Joe Schad on Divisions: OSU/PSU in one, Michigan/Nebraska in the other.

Submitted by redwings8831 on August 3rd, 2010 at 11:58 PM

I didn't see this anywhere else on this site but when reading the PSU scout site, a user posted that today on College Football Live (ESPN), Joe Schad, who's been at the Big Ten meetings, stated that it is almost certain that Ohio State and Penn State will be in one division (East) and Michigan and Nebraska will be in the other (West). I'm surprised with this and thought Penn Stat would be "sent" West over us or Ohio State. Any reactions, or ideas of who the other four teams will be in each. I'm wondering if they'll keep the rest strictly based on geography or not.


Space Coyote

August 4th, 2010 at 12:01 AM ^

The only thing I can add is that Joe Schad also said something along the lines of Michigan and Ohio State still playing every year to close out the regular season


August 4th, 2010 at 12:05 AM ^

Just hypothetically, if the Big Ten wants to split us and Ohio State but are concerned about a rematch in the championship game the following week, would anyone here support moving the OSU game up a week (back to the Saturday before Thanksgiving, PSU/Nebraska would be the same day) and then playing Nebraska (division team, and OSU play PSU) in the last game a week later. Still keeps huge games for all four teams each of the last two weeks and would prevent a rematch the following week. I don't know how I'd feel with not having OSU at the end of the season, but this would be really interesting.


August 4th, 2010 at 8:23 AM ^

As enticing as it sounds to have the OSU game back in its rightful place in the third week of November,  I don't like it.  The idea of playing an Indiana or an Illinois after giving everything you've got emotionally for OSU, it just seems like a bad way to end the season.  If you lose the OSU game, who cares about this game you're probably out of it.  If you win, you can get caught looking ahead to the championship game, or you're again playing a game that doesn't matter.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:06 AM ^

So in other words, about 5 times a decade UM-OSU will play back to back weeks? That could be frustrating if, for instance, Michigan beats OSU by 10 to end the regular season and then loses by 3 in the Championship game and we have to watch the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl again. Would also be frustrating from an OSU fan's point of view if the events happened in reverse.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:27 AM ^

I know everyone is stuck on this rematch issue, but it is much smaller than people think. First of all, assuming PSU and NE are back to their elite level status (they were pretty mediocre for awhile) and with the improvement of WI in particular, you probably have four relatively evenly matched teams (UM, OSU, PSU, NE) and two a step behind them (WI and IA). That means that OSU and UM are just not going to dominate the conference they way they have historically. Additonally, the only way they would meet in the championship game is if both won their divisions in the same year.

If you assume a 50% probability for UM and OSU winning their divisions and a 40% probability for PSU and NE and a 10% probability for WI and IA (which is too high because it assumes no other teams ever win either division), UM and OSU would only meet again in the championship game 25% of the time (1/2 x 1/2 = 1/4). And that would only be when both were at the top of their games because otherwise they probably would not win their divisions. So you are looking at a scenario like 2006 every four years (or actually less than every four years because my probabilities are high). If that is the worst case scenario, two UM-OSU games where both teams are playing very well and probably have 10-12 wins each going into the championship game, that is not a bad worst case scenario.


August 4th, 2010 at 2:04 AM ^

I was using a 2/3 chance for UM and OSU to win the division each year just for the sake of being cocky I supposed. With those odds I reached 43.5% which I rounded up to 5 out of 10 for the sake of using a decade.

It really depends on the performance of UM and OSU compared to traditional standards. Even including good PSU/Nebraska teams, if UM is as good as the UM of the 90s and OSU is as good as the OSU of this decade, then I consider both of those programs on a higher level than PSU or NE(except '97).

If for whatever reason they mix up the divisions and have UM/PSU in the same one (I know this makes no sense geographically) then who knows what odds a solid UM squad would have if we conjure up some of that 9-in-a-row magic.

I will end this post by saying its late and I've drunk the Kool-aid tonight.


August 4th, 2010 at 5:12 AM ^

... if UM is as good as the UM of the 90s and OSU is as good as the OSU of this decade ...

