Here is a proposal for maintaining our eleven team league, conducting a championship game, adding more interesting contests from top to bottom in the league, and making the name Big 10 more meaningful.
We could have two conferences each with five teams and a “relegated team” ala English Soccer in the Premier League. Here is how it could work. The Big Ten’s strongest teams would be divided into to conferences, with the weakest team relegated outside the conference alignment.
The winner of each conference would advance to a championship game. The winner of the championship game, obviously, would be the big-ten champ and advance to a BCS game.
The last place finisher of each conference would go to a “relegation game” played on the same day as the championship game. The loser would be the relegated team in the next season, and the current relegated team would be promoted to fill the vacated conference slot. The relegated team could not win the Big Ten Championship, but if they have some miraculous turn-around, they could still qualify for a BCS at-large bid. The relegation game could be played on the Big Ten network, and would likely draw a pretty good rating, because it would be a late season game that would mean something. The winner gets to stay part of the Big Ten and the loser is relegated to conference wasteland for at least a year.
Proposed Initial Conference Alignments could be:
For scheduling purposes, the relegated team would play four members of each conference. Each conference team would play all members of its conference, three members of the opposite conference, and the relegated team.
This could resolve the “co-Big Ten Champ” issue, and would make the late season more entertaining. I know this would never fly, but I thought I would just put it out there in the midst of a boring off-season. Any thoughts?