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Alvarez: Iowa, Wisconsin Will Be Separated

Depending upon your perspective, the Big Ten divisional picture just got either a little more clear or a lot more muddled.

Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez talked to the Wisconsin State Journal Wednesday and broke a little news.

University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez confirmed Wednesday that when a two-division format for football is unveiled by league officials next month, UW and Iowa will be separated.

The two schools become the first dominoes to fall in the divisional realignment of the Big Ten, which got under way when Nebraska joined the conference in June.

The news would appear to be the end of talk of an east-west split of the league, which in one form or another, has been at the core of many media projections on possible divisions over the last few months. It would also appear to allay fears that Penn State might be stuck opposite Ohio State and Michigan in an otherwise geographically divided Big Ten.

Conference officials have been consistent for months in saying that competitive balance and protecting rivalries would be more important than geography in determining divisions. It should be pretty clear now that those words weren't to be taking lightly, as two of the biggest western powers have been split up.