Stat Dump - Hypothetical Big Ten division championships and title games, 1969-2011

Submitted by Gordon on November 21st, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Now that the Big Ten is in full meltdown expansion mode, a lot of people are asking about The Game and its impact on the Big Ten championship game, now and in the future.  How often both teams appear, how The Game affects the division champions for better and for worse, and everything affliated with it.

The biggest complaint has been a schedule that has Michigan and Ohio State playing each other every year, with weaker teams having guaranteed rivalries against each other.  As it turns out, due to regularly dominant teams...Michigan and Ohio State typically come out on top anyway.

I looked at the Big Ten standings and results from 1969-2011.  1969 is the arrival of Bo Schembechler, the start of the modern M/O rivalry.  And in 2012, Ohio State is ineligible to win the division, the first time that's happened as the game was being played.

The standings are from the regular Big Ten schedule, without it being weighted for divisional matchups.  Division winners were the two teams that finished highest in the Big Ten standings, as divided up by the current divisions.  (If a 4th place team was the highest of a current division's teams, they were the appointed division champions.)  Ties were broken with head-to-head matchups, and if the teams did not play each other, I split the division title.

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First off, here's how the Big Ten championship games would have looked like, under the current divisions.

1969 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1970 - Michigan/Northwestern vs Ohio State
1971 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1972 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1973 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1974 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1975 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1976 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1977 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1978 - Michigan State vs Purdue
1979 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1980 - Michigan vs Ohio State/Purdue
1981 - Iowa vs Ohio State
1982 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1983 - Michigan vs Illinois
1984 - Iowa vs Ohio State
1985 - Iowa vs Illinois
1986 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1987 - Michigan State vs Indiana
1988 - Michigan vs Illinois
1989 - Michigan vs Illinois
1990 - Iowa vs Illinois
1991 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1992 - Michigan vs Ohio State
1993 - Michigan vs Ohio State/Wisconsin
1994 - Michigan vs Penn State
1995 - Northwestern vs Ohio State
1996 - Northwestern vs Ohio State
1997 - Michigan vs Penn State
1998 - Michigan vs Ohio State/Wisconsin
1999 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
2000 - Northwestern vs Purdue
2001 - Michigan vs Illinois
2002 - Iowa vs Ohio State
2003 - Michigan vs Ohio State
2004 - Michigan vs Wisconsin
2005 - Michigan vs Penn State
2006 - Michigan vs Ohio State
2007 - Michigan vs Ohio State
2008 - Michigan State vs Penn State
2009 - Iowa vs Ohio State
2010 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
2011 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
 
Lots of Michigan/Ohio State games, but most of the other memorable Big Ten teams win some division titles.  The mid '90s Northwestern teams get two, the most recent Michigan State teams won three, and even Anthony Thompson's Indiana team has a division title under this setup.  Having Michigan and Ohio State in separate divisions does create a lot of rematches, but just about every deserving and memorable Big Ten team makes an appearance over the course of these games.
 
In a couple games, Michigan and Ohio State played themselves into potentially huge rematches.  2006 is the most glaring example, but 1973's tie game within the Ten-Year War would have merited a rematch, along with 1992's tie game.  And, just as the 1970's was the big 2 and little 8, nine straight years featured a title game rematch.

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With that in mind, let's first look at the potential for rematches.

Going by the eventual matchups, 20 seasons would have featured Michigan/Ohio State rematches for the Big Ten title, or about 47% of the time.  16 of those, or 38% of the time, were outright victories with no tiebreakers.

Those seasons are as follows:  1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007

Michigan would have won the Legends division title in 28 seasons, with 27 of those outright.  Michigan won more division titles than any other team, pulling ahead of Ohio State for two reasons.  The first is that Nebraska, a division rival, does not factor into these seasons at all, winning zero titles in their one eligible year.  The second is that Minnesota, a longtime doormat, also won zero division titles over 43 seasons.  In comparison, every team in the Leaders division won a division title, with five of the six (all but Indiana) winning at least three titles.

Michigan's division titles are as follows:  1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Ohio State won a division title in 26 seasons, with 23 of those outright.  The Buckeyes had a much stronger division to contend with, but much of their faults were somewhat of their own doing, from timely losses over the years.

Ohio State's division titles are as follows:  1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009

In only 9 seasons, the Big Ten championship game would not feature either Michigan or Ohio State, with 8 of those without any tiebreakers.  In only 19% of the time, a Big Ten championship game did not feature either Michigan or Ohio State.  Those seasons, with a matchup, are below.

