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Unpopular Opinion: The ‘Big Ten’ Needs to go back to actually being the Big Ten

This conference has become too big, with too many non-competitive teams. I have a plan that can fix this, which of course also helps Ohio State.

Big Ten Championship Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

All this week, LGHL writers will be bring you articles with their most unpopular opinions. Check out all of our Unpopular Opinions throughout the week HERE. Whether you disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Landgrant33.

The Big Ten needs to actually be the Big Ten. There, I said. The conference needs to go back to being ten teams, and the “big” part means that ALL of these teams are competitive on a consistent basis. I mean, come on— Rutgers? Purdue? Maryland? Illinois? While who is in the middle of the B1G pack ebbs and flows, at all times, a quarter of this conference is a joke, who really make you question the “Power” in “Power 5 team.”

Plus, this hurts Ohio State because when they win half of their conference games by 40, the wins don’t mean as much when it comes to College Football Playoff rankings.

So, while this might be more popular in Columbus than in a lot of other spots in the B1G footprint, I have a proposed plan to keep the Big Ten at 10 solid teams every year.

Alright, so this upcoming season will be the final season with 14 teams. Then, at the conclusion of the regular season, the four teams with the worst records will drop down to the MAC for the following season.

Now, at the start of the 2022 season, we will have made some progress by then! At that point, we will actually have 10 teams in a conference named Big Ten — I know this has bothered you all, too.

Then, at the end of the 2022 season, the two B1G teams with worst records will also be relegated to the MAC. Another option would be to have the bottom team in each five-team division (if the conference kept those) head to the MAC, instead of just the two worst teams by record.

Alright, alright, alright: At that point, the big season has arrived. The 2023 season is where all of this comes together. We have eight remaining Big Ten teams, and then two new teams from the MAC (and these can include former B1G programs) will be promoted for the season based on their 2022 records.

Then, the conference would rotate two new teams every year to get the best of the best. If you wanted to make the rotations every two years, that could work too. The point of this is to permanently eliminate the non-competitive teams, and give some better — former Group of 5 — teams the chance to compete with the big boys.

You may be thinking that even some of the lower tier B1G teams are still better than the best MAC teams. While that may be true, we won’t know until we test it out, and we could just see a revolving door of current Big Ten teams coming in and out every season. But you know what? That would give a whole lot of intrigue and interest to the late season games for teams like Illinois, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Michigan who aren’t used to having much to play. Now, they actually have to try and win late in the year to avoid being demoted.

At the very least, this proposed solution would knock the conference back down to the 10 teams that it was always supposed to have.

I would be very curious to see how the teams in the MAC would fare against B1G teams such as Minnesota or Iowa. Generally solid B1G teams who can occasionally contend for a conference title, but are usually pretty set in the middle of the standings. Western Michigan has had winning seasons six of the past seven seasons, and Toledo has in ten of the past eleven seasons. Obviously, they aren’t playing a super strong schedule, but perhaps putting them in a competitive conference would bump up their play.

If the MAC totally proves me wrong, however, that is okay. We could keep the B1G conference with B1G teams, if that is who has the best records every year. But truthfully, I am selfishly proposing this for Ohio State’s sake — I want their resume to be boosted by having more solid wins. The playoff committee always seems to have a slight hesitation with OSU every year, because the Big Ten is never viewed to be as strong conference as the SEC. So, if there was any doubt in the committee’s collective mind about whether Ohio State deserved a berth, perhaps this could help (of course this would likely all be moot when the playoff expands anyway, but we will overlook that for now).

If Ohio State didn’t have to beat Rutgers by 50 and Maryland by 30 every year, and instead could play perhaps a more competitive team and only win by 15 or 20, I think that would look better on their resume. So, yes, I am mainly proposing this for Ohio State’s sake, but honestly fit would benefit the conference as a whole as well.

Don’t you think that this plan benefits everyone... except the teams get relegated, of course? Let me know your thoughts in the poll below!


Do you think the Big Ten needs to be cut back to ten teams? If so, do you agree with my plan?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes and I love your plan!
    (213 votes)
  • 26%
    Yes, but I would think of a different solution
    (241 votes)
  • 49%
    No, I like It just the way it is
    (446 votes)
900 votes total Vote Now