Big Ten makes East-West Divisions official

The Big Ten officially released its new divisions on Sunday afternoon, going with the divisions that had been floated last week. Indiana will be in the East Division along with Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. The release from the Big Ten follows.

The Big Ten Conference office announced football division alignments set to begin in 2014 and nine-game conference schedules set to start in 2016.  The changes were unanimously recommended by conference directors of athletics and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors.

“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany.  “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll.”

The new division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. All schools in the East Division are in the eastern time zone and all schools in the West Division are in the central time zone with the exception of Purdue. Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. The cross-division games will include one protected matchup on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue.

With the start of the nine-game conference schedule in 2016, teams from the East Division will host five conference home games during even-numbered years, while teams from the West Division will host five conference home games during odd-numbered years. As a result of the nine-game conference schedule and the Big Ten’s schedule rotation, every student-athlete will have the opportunity to play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period. The Big Ten is returning to a nine-game conference schedule for all teams for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons.

“Big Ten directors of athletics met in person or by conference call six times from December to March to discuss a new Big Ten football model,” Delany said.  “The level of cooperation and collaboration was reflective of what we’ve come to expect from this group of administrators who have worked extremely well together on a number of complex matters over the past several years.  We are all looking forward to ushering in this new era of Big Ten football.”

The Big Ten will hold the 2013 Football Media Days and 42nd annual Kickoff Luncheon on Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25, at the Hilton Chicago, featuring all 12 head coaches and some of the nation’s top returning players. The 118th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, August 29, and culminates with the third annual Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7, to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.


  1. Totally bad or unfair for IU….Here is why. For the last 50 years tradition….OSU and Michigan should be split plus there is Penn State and MSU….Besides Nebraska, the west does not have a long traditional 50 year power history team…Yes Wisconsin has been great in recent years….but not sustained on a continual basis throughout its history during last 50 years….the rest of the west are just up and down teams historically speaking and long term records would probably reveal toss up games….Good deal for Purdue though….IU could improve significantly and still and still be 5th in the east where as be 2nd in the west.

  2. I’m not much of a fan for it either, but I didn’t like the Leaders and Legends either. I guess I gold on to hope that Wilson will improve the team enough, so it don’t matter where we are placed. Thus far, I’m impressed by Wilson. Still a weird feeling when we pull in majority 3 and 4 star guys. Living in SEC country, maybe I can make wearing IU Football bear cool down here. 🙂

  3. If IU football wants to be the man, we have to beat the man. As a fan who attends home games, I’d rather seem us play the teams in our division rather than the slugs in the other.

  4. I agree Aruss. I also wouldn’t mind playing higher caliber teams in non conference. Though this year isn’t too bad. Navy and Missouri are respectable. Not too sure on Bowling Green.

  5. I wish they would push to play Albany Great Danes. Great coach and improving program. Good game in my opinion.

  6. ^ Not me. Pretty innocuous comment to use someone else’s name. It might be true, I don’t know.

  7. I’m 97% sure I had a mental block for the whole Ledgers and Lenders alignment, or whatever it was we called that fiasco. Try as I might, I could never, ever remember what division we were in. Had to re-look it up every week. But east-west divisions? That’s something I can get on board with (and hopefully commit to memory.)

    Regarding T’s post, I’m not sure going back 50 years for historical context on the relative strength of divisional opponents serves much purpose going forward. These things are cyclical. In the late 90’s and early 00’s, the SEC’s east division was clearly superior at the top. Auburn and LSU had the occasional big year when they could run the table against their laughable western division foes and didn’t have to play either Florida or Tennessee from the east. It wasn’t always like that. Now the pendulum has swung back and the west is so dominant Alabama doesn’t even have to win its own division to play for a NC.

    The new B1G east division probably has more “name” programs, but let’s not forget that both Iowa and Purdue generally produce top ten-calibre teams every couple of years. If the stars align just right, we could be considering ourselves lucky to be playing in the east a year or two from now.

