Big Ten to scrap Leaders & Legends, adopt East/West divisions

Now potentially for the East Division title. - Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

As long pined for (and expected as of late), the Big Ten will eliminate the Leaders/Legends setup and instead move to an East/West divisional alignment.

On a triumphant day for Americans for reasons far more serious than the healthy distraction collegiate athletics provide, a lingering, infinitely more superficial scourge was also overcome. Per a report by ESPN's Brett McMurphy and Adam Rittenberg, the Big Ten will officially eliminate the Leaders & Legends divisions, both in name and functionality, switching instead to 'East' and 'West' divisions (as many long thought they should have when divisions were first formally introduced) with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the conference.

As expected, Ohio State will find themselves in the East division, joined by arch rivals Michigan, current conference rivals Penn State and Indiana, as well as the introduction of Michigan State and B1G newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. The West will be comprised of teams exclusively in the Central time zone with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin making up that division.

Amongst the many benefits of the far more logical alignment, the currently dormant Iowa-Wisconsin rivalry can be renewed. The Land-Grant Trophy, long played for by Michgian State and Penn State, will also be able to be brought back into a far more regular rotation. And of course Michigan and Ohio State will also find themselves playing a divisional contest at season's end with no possibility of a rematch the next week, potentially for the East division title now as well.

One of the few casualties of the alignment is that of in-state rivals Indiana and Purdue being split apart, but I imagine with an annual protected cross divisional game still in tact (especially given the move to 9 conference games), the schools will survive. Ohio State and Wisconsin, who have developed a rather high intensity recent rivalry of sorts, will also play less frequently, though for the possibility of having Michigan and keeping Penn State in their division, I imagine few Buckeyes would object.

Of course as Spencer Hall so astutely noted, leave it to Jim Delany and the league to leak the end of a bad leadership seminar worthy named divisions on a Friday night during one of the most high profile manhunts in televisions history. Either way, as almost no non-ultra contrarian Big Ten honk will attest, thank goodness our long national college football related nightmare is finally over.

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