Splitting the Big Ten: The Best Way to Create Divisions

Pete DymeckAnalyst IAugust 15, 2010

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 21:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball during the game against the Michigan Wolverines on November 21, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 21-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There is serious talk going around about the Big Ten (plus two) football conference, as the leaders of that conference decide on how to split the league into two divisions. Some say that there has to be an “East vs. West” approach or a “North vs. South” approach.

I disagree.

In my mind, we need to split the conference into two divisions based on all-time wins.

By doing so, this would be the fairest way to actually divvy the league up without playing on biases or creating one lopsided division of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, and Indiana.

That is what the proponents of the “East vs. West” approach want. Then, the other division would consist of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern.

Those that support the “North vs. South” approach would line up the North, consisting of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Iowa versus the South, consisting of Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.

At first glance, the “North vs. South” approach looks much fairer and holds more merit, but let me introduce to you the “Legacy approach.”

The “Legacy approach” would appropriate the 12 schools into two divisions based on the number of all-time wins. By using this method, here is what the league would look like. I will name the first division “Black” and the second division “Blue” (all time wins in parentheses).

The Black Division

  • Michigan (877)
  • Ohio State (819)
  • Minnesota (635)
  • Michigan State (592)
  • Purdue (571)
  • Northwestern (458)

The Blue Division

  • Nebraska (827)
  • Penn State (811)
  • Wisconsin (614)
  • Iowa (580)
  • Illinois (563)
  • Indiana (433)

Conceivably, this would make the annual Ohio State-Michigan showdown much more significant, especially if the Wolverines can rebuild their prestige to where it was before the Rich Rodriguez era began, but it would not allow a rematch between these two schools in the conference championship.

I support this approach much more because I think that if one team beats another during the regular season, the score is settled and we know who the better team is. No need to replay it unless it is necessary due to non-divisional showdowns.

Tell me, what do you think? What would you name the divisions and how would you align them? Do you like my approach?


This article first appeared on Pete Dymeck's football blog, In The Beginning... There Was Football. Check it out and subscribe to the RSS feed today!