Wednesday, January 2, 2013
B1G division alignment coming (fairly) soon
By Adam Rittenberg
Big Ten division alignment is one of the more popular topics among blog loyalists, who are leaders and legends in debating which teams should go where.
Everyone should have an answer fairly soon on the Big Ten's revised division alignments in anticipation of Maryland and Rutgers entering the league. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the new division alignment -- along with the 2014 football schedule -- should be done by the end of the spring. Maryland will join the Big Ten in 2014, and while Rutgers hasn't confirmed its Big Ten arrival, the Scarlet Knights also are expected to officially join in the summer of 2014.
"I would hope we would have divisions and conference schedules for '14 later this spring," Delany said, "and a bowl lineup as well."
The Big Ten's current bowl lineup expires after the 2013 season.
Delany has said geography would be a bigger factor in the new division alignment than the first one, so expect several teams to be on the move. Several items to watch:
Will Ohio State and Michigan be placed in the same division? It would eliminate the possibility of a rematch in the Big Ten championship, but it might balance out the power between the two divisions.
Will Wisconsin move back to the "West" side of the league? The Badgers would like to play Iowa every year, and their rivalry against Nebraska packs plenty of potential.
How will the protected crossovers work with the new divisions? Would they even be necessary? After all, teams would be playing only two cross-division games unless the Big Ten goes back to a nine-game league slate.
We should get these answers and more by the time summer hits.