Divisions debate down to Indiana, Purdue

Submitted by Cold War on March 19th, 2013 at 9:24 AM

The Big Ten's future division alignment is taking shape. Barring a late shift in the discussions between athletic directors and league officials, the only question to sort out is: Will Indiana or Purdue move West?

League sources have told ESPN.com that the Big Ten, as expected, will go with a geographic split for its divisions in 2014. As we first reported last month, time zones are expected to divide the divisions. The only problem: eight Big Ten schools are located in the Eastern time zone, including future members Maryland and Rutgers, while just six are located in the Central time zone.

"East" division

Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State
Purdue or Indiana

"West" division

Purdue or Indiana




March 19th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

Well it will be the other Indiana team and then somebody else.  The big debate when we expand to 16 and decide to keep East / West divisions will be what team to shift from the East to the West.  Assuming two east coast schools being added, the 'westernmost" school in the East divsion would be MSU.  This also leads to 8 original Big 10 schools being lumped into the West divison and Michigan and OSU being placed in the East with all the newbies, which probably won't pass the aesthetic test.

When we expand again, we may have to settle for a non-geograhic divisional breakdown again.


March 19th, 2013 at 9:50 AM ^

Of all the things that have made CFB worse over the past decade+, expansion is the worst.  We now have to play Rutgers & Maryland every single year.  Let that sink in.  Who needs Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota.  Gimme Rutgers and Maryland!  Can't wait to load up the car and head out to New Jersey!  The sad thing is adding a couple more southeastern teams makes it worse.  We'd still be stuck geographically while IU/PU and maybe MSU move to the west. 

The timing of this rant may be a little off, but so be it.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:02 AM ^

I hear what you're saying, and I understand it, but it might also be a good move for the future of the program to go east.  Think of the exposure the east coast holds, and the fertile recruiting grounds it holds.  It's tough for a fanbase and school as old as UM see some of the old traditions go away, but it's either adapt or go by the wayside and become more and more irrelevent.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:24 AM ^

Try most MOST of the old traditions go away.  Goodbye century+ old rivalries.  Goodbye midwest culture and rabid fanbases.  Hello New Jersey?  New Fucking Jersey?!!!!  Not only is our new division way more difficult, I can't even feel good about pounding.  I live in NYC and don't know a single person who went to Rutgers.  I know a lot of people I can taunt after we beat up on Indiana, Purdue and every other B1G school east of Pennsylvania.  


March 19th, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

and know a ton of people who went to Rutgers, a school with nearly 350,000 alumni and over 55,000 students.  I know most people here are not thrilled with Rutgers, and orginally I wasn't either.  But they've done very well establishing a respectable program over the last decade (I know, Big East, rabble rabble).  And most of the people I know who went to Rutgers are thrilled to be moving to the B1G and expect many of their bigger games (home games against M, OSU, and PSU) to be held at MetLife Stadium (NY Giants and Jets, can hold roughly 85k).  Give them a chance before we completely bash them. I'm not making an argument for them to be a top national contender every year (and I most certainly hope they never get there), but I honestly don't see why people think Rutgers is going to be a worse program than Minnesota/Purdue/Iowa over the next decade (which only makes me upset because yes our division is going to be way more difficult than the west).


March 19th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

Call me an old-timer (I'm only 26), but I just don't give a damn about playing Maryland even if, as a DC resident, I get to see Michigan once every other year in town.

I just don't care about Maryland or Rutgers, whereas I actually do care about the rich history Michigan has playing teams like Minnesota and Iowa. I like Kinnick Stadium's pink locker room and I like the Jug. 

For example, Maryland fans can't even fill their own basketball arena unless they're playing Duke, where the inferiority complex is even worse than Michigan State fans. Maryland's football stadium will look a lot like Northwestern's when it comes to hosting conference foes since none of them give a damn about Maryland football. They're fair weather fans at best. 



March 19th, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

Are thrilled to be leaving the Big East to join the B1G?  

It was never a matter of the B1G not having bad programs.  The difference is that Mich has been playing Minn since 1892, not 2014.  There is no history, nor rivalry, nor much appeal like there would be when Nebraska joined.  Rutgers is a non-conference cupcake to start the season.    


March 19th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

That I know my rant today has been done a thousand times already, my only point is that I'm disappointed with the new division allignment.

