The Big Ten has proposed changing the names and makeups of its divisions for football. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Proposes New, More Traditional Division Names

Goodbye, “Legends” and “Leaders.” Hello, humility.

The Big Ten has proposed to its presidents and chancellors changing to the far more traditional and boring – and far less obnoxious – division names of “East” and “West.” The move would take effect in 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference for their first seasons.

And unlike some conferences (looking at you, SEC), the geographic alignment actually makes sense. The proposed East division would, as one might expect, include the newcomers Maryland and Rutgers, which are also the easternmost programs. It also includes Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Indiana.

The West features Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois.

The aforementioned SEC has some geographical ironies, including Missouri being in the SEC East. Columbia, Mo. is the third westernmost town in the SEC. Auburn, in the West, is also farther east than Nashville, the home of SEC East program Vanderbilt.

It is worth mentioning that while the East includes arguably the bigger names, the Big Ten Championship Game featured two teams from what would be the West in 2014 in Wisconsin and Nebraska. Of course, Ohio State ran the table but was ineligible for postseason play. The Buckeyes can participate in the postseason again in 2013.

The proposed change would split rivals Indiana and Purdue into separate divisions – West Lafayette is less than 20 miles further West than Bloomington. There is conversation of Indiana possibly joining Purdue in the West and moving a more westward team into the Hoosiers’ place.

If the two teams are placed in separate divisions, their annual tilt would be the only protected inter-division game.

The Big Ten also prefers a nine-game conference schedule rather than an eight-game slate.


Projected divisions:





Michigan State

Ohio State

Penn State











Tags: Big Ten Illinois Illini Indiana Hoosiers Iowa Hawkeyes Maryland Terrapins Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Minnesota Gophers Northwestern Wildcats Ohio State Buckeyes Penn State Nittany Lions Purdue Boilermakers Rutgers Scarlet Knights Wisconsin Badgers

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