1978 - Michigan State vs Purdue
1985 - Iowa vs Illinois
1987 - Michigan State vs Indiana
1990 - Iowa vs Illinois
1999 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
2000 - Northwestern vs Purdue
2008 - Michigan State vs Penn State
2010 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
2011 - Michigan State vs Wisconsin
 
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Dividing up the division titles, here are the rankings of how those would be distributed.  The first list is how many divisions were won by all of the Big Ten together, and the second is sorted by division setup.
 
Michigan       27.5
Ohio State     24.5
Michigan State 6
Iowa           6
Illinois       6
Wisconsin      5
Penn State     4
Northwestern   3.5
Purdue         2.5
Indiana        1
 
Michigan       27.5
Michigan State 6
Iowa           6
Northwestern   3.5
 
Ohio State     24.5
Illinois       6
Wisconsin      5
Penn State     4
Purdue         2.5
Indiana        1
 
While there's a clear separation between Michigan/Ohio State and everyone else, there is also a large group in the middle of the conference, and a small group at the very bottom.
 
Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Penn State, and Wisconsin all ended up with 4 to 6 division titles, forming the clear middle ground of the conference.  The average Big Ten team finished with 4 or 6 division titles, with one or two eras of glory over the seasons.
 
On the very bottom, the conference's bottom feeders won even less frequently.  Each division had a team with around 3 titles, and a team with 0-1 titles.  Again though, everything is still balanced.
 
(While this is all speculation, Penn State's arrival in the Big Ten allowed them to rack up 4 division titles in about 20 years.  If Nebraska came in around the same time, we would have seen a similar pattern in the Legends division, with the Cornhuskers taking a couple titles away from Michigan.  Both divisions would almost literally balance each other out.)
 
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Lastly, so you can see the methodology and how each division played out, every year's results are listed below.  Included are the standings, the Michigan/Ohio State result, the potential Big Ten championship matchup, and a brief recap of the circumstances surrounding it all.
 
There are a lot of great potential matchups out there, over the years.  Enjoy.
 
1969
Michigan, 6-1
Ohio State, 6-1
Purdue, 5-2
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both division titles were clinched earlier
 
1970 
Ohio State, 7-0
Michigan, 6-1
Northwestern, 6-1
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan/Northwestern vs Ohio State
 - Michigan would have won division with a win, but fell into a tie (the two teams did not play)
 - Ohio State already clinched division
 
1971
Michigan, 8-0
Ohio State, 5-3
Illinois, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State would have tied Penn State with a loss, but would have won division with tiebreakers
 
1972
Michigan, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Purdue, 6-2
Michigan State, 5-2-1
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State won division with a win
 
1973
Michigan, 7-0-1
Ohio State, 7-0-1
Minnesota, 6-2
 - Tie game
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams had clinched divisions earlier
 
1974
Michigan, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Michigan State, 6-1-1
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched divisions earlier
 
1975
Ohio State, 8-0
Michigan, 7-1
3 4-4 teams
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched divisions earlier
 
1976
Michigan, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
4 4-4 teams
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched divisions earlier
 
1977
Michigan, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Michigan State, 6-1-1
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan won division with their win
 - Ohio State clinched division earlier
 
1978 
Michigan, 7-1
Michigan State, 7-1
Purdue, 6-1-1
Ohio State, 6-2
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Purdue
 - Michigan tied for division lead with win, but lost to Michigan State earlier in the year
 - Ohio State lost division with their loss
 
1979
Ohio State, 8-0
Purdue, 7-1
Michigan, 6-2
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan clinched division earlier
 - Ohio State clinched division with a win, would have gone to tiebreakers with a loss
 
1980
Michigan, 8-0
Ohio State, 7-1
Purdue, 7-1
Iowa, 4-4
Minnesota, 4-5
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State/Purdue
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State tied for division lead, two teams did not play
 
1981
Ohio State, 6-2
Iowa, 6-2
Michigan, 6-3
Illinois,  6-3
Wisconsin, 6-3
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Ohio State
 - Yes, those standings are correct.  Ohio State and Iowa only played eight conference games, and everyone else played nine.
 - Michigan would have won the division with a win, by a half-game
 - Ohio State would have lost their division by a half-game with a loss
 
1982
Michigan, 8-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Iowa, 6-2
Illinois, 6-3
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched divisions earlier
 
1983
Illinois, 9-0
Michigan, 8-1
Iowa, 7-2
Ohio State, 6-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Illinois
 - Michigan clinched division with win, but had head-to-head tiebreaker
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
1984
Ohio State, 7-2
Illinois, 6-3
Purdue, 6-3
Iowa, 5-3-1
Wisconsin, 5-3-1
Michigan, 5-4
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Ohio State
 - Michigan would have won division with a victory
 - Ohio State clinched division with a win, but had head-to-head tiebreaker
 