  8. Then again, T’s last sentence also has some validity. Look at KU and Mizzou in the Big XII a few years ago. No Texas or Oklahoma in the north, so all they had to do was beat a substandard Nebraska and some scrubs and all of a sudden they both find themselves something like 10-1. There’s probably no chance either of those teams get anywhere close to the NC discussion if they play in the southern division that year. That’s just how things shook out. So I can certainly see many bitter IU posters on here complaining for years to come “if we only played in the west…” Don’t be surprised if I use that line myself a time or two.

  9. “if we only played in the west we could get completely curb stomped in the B1G championship game and made a national joke.” No thanks. Our recruiting is on the rise, the program is on the rise and we can compete with the top half of our division.

  10. Obviously, the East is by far the tougher division. This set-up will result in lopsided play with far more easy victories in the West than the East. So I hope all these teams in the East get a fair shake when it comes to bowl selection in comparison to those teams in the West.

    On the plus side, being in the East could help IU and Coach Wilson raise the level of recruitment and play. If not, IU football will remain in the doldrums.

  11. Aruss is closer to understanding the positive of this for IU than t. With the exception of Puke the Indiana/Illinois state line and Lake Michigan provide the dividing point for this FB conference. On which side of that line will you find the most fertile recruiting states to play your home and most frequently played away games in? With the exception of Illinois the pickens are much slimmer in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and even Wisconsin than Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsy, NJ, Maryland and with good possibilities for talent in NY, Va. and DC. Recruiting is to some extent a #’s game and IU now has an opportunity to do business in the same area that Meatchicken and the Buckeyes do. Also the SEC/ACC pluck low hanging fruit there too. PUke can have the West division. IU can do well in the East.

  12. FYI: I understand IU has significantly improved recruiting, however they need to beat Indiana State more than 7 with some calls that went IU’s way….they need to beat Ball State….and other division 2 teams and Mac caliber teams before you get to excited about playing in east division. This IU tradition not just a game or two.

    If Michigan and OSU were split to the west for any of the other teams besides Nebraska then the divisions would be excellent.

  13. Wisonsin’s star may be fading. Bielma bailed because he supposedly didn’t feel appreciated- and admittedly, Alvarez was a tough act to follow. IF that’s true, that’s a sign of hubris that often precedes a fall. New coach Anderson was 11-2 at Utah St. last year, but was something like 14-24 the three years as HC there before that. And although t is right about not putting the cart before the horse (i.e., let’s get consistent wins against lower level programs before we worry about the UMs and OSUs in the East), IU will have to eventually beat top caliber teams if it’s ever going to be program to be reckoned with- so I say East, schmeest, let’s just play ball. I also agree with Pujab about the cyclical nature of things; look how the IU division race (same mental block as Punjab here) shook out last year- IU games in Nov. actually mattered.

  14. Whose turn is it to explain the difference between Division I and Division II.

    Here’s a hint, t. IU hasn’t played a “division 2” team in your lifetime.

  15. Whether you understand what Division II is or not it is easy to see there is better prospecting for recruiting DI FB talent in the E side of the conference geography than in the W side. Better talent recruited to Bloomingtong is what will beat ISU by more than 7.

  16. Beating ISU more than 7 still does not beat Mich, OSU, PSU or MSU. So that leaves Indiana 5th in division.

    Yes, IU is getting some 4 star (who will be frosh) and many 3 star recruits plus a few jucos the last couple years.

    However, Michigan and OSU gets 5 star and lots of 4 star recruits almost every year. Penn State gets lots of 4 star recruits. So maybe IU works its way to 4th place in east division. Curve the the east west division line so it splits Mich and OSU.

  17. Profound, a most profound post. It is the nose on your face. Recruiting is what got Meatchicken, PSU and the Bucks to where they are. The state of Illinois and east offer that opportunity to IU. Not the plains states west. PUke will suffer much more than IU.

  18. I hope you are right davis. As far as I’m concerned, one victory over Wisconsin this year in football would absolve the basketball team of their 12-game losing streak against those hunchbacked scandinavian cheeseheads led by Bo Ryan.

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