I've never been a fan of Penn State and didn't want them in the B1G.  Now we have them and the two commercial additions that nobody wanted.  I wish we could have swapped out Nebraska for Penn St. and split Maryland and Rutgers between the divisions.  

I understand the thought process behind the new divisions, I just wish they went a different way.

That is all.  


March 19th, 2013 at 1:19 PM ^

I would have loved the "Eye" divisional alignment that was discussed here and by the B1G.  But even that would have cost us the Minny-Wisco-Iowa games.  I'm curious what would have pleased you (given that expansion is a reality), because it seems almost illogical to have done it in any other way.

Let's see how things play out.  I really hope the "cupcake" doesn't, you know, win very often.  New Jersey and Maryland produces some pretty great football talent and they'll have a somewhat easier job keeping a bunch of these players. 

SC Wolverine

March 19th, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

Change is hard and we all feel this.  But since change is here, this is not a bad scenario for us.  Can I see us having a real rivalry with Rutgers?  It feels odd, but the answer may be yes.  Recruiting wise this is a massive boon for us: New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina.  This will help us be a national championship contending team.  

I still wish the change didn't have to happen.  But evidently it does.  If we look to the future rather than the past, though, it's pretty bright for the block M.


March 19th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

and at this point, I admit I'm just holding on to the past even though it was taken from us, Michigan doesn't need Rutgers to recruit the NY area.  It doesn't need Maryland to recruit the VA/DC area.  What this means is that we're playing schools that no one wants instead of playing the schools where my family and friends went to college.   This makes it more difficult to travel to games and now I can't talk as much smack.  

Hold me.  (sigh)


March 19th, 2013 at 1:28 PM ^

"Can I see us having a real rivalry with Rutgers? It feels odd, but the answer may be yes."  Absolutely not.  Rutgers wasn't even a real football team until less than a decade ago and now you want to concede that Michigan would stoop to their level and become rivals?  Are you insane?  This is Michigan, one of the top ten football programs in the nation, if not top 5. 

And you're going to say that we're rivals with Rutgers?  The commuter school somewhere in New Jersey (who the hell knows where is anyone's guess...) with a HS gym for their basketball arena, a team that will play 1/2 it's "home" games in an NFL stadium, and a fan base that includes the Jersey Shore cast and that's it (unless you're a fool and want to believe Delaney's verbal diarhea that they bring the NY market). 

This expansion is a damn shame with piss-poor teams joining and is an absolute embarassment to the Big Ten.  You think the Big Ten is now a better brand / football conference now that we added that 53rd and 88th best football teams from last year?  We're falling farther and farther behind and not catching up soon.  What recruit wants to play in the West?  What exciting games will there be?  NONE.  About as exciting as the MAC + one good team (have to figure either Wisc. or Neb. will be decent every year). 

Don't look on the bright side, look on the honest side.



March 19th, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

The traditionalist in me would rather have Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota on our slate every year.  But the because of our country's demographics, we have higher growth rates in populations of the Maryland-DC-VA area as well as New Jersey compared to Iowa-Minny-Wisco areas.  The Maryland-DC-VA / NJ areas also have been pretty fertile recruiting bases as well.  The shift here (although losing more traditional rivalries) will only benefit Michigan in terms of recruiting. 

Think about it, we're going after players in the mid-atlantic region way more than we are reaching out to Wisconsin and Minnesota for players.  Selling Michigan to these recruits and their families, knowing they'll be able to player Rutgers/Maryland/PSU on the east coash will help us out in the long run.


March 19th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

I'm old enough to remember when the following teams were ordinary or downright bad:


- Florida

- Florida State

- Oregon


- Texas A&M

- Stanford

Downright Bad:

- Wisconsin

- Norhtwestern

- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
- South Carolina
- Miami

- Cinncinatti

It is the height of arrogance ti think that what we observe in the present is the permanent state of the world.

There is no reason that Rutgers and Maryland can not someday do what the schools on this list have done.  None.  Membership in the Big Ten's headline division will only help.






March 19th, 2013 at 1:34 PM ^

Wow.  You were able to select a list of the 10-15 programs that have improved over the past 30 years, made no real factual comparisons to the current Rutgers/MD situation, and exclaimed that "See, some bad teams become good.... so Rutgers and Maryland will be good!"  And people agreed with you.  Rutgers could also turn into Boston College and be the most "Meh" game you'll ever see.  "Hey fellow undergraduate friends, who wants to road trip to Madison to watch some good, Midwestern Big Ten football?" > "Hey, lets roadtrip to.... is Rutgers in New Jersey somewhere, right... and watch Michigan play a team we have 0 care about."  Or Maryland can become Kentucky... hey they had more than 3 conference wins one year in the past decade... right?  Or hell, maybe the Big Ten will get LUCKY and Rutgers will acheive NC State-like success... with 4-5 conference wins a year.