That is the problem. You are sort of mixing and matching the best teams of different years or even decades. To have a rematch, both teams will need to be very good in the same year and PSU, NE, IA, WI and the others all will need to be not much of a challenge in that year.

Just look at the last six years, and that is an era with about as domimant a stretch by one team (OSU) as we have seen in 50 years. Since 2004, the B10 has had four different teams win or share the B10 title -- IA, PSU, OSU and UM -- and that is before adding NE. Of course, if one or both of UM and OSU starts to dominate their divisions, the likelihood of an UM-OSU rematch will be higher, but that assumes UM will soon be performing back to historical levels and that PSU, NE, WI and IA will all slide back enough that they really are only an occasional threat.

Space Coyote

August 4th, 2010 at 12:37 AM ^

First, I am not in favor of Michigan/Ohio State moving anywhere away from the last game of the season.  I think it needs to be there, and that makes it so special.  Second, I don't think it would suck to play back to back weeks.  Just because they aren't in your division doesn't mean if you win or lose to them it doesn't go against your conference record.  This game could still play huge in either team making it or not making it into the championship game.  I think the power of the rivalry won't be tarnished, because, basically, I think it's so powerful that it can't lose anything from playing a second game.  I think the second game will be just that much more heated and emotional.  Would it suck if one team one the head to head and then lost in the rematch, yes, but win baby, just win.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:41 AM ^

I respectfully disagree. 

While I realize that playing only once each year makes the game meaningful, imagine the hype for a rematch game.  Regardless of the outcome of the first game the next game would become exponentially bigger. 

And as much as I expect Michigan will dominate its division, and I believe OSU will dominate theirs, Nebraska and Penn State will each win from time to time as will other conference schools.  That means that Michigan/Ohio State rematches in the final game will be rare, which will make them all the more exciting.  Those rematch games will become LEGEN . . . (wait for it) . . . DARY.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:23 AM ^

based on your scenerio, game 1 is basically meaningless.  the loser still gets a shot at the big ten title.  i don't like it.  in my world, the winner of the osu-um game gets the shot at the title. no rematch! just my vote.


August 4th, 2010 at 2:33 AM ^

Number one - no game against Ohio State is meaningless. 

Number two - chances are the game will have meaning to one team or the other to even get into the championship.

Number three - if it's a foregone conclusion that both teams will get into the championship then that means they both have great records, therefore neither team would want to lose and the fans would be immensely fired up for game one and once the game is over the hype for the next game would be incredible.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:07 AM ^

UM and OSU should be in the same division, and they should play the last game of the regular season, as they have been for longer than I can remember.  I detest the idea of them being in different divisions so that the BTCG can sometimes be "Michigan vs OSU 2."  If they are in different divisions with a "protected rivlary," it just makes both teams' schedules tougher than everyone else's when averaged over a cycle of everyone playing each other.

Schad has been wrong before; I hope he is wrong this time.


August 4th, 2010 at 10:51 AM ^

I have no problem with allowing a potential rematch in the championship game so long as we make a rule stating that if Michigan wins the game, then we don't play a rematch.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:10 AM ^

I would much rather see M-OSU in the same division, preserving the sanctity of their end of the year battle. While the matchup might be fun in theory, it would be annoying for either team to win the regular season game, then lose the championship.

There is just something about the end of the year battle for a chance to win the conference title.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:12 AM ^

I'd rather be in the same divisiong. But I think this would work for both football and basketball-OSU, PSU, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota in one and then us, MSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Northwestern in the other.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:17 AM ^

No. Only the SEC does (out of the BCS conferences). I think the other conferences use the division for scheduling but ranked teams 1-12 for the tournament. I think in the old Big 12, you would play your division teams twice (home and home, 10 games) and the other division once (home or away, 6 games).

winged wolverine

August 4th, 2010 at 12:18 AM ^

I thought I read somewhere that Delaney said having divisions in football doesn't mean there will be divisions in basketball. The other conferences with more than 10 teams just give byes to the top teams (I think it's top 2 in the ACC/Big 12 and the top 4 of the Big East). There's no reason to have divisions in basketball unless they just want to find a way to give schools more banners to hang in the rafters...

