For the purposes of this thought experiment, ignore the location in the calendar of the games, just simply the idea.
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that Michigan and Ohio State are placed in opposite divisions. Let us also presume that Nebraska is placed in Michigan's division and Penn State is placed in Ohio State's. Let us also presume that with a nine-game conference schedule, two cross-division games are protected.
So Michigan and Ohio State is a given for a protected cross-division game. Should the Big Ten then also protect Michigan-Penn State and Nebraska-Ohio State, which would then insure that every season:
Ohio State-Penn State
Penn State Nebraska
are all played and that you would give significant value to the regular season?
I can see cons in this, from a Michigan standpoint and from a Big Ten standpoint, but does this at least make it more reasonable to say "We're preserving "rivalries" among great teams. Would anyone among you be opposed to knowing, yes, Michigan has to play Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State every year, but all four the "marquee teams" would have the same killer "circle of death" (or Octogon of horror, whatever floats your boat.)
Note: In the divisions version I created that brought this about, Michigan State ends up in Michigan's division with protected cross-over games against Iowa and Minnesota, which makes very little sense, but honestly, does Michigan State care about playing any one else in the Big Ten besides Michigan?