The best kind of Big Ten shake-up: Go with geography

Don’t be surprised if the Big Ten continues to expand, sooner than later.

But the true certainty in the next few months? Its divisions will be re-organized with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland in 2014. 


No matter what happens with Big Ten re-alignment, Bill O’Brien and Penn State figure to be linked with newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.

This gives Big Ten officials the wonderful opportunity of not only re-naming the divisions (You think the players know whether they’re in the Legends or Leaders?), but to also do a better job of actually aligning the teams. 

What seems certain: Maryland and Rutgers will be joined with Penn State. No other scenario makes much sense.

York County’s Randy Edsall will be leading Maryland into the Big Ten next year … and against Penn State.



What seems probable: That three of the league’s four traditional powers — Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State — will be together with Maryland and Rutgers in what amounts to the core of an Eastern division. 

Of course, things would probably work well enough if the current divisions were simply kept nearly in tact. Just move Maryland and Rutgers into the Leaders Division (I looked it up) and ship Illinois to the Legends. Wisconsin would be the only team truly out of place geographically. 

But it seems more likely that the Big Ten will shake things up more. 

That could mean an East division of Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana. The West division would be Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue. 

And the more I look at it, the more I like it. Or, at least, I don’t really dislike it, like I thought I might. 

One key to why this works: Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois should hold up the back end of the West almost equally to how Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana are projected to hold up the back end of the East. 

Could the complete re-alignment be more equal, even better? 

Maybe with a tweak like sending Northwestern to the East in exchange for Indiana. 

But, then, the geography would be messed up by one team. 

And we’ve been down that road before (with Wisconsin), and people seemed to be all bent out of shape over it.

But in regards to whatever happens, two things are imperative: 

One is moving Michigan and Ohio State together. Because how many really want the those teams meeting in the Big Ten title game a week after playing each other in the regular-season finale? 
The other is this: Penn State and Maryland must play each other on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend to end each season. 

It’s the one geography issue that stands out above most others. 

And that’s an issue we’ll tackle more in-depth in an upcoming column and post. 



This entry was posted in Big Ten, Expansion, Fans, Football, Penn State and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The best kind of Big Ten shake-up: Go with geography

  1. BobbyJ says:

    The East seems much more difficult than the West.

    • Frank Bodani says:

      The argument is there, Bobby. I bought into that, though, less the more I looked at them side by side. One possible concession would be to shift Michigan State to the West and bring Purdue to the East. Then again, is Michigan State truly a level higher than Purdue? Not so sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>