So Can We Realign The Divisions Now?

If Maryland and Rutgers joining the Big Ten do nothing more than cause the conference to align its divisions geographically then it's a move I'll wholly support.

It's not official yet. It's only been reported. However, I've already written today about why the Big Ten would be interested in Rutgers and Maryland, and openly wondered what this will mean for further realignment around the country.

Now I wonder about the last thing on anybody's mind when it comes to the Big Ten's continued expansion.

Can we realign the divisions logically?

Forget the Legends and the Leaders, hell, keep the stupid names if you have to, but can't we just go East and West? I mean, with Maryland and Rutgers joining, wouldn't these divisions make sense?

EAST DIVISION

Indiana
Maryland
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State
Rutgers

WEST DIVISION

Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Nebraska
Northwestern
Purdue
Wisconsin

Now, the obvious problem here is the break up of Indiana and Purdue, but that can be solved in a nine-game conference schedule with protected rivalries. As for the divisions, they are still balanced. The East is a bit stronger with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, but the West can hold its own with Nebraska and Wisconsin.

This would also keep most natural rivalries alive, as I know there are a lot of Wisconsin and Iowa fans who were upset when the two schools were split up after adding Nebraska.

As for the protected rivalries, how about these?

PROTECTED RIVALRIES

Ohio State - Wisconsin: This serves two purposes. Not only is there already a rivalry brewing between Bret Bielema and Urban Meyer, but having these two teams play each other every season also helps with parity within the conference. If two teams that are going to be favorites to win their respective divisions every season have to play every year, that's a loss on the record of one of them from now to eternity.

Indiana - Purdue: For obvious reasons. Preserves the Old Oaken Bucket game that is important to both schools.

Michigan - Minnesota: Preserves the Little Brown Jug.

Michigan State - Nebraska: No real history here, but the idea of Michigan State and Nebraska meeting every season seems interesting doesn't it? Just think of all the questionable pass interference calls!

Penn State - Iowa: Thought about giving Penn State the Gophers because of the Victory Bell, but that trophy didn't have the history of the Little Brown Jug. Instead I think the Big Ten would be better served to unite two schools that have had quite a few memorable games against one another over the years.

Rutgers - Northwestern: Chicago's Big Ten Team versus New York's Big Ten Team! It just makes too much sense! In that both schools are strong academically and neither are actually the favored teams of the cities they try and lay claim to.

Maryland - Illinois: With as many times as the two schools have met in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for basketball, why not?

Of course, this will all change when Duke and North Carolina eventually show up as well, but that will just move Indiana to the West Division and the Big Ten will be a 16-team super conference that plays an 11-game conference schedule anyway.

WE'RE DONE WITH YOU, MAC.

Thoughts? Better ideas? Share them in the comments.

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