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With all the media hoopla surrounding the coming-out of Jason Collins, another equally newsworthy story found itself swept under the rug and pushed into the closet.
Big Ten football officials have publicly announced their decision regarding the conference’s divisional restructuring moving forward, as Rutgers and Maryland are set to join for the 2014 season. Doing away with the former short-lived “Leaders” and “Legends” divisions, the new East/West model makes much more sense, especially geographically.
Here’s what the new and improved B1G will look like:
East: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
West: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
Over the next two seasons, teams will play six games in their own division along with two “crossover” matchups.
As a Big Ten alumnus (as are a few other TFM writers), I’m absolutely ecstatic to see the realignment play out like this. Obviously, as stated before, it makes so much sense geographically. All teams within the East division are part of the Eastern time zone, and with the exception of Purdue, all teams in the West are located in the Central time zone. It goes without saying that this will definitely ease travel schedules all around and will solidify common broadcast times for conference games, too. Additionally, as my alma mater falls in the East division, I’ve got to say I’m happy to see the B1G’s most storied rivalries maintained –- they seemed to be a big part of the overarching public sentiment that fueled the decision.
“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll.”
Furthermore, the divisional realignment will maintain 10 of the 13 trophy rivalry games each season, with all 13 being played out at least once every four years.
Looking forward, conference officials also announced that teams would move from eight to nine inter-conference games, akin to the Pac-12 and Big 12, come the 2016 season. Beginning then, teams will add one more crossover game to their schedule. Teams in the East will have five home games and four road games during even-numbered seasons (2016, 2018, 2020, etc.), while the West will see home field advantage in odd years.
Image via Onward State