You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 : 9:34 p.m.

Winners and losers from the Big Ten conference realignment announcement

By Michael Rothstein

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.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein


Jake Church

Thu, Sep 2, 2010 : 7:07 p.m.

Michigan State a winner for possibly avoiding Ohio State and Penn State? Is that the goal, or would you want to play those teams to show what you're made of.


Thu, Sep 2, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

@Txmaizenblue: Actually I would think that most scenarios where an undefeated UM beats OSU in the final regular season game, would probably mean UM would face a Wisconsin or Penn State in the Big Ten Championship. For both UM and OSU to meet in the title game, they would both have to be undefeated going into the last week, and any other team (Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State) would have to have 2 divisional losses. I don't see that happening often. Of course this is all moot because we're years away from being contenders.


Thu, Sep 2, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

I know everyone is excited about keeping the traditional Ohio State/Michigan game...met too, but in reality this does not help Michigan -as far as putting together an undefeated season. Beating Ohio State twice will be no small feat - any year. Not to mention, up-to-date that was the biggest game of the year and when it was over it completely shaped Michigan's bowl placement. Now, its the 1st of two games. Even if Ohio State does not win the division - they will still be tough to beat because its a rivalry, then Michigan would have to get up to beat the divisional champs the very next week.


Thu, Sep 2, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

If Ohio State is in another division and we continue the end of season game with them that means we may end up playing them twice within a few weeks. I don't see that as a benefit for the university or the Big Ten. Considering the state of our program, we would probably have been better off not playing them at all during the regular season. If we play them early in the year, to loser would have time to recover in the polls.

3 And Out

Thu, Sep 2, 2010 : 12:08 a.m.

This is the best possible could have been a lot worse for BT fans.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Sep 1, 2010 : 11:54 p.m.

You do understand that only a couple of games were protected for each school under the current 11-school system, right? Now the division system does mean less exposure to five of the schools in the opposite division, but at least they will play three years of every five once the new nine-game conference schedule is in place.