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Breaking Down the Big Ten Division Alignments

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Examining the conference shakeup.

I am currently watching the Big Ten Division Alignment Show on the Big Ten Network, and Commissioner Jim Delany is discussing the New Dawn as the conference moves forward.  I am elated with Nebraska coming to the conference overall, and with a couple of exceptions, I like the divisional splits. There are, however, a couple of things that I don't like, so let's talk about them.

FIrst, splitting up the Minnesota-Iowa-Wisconsin rivalries is a bummer.  Currently, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern are in one division, and Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana are in the other.

For the Gophers, it looks like the trophy games for the Little Brown Jug and the Floyd of Rosedale will be an annual occurrence, and that's good. The bad news is, as I understand it, is that there will be only one cross-divisional rival that will be protected annually. You can make a very strong case that Minnesota-Wisconsin should be an annual protected rivalry. Paul Bunyan's axe is the oldest rivalry game in college sports, and it should be treated with the proper respect. 

However, let's face it Gopher fans. Wisconsin-Iowa probably affects the conference standings more in the long run, so I can see the argument that Wisconsin-Iowa should be the protected one.

That said, Nebraska sets up great for an annual, bitter rival for Iowa, so that could fill the Wisconsin vacuum and allow the Axe to go forward on an annual basis. Speaking of Nebraska, I like the fact that Minnesota and the Cornhuskers are in the same division. Nebraska has played the Gophers more than any other Big Ten team, so there is a natural rivalry that sets up right there.

The commissioner also mentioned that although the inaugural game will be held indoors, they will probably hold future games outside.

Thery still haven't named the divisions, and Delany stressed that this is for football only.

So, what do you think?  Do you like the division alignments, or not?

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.