Nebraska to the Big Ten

Now that its officially happened its time for people in the league offices in Chicago to ponder various logistics.  For one thing, how do you organize the divisions?  Personally, I like divisions to make sense so I would suggest an East Division of Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Michigan St, Indiana and Purdue.  That would leave a West Division of Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska.  But there are options out there with more ACC-like combinations.  The big thing to me is I do not want to see Ohio St and Michigan, or other strong rivalries, placed in opposite divisions, even if there is a protected cross-over.  Protected cross-overs just mean you play the other teams in the other division more infrequently, and it also means either your rivalry game no longer ends the season, or you could play them in consecutive weeks if you win your respective divisions.

Of course, the trick with setting the divisions is there is the strong possibility the conference is not done expanding.  Nebraska might be the only addition in time for the 2011 season, but other changes could be coming for the following season or two.  If you follow my preference of geographic divisions that leaves room to add 2 eastern teams, as that would just shift Indiana and Purdue to the west.  But if its 4 eastern teams, or 3 eastern and only one western, that might almost force a different rubric for setting divisions.

Obviously a championship game will be played now.  The Big Ten will have several good options, including Ford Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, Soldier Field, Lambeau Field, and the Edward Jones Dome.  Basically the game will be played when ABC wants it played, likely the primetime 1st Saturday in December slot that the Big XII currently occupies.

How many conference games do you play a season in football?  You could stick with 8, which would have you playing the 5 teams in your division and 3 of the 6 in the other division on a rotating basis.  With the 12 game season schedule there is room to go with 9 games, which would let you play 4 of the 6 in the other division and rotate every 2 years like the Big Ten has done since Penn St joined (it would be that you are rotating a 6 year cycle and not an 8 year cycle).  Again if the conference does eventually go to 14 or 16 teams I think at that point a 9 game schedule would be necessary so you could at least dabble in playing teams in the other division.

How do you handle the basketball schedule?  I would assume you play the other 5 teams in your division home and away and the 6 teams in the other division home or away, totalling 16 games.  For the conference tournament you can either seed the league 1-12 or seed each division E1-E6 and W1-W6 and overlay the bracket, ie E3 v W6 winner plays W2 and etc.

What do you do with the name of the conference?  At this exact moment you have a Big Ten with 12 members and a Big XII with 10 members.  If there is no eastern expansion you could go with the Mississippi & Great Lakes Watershed Association.  Or maybe the Dirty Dozen.  But I doubt they do that.  Probably, laughable though it may be, it’ll remain the Big Ten.

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2 Responses to “Nebraska to the Big Ten”

  1. Nick Says:

    The Big Ten will likely add two eastern teams in the near future to go to fourteen teams; Pitt and Maryland seem to be the most common subjects of speculation, with Rutgers and Cuse also being possibilities. At that point, they will sit tight while the Big East dies as a football league, the ACC and SEC go to sixteen teams…and the pressure builds on Dome to join a league or slip into irrelevance, at which point they take ND and some other western school (probably Kansas, as I suspect Missouri is going to end up the 8th team in the SEC West)

  2. Damo Says:

    I am thinking that the Big 10 needs to raid a few more from the Big XII. I am thinking picking up Mizzou and Kansas then turning east and adding a couple teams from the Big East maybe a West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, or less likely a Louisville or Cincinnati. I hope that in all this Notre Dame screws itself.

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