1985
Iowa, 7-1
Michigan, 6-1-1
Illinois, 5-2-1
Ohio State, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Illinois
 - Michigan needed a win plus an Iowa loss to clinch division
 - Ohio State needed a win to clinch division
 
1986 
Michigan, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Iowa, 5-3
Minnesota, 5-3
Indiana, 3-5
Illinois, 3-5
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched division earlier
 
1987
Michigan State, 7-0-1
Iowa, 6-2
Indiana, 6-2
Michigan, 5-3
Ohio State, 4-4
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Indiana
 - Both teams finished out of the race
 
1988
Michigan, 7-0-1
Michigan State, 6-1-1
Iowa, 4-1-3
Illinois, 5-2-1
Indiana, 5-3
Purdue, 3-5
Ohio State, 2-5-1
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Illinois
 - Michigan clinched division with win, but had head-to-head tiebreaker
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
1989
Michigan, 8-0
Illinois, 7-1
Michigan State, 6-2
Ohio State, 6-2
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Illinois
 - Michigan clinched division earlier
 - Ohio State could have won into division tie, but lost head-to-head tiebreaker
 
1990
Iowa, 6-2
Michigan State, 6-2
Illinois, 6-2
Michigan, 6-2
Ohio State, 5-2-1
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Illinois
 - Michigan won into three-way tie, but Iowa beat both Michigan and Michigan State
 - Ohio State lost division title with loss to Michigan
 
1991
Michigan, 8-0-0
Iowa, 7-1
Ohio State, 5-3
Indiana, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan clinched division with win
 - Ohio State fell into division tie, but beat Indiana
 
1992
Michigan, 6-0-2
Ohio State, 5-2-1
Michigan State, 5-3
Illinois, 4-3-1
 - Tie Game
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Both teams clinched division earlier
 
1993 
Ohio State, 6-1-1
Wisconsin, 6-1-1
Penn State, 6-2
Indiana, 5-3
Michigan, 5-3
Illinois, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State/Wisconsin
 - Michigan won very weak division
 - Ohio State fell into tie with Wisconsin, where both teams tied during the season
 
1994
Penn State, 8-0
Ohio State, 6-2
Michigan, 5-3
Michigan State, 4-4
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Penn State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
1995
Northwestern, 8-0
Ohio State, 7-1
Michigan, 5-3
Penn State, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Northwestern vs Ohio State
 - Both divisions were clinched earlier
 
1996
Ohio State, 7-1
Northwestern, 7-1
Penn State, 6-2
Iowa, 6-2
Michigan, 5-3
Michigan State, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Northwestern vs Ohio State
 - Both divisions were clinched earlier
 
1997
Michigan, 8-0
Ohio State, 6-2
Penn State, 6-2
Purdue, 6-2
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Penn State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State fell into three-way tie, Penn State won by beating the two other teams
 - Ohio State would have won division with a win
 
1998 
Ohio State, 7-1
Wisconsin, 7-1
Michigan, 7-1
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State/Wisconsin
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State tied for division lead, the two teams did not play during the season
 
1999 
Wisconsin, 7-1
Michigan, 6-2
Michigan State, 6-2
Minnesota, 5-3
Penn State, 5-3
Illinois, 4-4
Purdue, 4-4
Ohio State, 3-5
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Wisconsin
 - Michigan tied for division lead, but lost to Michigan State
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
2000
Michigan, 6-2
Northwestern, 6-2
Purdue, 6-2
Ohio State, 5-3
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Northwestern vs Purdue
 - Michigan tied for division lead, but lost to Northwestern
 - Ohio State could have tied for division lead, but lost to Purdue earlier
 
2001
Illinois 7-1
Michigan 6-2
Ohio State 5-3
Iowa 4-4
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Illinois
 - Michigan clinched division earlier
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
2002
Ohio State 8-0
Iowa 8-0
Michigan 6-2
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Ohio State
 - Both division titles were clinched earlier
 
2003
Michigan 7-1
Ohio State 6-2
Purdue 6-2
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan clinched division earlier
 - Ohio State fell into a division tie, but beat Purdue
 
2004
Iowa 7-1
Michigan 7-1
Wisconsin 6-2
Northwestern 5-3
Ohio State 4-4
Purdue 4-4
Michigan State 4-4
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Wisconsin
 - Michigan fell into a division tie, but beat Iowa
 - Ohio State finished out of the race
 
