Rumors have swirled on and off that the Big Ten may consider getting rid of its current scheduling setup, including its East and West divisions, to try to attain more competitive balance. The East has dominated the West in the conference championship game, and the biggest name brands are all in the East.
Unlike the SEC, which a) plays 8 conference games, and b) has some of its premier programs sprinkled across both of its divisions, the Big Ten plays more conference games, and has stacked all of its really good teams in a single division. As a result, the SEC has successfully gotten multiple teams into the playoffs twice.
So if the Big Ten were to revamp its scheduling, what would your preferred schedule setup be?
Here are some possibilities.
8-Game Conference Schedule
This might depend on whether the Big Ten also rearranges - or completely does away with - divisions. But an 8-game conference schedule would free up an extra weekend each season, and may allow more competitive balance across the conference.
Considering most teams have at least one Power 5 opponent on their schedule, making for 10 P5 games per year, dropping a conference slate could let more traditional rivals fill the gap. More games against old eastern foes like Pitt, West Virginia, or Syracuse? Sounds good to me!
8 conference games could also allow the possibility to drop down and add a game against a Group of 5 team. This could help teams struggling in the win column pad their stats a bit, making more bowl-eligible B1G teams, and therefore providing more funds across the conference.
9-Game Conference Schedule
Maybe 9 games is the way to go, just like we have now. I think 9 games is mostly fine, but I’d love to see more competitive balance in how crossover games are scheduled. Whether that means getting rid of divisions entirely, reconfiguring them, or switching from long-term crossover games (Penn State has played Iowa every year since 2016, and will now switch to Illinois for the next few years) to more parity-based scheduling, the 9-game schedule is mostly fine in my opinion.
I would like to see more variety in P5 non-conference games, and 9 games mostly doesn’t allow that. But we do get to see a lot of our B1G foes with more regularity this way.
10-Game Conference Schedule?!
This probably won’t happen without the regular season expanding, which I don’t see happening. It might also require conference expansion, though not necessarily. Lastly, I don’t really think this will happen unless every conference adopts a similar schedule, which almost assuredly won’t happen in SEC-land.
But! Think of getting to play 10/13 B1G teams each season! Much 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust. Very knuckle draggy. Such caveman. Wow.
But what do you think? If you had your druthers, what would be your preferred schedule setup in the Big Ten?