Divisional alignment has created wide-open Big Ten football race
There were a lot unknowns coming into this football season regarding how the Big Ten's divisional split would affect conference play. But one thing is clear: It makes for a wide-open league race.
Splitting the conference into the Legends and Leaders divisions has caused more teams to be in contention for a divisional crown and a berth in the league championship game.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said on this week's coaches teleconference that he expects the parity to continue.
Michigan (8-2, 4-2) and Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) currently are in second place in the Legends Division, one game behind Michigan State (8-2, 5-1).
For Michigan to advance to the Big Ten title game, it needs to sweep its final two games and have Michigan State lose its final two. The Spartans won the teams' head-to-head matchup and would take the first tiebreaker if they finished with the same league record.
For Nebraska to advance, it needs to sweep its final two games and have Michigan State lose once (because the Cornuskers won the head-to-head matchup). Other scenarios come in to play if Nebraska splits its final two games.
"It’s a quality conference, there’s a lot of depth, about what I expected coming in," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said of his first Big Ten race. "It’s going to be a challenge."