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 10:39 AM ^

I say put Indiana in the East.  Considering this alignment is a short term thing until the next expansion, I want to see Indiana going up against MSU and OSU.  Why?  Because the offensive system Wilson runs with the spread, quick passing attack is one of the ways to beat quarters coverage which is what MSU runs and what OSU is switching to.  Thus, more chance of both of those teams losing and interdivision game (as we saw by Indiana giving both teams scares last year).  Am I overthinking this?  Maybe.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:23 AM ^

In terms of competitiveness, Purdue is a few steps ahead of Indiana, so I'd throw them West to keep things a bit more competitive out there.

The conference will only protect the Purdue-Indiana rivalry, though, right?  Our Brown Jug series will only be played every 4 years or something like that?


March 19th, 2013 at 10:26 AM ^

I think it should be Indiana in the west, because it'll be easier to remember all the "M" schools are in the east and all the "I's" in the west.


March 19th, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

Their basketball program has a storied history. Len Bias? Steve Francis? Len Elmore anyone? Indiana should go west. Too much storied tradition in one grouping and not enough in the other is not good over the long haul. On the football side lesser impact although Purdue is clearly the "better" program.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

I'm going to go out on a limb and say no.  

The only benefit I see the conference gaining from divisional format in basketball is reduced travel cost, but the total lack of balance in competitiveness isn't worth it.  Last I heard there were rumors that the Big Ten did want to expand to a 20 game conference slate to welcome Rutgers and Maryland.


March 19th, 2013 at 1:02 PM ^

We pulled DG and are now in on Da'Shawn Hand who we all know are both from VA. Being able to tell them (and all of the other D1 recruits that come out of VA every year) that we play in MD, PA and NJ every season will surely make it easier to commit to play in Ann Arbor

Same would apply to other recruits from Maryland and Pennsylvania as well. I'd imagine OSU and Michigan will have a stronger pull on east coast guys from here on


March 19th, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

I agree, would much rather play Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota/Illinois... well, pretty much anyone besides Maryland or Rutgers, but with Big Ten money coming in their football programs should improve.  Not sure if they will ever compete with the best in the conference, but improve nonetheless.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

Has to be jumping up and down with joy right now. Northwestern has to pretty happy as well. This almost guarantees a 40 some % chance of a big ten title game each year, for the next 5 give or take, before the season even starts.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

About alignment with Rutgers and Maryland, but another negative point just popped up. For "Themed Tailgate Foods", we lose cheese and brats with Wiscy and no-annual "home away from home" games @ Northwestern in favor of trying to figure out how to cook pasta in Pascataway and crab cakes in College Park. Sounds challenging for a Weber grill.


March 19th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

Rutgers traditional food is apparently this sandwich, which will look awesome or loathsome depending on your attitude toward injesting 1000% of your RDA of saturated fat.


I believe that is fries, mozzerella sticks, melted cheese, burger and gyro meat on Italian bread. They're sold from aptly named "grease trucks."



March 19th, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

By not administering daylight savings time, Indiana was in either time zone for half the year. This debate about which one should be grouped with schools in the other time zone wouldn't be happening if they had just stuck with it. I'll bet the state legislature feels silly now for giving into the man.


March 19th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

It's more difficult, sure.  But with ND going off the schedule for some length of time, I like having PSU step in as the future third rivalry to eventually replace them.  I don't think they're going to be down for long either, assuming they can get someone quality to replace O'Brien when he leaves. And I think the sanctions are reduced some time in the next year.  I also believe Sparty is brought back down quickly (though unfortunately they'll still have a good defense next season), evening out the competition. 

One tough game against PSU (when they bounce back) and one very tough game against Ohio isn't that much, again considering ND is off the schedule. 

the Glove

March 19th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

Completely basing this on my bias, being that I live in St Louis now I hate Michigan being in the East Division. I travel to a lot of games, but Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland aren't exactly in driving distance. Sadly I hope they add 2 more teams and do it by competitive balance. As of right now I see the East Division being like the Big 12 South division was and running the conference.


March 19th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Michigan has won one National Championship in my lifetime.  I'm all for change if it means that the Wolverines have a better chance of winning another one while I am still alive.  Statistically, I should live another 20 years or so.  If I am lucky, I will be fully aware of my surroundings most of those years.  

So, simply from a selfish standpoint, I like these changes.  The game is moving toward a model with super-conferences and a bona fide playoff.  The Big Ten's recruiting footprint is about to expand, and could expand even more if they go to GA and/or FL for their next members.  

