With reports that everyone from Notre Dame to Texas could be joining a 12, 14, or 16-team Big Ten conference, the first event to take place is reportedly the addition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Big Ten. After many internal meetings, it appears the Huskers are willing to leave the white dwarf that is the Big 12 and head to the true Midwest, amid rumors that as many as six of their conference counterparts could bolt to a jumbo version of the Pac 10. Official word could come as soon as tomorrow, but the main source is the Chicago Tribune, so I'm inclined to believe them.
Immediately, there are many issues that will have to be addressed upon Nebraska's welcoming party. How do you break down the presumed six-team divisions and do you start playing a championship game immediately? Are more teams on the way, and do you wait until there are more teams to start the championship game?
My proposal is to begin playing a championship game immediately with the two six-team divisions being broken down in a North/South fashion. This may be counterintuitive, but my reasoning is sound. First, you cannot have Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State in the same division, and that's exactly what you would have with an East/West split. That leaves Wisconsin or Iowa with a "free pass" each year to the championship game in my opinion.
A counterargument to that would be if you break up Ohio State and Michigan into opposite divisions, they wouldn't be able to play each other every year. Not true, if the Big Ten continues to designate that rivalry games are maintained across division lines (the other that sticks out with my breakdown is in-state rivals Illinois and Northwestern).
So, without further ado, here is how I would breakdown the Big Ten of the future.