2005
Penn State, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Wisconsin, 5-3
Iowa, 5-3
Michigan, 5-3
Northwestern, 5-3
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Penn State
 - Michigan had clinched division earlier due to beating Northwestern and Iowa
 - Ohio State tied for division lead, but lost to Penn State
 
2006
Ohio State, 8-0
Wisconsin, 7-1
Michigan, 7-1
Penn State, 5-3
Purdue, 5-3
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State would have tied Wisconsin with loss, those teams did not play in 2006
 
2007
Ohio State, 7-1
Illinois, 6-2
Michigan, 6-2
Wisconsin, 5-3
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan vs Ohio State
 - Michigan already clinched division
 - Ohio State would have tied Illinois with a loss, and Illinois would have won division with tiebreakers
 
2008
Penn State, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Michigan State, 6-2
Iowa, 5-3
Northwestern, 5-3
Minnesota, 3-5
Wisconsin, 3-5
Illinois, 3-5
Purdue, 2-6
Michigan, 2-6
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Penn State
 - Michigan finished out of the race
 - Ohio State tied for division lead, but lost to Penn State
 
2009
Ohio State, 7-1
Iowa, 6-2
Penn State, 6-2
Wisconsin, 5-3
Northwestern, 5-3
Michigan State, 4-4
Purdue, 4-4
Minnesota, 3-5
Illinois, 2-6
Michigan, 1-7
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Iowa vs Ohio State
 - Michigan finished out of the race
 - Ohio State would have tied Penn State with a loss, but would have won division with tiebreakers
 
2010
Michigan State, 7-1
Wisconsin, 7-1
Ohio State, 7-1
Iowa, 4-4
Illinois, 4-4
Penn State, 4-4
Michigan, 3-5
 - Ohio State wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Wisconsin
 - Michigan finished out of the race
 - Ohio State tied for division lead, but lost to Wisconsin
 
2011
  Legends Division
Michigan State, 7-1
Michigan, 6-2
  Leaders Division
Wisconsin, 6-2
Penn State, 6-2
Purdue, 4-4
Ohio State, 3-5
 - Michigan wins
 - BTC: Michigan State vs Wisconsin
 - Both teams eliminated from divisions earlier

Comments

WolverineHistorian

November 21st, 2012 at 5:50 AM ^

I guess another fun thing in setting up these conference title games is looking for teams who would be this year's version of OSU.  They have sanctions banning them from playing in a bowl so they probably shouldn't be allowed to play for the conference championship either. 

Sleazy Mike White got Illinois on 2 years of probation in 1984 (for illegally giving prospective players transportation, meals, tickets and lodging) and the NCAA gave them a bowl ban, TV ban and loss of 10 schloarships.  So I guess you can take out Illinois from the 1985 B1G game.   

You can also throw out Sparty in 1978 (for similar violations under Dan Stolz) and put us in the conference championship game against Purdue.  MSU was already banned from playing in the Rose Bowl.

Otherwise, interesting matchups there.  That might be an argument to put us and OSU in the same division.  Kind of like Florida and Tennessee in the 90's in the SEC, it just would have been them every year in the conference title game had they been in separate divisions.

willywill9

November 21st, 2012 at 7:50 AM ^

One thing I was thinking about... how many times have we lost to Ohio State and still won the B1G and went on to the rose bowl?  I ask because it's going to be less likely we can do this in the future, especially as Nebraska is now in our division.  It irks me that we're guaranteed to play MSU, Nebraska every year (and probably now Illinois), yet Ohio State's toughest test is Wisconsin.  They should be forced at least to play Nebraska or MSU every year.

Blue in Seattle

November 21st, 2012 at 9:11 AM ^

Because I see this as a reason to separate Michigan and Ohio. If you trim down to when PSU joined, then PSU and Wisconsin are the next most frequent winners of the title. I have never understood why people don't think these conference divisions are balanced. Nebraska clearly brings a challenge equal to what PSU bring. In fact look at the top two teams in each division. Ohio and PSU, and Michigan and Nebraska. And let's not forget that MSU and Wisconsin were in the first championship game.

Yes, The Game is weakened by splitting Michigan and Ohio, but the championship game would have stayed weak unless you put Nebraska and PSU together, which is geographically weirder than what is happening to Wisconsin now.

Gordon

November 21st, 2012 at 10:12 AM ^

While Michigan and Ohio State are still somewhat dominant, the two divisions are balanced out.

The Game almost always affects the Big Ten divisional race, for better or worse.  A win over the main rival is a big step to locking up a division title, a loss can knock you out.  Just like it's always been, Michigan/Ohio State always affects the Big Ten championship, although in a different way.

