I've mentioned this in a couple other threads at this point, so I apologize to those of you who have already seen it and thought it uninteresting, illogical, or other. I also wanna apologize to those of you who are already tired of talk about expansion. I know there have been a ton of posts on this subject, but I haven't seen anyone else suggest what I am about to and I wanted to get some opinion on it. It has almost no realistic chance of happening this way, but what the heck. It is December, bowl season hasn't started yet, and I'm not that excited about it anyways, so here it goes.
I recommend that when the Big Ten accepts a 12th team, they initiate a division system that goes outside the box of what has been done before. Instead of having permanent divisions, the divisions should be rotating and determined by conference record in previous seasons. Originally, I thought that the divisions should be reformed after each season, but Seth9 convinced me that a rotation occurring every two seasons was best.
For example, if this system had been in place in 2007 (with a hypothetical 12th team of course) the divisions would have looked like this in 2009:
(Combined Conference Standing from 2007 and 2008 in Parenthesis)
(1) Ohio State
(n/a) 12th Team
Based on this break down, OSU and Iowa would have faced off in the Championship Game (which should be held in Lucas Oil Stadium in my opinion). Again this does not factor in the 12th team, but I wanted to give a tangible example of how this would work.
These divisions would remain like this for the 2010 season, and then be reconfigured again based on the combined conference records from 2009/2010.
On to the analysis:
The major issues that have been brought up by quite a few people in regards to expansion is how to deal with The Game (in addition to other current rivalries).
Most say that UM-OSU need to be in the same division so that they can continue to play on the last week of the regular season without the risk that they will have to play again in the Championship. However, there is another group that thinks that putting UM-OSU on the same side will create a Texas-Oklahoma situation, where you have one extremely strong division that basically beats the hell out of the the other division in the Championship game (yes I know Nebraska used to be really good and I know Kansas State beat Oklahoma once, but in general the North has been terrible the last few years).
In my opinion, rotating divisions is the best compromise possible in a situation where no one is going to be completely satisfied. Some years UM-OSU would end up playing twice in one season and other times one of them would get screwed because they are on a side with the two best teams.
I'm just not okay with saying that OSU, MSU, UM have to be on the same side because they are rivals and have to play every year. Yes, I completely understand the importance of rivalries, but if the Big Ten tries to make divisions that way they will end up with an unbalanced conference, which is a nightmare scenario IMO.
With the rotating divisions, each team would obviously play every other team on their side. They would then each be allowed one permanent opponent (UM-OSU, Minn-Wisconsin, etc) from the other side. If you really wanted to make an effort to preserve all the rivalries in the Big Ten, you could even allow teams to have an alternate permanent opponent that they could play if their first choice is already on their side. For example, when UM and OSU are on the same side, UM could be guaranteed a game against MSU (assuming they are on the other side). I know this is starting to sound pretty confusing, but a lot of things about conference rules and scheduling is confusing.
That about sums up my thoughts on the rotating divisions concept, so I will now turn it over to the MGOBLOG community for examination. I realize that this is extremely unlikely to ever become reality, so some of you may find talking about it a waste of time. But I was bored, didn't want to work on a term paper, and wanted to see what people thought so here it is.