Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Big Ten Divisional Format Is Stupid

The Big Ten announced what their divisions will look like in 2011 and ... well sir ... I don't like it.

One division will have Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana in it. The other will have Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa.

Sorry, but it makes no sense. Why must these football conferences get cutesy and decide to rig divisions and their conference championship games? Why do they think it will work?

For example, the ACC's divisional format follows no logic. The only line of thinking was putting Florida State and Miami in seperate divisions so they'd meet in the title game and hold the event in Jacksonville. The problem is that it has yet to happen like that, and now the title game has moved to Charlotte. I'm a diehard ACC fan and I still get confused about who is in what division.

Same thing in the Big Ten. They seperated Ohio State and Michigan ... why? So they could meet again in a Big Ten title game? That's the plan ... but it could really backfire. Having two teams play each other in back-to-back weeks isn't very cool. Neither is holding an Ohio State-Michigan game in a neutral site.

Do the right thing, Big Ten and just realign the division geographically so we can all enjoy.

EAST: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue
WEST: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.

The only time it would work? Well, the Pac-12. I like their idea of splitting up the regional teams so that everyone has a chance to go to everywhere in the conference (it helps recruiting). So something like this works:

X DIVISION: Arizona, California, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, Washington
O DIVISION: Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Stanford, USC, Washington State

All the "University of" schools are in one division and the others are in the other.

But let's go back to the Big Ten. Here are reasons why splitting Michigan and Ohio State is bad.

-IT COULD MAKE THEIR REGULAR SEASON MEETING LESS MEANINGFUL: I know that's hard to fathom and I know that it will still be the biggest rivalry game in the country. But less could be on the line. Direct competition could be eliminated. For instance, what if both Michigan and Ohio State clinch their divisions by the time they meet in their regular season finale? Would they both call off the dogs as if not to show the other school their tricks? Yeah, a possible Big Ten title meeting could be epic, then, but it does rob then pageantry of their normal meeting.

-A MICHIGAN VS OHIO STATE GAME NOT IN EITHER OF THOSE TWO STATES: Hey, what city will house the Big Ten title game? Cleveland? Detroit? Probably not. Most likely any title game will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. I will admit that I'd be interested to see what a neutral site would mean to this rivalry, it really doesn't feel right.

-THEY MIGHT MOVE THE REGULAR SEASON GAME: Michigan vs Ohio State is usually played on the final weekend of the conference season. To keep my first point from happening, the league is thinking about moving the game to the middle (or even beginning) of the season. Going back to my ACC points, that conference did the same thing with Miami-Florida State. That game became their openers for several years ... until this one. Michigan-Ohio State works as the opener ... but would Michigan be willing to do that when Notre Dame is traditionally their first or second opponent every year?

-KEEPING THEM TOGETHER ISN'T A BAD THING: I'm not sure if you know this, but Texas and Oklahoma play in the same division (Big XII South). Alabama and Auburn also share the same division (SEC West). Those rivalries thrive on the fact that they are stuck in the same division.

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