By having balanced divisions that separate the two powers, it not only creates the potential for a rematch, but also allows other teams to win division titles in down years.  A Michigan & Ohio State division would all but lock out every other team in the division.

Gordon

November 21st, 2012 at 10:19 AM ^

I didn't want to rely on too many sanctions, because my off-hand knowledge is incomplete.  If a team won on the field, I put them in the title game.

Again though, putting Michigan and OSU in the same division would avoid a lot of rematches, but it would also lock out their divisional opponents from pretty much any division titles.

Splitting up the teams allows for potentially lucrative rematches, and opens up the field for the rest of the Big Ten.

UMgradMSUdad

November 21st, 2012 at 7:43 AM ^

1. Great job--I love the data

2. Even though in this scenario Michigan comes out on top more than any other team, this two division crap still blows

3. You must have a lot of spare time on your hands

Trebor

November 21st, 2012 at 7:59 AM ^

My only question - in 1993, you have PSU vs. OSU/UW. All three of them are in the same division, so I was wondering what the rationale was for making that the BTCG?

jocular_jock

November 21st, 2012 at 9:26 AM ^

Sure Nebraska would have had a similar effect as Penn State (5 division titles in 20 years) but what about adding Rutgers and Maryland. It is like adding Minnesota and Indiana. Errrrr.....

Mich Mash

November 21st, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

...excellent work, one of my favorites of all time.  Well-researched...keep up the good work.

My one comment is that the dominance of Michigan and Ohio State is unbelievable, but really cool to see laid out in your post.  I guess I didn't realize how few times other teams would have made the championship game.

ChicagoB1GRed

November 21st, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

One the one hand, you quite naturally and rightly insist on playing Ohio State every year, with most even wanting to share the same division. It's the only game you want even though OSU is a perennial power. On the other hand, you worry that your other conference rivals don't have to play OSU every year and get an easier path to the B1G title.

And yet there've been many posts along the lines of "UM-OSU will dominate the B1G in the future, with maybe Nebraska-Wisconsin-Illinois-Iowa getting lucky and having an occasional good year", so why would you even care about their strength of schedule?

My point is, since it's a given in the Michigan world to play OSU every year and everyone else can't, don't sweat the rest. There's been divisions of 6, soon there'll be divisions of 7. Likely there'll be a 16 team conference before too long. There's geography, scheduling logistics, and ebb and flow of school's program strength. Not to mention the occasional PSU sanction cases. No way it can all be factored in around the one thing you guys all want, preserving your game with OSU.

 

 

Gordon

November 21st, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

Honestly, I like things the way they are now.

Michigan should play Ohio State every year, and The Game always does affect the final standings.

The only time I'd radically switch things around would be if the conference went to 20 teams.  Then, have the Big Ten against the Big East Ten or something.

stephenrjking

November 21st, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

We're not conflicted. Brian and others have long argued that Michigan should be in the same division as OSU, which preserves the place and significance of the rivalry while ensuring better cross-divisional fairness and removing the distasteful possibility of a rematch a week later. 

Most of us hope that any significant divisional realignment will match us with OSU so that we can compete for the same divisional spot. The days of the Game determining the B1G title are over anyway with the championship game; at least let it determine the division champ. 

There's good precedent for this in the SEC, where rivalries like the Iron Bowl are in the same division and frequently have SEC championship implications. 

ChicagoB1GRed

November 21st, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

and "no longer a Midwestern conference" (per Jim Delany), I don't think you'll ever see UM-OSU in the same division. Now its all about maximizing the different combinations of UM-OSU-NEB-PSU games.

For now, they'll just move Illinois or another Leaders team over, because pretty soon it'll be a 16 team conference with those 4 each heading up a division and playing 9 conference games:

3 in-division games

3 locked cross division games - 1 from each division

3 outside-division games

I'm not advocating this, but it best fits the TV-driven, Midwest/NE reality and future.

stephenrjking

November 21st, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

This is an excellent collection of data. On your initial title game list you incorrectly list 1979 as Michigan vs. Purdue (OSU was undefeated that year) but you have the correct information in the season summary.

I found myself reading through every season, for nostalgia purposes. Nice work.

The only team without a hypothetical championship game berth since 1969 is Minnesota. A once-proud program that has been totally irrelevant for over 40 years--incredible.

Gordon

November 21st, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

Went back and edited it, along with all of the other data sets.  Thanks!

It's quite amazing that Minnesota has been highly irrelevant for so long.  There's a lot of random stats to use just for that (like Michigan going undefeated in the Metrodome, for example).