chance of bowl: 13.6%
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- 1 year 46 weeks
|1 year 46 weeks ago||Underlying purpose||
Let's all keep in mind that the addition of Maryland and Rutgers was designed and executed by businessmen with more interest in deepening their collective pockets than deepening the traditions of the Big Ten, a Midwestern football conference. That said, I'm going to posit that the divisions end up like this:
Winning: Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio.
Trying: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue.
Only significant "rivalry" (arguably) not respected here is Indiana Purdue (could be scheduled against one another anyway).. Otherwise, it also makes sense from a geographical standpoint.
This way, the teams that stand to benefit from the expansion the most (i.e., the teams with the best chance at recruiting east coast players away from other conferences --> UofM and OSU) will get the exposure they desire on the coast, and still only have to go out there once a year. Added travel expenses for teams like Michigan and Ohio are necessary evils to gain the recruiting advantage that this move seeks to encourage.
Indiana is really the only traditional Big Ten team that will be able to gripe about the distance, but certainly can't complain ahead of either/both Maryland and Rutgers, whose average travel time (according to the chart above) would be about 7 hours. Unfortunately, when you add two teams that have no geographic relation to the other 12, there are going to be some negative side effects. Sorry, Hoosiers; stick to basketball and all will be well.
Western portion of the conference can't complain at all. They maintain all their traditional rivalries, and ultimately remains the same 3-way power struggle between Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Iowa (when they're good).
No matter how it all comes out, you can bet that they'll screw it up in some nonsensical fashion.