The Big Ten is floating the idea of dropping divisions to its current format. Here’s a proposal to make this work, in the Daily Cavalcade.
Big Ten Possibly Dropping Divisions? Daily Cavalcade
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
It might not be as bad as naming two divisions Leaders and Legends, but it’s not terribly far off.
We’ll just leave the horrendous idea of possibly cutting the Big Ten schedule to 8 games for another day.
So here I was, living my best offseason life – which consists of pretending to think about exercising and realizing how worthless Netflix is – when all of a sudden came a buzz from my silly watch thing, alerting me to either a heart attack or some end-of-the-world breaking sports news.
Apparently – according to Scott Dochterman of The Athletic – the Big Ten is toying around with the idea of ditching the divisions and making the league one giant 14-team blob.
First reaction – oh wonderful, so Ohio State is going to be in the Big Ten Championship every year instead of just about every year.
Second reaction – on what planet would everyone in the Big Ten but Ohio State agree to this?
Third reaction – is the Big Ten trying to appease Ohio State by throwing it this cookie so it doesn’t think about bolting to the SEC?
Fourth reaction – I should probably subscribe to The Athletic, but then what am I supposed to do, read?
The Big Ten seems to think ditching the divisions could help the cause whenever the College Football Playoff expands, but I’m not exactly sure how – especially if the league really does start playing more non-conference games against Power Five teams.
So why would this be a mediocre idea?
Ohio State would be all but guaranteed a top two finish every year and a spot in the Big Ten Championship.
That’s nothing against Ohio State – if it’s one of the best teams, it’s one of the best teams – but 1) thanks for playing, Northwestern. Those appearances were a blast, and 2) repeat games in college football conference championship games are awful.
Remember that Utah win over Oregon regular season rematch in the Pac-12 Championship? Of course you don’t, because you dumped that faster than Thursday’s supper. It was meat loaf, by the way.
The Big 12 Championship was a blast, but we did the Oklahoma State over Baylor thing in the regular season. That didn’t count, but the redo a few weeks later – when Oklahoma State didn’t have its best running back – did.
And that’s the problem. Ditch the divisions in the Big Ten, and the conference championship will provide us with Ohio State vs team Ohio State whacked in the regular season, or Ohio State vs team that happened to get to the Big Ten Championship because it didn’t have to play Ohio State, or Ohio State vs team that caught Ohio State on the right day the first time around.
So if you’re going to do this, Big Ten, do it right.
A humble proposal from a humble guy …
1. Fine. Ditch the divisions. It’s actually more fair than the current divisional format, but …
2. Wait for it in Part 3 and work with me, because there’s a payoff … ditch the conference championship. My humble man proposal will generate more revenue for the conference and give more chances for teams to be in the College Football Playoff mix. The conference championship is a gimmick, anyway, that almost always underwhelms.
Again, repeat conference championship games are bad for humanity. Seriously, you think Michigan is beating Ohio State in Round 2 in Indianapolis? Who needs that when we already have the best regular season in all of sports, sometimes highlighted by that game?
3. After you blow off the conference championship, use that week to expand the regular season. Keep the three non-conference games to keep the ACC and Pac-12 relevant with this alliance thing, but add a game during what would be championship week to make it a 13-game season with 10 Big Ten games.
EVERY Big Ten team playing an extra game means a bigger TV package, another day of in-stadium revenue, and more bubbles in the treasure baths for the athletic departments.
Of course, the problem there would that three teams miss the best team and three more miss out on the worst. I have that figured out … sort of.
Every team gets its own rivalry game that never gets moved. So Ohio State and Michigan would play every year. So would Wisconsin and Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern, Penn State and Michigan State, Iowa and Nebraska, Purdue and Indiana, and Maryland and Rutgers.
After that …
The team that finished 14th in conference play the year before – throw in whatever tie-breaker you need to figure this out – doesn’t play the team that finished first as long as it doesn’t mess up the automatic rivalry. Then go up the standings ladder.
So if this was for the 2022 season, Michigan and Indiana wouldn’t play each other, and the same goes for Nebraska and Ohio State.
Iowa and Northwestern, Michigan State and Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland, Wisconsin and Illinois, and Purdue and Penn State wouldn’t go.
And then reverse it. The last place team would have to play the best team available from the year before. Indiana would have to play Ohio State, Nebraska would have to play Michigan, Rutgers would have to play Iowa, and so on.
That way, all of the top teams would be guaranteed to get one of the bad teams from the year before, and it would make sure that a top team wouldn’t catch the break of missing three above-average teams.
Or just do what you really want to, Big Ten, and expand with USC, UCLA, North Carolina, and Clemson – all Tier 1 research universities – and …
That humble proposal from a humble guy is coming soon.
Leaders and Legends weren’t that bad.