I'm not really sure of the formats for 12 team conferences, but everyone seems to want to say that you would have to group all preexisting rivalries in the same division, i.e. UM,OSU,MSU,PSU in the same division. However, if every team plays everyone in their division, that's only 5 games in conference. That leaves at least 3 more in-conference games; are these randomly chosen every year? If not, isn't it possible to put, say, OSU and UM in one division, and have UM play MSU and PSU from the other division every year as a protected rivalry? This isn't really inconceivable, because we already have protected rivalries with OSU and MSU.
I think at most you would want 1 protected rivalry, which is the SEC model. You play 5 divisional games and 3 cross-divisional games, with one rivalry game. That way you have 2 games that rotate amongst the other 4 cross-divisional teams. If you have two rivalry games then you would only have 1 game that alternated amongst 3 teams.
Bonus: We could disabuse MSU of the notion that they mean anything to us.
The Detroit News proposed an East-West split with the East division being UM, MSU, OSU, PSU, Indiana, and Pitt. Brutal schedule for the East teams, not so much for the teams in the West. Similar to what the Big 12 does with North-South (UT, UO, Tech, A&M, OSU all in the South).
And the Big 12 didn't mean to make it lopsided like that. Remember when the Big 12 was formed UT wasn't the real power that is now. Also Colorado and Nebraska were actually good.
When the big 12 was formed in the mid 90's, one could argue that Colorado and Nebraska were the two best teams in the conference at that point. OU was in the middle of the down period. Texas was pretty good - but no where near the level that they've been at for most of this decade. A&M was actually much better when the Big 12 was initially formed.
It'll be real interesting to see how the divisions work out, because if UM gets back to being a real good team, having UM and OSU in the same division is already going to tilt the balance of strength in the divisions to the one OSU and UM are in. A lot could be riding on who the 12th team turns out to be.
Separating the Big 12 into tiers based on program prestige:
Texas A&M (S)
Texas Tech (S)
Kansas State (N)
Oklahoma State (S)
Iowa State (N)
First of all, PSU doesn't have to be in the same division to protect rivalries. They don't have any rivalries. Second I'm pretty sure it would be rotated throughout the other division and it would screw everything up if not every team has protected rivalries and some do.
PSU vs Pitt?
If Pitt was the 12th team like someone else in the thread mentioned. PSU views us and OSU as rivals I believe.
Fine then keep PSU vs. Pitt in the other division but U-M and OSU don't view PSU as rivals
We are rivals with PSU in the same sense that we are rivals with Illinois and Purdue.
It depends on the conference. To my knowledge the Big XII does not have protected rivalries (otherwise Nebraska vs. OU would happen more often), but the SEC does allow one protected cross-division game.
I doubt a twelve-team Big Ten (or any conference with 12+ teams) would allow two protected games, but there's nothing to stop them.
Why not just style the conference with twelve teams in one division. You get 3 or 4 teams that you will play every year due to history/rivalries (for Mich, at least three would be OSU, Sparty and Minnesota). Then, there is a random draw for the remaining games that is held at a conference post-season banquet in order to drum up interest for the next year. Top 2 teams play for the title.
Or, perhaps a four-team playoff? Yum.
That could be a little more exciting than what now exists - I know when Michigan and Minnesota will play in 2012, for example.
Currently, every Big Ten team has two protected rivalries. Some of the rivalries are obvious and long-standing. Others were just manufactured. Clearly both of PSU's protected rivalries (OSU and MSU) were just made-up, as the Nittany Lions had no historical connections with any Big Ten school.
Michigan is the only school in the conference with two protected rivalries of long standing: MSU and OSU. Every other school in the conference could make do with one, but the current format was adopted so that Michigan could continue playing the Spartans and the Buckeyes every year.
Maybe the Big Ten will decide that no longer matters. A lot of people were up in arms when the Big 12 put Oklahoma and Nebraska into separate divisions, meaning that they would no longer play each other every year. That rivalry used to be huge. But the Big 12 wanted the payday, and they decided the rivalry was less important.
I have no idea why people are so stuck on splting this deal up by region. Why not white and blue division or some other stupid name. Like the ACC with "Atlantic" and "coastal" Then just pick the teams as you want them.
But as far as names are concerned, not that the other teams would go for it, but follow the old NHL model and use people. So you could have the Hayes Division and the Schembechler Division
Travel costs probably are a factor, even if they aren't a dominant factor. Penn State is far from everyone, but it's much farther from Illinois than it is from Michigan. Some of us do like to travel to see games.
If we are stuck with divisions, Iowa and Wisconsin combine to make a pretty good team every year, and Iowa very easily could be the conference champion this year were it not for the rash of injuries that hit them. It would not be horrible to have one of them be the contenders in the West. Of course, if we could snag Nebraska from the Big 12, the geographical split would work out extremely well... but that's optimistic. I still want revenge for the Alamo bowl though.
Do you really think they would put them in a division together, so they could NEVER meet in a conference championship game?