The hottest topic with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten is how the new seven team divisions will work out. They have to go somewhere even though very few Big Ten fans want them. The last time a team was added the conference decided to split based on competitive balance, which was great until two third of a division got declared ineligible and a third place team spanked Nebraska in the title game.
This time there have been three official theories put forth by the conference, and competitive balance is out the window because you're adding two historically bad teams that have more history than only Indiana for football:
Option 1: Existing plus one
We keep what we have and have Rutgers go one way and Maryland the other.
Option 2: East-West
Rutgers and Maryland go east with Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michgian State, and Indiana.
I like this because it puts Purdue in a slightly easier division, but unless there is a protected rivalry the Bucket game will be sacrificed. There are no other rivalries to protect cross-division, so I doubt a protect rivalry happens. Since I like ending Purdue's season with a win I am not a fan of losing Indiana.
Option 3: Inner Outer
An inner donut of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, and Northwestern forms an inner donut of easy travel while the other division is the Frequent Flyer miles division with Rutgers and Nebraska, separated by 1,284 miles, sharing a division.
Honestly, all of these suck. Plus, what is Delaney going to do when he adds two more schools (which we all know is happening, sadly)? The league is reportedly going to at least a nine game schedule in the future and possibly ten, so even non-conference rivalries like Iowa-Iowa State, Purdue/Michigan State/Michigan-Notre Dame, and the like will be threatened.
Since these suck, here are a few of my own:
Purdue Dynasty plan:
Purdue goes into a division with Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers, Maryland, and Minnesota to form the Underdogs vs. Favorites plan. You basically take seven historically mediocre to bad football schools and give one a guaranteed shot at the Rose Bowl every year while the powers battle it out in the other division. Every title game becomes David vs. Goliath. Also, since Urban Meyer thinks the Big Ten is not much of a challenge for someone of his recruiting prowess, screw him with the tougher half. He'll even like it because Ohio State won't have to come to Purdue where the Boilers own them in West Lafayette.
Let the possibility that Purdue might be the best historical team in this division go ignored. I like this plan.
Screw Indiana plan:
Everyone beats Indiana anyway, so throw them in with Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State as a bye week in that Division. We all know they are not going to win a conference title anyway, so this prevents a bizarre scenario like this year, when they controlled their destiny for Pasadena with three weeks to go. This can never happen again, Big Ten.
If we can go East/West, why not North/South? Minnesota, northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa go north and everyone else goes south. Seems pretty balanced to me as long as you protect Ohio State/Michigan.
Screw Everyone else and have Ohio state and Michigan meet in the title game.
I mean this is what everyone wants, right? There is rarely a legitimate champion in the conference unless it is one of these two. Nevermind that both have managed to dick-trip out of the title game each of the first two years. The Big Ten is "Up" when they are playing for titles and "down" when anyone else is, so for conference perception have them play for the title every year. Bonus that we can hear about how awesome they are twice!
Big Ten vs. The World:
'Merican Division: All 14 current teams
World Division: University of Pyongyang, University of Baghdad, University of Kabul, University of Toronto, University of Moscow, University of Berlin, University of London, University of Hanoi, University of Madrid, Univeristy of Tokyo, University of Vienna, University of Mexico City, The Defending SEC Champion, University of Istanbul
In the near 240 year history of the U.S. our country has fought major wars against 14 different countries. England (American Revolutioin, War of 1812), Canada (War of 1812), North Korea (Korean War), North Vietnam (Vietnam War), Iraq (Gulf War 1 and 2), The Soviet Union (Cold War), Afghanistan (War on Terror), Germany (World War I and II), Japan (World War II), Spain (Spanish-American War), Mexico (Mexican War). Austria (World War I), Turkey (Ottoman empire WWI), and, of course, the American South (Civil War).
With J Leman and Ricky Stanzi leading the way as ‘Mericans for Lyfe on perpetual scholarship our Big Ten heroes will take on each former world power in football to remind them of how awesome America is. Instead of a national reach Delaney gets a worldwide reach, too.
I honestly don't see how this plan can fail.