September 1st, 2010
08:20 PM ET

Big Ten spells out its new football divisions

Bitter rivals Ohio State and Michigan won't be in the same division when the Big Ten reorganizes its football setup in 2011. But they still will play each other every year and, if they're both good enough, possibly even twice.

The Big Ten on Wednesday announced the alignments of its two new football divisions, which will debut when the conference expands to 12 schools by adding Nebraska next year. The introduction of the divisions - the conference currently has no such thing - will allow for a new conference championship game akin to those played in some other big conferences, with the winner of each division battling for the title.

The alignments for the new divisions, which have yet to be named, are as follows:

- Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin in one division.

- Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern in the other.

Each school will play its five division mates every year. Each school also will face three teams from the other division, including one cross-division school that it will be guaranteed to face annually, according to the Big Ten.

The guaranteed cross-division match-ups, some of which keep intact longstanding rivalries, are Ohio State-Michigan, Illinois-Northwestern, Wisconsin-Minnesota, Indiana-Michigan State, Penn State-Nebraska and Purdue-Iowa.

The Big Ten's 2011 and 2012 conference schedules have been posted on its website.

"Over the past several months, Big Ten staff and directors of athletics have met on several occasions to discuss and finalize division alignments," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. "We focused on competitive equality, traditional rivalries and geography.

"We considered multiple models and countless permutations in an effort to achieve the most competitively balanced divisions while at the same time respecting our traditions, preserving existing rivalries and creating opportunities for the establishment and growth of new rivalries. We have listened to the feedback from our institutions, alumni and fans, and while we understand that no final alignments could possibly satisfy all of our constituents, we believe that we have achieved a very exciting result."

The Big Ten's first football championship game will be held December 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. That game will determine the conference’s participant in the Rose Bowl or the Bowl Championship Series national championship game.

Nebraska announced earlier this year that it was bolting its current conference, the Big 12, for the Big Ten.

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soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. UW_Rah

    Just because the Big Twelve was an uninspiring, lop-sided conference, shouldn't mean two solid/historical conferences (Big Ten, Pac Ten) should have to absorb their lameness. Some things are better left untouched. It was bad enough when the Big Ten added Penn State to become the "Big 11". I say, send them to the WAC!

    September 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Liking it

    alright I don;t know about why the IU is rivaled with Michigan st, (probably because IU is worthless) but that is because I am not from either of those states.
    But the reason they are putting OSU and Michigan on seperate sides is because what they stated in the article. They will be playing each other AT LEAST once. With them on opposite sides they could play for the championship. Imagine a Big Ten Championship game between OSU and Michigan, or Wisconsin vs. Minnesota. Yeah it is not going to happen for a while, but when that time comes, you will feel the excitement

    September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 300Cooper


    September 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seedz

      N-O....I don't think so!

      September 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • 300Cooper

      and what team do you root for?

      September 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LongSufferingGopherFan

    Ugh. This is tough on Minnesota. Hopefully our two additional out of division games are consistently Indiana and Illinois and not OSU and PSU. We could end up with many seasons with 1 or 2 wins in the Big Ten. Therefore no bowl, no recruits and more of what we've had for 40 years.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matthew

    Purdue-Iowa? They're not rivals. Iowa's rivalries are with Minnesota & Wisconsin. Who did the research for this article? Why didn't they just divide the conference East & West? I know the argument that the better teams are in one half...but the same can be said for the SEC, and the 'old' Big 12. The geography of this arrangement is puzzling to me. We'll's not like it's written in stone...eventually, they'll suck up a few more teams and then it'll be back to the drawing board.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      The story doesn't say Purdue and Iowa are rivals. It says Purdue-Iowa is one of the Big Ten's guaranteed yearly cross-division match-ups, *some* of which keep intact longstanding rivalries. Nowhere does it say Purdue-Iowa is a rivalry.

      September 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    they have the BIg 10 so screwed up now - who cares anymore

    September 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Redbird

    Wisconsin is totally screwed in this set-up, the Minnesota and Iowa games lose meaning since they are not in the same division, and they only play Iowa every other year – maybe. Same with Nebraska. The obvious alignment was Big Ten West: Wisconsin Nebraska Iowa Minnesota Northwestern Illinois. Big Ten East: Penn State Ohio State Michigan Michigan State Purdue Indiana. The problem is that Ohio State did not want to be in the same division as both Penn State and Michigan, and they did not like having three "lesser" programs, Minnesota, Northwestern Illinois in the same division.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cavelle

    What about the Michigan State/UM rivalry! that one is huge for state fans, more so than the Indiana one. Its barely that big of a deal?! this is becoming a mess!!!

    September 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. unladlysalo

    I am really Glad i found this web site.Added to my bookmark!

    February 10, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
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