What would happen if Big Ten football got rid of its divisions?
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Paul Rochon: So Big 10 divisions. And each other every single year, but now you have to decide how are you going to do the Conference title game? And this is something that I know a lot of Michigan and Ohio State fans do not want the potential that they play each other two weeks in a row.
Michigan and Ohio State play and maybe the outcome of that game ends up not mattering because they ended up seeing each other in the Conference title game. And that probably isn’t ideal.
I have a solution to that, but I want to hear your thoughts on the potential of not realignment, but just doing away with divisions.
Dylan Bair: So the, basically the way that this would structure is that it would look exactly like how the big 12 operates right now. Where the big 12, as I believe it’s 11 teams, maybe I’m wrong on that.
It’s Been Pretty Competitive This Year
I might be off by one, but they don’t have divisions either. And they have the top two teams in the rankings themselves of the Conference rankings, then they have the top two teams play in the big 12 title game.
To be fair, it’s actually been pretty competitive including this past year where Oklahoma State, ridiculously couldn’t score. On like, the one-yard line against Baylor and lost their chance at a college football playoff.
Opening the door for Michigan to be able to get in. And those sorts of games could happen across all of the Conferences across the back 12. Across the big 10, the SCC, all of that. And the one thing I would say to anybody who is afraid, Michigan and Ohio State, specifically those fans.
I just really think it’s a statistical unlikelihood that you’re going to have the situation you’re presenting that often. Because you were going to have another team that is going to be that sort of anomaly. It could just be a team that has an easy schedule and just plays like Maryland, Indiana, and Purdue, all in the same year.
Is the Big Ten getting RID of divisions?
Like in Iowa this year, who just had a chump schedule. Or it could be another team that’s just legitimately very good, like a Penn State or Wisconsin, or even if Nebraska decides to get their act together like we think they will this year. And so anybody who is wanting to use anecdotal situations as a reason to not do this, I think is mistaken.
Because I’ll be honest. I don’t know how you feel. It’s not because I don’t think that we’re capable because we’ve done it before. But I just don’t want to have to see Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State every single year.
And on the off years, have to play two of them on the road and know that’s coming around the corner every two years. It would be much better to be able to change the schedule up and be able to play teams like Wisconsin, who I’ve been begging to play again much more.
Paul Rochon: So I think this can be a good thing provided that it is done right. The thing that you touched on with the unbalanced schedules is something that I assume if the big 10 is going to get rid of divisions, they’re going to do that to address this.
Because you are not forced to play all the teams within your division anymore. You should, theoretically, if they’re not completely incompetent, be able to have relatively balanced schedules.
Now, the ideal thing we’ve talked about realignment a lot, and outside of realignment, the ideal thing is pod scheduling. And you would split the teams up into pods, especially at the big 10, where to add two teams to get to 16, but you don’t even have to do that.
You have your three protected rivalries that you play year in and year out. And then with pod scheduling, you would play every single team in the big 10, every two years. You would end up playing every single team and that’s balanced and it’s great.
And through pod scheduling and they’ve done the data. If you take the S and P rankings, S and B plus, whatever you like, and you go back the last 10 years. If you had a pod scheduling system, the schedules come out almost perfectly balanced across the board.
Now, of course, your dominant teams are going to have a less balanced schedule because they don’t have to play themselves. So if Ohio State’s dominating the Conference, they don’t play themselves. Their schedule’s going to be a little bit easier on paper, but for the most part, this was quite balanced.
Outside of that, if we’re not going that direction, which for whatever reason, we have not gone that direction and haven’t adopted it. This is your next best chance to truly balance schedules. Another thing it gives you over divisions is it doesn’t hurt you on the whims of, if a team gets good for a stretch that you didn’t expect to.
So Michigan State outside of the last few years, not including last year where they were good, but the few years before that they bad for a long time. Michigan State was really good. They had a decade of excellence combined with you, expect Michigan to be good.
Ohio State is good every single year. Penn State is good most years. Those teams in the same division is a blood bath. It really is. It’s hard to get out of that division. If you don’t have to play each other every single year and you can actually have balance, Michigan State can play Wisconsin. Ohio State can play Wisconsin.
They never play Wisconsin it feels like. And you can have what are currently crossovers. Right now, Michigan is set up to play Nebraska for the next six years. We just finished six years of playing Wisconsin, every single year. That’s one of our west crossovers. Why? That’s not balance, we don’t get to play Purdue. Like why, for what reason?
A sports show focused on all happenings within the MidWest and covers every sport from a High level, GM office view. Your hosts, Dylan Bair — an avid Michigan State Spartan and Chicago Sports fan, and Paul Rochon — A Michigan Man at heart and sage of Detroit Sports.
Paul Rochon and Dylan Bair kick off their inaugural episode of The Big Picture discussing their high-level, GM's office view on sports–specifically sports in the Mid-West. Today, they tackle the problems they currently see with the game of basketball and discuss the shrewd nature of the Detroit Lions' offseason. They wrap up by each getting a little something off their chest in each of their "Big Picture" of the week.
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