Realignment: How East-West Division Will Shape Conference

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Big Ten Realignment: How East-West Division Will Shape Conference

Big Ten football is going to look vastly different next season.

With the additions of Maryland and Rutgers, this power conference had to make some changes. And as ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reports, the presidents and chancellors in the Big Ten came to a unanimous agreement on a realignment proposal. 

This will have the conference split into East and West divisions, which will replace the Legends and Leaders divisions. 

The Big Ten East is set to include Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, while the Big Ten West will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

This is a logical alignment as it uses the natural geographic locations to separate the teams. 

This will cut down on travel and expenses for the programs. However, it is not without its faults. The basis, as Rittenberg also informs us, of the Legends and Leaders divisions was competitive balance.

This is not the case now. 

The West is clearly the weaker of the two divisions. 

With traditional powers like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in the East, not too mention Michigan State, the East is loaded. 

This division is going to be a battle and make the schedules for those teams tough each year. While this will look good for these teams in the strength of schedule department, it will make life difficult in the win-loss department. 

The opposite is true in the West. Looking at the West, it is hard not to envision Nebraska and Wisconsin turning this portion of the Big Ten into a perennial two-team battle. 

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

However, things have a way of balancing out in sports, and that is where the biggest impact from this announcement will occur. 

With an easier path to a solid record and path to battle in the Big Ten conference game, it will be easier for schools like Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue to raise their profile. Consequently, this will provide a path to enhanced recruiting efforts and greater success. 

In the ever-changing landscape of college football, this realignment will have long-ranging effects on this power conference. 

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