The Barwis Effect

August 4th, 2010 at 11:40 AM ^ it mandated that you have to create divisions in football?  Couldn't you just play a normal schedule (maybe add one more Big Ten game) with all the regular rivalry games and then just have the first and second place teams play it off in the championship game at the end of the year?  Seems like you'd be getting a truer champion that way, especially in a year where one division is extremely stronger than the other.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:23 AM ^

If us and OSU are in different divisions and they want to eliminated a possibilty for a rematch the following week how about,

Second to last game (Saturday before Thanksgiving):
Michigan vs Ohio State (crossover game)
Penn State vs Nebraska (crossover game)
Last game (Thanksgiving weekend Saturday):
Michigan vs Nebraska (division)
Ohio State vs Penn State (division)
I don't know if I like having OSU not last, but its interesting if it happens this way.

03 Blue 07

August 4th, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

If we're going to play OSU twice, and it's going to be either in successive games or with one in the middle, I'd say keep the OSU game at the end, and roll the dice that we play them again the next week.

That being said, I'd rather we stayed in the same division, so that, essentially, it was a massively important once-a-year game, like it's always been. Also, OU and TX are in the same division, and I think it always added importance to the Red River Rivalry(Shootout), as you knew the winner was likely going to win the conference.


August 4th, 2010 at 4:54 AM ^

Yeah I kind of feel this way also.  I don't think the rematch a week later is what annoys people about UM/OSU being split up, its the fact that we play them twice regardless of the date.

I have always kind of felt like maybe playing them in the BTTgame would be kind of cool just for the epic stage it would create and would definitely be pumped up for it.

But the more I think about it, I feel like if it became a consistent theme (like more than once every 5 years), then we would all eventually be pining for the old format where it closed out the season.  

Playing them twice in the same season wouldn't be the worst thing in the world just b/c of the extra added huge game factor, but it wouldn't be optimal either.  The fact is, for the sake of the UM/OSU rivalry, the non-championship game format we are currently under is the best format.  But moving into the new Big Ten era, this slightly tarnishes the rivalry any way you slice it (it can no longer TRULY decide the Rose Bowl participant).

I think, in taking a step back, we should really hope for a UM/OSU divisional pairing.  If both are elite again, competitively it might not be fair, but it will keep things as close to the way we want them as possible.


August 4th, 2010 at 12:24 AM ^

I'm actually kind of happy with this and having a out of division rivalry week. there was an article that I read awhile ago saying PSU and NU wants to try to either be a follow up game or play befor The Game. Being from Nebraska I really like this idea!


August 4th, 2010 at 12:25 AM ^

Don't like it.  M and OSU in one division, PSU and Neb in the other

Like this:







Other Division








Doesn't make sense gegraphically, but pretty balanced and preserves most rivalries within divisions.  If a the 9 game conf. schedule happens, and sounds like it will, no problem preserving all the rivalries.


August 4th, 2010 at 8:57 AM ^

I see Wisconsin and Iowa as very similar teams, in that they have had good teams, maybe not consistently good teams. They need to be in opposite divisions to maintain the balance. Two of the following in each division (Mich, OSU, PSU, Neb), One of the following in each division (Wis, Iowa), and split the others how you wish.



August 4th, 2010 at 12:32 AM ^

You can't split Michigan and OSU without having a protected cross division game.  And if you play 9 games, that leaves 3 yearly games to play the remaining 5 teams in the other division.  Which leads to having, logically, 2 protected cross division games, and then you play the other 4 teams 50% of the time.  This means UM might be split from OSU AND PSU/MSU, which then picks up the 2nd cross division protection on the other team it's split from.

Playing OSU, Nebraska, ND, MSU, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and (maybe) PSU every year?  SIGN ME RIGHT THE FUCK UP.


August 4th, 2010 at 10:10 AM ^

I was thinking the same a couple weeks ago until I realized how brutal the schedules would be for the top teams in the conference. It would be great to watch, I just don't think they will do it.

But if they did, here is how they should organize the divisions with 9 conference games and 2 protected cross-divison games (the beauty of 9 conference games with 2 protected cross-division games is that you continue to have two years on and two years off with the cross-division teams that are not protected, so no team ever goes more than two years without playing everyone):

East West

As for the protected cross-division games, the biggest ones (which are shown above as the teams across from each other) would be the final game of the regular season and the other ones would float on the schedule to make OOC scheduling easier.

