This is my first diary, so here goes nothing.
As you all know, the new divisional alignment in the Big Ten will depend mainly on the following two factors: geography, and competitive balance. This diary will attempt to evaluate each of the proposed divisional alignments on the BTN survey based on geography.
I have created a spreadsheet that contains the travel distances from each school in the Big Ten to every other school in an effort to see which divisional alignment is best in terms of travel distance. I used Google Maps directions to obtain the distances. I know that teams fly if the distance is over a certain amount, and therefore these distances may not be useful in some instances, but this can give you an idea of the travel costs for each team.
Here are the straight up distances, along with average distance to other schools for each team:
Here is a list and description of things I will be looking at:
Avg Division Travel (ADT) - Average distance from a school to each of the other schools in the same division
Avg Crossover Travel (ACT) - Average distance from a school to each of the schools in the opposite division
Composite Avg - [(2/3*ADT)+(1/3*ACT)] The thought here is that in a 9 game conference schedule, 2/3 of the games will consist of divisional games, and 1/3 will consist of crossover games. This value attempts to compute the average travel distance for each away game in the conference.
Average Outer - This is a critical stat for comparing the amount of travel in each divisional layout. This value is the average traveling distance to an away game for one of the schools that would be in the Inner-Outer divisional layout. These schools will typically have the longest travel since they are located on the outskirts of the Big Ten footprint. Making travel a little easier for these schools should be an objective.
Average All - This is the average of the Composite Average for each school in the Big Ten
Now, let's look at the divisions:
|Avg Division Travel||375||365||436||448||446||588||658||396||352||498||340||507||840||668|
|Avg Crossover Travel||398||460||493||363||379||697||777||349||476||635||405||382||518||820|
|Avg Division Travel||295||465||263||350||389||410||480||267||320||357||331||265||425||498|
|Avg Crossover Travel||467||375||641||447||428||850||929||460||503||756||413||589||873||966|
|Avg Division Travel||230||233||574||247||245||713||844||236||263||531||194||569||746||804|
|Avg Crossover Travel||522||573||374||535||552||590||659||487||507||497||530||329||598||703|
So, what did we find? You can tell right away that the Existing +1 divsion setup is the worst in terms of geography. The average away game will be 500 miles on the dot from the traveling team's campus. The Outer teams will have to travel an average of 600 miles to opposing teams' campuses.
The East-West setup improves things a bit, which is an intuitive result. The average away game is 451 miles for each Big Ten team.
The Inner Outer setup is less improved, but somewhat surprising is the fact that it is a little better than the current setup. This is because while the Outer Division will have to travel very far for half of its division games, the crossover games won't be very far in most cases. The Inner Division will rarely have to travel very far.The average away game is 484 miles from campus.
Overall, I think the Inner-Outer setup provides the best competitive balance, and it improves upon the current divisional setup in terms of geography. Inner-Outer gets my vote, and it already seems to be the most popular amongst mgobloggers.