B1G Divisional Alignment 2014

cinserious's picture
January 13, 2014 at 7:12p

Ok, ever since the Big Ten Conference announced it's new divisions back in April of 2013, I've been confused, misinformed, intrigued, and uninterested all at the same time. We all knew what a flop (B1G commish) Jim Delaney's  'Legends and Leaders' divisions were going to be as soon as we heard those pompous-ass names. It was, however to serve the purpose of competitive balance, but besides the crappy names, people were annoyed with the lack of geographical value in the divisions. When the new divisions came out, I was excited about the geographical split and the 'normal' names.

Recently, as the 2014 season draws nearer, I've been becoming more interested in exactly who is in what division (and to a lesser extent, why?) My confusion is waning as I grasp the geographical idea of Eastern teams/Western teams. However, the teams in the middle where the Northwest Territory/ Great Plains/ and Midwest all meet are still a little fuzzy. All the recent coaching changes in the B1G has renewed my interest lately. James Franklin who held his own in the mighty SEC takes over at Penn State; UM hired Alabama's OC in Nussmeier;  Dantonio and Narduzzi just won the Rose Bowl; Urban Freakin' Meyer.

First of all, we all know the East Division is stacked: OSU, UM, MSU, PSU, IU, Rutgers, and Maryland.

The West Division, not so much: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa.

I'm all for this new alignment geographically but I feel it would have been more competitive with Michigan State in the West and  Purdue in the East to be with IU. MSU would then be a 'protected' game with -Ichigan.  I ran across an article from the Detroit Free Press today about the new divisions and how they seem to think the inequity is more like the old Big-12 conference with all the good teams in the South like Texas, Oklahoma, Okie St. Texas A&M, Texas Tech, etc. and really only Nebraska in the North Division. I don't know if there will be that much disparity in the B1G but clearly, the East has more strength and historical value.

My question is what does this division inequity do to the Buckeyes national championship hopes? I think the strength of the East Division means whoever survives that gauntlet would be well suited to defeat the West Division champ and make it through the CFB Playoff and survive. I know the B1G is not too close to the SEC yet but I believe if we keep hiring (and keeping !$!$!$) high quality coaches we are gaining ground on them. The way the B1G East is looking, it could eventually be our version of the SEC West Division with so much power loaded up on one side, tough to survive but like Alabama, LSU, and Auburn it will leave the championship battle-tested.


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Go1Bucks's picture

I hate to say it, the divisional splits are our least issue. However,  I said once before that I think they did it to allow for ease of getting more teams in a position to end up in the championship games, as the East will eat itself since it is loaded.

Go Bucks!

CptBuckeye24's picture

Great post and I agree with you.
I have similar concerns on competitive balance.  I think the conference is not as balanced as it should be.  No doubt winning the B1G East means you are likely a top 5 team.  Winning is all that matters, I think it strengthens OSU's resume.  But I think your argument is contingent upon a few things:

  • That Sparty is going to be consistently a top 15 team over the next few years.  Historically, consecutive 10 win seasons are atypical for Sparty, except for 3 in the past 4 years.  I am curious to see if MSU continues their consistency.
  • TSUN will be a top 10 team once again.  Consistency hasn't been there.   
  • Penn State will be great. Well, maybe it will happen under Franklin, they have a lot of work to do over there at Happy Valley.
  • That  these 4 teams in the East get better and are all top 20 teams.  That is something I am highly skeptical of because I think MSU, TTUN, and PSU all have a lot to prove.  Sure, so does OSU but I think there is a pretty big gap with OSU's trajectory and the others over the next few years.

So what this means is that the B1G needs to get a lot better real quick. 
Interesting times are ahead in the B1G.  The current situation and future landscape is a strategic view from Delaney.  With the TV deal set to expire in 2016, TV expansion throughout the East Coast, and Fox's increased position in the market, there is going to be a massive TV deal that will increase revenues across the board.  That is where the B1G has their eyes set.  They have a strategic view for the future.
On a side note, I personally believe Sparty or TTUN should have went to the other division in exchange for Purdue. 

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Every conference goes through this when they split...
Look at the SEC. Originally the SEC east dominated with Tennessee, Florida and Georgia carrying the weight. Everyone said the conference was unbalanced. Then the SEC west took over with LSU, Bama abd Auburn carrying the banner. Now you could say its stacked in the West.
Big 12 went through the same with North and South.
So yes, perhaps B1G east looks stacked...but give it some time. Even if one half of a conference is stacked, we now have 9 conference games so there will be some inter-division battles. Also the two divisional champs still have to play in a conference championship game. And in most years, that will be a defacto first round playoff game. There will be tests...

Sidebar - Im glad the old Big East conference folded so now we can call our divison the B1G East.

fanfarris's picture

Dumpino ,you really have great knowledge in Footbal..Have you played the game before..


BoFuquel's picture

Just win and everything will be alright, GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

That which does not kill me makes me stronger I guess.  Yes, the east is stacked, but it will help the bucks make it into the playoffs.  Wisconsin and Nebraska have to potential to be good programs, they will have to pull their weight.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Joebobb's picture

it will be much more stacked than Big 12 South. That had
1 TX, 2) OK 3) OK ST 4) A&M 5) Tech, 6) Baylor
North had  1) Neb 2) CO, 3) K state, 4) Mizzou 5) Kansas 6) ISU
The North was fairly balanced over the last decade with Nebraska winning 3-4 times I believe and CO, K State, Mizzou and Kansas all fielding competitive teams at times to be in the Big 12 championship. The South had Texas and OK and no one else did anything. A&M snuck in there in 98 but that was because TX and OK were both horrible so he Big XII South was nothing to write home about early on.
The BIG EAst has 1) OSU 2) MSU, 3) PSU, 4) scUM 5) MD 6) Rut 7) IU
Once PSU gets it scholarships back and scUM starts getting back to a respectable level, that is much more stacked than the Big 12 ever was. MD even has the potential to be competitive too from time to time. Rutgers and IU can hope for BBall season.
The BIG West 1) Neb, 2) WI, 3) IA 4) NW 5) Pur 6) Minn 7) IL
Has the best balance between it. Neb and WI should be the dominant teams year in and year out if all things work out. However, IA, NW, Pur, Minn and IL have shown they can put together a competitive team on some years to challenge for the division. In this sense it resembles the Big 12 Norht but that is a good thing because it will allow schools that have struggled to compete a chance to be competitive and get attention on national level and hopefully bring those schools level of talent up.  Neb ad WI need to win 3 of every 4 years to make it work but there is potential to make this a challenging division too so long as the other schools pick up the pace too.

ScoobyKnows's picture

I'm fine with the new alignment.  To be the best team in your conference...you have to beat the best teams in your conference. 

4thandinches's picture

Just give it a couple years when we expand again and have to do another alignment.

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

ghalephoto's picture

Strength of sched which will keep Wisc out of a playoff even if they win the Big Ten is huge if you survive the East.  Not sure if you are a West team, unless you play some quality teams outside the Big Ten can get you a top 4 ranking.  Wisc hasn't played a top 5 program in the non-conference...in 20+ years.

CptBuckeye24's picture

This year they have LSU at a neutral field in Houston.

OMG, they are facing competition outside of the B1G

BuckeyeJosh's picture

and MSU has oregon...seems like we're in for quite a show before conference play this year