How do you pick the second cross-divison games? I would do it by expected TV ratings and historical rivalries. So, for UM, OSU, PSU, and NE, I would just swap their final game opponents and make certain all four teams play each other each year. For example, UM-OSU and PSU-NE would play the final game of the regular season and UM-NE and OSU-PSU would play in a floating cross-division game earlier in the season. WI-IA and MSU-MN would be the final game of the regular season and WI-MN and MSU-IA would be the floating cross division game for those four teams. And NW-IL and IN-PUR would be the final game of the season and NW-PUR and IN-IL would be the floating cross division game for that group of four.

Note, also (a) I think every single traditional B10 rivalry is played every year, not one is lost, and (b) it is near geographically correct (I swapped OSU with WI for balance and NW with PUR to protect rivalries, though now looking at it again, the NW-PUR swap might not even be necessary).

FWIW, I also intentionally put UM in the East Division with PSU and sent OSU to the West Division with NE. I did that because if the B10 expands further, it will likely be with teams from the east coast and/or ND and the new teams will need/want to be in the East Division. Since UM and MSU already play ND, it is better to keep UM and MSU in the East Divison so they all will be together. FWIW, UM also should be in the East Division for TV ratings purposes because it has a much bigger following out east than OSU. UM has historically pulled a much larger percentage of its OOS students from that area of the country.

[Edit: The following historical analysis was added after the inital post]

Because of the many comments on the board about the possibility of a second UM-OSU game in the event UM and OSU are in different divisions, I went back and determined for each year since PSU joined the B10 (1993-2009) if UM and OSU would have met in the B10 championship game under the above divisional alignment.  Based on the results of the games played, UM-OSU potentially could have met a second time as many as six times ('97, '98, '02, '03, '05, '06). However, in '97 (as we all know too well), NE was undefeated and shared the national title with UM. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that if NE had been in the B10 they would have beaten OSU and prevented OSU from reaching the B10 championship game. Additionally, in 2002, both IA and OSU were undefeated in conference play but did not play each other. Since both are in the West Division under the above divisional alignment, they would have played and IA possibly could have beaten OSU and again prevented OSU from reaching the B10 championship game. Accordingly, if the above divisional alignment had been in effect over the past 17 years, UM and OSU would have met for a second time in the B10 championship game 4 to 6 times or 24%-35% of the time.

A couple of final points are worth noting. First, OSU might never have made it to the 2002/2003 Orange Bowl against Miami if the above divisional alignment had been in place for that season. As I mentioned above, IA was also undefeated in the West Division that season and OSU would have had to play and defeat IA just to make it to the B10 championship game and then go on to win that game or they might not have received an invitation to the Orange Bowl. Similarly, OSU probably would not have made it to (and embarrassed the entire B10) in the 2007/2008 BCS Championship game against LSU because IL beat OSU during the regular season that year and, therefore, would have gone to the B10 championship game not OSU. I believe it is extremely unlikely that voters would have ranked OSU #1 or #2 that year if OSU had failed to even win their division let alone their conference.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:07 AM ^

Everyone is complaining about a rematch but think of it this way.  When we play nine conferenece games we will miss two cross division teams.  If those teams are bottom feeders or middle of the pack aka they aren't winning the division.  Then we will rematch whoever wins the divison.  OSU, PSU, WI, IOWA etc etc whoever is in the other division it might not be back to back weeks but what if the week before OSU we play WI and then a week after OSU play them again in the championship.  Its no different really.  To be the best you have to beat the best and if that means playing OSU back to back fine by me.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:33 AM ^

Yes. Rematches are going to happen, frequently. Even if there are only 8 conference games, every team will still miss only three other teams - this means there is at least a 50% chance the team you meet in the championship game will be a team you've already played. If we make the last week a crossover week to preserve The Game as the season finale (in the case with UM/OSU in separate divisions), then two-weeks-in-a-row rematches will be even more frequent, since the other protected cross division rivalries would match teams of similar historical success (e.g. Penn State - Indiana would probably not be an end-of-the-season rivalry game, but Penn State - Nebraska might).

