All of the arguing. All of the bickering. All of the speculation is finally over. The Big Ten divisions have been announced on the Big Ten Network this evening. Here is what your Big Ten divisions look like. The official names of the divisions have not been determined, so we'll call them the X and O division as the Big Ten Network did.
|X Division||O Division|
Now, each team will have one cross divisional protected rivalry. The way you see them paired up above is how the protected rivalries stand. So, Penn State will be playing Nebraska every year. It is also important to note that Ohio State and Michigan will play their rivalry game at the end of the season as they wanted, though they don't get to be in the same division and avoid a rematch in the conference championship game. Though they hate it, I think this is for the good of the conference. That rematch will probably only happen once every ten years. And though they don't want to see it, everyone else outside of the Big Ten in America does.
My first reaction as a Penn State fan is: Awesome. We all know the bad blood between the Huskers and Nittany Lions from years ago, so it won't take long to revive those feelings again. And the national implications of this game will ensure there is usually something on the line when these two teams get together.
As far as the rest of the Big Ten goes I think things look pretty good. Though Iowa loses their annual rivalry with Wisconsin and has a lousy cross divisional rivalry with Purdue, they pick up Nebraska every year and get to keep their annual games with Michigan and Minnesota.
Wisconsin really got shafted in all of this. Their rivalry with Minnesota is protected, but that's about all they get. They lose their annual rivalry with Iowa, and they don't get to play Nebraska every year like Barry Alvarez and Brett Bielema wanted.
Michigan State and Indiana makes no sense, but then Michigan State and Penn State didn't make any sense either. But I suspect Sparty is happy they get to play Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan and Nebraska every year.
Now let's take a look at the 2011 and 2012 Penn State schedules that were also announced. This is just the conference schedule.
|Week 1||@ Indiana||@ Illinois|
|Week 4||@ Northwestern||@ Iowa|
|Week 5||Illinois||Ohio State|
|Week 6||Bye||@ Purdue|
|Week 7||Nebraska||@ Nebraska|
|Week 8||@ Ohio State||Indiana|
|Week 9||@ Wisconsin||Wisconsin|
First reaction: Holy crap is that 2011 schedule back loaded. Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to finish the season with two of them on the road? Wow. But it looks like the Big Ten back loaded everyone. Remember Michigan and Ohio State meet in the final week, though I doubt that will be much of a game for the Buckeyes. Nebraska gets Penn State, Michigan, and Iowa to finish out the year. Michigan gets Nebraska before they meet Ohio State.
The 2012 season looks reasonable. No Michigan on the schedule either year, so they will be on the 2013 and 2014 schedules. It looks like Wisconsin will be paired up with us to finish the season both seasons. Is this a new tradition in the making to make up for the things Wisconsin had to give up? I could see Penn State and the Badgers getting some bad blood going there. Madison in late November could make for some tremendous football.
Overall, I think these divisions are fair and balanced. I'm not sure anybody got everything they wanted. I can't find too much to complain about in this as a Penn State fan.