The Big Ten Network wanted to introduce the league's football divisions on its airwaves at 6 p.m. today. Instead, ESPN.com's Andy Katz has gotten the jump with the following results:
READ TO THE END TO DISCOVER HOW EVEN THESE DIVISIONS ARE!!!!
So, yes, Michigan and Ohio State have been split. The world will never be the same. And yes, Illinois and Northwestern can meet for the 2011 Big Ten championship in Indianapolis.
I'm not sure why Katz is reporting that there also could be divisions for basketball. I don't see the need and nobody has expressed any rationale for it. I suppose it makes it easy to plan a 16-game schedule, but the league wants and needs more intra-conference games. Makes more money and offers more quality BTN programming. Also avoids those big-payout non-conference guarantee games.
Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther said Tuesday that they haven't come to an agreement on the divisions' names. I think it would be great if they rotated on an annual basis to give each team's greats a shout.
For example, go alphabetically: In 2011, Division A would be the Kinnick Division and Division B the Grange Division. In 2012, Division A could be the Harmon Division and Division B the (Anthony) Thompson Division. Just a thought...though I'm sure there are branding reasons why you can't do it that way.
Anyway, we're getting away from the main point: Does anybody get cheated here?
On the whole, I'd rather be Northwestern right now as opposed to Illinois, but I suppose there's no easy flip-flop here that makes the divisions any closer to even.
Jim Delany said at the Big Ten media days that they'd look at everything since the Big Ten's "modern era" began. The modern era began with Penn State's arrival in 1993. Here are the team's records from 1993-2009...at least per my hurried addition.
Ohio State 170-43-1
Penn State 147-62-0
TOTAL 711-514-8 (.580)
Michigan State 101-103-1
TOTAL 721-522-3 (.580)
So, yeah, it looks pretty even over time.