Besides, the likelihood is that, even if there is a two-in-a-row rematch, both games will still matter. The Big Ten has frequently sent multiple teams to BCS bowls - for us, going 2-0 against OSU vs. going 1-1 might be the difference between going to the Rose Bowl and playing for the National Championship. Winning at least 1 out of 2 might be the difference between an at-large BCS berth and the Capital One Bowl (or worse). In the current system, I can't think of many cases where both teams wouldn't have a lot of incentive to win both games.

At the end of the day, I agree with Rich Rod - UofM could play OSU three times a week and I'd still watch every one.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:54 AM ^

That is what many people are missing. If you have cross-division games, rematches are unavoidable. It might not be UM-OSU, but it will be some other set of teams who already have played in a cross-division game earlier in the season. Also, and this is important, the only time you will get rematches is when both teams are very good (otherwise, they would not have won their divisions in the first place). That means any rematches in the championship game will be a rematch of two very good teams (10-12 wins in regular season) who likely had a close game the first time around. It is hardly the worst possible thing that could happen to college football.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:08 AM ^

Competitive balance is temporary. (Just ask the Big XII; in the early years the North division was the one that was completely stacked.) Geography is forever.

Align divisions based on balance, and once the balance of power shifts (this is inevitable, even in a sport like college football where traditional powers typically stay that way for quite some time) your divisions might as well have been names drawn out of a hat. Do it based on geography, and they'll always make sense.


August 4th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

You can pretty much predict whom the best programs will be in each conference over the next 10-20 years: it's the historical powers.  Yes, by chance the two traditional Big 12 South programs (Texas and Oklahoma) were temporarily down when that conference was formed, but no one seriously thought they'd be down for long, and right now it's hard to imagine either going downhill barring another NCAA probe.  Likewise, you know that while USC will be a little down the next few seasons, they'll be back soon enough.  And Michigan will, too.  These programs have too many institutional advantages not to.  Conversely, I'll be very surprised if Iowa and Wisconsin remain near the top of the conference in the long run.  Those are programs with very little recruiting base and limited pull outside the region.  They're punching above their weight class right now.  It's a pretty safe bet that UM/OSU/PSU/Neb will be the four best programs in the conference over the next decade or two, and so we should split them up.   

Edward Khil

August 4th, 2010 at 2:01 AM ^

...including Brian, IIRC.  But put me down for splitting them up.

It won't necessarily make M's and OSU's schedule harder than everyone else's.  If Minnesota were in Michigan's division, that would tend to even things out.

I just think that, by splitting them up, the first time Michigan and Ohio State met for a second time in one season would be a landmark confrontation, about as big as '06 when they were ranked #1 and #2.  And it would be huge every time.

I doubt it would happen even as often as once every four years, on average.  If we look at Big Ten final standings since 1993, pretend that the top two teams would have squared off, and use overall record as a tie-breaker where necessary* (and then head-to-head in '07 when Michigan beat Illinois), M and OSU would have qualified for the (very) fictional BTC game all of three times in 17 years.  Including Nebraska would likely make it even harder to get there.

If M plays OSU in a rematch every 5-7 years on average, it would be what Joe Biden calls a BFD every single time.  And I for one would not get bored--or offended--if it happened more often.

* Yes, I'm including bowl games.  But this is a back of the envelope drive-by calc, and not even its own thread.  The Mathlete I am not.


August 4th, 2010 at 1:48 AM ^

Wisconsin and Iowa are legit contenders. Make the divisions like this...












Ohio State

Penn State





It's the only way.

Gulo Gulo Luscus

August 4th, 2010 at 2:23 AM ^

A quick mapping of Big 10 country (which is mighty wide these days) justififes your alignment.  The other geographic option (North/South):



Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State


Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State


Honestly this isn't terribly imbalanced if UM has to split up with OSU, and it maintains major UM rivalries with MSU, IA, WI.


On a side note, I must say the MGoCommunity is getting way ahead of itself worrying about a potential re-match with OSU.  Regardless of conference re-alignment, it is way too early to think about the "problem" of winning our division year in and year out.  To my dismay, only OSU seems like a guaranteed championship game spot right now.