Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Poll: Biggest loser in new B1G divisions
By Brian Bennett
Shortly after the Big Ten revealed its new divisions for the 2014 season, I weighed in on the winners and the losers of the league's new setup. Now it's your turn.
In the second of our two polls on the topic, we're asking you which team, teams or, in one case, league-wide document was the biggest loser of the realignment.
Here are the candidates ...
Michigan State: Placing the Spartans in the East kept the Big Ten from needing a protected crossover for their annual game with Michigan, but it also greatly increases the number of obstacles between Michigan State and the Rose Bowl. The Spartans now have to deal with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in their own division every year, whereas the West would have presented a clearer path to Indianapolis and kept a budding rivalry with Wisconsin going.
Indiana: The Hoosiers already face their fair share of challenges in just getting to a bowl every year. Now they'll have to play Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State every year. Indiana's all-time record against those four: 36-179-7. Meanwhile, Purdue got to move over to the West, where there's a little more breathing room.
Little Brown Jug/Illibuck: The division alignment saved almost every meaningful rivalry, but these two longtime series bit the dust. The jug game between Minnesota and Michigan dates back to 1903 and that trophy has one of the coolest backstories around. The Illibuck turtle -- presented to the winner of the Illinois-Ohio State game -- is the second oldest trophy in the Big Ten.
Nebraska fans: Huskers fans had grown tired of the Big 12 North and enjoyed the idea of moving to the Big Ten where they could play Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State on a regular basis. Some fans aren't thrilled with the Big Ten West competition, which includes the likes of Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa, while many of the most attractive brand-name league programs are in the other division. Nebraska will still play those teams as crossover opponents, but the opportunities to see them come into Lincoln will be shortened.