When the Big Ten announced their division setup and names, they found themselves facing a torrent of criticism. This was because the specific groupings of schools had little to do with geography or tradition, and naming your divisions "Leaders" and "Legends" is fucking stupid. After one season, the division names were still stupid, but at least the divisions appeared to be relatively equal, competitive balance wise.
Over the offseason though, Penn State football was nuked from orbit by the NCAA, and many sportswriters believe the program could be clipped until 2020. Having Penn State suck at football not only hurts the prestige of the Big Ten, but it also makes the Leaders Division substantially weaker than the Legends. We saw what having unbalanced divisions did for the Big 12, so why don't we nip that crisis in the bud, and shuffle the cards around a little? Here are a few suggestions to get us started.
Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa
Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana
The progressive campus bonafides of Wisconsin and Minnesota are about as strong as they come. Michigan was one of the hotbeds of antiwar protests in the 1960s, and Northwestern is practically in Chicago (although not close enough to actually be Chicago's Big Ten team. Take your billboard out of my neighborhood Northwestern. You do not belong here).
While PA is a 'blue state", PSU is firmly located in the Alabama part of the state. Columbus may be a Democrat leaning town, but nobody would confuse the student activism culture of Columbus with Michigan, Wisconsin etc. And our fearless folk hero, St. Woody, was a friend, and fierce supporter of, Nixon. CULTURAL CONFLICT, Y'ALL. Team Red State looks to be a little stronger top to bottom, but both divisions could be competitive.
TEAM BOUNCYHOOPS ALIGNMENT
BASKETBALL IS FUN DIVISION
Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois
LOL WHAT'S A BASKETBALL DIVISION
Michigan, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota
Yeah yeah, I know Michigan actually has a good basketball team this year, and OSU basketball history before Thad Matta and after like, 1968, isn't exactly awesome. This looks like as good a way to break things down as any though.
THE ACADEMICS ROSE BOWL WARRIOR POETS ALIGNMENT
WARRIOR POET DIVISION
Ohio State, Vandy, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Texas, Yale.
SOLIDER SCIENTIST DIVISION
Michigan, Penn State, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, University of Chicago.
ROSE BOWL ROSE BOWL ACADEMICS *looks down at SEC*
WELL, DIVIDING TEAMS BY US NEWS RANKING MAKES AS MUCH SENSE AS ANYTHING ELSE ALIGNMENT
MENSA SMARTPANTS DIVISION
Northwestern, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois
HURR DURR I'M A COLLEGE DIVISION
Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Purdue.
Wow, these are actually pretty fair divisions. Plus, the schools in the HURR DURR division are still great academic institutions. BIG TEN ACADEMIC DEPTH YALL.
WAIT, A GEOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN THAT KINDA MAKES SENSE?? ALIGNMENT
UNEMPLOYMENT AND SADNESS DIVISION
Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana, Purdue
GREAT PLAINS AND METH DIVISION
Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska
This would make too much sense, and when Penn State rebuilds their program, we can shuffle things around again, especially since it's likely Michigan State won't be quite as good then (or that Illinois or Iowa will have rebounded a little).
Do you think the current set up is optimal? Should we reexamine things in a few years to see if they can't be tweaked? Can we just get some better names than f***ing Leaders and Legends?