Big Ten presidents to vote Sunday on new divisions and 9 game schedule

Submitted by Leaders And Best on April 25th, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Big Ten Presidents are voting this Sunday on proposed divisions, division names, and 9 game schedule for 2014. It also sounds like one school is thinking about trying  to ask for a change because they were unhappy with the new divisions--Rittenberg surmised that this school was Michigan State. Where's the threat?

From ESPN's Big Ten Blog:



April 25th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

MSU is slipping back into obscurity and they are concerned they will always play third fiddle to Michigan and ohio despite PSU obviously being down. I kind of don't blame sparty. I would hate taking third to fourth every year for the foreseeable future. I really do not even want to poke fun at MSU, but I think they see he writing on the wall.


April 26th, 2013 at 7:58 AM ^

In the past 15 years, MSU has won 1/3 of a Big Ten title, made no BCS bowl games ever, and have consistently pulled in recruiting classes ranked in the high 30's to mid 40's.  Seems they've been pretty obscure all along.  I know the narrative they've been pushing is that they've supplanted Michigan as the pre-eminent football program in the state, but we all know that's empty bravado.  They're about to find that out over the next few seasons.

I don't blame them a bit for wanting to face a less daunting conference schedule, but in that case no protected cross-over game.  They don't get to have their cake and eat it too.


April 25th, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

Michigan and Ohio State are going to be much better than Nebraska and Wisconsin, at least if we project based on recruiting and coaching. Michigan State would actually be able to compete with Nebraska and Wisconsin every year while they would certainly struggle to compete in the much stronger East division.


April 25th, 2013 at 9:10 PM ^

I thought it was Mark Dantonio just a few days ago that said, regarding other teams in the division / conference, that it was their problem and they would have to deal with it. He seemed all too eager to take on all comers. I don't know if you can have it both ways, if indeed Michigan State is the school that is unsatisfied. 

Leaders And Best

April 25th, 2013 at 10:18 PM ^

What would you expect him to say publicly? That being in a division with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State will most likely keep MSU from competing for another B1G Championship again during his tenure and possibly longer?

What Dantonio and the MSU administrators say publicly may differ completely from their actual views privately. A great example of this is the Elway to Marino 30 for 30 doc that aired this week. Jim Kelly and Dan Marino expressed their true feelings about who drafted them and where and that was juxtaposed to their draft press conferences expressing the complete opposite view.


April 25th, 2013 at 10:49 PM ^

On behalf of Sparty, all I have to say is boo freaking hoo.  Has anyone seen the conference teams they have avoided over the years? 

They did not have to play OSU in 2010, 2009, 2002, 2001, 1996, 1995, 1990, 1989, 1986, 1985.

They did not have to play Wisconsin in 2006, 2005, 1998

They did not have to play Illinois in 2007 and 2001

They did not have to play Northwestern in 1995 and 1996

They did not have to play Iowa in 2005 and 1991

They did not have to play Purdue in 2003 and 2004

That's roughly 28 straight years of missing at least one of the top 3 teams in the conference.  And there have been plenty of times where they have had a bye week before the Michigan game.  So don't start crying now that the schedule GODS gave you some karma. 


April 26th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

Possibly.  Basically any of the teams outside UM/OSU and the east coast teams which have literally no plausible argument to go to the West would be unhappy about being in the East with the traditional powers.  If IU went West, then Purdue would probably be unhappy.  But unlike IU and Purdue, MSU is the one with the huge inferiority complex that's convinced of their eternal greatness after two great years in the past 40.  I have an easier time thinking IU and Purdue are probably more like "whatever, it's not like we were going to be really competing for championships regularly not matter what division we were in."


April 26th, 2013 at 8:55 AM ^

It's a big advantage to the teams with five home games vs the teams with five road games, and you just KNOW they're going to have the schedule set up in such a way where we end up playing ohio and penn state on the road the same year we have five road games.  It's just the sort of thing they do, which is how we ended up playing ohio, Nebraska, and Notre Dame on the road every other year.


I'd almost rather see us play ten conference games per year, but then you can forget about ever playing a big non-conference game again.  Unless we go to 13 regular season games, which... let's face it, it'll happen eventually.  Money and all, you know...


