I wouldn't put UM-OSU Big Ten Championship Game in the pros category, that would be ridiculous in my opinion. The Game would lose a lot of meaning if it were known going in that there would be a rematch the NEXT WEEK no matter what.
North-South Divisional Alignment For Big Ten?
Thinking Outside the Vertical Split
So I'm sitting here reading how the Big Ten is going to split up the conferences and I'm noticing something. The way that most people have it set up is for a east-west alignment. Which makes sense. Its a lot easier to split up. I personally like the 4 division set ups better. But that does get complicated and if the Big Ten will not use a 4 division set up. Why not go North-South? This way, you get to keep the Michigan-OSU rivalry and have a chance at having a UM-OSU Big Ten Championship Game. We all know that would bring in the most money and definitely the most T.V. air time. The way i look at it, we could split the divisions up like this.
Now with this setup, the first thing you will notice is that this is not at all even. North has Arguably 1 mediocre team while the south has 2-3. The only way i can think of to make sure that this evens out is to make each division play the other division. This is very different but could completely even things out. ALL the teams in the North would play ALL the teams in the south, and vice versa.
How Will This Work?
Whoever has the Best record against the other division, is the winner of the division, and will get to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. This way. OSU and Nebraska (the presumable winners of the South) have to play the exact same teams, and you can compare the records equally and will have no dispute over who had a weaker schedule. Now this only leaves 6 games, which means we have 3 left. 3 divisional games, 3 random teams within the division. (Assuming that we move to 9 conference games for this setup)
What If They Both Go 5-1?
If two or more teams have the exact same record against the other division, then we look at record within the division. If that is the same, then we look at if the two teams played each other. If they did, then the winner of that game goes to the Big Ten Championship Game. If they didn't, then we see what the average points that the teams won by was(against the other division). Whoever won by more points is that divisions winner.
In addition this also ensures that UM and OSU play EVERY year, and that UM-OSU Big Ten Championship Game is possible every year..
- The UM-OSU rivalry will take place every year, no matter what
- There is a chance at a UM-OSU Big Ten Championship Game every year
- There will be no reasonable argument for someone winning there division with an easier schedule
- Not too complicated
- The South will more than likely be an easier division every year (if people really want to argue about that)
- Some rivalry's may not take place every year
- People will still argue someone having an easier road to the Big Ten Championship Game
- It is out-of-the-norm for divisional splits
Why Not Have South Play Teams In The South And North Play Teams In The North?
Thats thinking in the box, not out of the box, which is the point of this post.
I don't like putting Michigan and Ohio State in different divisions. The Game would lose so much hype if we faced each other twice a year. The best way to do it is to keep Michigan and Ohio State in the same divsion and the winner of that game go to the Big Ten Championship.
My money's on East/West. If you went by pure geography, that'd be:
East: Penn State, OSU, MSU, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue
West: Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska
That keeps most of the rivalries in the same division, except for the little brown jug. It might be somewhat unbalanced, but that changes year to year anyhow.
North: Mich, MSU, OSU, Wiscy, Minn, Nwstn; South: PSU, Neb, Iowa, ill, Pur, ind
The idea of back to back games against OSU doesn't excite me and diminishes the value of the end of the season rivalry game.