Winners and losers from the Big Ten conference realignment announcement
There were definitive winners and losers Wednesday night when the Big Ten shuffled itself into two six-team divisions. Here's a look:
- Jim Delany: Delany ends up taking what could have been a troublesome situation within his league and making almost everyone happy. He could get Ohio State/Penn State/Wisconsin vs. Nebraska/Michigan/Iowa as title games on an annual basis. Plus, he credited the Big Ten fans for making their voices heard. Nothing quite like making your fan base feel important.
- Michigan State: The Spartans will get Michigan yearly as a guaranteed divisional opponent. They see Nebraska - which should draw a large crowd from the well-traveled Husker fan base at home - every year. They potentially avoid Ohio State and Penn State in some years and continue their always-interesting game with Northwestern.
- Nebraska: The Big Ten’s newest member would win no matter what division it was placed in. Seeing some combination of Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan makes Tom Osborne and friends happy.
- Michigan and Ohio State: The Game remains unchanged. It stays at the end of the season, still counts toward the divisional title race despite the teams landing in separate divisions. Fans can also take note that they stood together and united for one purpose. But does it mean it’ll be any more civil in Columbus in November? Doubt that.
- Wisconsin: At this juncture, there's only one protected rival. For Wisconsin, which has three rivals, that’s bad enough. Having none of Minnesota, Iowa or Nebraska in their division means the Badgers could miss out on two of three rivalry games in a year. They also get placed in the same division as powerhouses Penn State and Ohio State.
- Purdue: They keep an annual rivalry with Indiana and a burgeoning one with league power Ohio State. But they lose another developing rivalry with Michigan. Not the scenario the Boilermakers were looking for - although neither situation fit the most average team in the Big Ten very well.
- Iowa: The Hawkeyes keep Michigan, add a natural rival in Nebraska but lose Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State on a guaranteed annual basis. Those have often been some of the most competitive games in the league as the Hawkeyes have emerged in recent years as one of the better teams.