I would prefer a couple more potential tomato cans, but I would be the happiest to see a model where the Big Ten champion has a chance to "tee it up" on a neutral field with a chance to win a true National Championship at the end of the season.


March 19th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

The East is the tougher division, but we are still better off.  I had nightmares about Ohio State and Penn State being the glamor programs in the talent-rich and media-centered East, while we languished isolated in the West with Sparty.



March 19th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

Hey Big Ten, thanks for finally listening and doing what us lowly fans have been pleading with you to do for two years!  Thanks again.  Much appreciated.

Ha!  Ha!  Just kidding.  We know that the fans are the furthest thing from your mind and you are really doing this so that you can get the BTN on NY/NJ and DC/Baltimore basic cable by offering up Michigan and Ohio State on an every-year basis.  It's all about the money.

I guess we just got lucky that common sense and B1G $$$ happened to align by chance.



Ali G Bomaye

March 19th, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

To all the posters lamenting the fact that the East is clearly tougher: who cares?

Winning a B1G championship is approximately equally difficult no matter which division we are in.  If the East is tougher, then it's harder for us to make the B1G championship game, but it's easier for us to win it since the team coming out of the West will be weaker.  The only way an imbalance in divisional strength hurts is if you care about how many B1G championship games we make, not how many we win.

Considering our real rivalries (sorry, Minnesota) are with two of the better teams in the B1G, there is no way to both play them every year and avoid competing with them for a divisional crown every year.  I'd rather have it this way than have us play OSU, have MSU play Indiana, and compare our records at the end of the year.


March 19th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

This likely is a strange and unscientific way of doing it, but I took the records of all these schools since 2000 and managed to get an average performance for each, and then put each team as well as the average season record into their proposed divisions as if it were a hyopthetical season.

If Purdue is in the East, there is noted imbalance in the overall historic performance - this hypothetical division would have a win percentage of 0.620, compared to Indiana dragging the West down a bit with 0.544 overall.

If you switch the two schools and put Indiana in the East, suddenly the East has only a slight edge - 0.588 to 0.576, to be exact. It seems to lend a little credence to the notion of competitive parity among divisions and division members (for in that scenario, Illinois is the only team in the West averaging a sub-.400 season) as an argument for putting Indiana in the East. Obviously, however, it isn't the only consideration. 


March 19th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

In the end, I suspect we'll see Purdue in the west with Indiana in the east for the short-term future while the conference is still at 14 teams.

If the B1G goes to 16 teams (say Virginia and North Carolina) and both programs come from the ACC, then Indiana will probably head west if the conference opts to use a setup with two permanent 8-team divisions.

if the B1G goes to four 4-team pods, then we'd likely see the following:

Pod A - Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Pod B - Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern

Pod C - Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State

Pod D - Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina

Like the WAC from the mid-90s two pods (A & C) would be permanently assigned to two different division while pods B & D rotate between the two divisions.  Teams would play the three other programs in their pod each year and the teams in the other pods two times every four years.

If the B1G goes to 18 teams (add Duke and Georgia Tech) with both programs coming from the ACC, then the B1G can have two 9-team divisions:

West - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State

East  - Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech

If the conference opts to go to ten conference games with this lineup, it means it'll take ten years to cycle through the teams in the west if home-and-home series are scheduled.

With ten conference games and a pod system, the rotation is much quicker---just under six years to make sure each team plays the other twice.  We'd have two 5-team pods and two 4-team pods with the two smaller pods rotating between divisions:

Pod A - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan State

Pod B - Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue

Pod C - Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland

Pod D - Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia

If the Big Ten were to go to 20 teams (add Florida State and Notre Dame),  then it's very likely a pod system with four 5-team pods would be in place.  It would take six years for every team to play one another home-and-home with divisions rotating every two years with a nine-game conference schedule.

Pod A - Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois

Pod B - Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana

Pod C - Purdue, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland

Pod D - Florida State, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia

Years 1 & 2 (Pods A/B and Pods C/D)

Division 1 - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Division 2 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia

Years 3 & 4 (Pods A/C and B/D)

Division 1 - Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

Division 2 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Virginia

Years 5 & 6 (Pods A/D and B/C)

Division 1 - Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin

Division 2 - Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers



















March 19th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

Keep in mind once we go to 9 or 10 conference games we will still play 2 or 3 teams from the other division depending on expansion. 

Also, has anyone talked to any sparties about this? They're probably all pooping their pants.