Big 10 Divisions

When I heard the Big 10* was splitting into two divisions that would culminate at the end of the year with a single playoff game between the two divisions to determine a Big 10 winner, I was undecided. Would the Michigan-Ohio State game get lost in the shuffle? What if it wasn’t the end of the season? Would we all die???

Turns out the divisions do not suck and I find myself mildly pleased. Not overly enthusiastic because I am mourning the loss of the UM-Penn State game — YOU PENN STATE PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE — but it is far less a bag of suck then what usually comes out of college football. The divisions are:

* Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
* Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana.

I liked the addition of “protected games” although some of them are a little contrived. I also realize everyone wants Michigan to play Nebraska every year as a big marquee game. They kept the Michigan-Michigan State game and the Little Brown Jug game. I think it works out. Sure, no more UM-Penn State, UM-Purdue or UM-Wisconsin games, all staples of the schedule, but I think we’ll live.

I also suspect this has been engineered to absorb Notre Dame and Missouri. No one has made any particular secret that the dream is to expand the Big 10 into a 16 Team Supergroup**, sort of like a Velvet Revolver of College Football. Or maybe Them Crooked Vultures — it has Dave Grohl. But that means Notre Dame and Missouri have to sign up. I bet they will — it makes the Big 10 huge and the ad revenue on TV will be even more astronomical, astronomical-astronomical, than it is now. The lure of filthy lucre will pull Notre Dame, forever going ‘I will not be seen with those stinky State Schools***’ into its ugly orbit. And Missouri will want to play Nebraska. But what do you do about the Michigan-ND rivalry since the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is protected? Complications!

The only big hitch? This entire system is all predicated on Michigan not sucking. And that, my friends, is hilarious.

My points:

1. I am not horrified by the Big 10 divisions.
2. But I am a bit sad at the lack of some of the staple games I look forward to every year.  And the yearly mockery.
3. I look forward to a glorious 16 team future! Where there are 16 teams! … or at least 14.
4. I like the playoff game to determine a Big 10 Champion. Now if we can have interconference play between other conference champions that built up to some kind of, oh, I don’t know, playoff system at the end of the season, all the better.

Update:

Eric points out that the addition of Missouri and Notre Dame would make the Big 10 the Big 0x10.  They are all engineering schools, right?

* Now with 12 team action!
** Mysteriously still called the Big 10. State schools save ND, and we don’t count gud.
*** Unless it’s college hoops.