March 19th, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

For MSU to win their division they're almost assuredly going to have to beat at least 2 out of the three of us, OSU, and PSU. They may never go back to the Rose Bowl if they don't do it this year.

And as said by MGoShoe, no silly protected crossover games, where we get MSU and Ohio State gets Illinois or something.  There will always be some unbalance, but this eliminates it in the best way possible.


March 19th, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

I hate those stupid protected cross-overs so I like these.  We get to keep our rivalries and stay on the same competative balance with them as well.  If MSU would have went West, I would have preferred to give them the middle finger and said "see you in four years."  I'm not gonna lie, this seems to give MSU a tougher road to success, and sending MSU back to the salt mines needs to be the first thing UM needs to do to make sure the state of Michigan is a fertile ground for UM in the future.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

There are plenty more

UM v Minn (little brown jug)
OSU v Illinois (that ugly turtle)
PU v IU (probably some trophy that Indianans only care about...wanted to go with Hoosiers, but that's IUs mascot)

Now we need some to turn into a tradition:
PSU v Neb (I think the B1G was pushing that one)
MSU v Wiscy (someone else thought that'd be fun)
Rutgers v NW (just seems fitting to me)
MD v IA (???? Only option left)


March 19th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

I doubt they're going to protect anything other than PU v. IU because protected crossovers create inherent and long-running competitive imbalance within the divisions (the main problem with splitting OSU and Michigan). In the situation outlined above, you're giving Michigan and OSU near autowins most years while committing PSU and MSU into games that will normally be toss-ups. Totally abandoning them, other than IU-PU, is best for competitive balance within the divisions. And for the most part, you just end up with a bunch of "rivalry" games that fans aren't invested in (BHGP has been predictably hilarious in labeling Purdue "Our Most Hated Rival" or OMHR to mock the abitrary crossover they were thrown into).

PU-IU can stay because it's almost never going to matter in the division races.

And PU-IU is the Old Oaken Bucket.


March 19th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

But after decades of having OSU as our protected rival, it would be funny to see us get the protected rivalry break and see others have a hard time. I thought it would be hard for MSU to win the division before...if they have to play Wisconsin every year too? That would be funny stuff. And might make Nebraska actually have a bit of a tougher road. But I'll take it as it is.



March 19th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

Um, did you read the article?  Directly from Rittenberg's write up:


Barring a change in the discussions, Indiana-Purdue will be the only protected crossover, as the Big Ten wants to create as much flexibility as possible with its schedules.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:08 AM ^

because its closer to michigan and chicago and is a good easy trip, IU is fine too though. hopefully this means that they plan on eliminating protected cross over games, meaning each team would play a team from the other division every 2 or so years (7 teams for 3 spots per year) as opposed to every three years (6 teams for 2 spots). it would be more frequent at least and might make up for having to face the putrid new members every year.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:09 AM ^

Lots of big programs in the West (I kid, I kid).  The balance, however, should be ok assuming MSU falls back into its proper place (being mediocre, burning shit and complaining about all the attention Trey Burke gets) over the next couple of years.  The impact of Hoke's recruiting (along with Dantonio's protector's exodus from Columbus) will be felt.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

I don't like that we're in a significantly more difficult division than the west, but it seems like Michigan and Ohio will be the teams to beat moving forward and I do like that we're in a division together.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:35 AM ^

There's no realistic senario that would have seen UM play in an easy division or schedule where we would be a shoe-in for the division most of the time.  Thus, the best case senario would be for us to have our rivals, and the other big programs in the B1G have to slug it out with each other so the big boys (and MSU) would all be in the same boat.  This divisonal alignment is pretty much that.  Nebraska is the clear winner here, but eh, whatever.  I don't hate them.  I wouldn't mind seeing them in Indy.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

This is encouraging news, because it leaves open the possibility for us to have a protected rivalry with Minnesota.  If the addition of Rutgers and Maryland means that everyone gets their geopraphic rivals in the same division while we get to play the Brown Jug every year, I'll consider a bullet dodged as a Michigan fan.