April 26th, 2013 at 9:54 AM ^

I have been trying to figure some of this out, and I think it's a pretty safe assumption that all current long-standing rotations will continue into the future.  For example, Michigan will host Michigan State in even years and Ohio State in odd years.  Both of those rotations go back 50 years or more.

The other assumption is that the Indiana-Purdue host will indicate which division will play 5 home games, because there is a lot more flexibility in the cross-division schedule if you construct it that way.  The Indiana-Purdue game has been at Indiana in odd years and at Purdue in even years since 1920.  Let's assume that will continue.  This means that the East division will likely have 5 home games in odd years and 4 home games in even years.

Let's also assume that East Division teams will not have both Michigan and Ohio State at home or both on the road the same year--they will rotate those games, and that teams will also split Maryland and Rutgers so nobody's home schedule is loaded down with teams that aren't traditional conference opponents.

So, if those assumptions are true, Michigan's schedule will look something like:

Odd Years Home--Ohio State, Penn State or Indiana, Maryland or Rutgers, West team, West team
Odd Years Away--Michigan State, Indiana or Penn State, Maryland or Rugers, West team

Even Years Home--Michigan State, Indiana or Penn State, Maryland or Rugers, West team
Even Years Away--Ohio State, Penn State or Indiana, Maryland or Rugers, West team, West team

I have no idea if any of my assumptions are true, but I would have to think they wouldn't want to disrupt the long-standing rotations we have with Ohio State and Michigan State, or the one Indiana has with Purdue.


April 26th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

Those assumptions about Michigan's home schedule sound about right.  I agree with you that the conference will pair up Michigan and Ohio State for visits to the East Coast (one goes to Maryland, the other to Rutgers) and then have another pair of Michigan State and Penn State doing the same thing.  We'll probably see a rotation like this:

Year 1 - Maryland hosts Michigan and Penn State, plays at Michigan State and Ohio State

Year 2 - Maryland hosts Michgian State and Ohio State, plays at Michigan and Penn State

Year 1 - Rutgers hosts Michigan State and Ohio State, plays at Michigan and Penn State

Year 2 - Rutgers hosts Michigan and Penn State, plays at Michigan State and Ohio State

If they're correct, that would synch up nicely with the home-and-home series schedule with Arkansas.  The Razorbacks are scheduled to play in Ann Arbor in 2018, which would coincide with a year with only four home conference games at Michigan Stadium.  Then the following season, Michigan goes to Fayetteville, which means UM can still host seven home games (five confrence, two non-conference).

If Michigan is able to get a home-and-home on the schedule with a major program for 2017 and 2020, they'll have to find someone who will host them in the odd numbered year and play in Ann Arbor in the even numbered year.  I suspect David Brandon and company have been working that out already.

I also expect we'll still be seeing a lot of Nebraska and Wisconsin on the schedule.  They're the top two programs in the West Division right now and the conference does need to "feed the beast" that is network television (especially with a new rights deal starting in 2017).

As far as Michigan State is concerned, the other problem they have is with the non-conference schedule.  MSU AD Mark Hollis has made it a point to put some major teams on the schedule with home-and-home agreements as a way to promote Spartan football.  Besides Notre Dame, MSU has Alabama, Miami-FL and Boise State on the future slate.  

In fact, MSU has four non-conference game scheduled in the 2016 and 2017 seasons with two games each year against Alabama and Notre Dame.  Hollis is going to have to lose one of those major non-conference games now that the B1G is going to a nine-game conference schedule or opt to eliminate one of the body bag games (2016 - Furman, E. Michigan, 2017 - Miami (Ohio), W. Michigan).  Wouldn't it be funny if he had to cancel out on ND in order to play Alabama?    I'm sure Notre Dame could find a replacement, but it's probably been pretty rare for teams to cancel games with ND.

But if Hollis is committed to playing at least one major non-conference opponent per year plus Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and one of Nebraska or Wisconsin more often than not, he's going to have a pretty difficult football schedule on his hands.   If he was in the West Divsion with a dedicated crossover game with Michgan, he'd have elminated the annual contests with OSU and PSU and that may have tempered the schedule enough in his mind to continue playing major opponents non-conference (on a side note, MSU does have a home-and-home with Oregon in 2014/5).