We’re talking about expansion? Expansion?

Normally, our in-house rabble rouser Sylvester Yon-Rambo can be found on ESPN.com stirring up fans of opposing teams after another Buckeye beat-down (how many times have you been banned from ESPN, SYR? Five? Six times?) but recently SYR was nothing but civil participating in Adam Rittenburg’s weekly B10 chat. We normally wouldn’t link to Adam’s chats but the one’s with MotSaG input hold a little place in our hearts:

Jeremiah (Pittsburgh)

With all the expansion talk I have been trying my best to figure out how they would split the divisions. My best guess is East and West. But this completely makes the divisions unfair IMO. Is there a way to make the divisions where OSU and PSU and Michigan aren’t in the same division? Is there something I am missing where making 2 divisions wont be unbalanced to one side?

Adam Rittenberg (4:28 PM)

Jeremiah, I’m glad you asked this. Everyone needs to put the geography thing aside when trying to form the divisions. It’d be great if everything was neat and nice, but I’m more interested in competitive balance. Putting Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in the same division would be a major mistake. I would either put Penn State in a division with Wisconsin, Iowa, etc., or split Ohio State and Michigan and maintain a protected crossover rivalry like the SEC does. You still run the risk of rematches in the championship game, but it’s not a terrible option.

We haven’t talked much about expansion around these parts (outside of the occasional rumor) but we all have our preferences (I’d prefer to see Pitt, SYR would like to see UConn) but when things eventually do happen, we’ll be ready.


  1. I’d happily run the risk of playing Michigan twice in one year — if anything, it makes the rivalry stronger…

  2. Sylvester Yon-Rambo says

    hahahah I am trying not to get banned from ESPN forums anymore.

    I am going to try to get in a question each week with hopes of getting some good inside info on all things Big 10 related.

    I just wish ESPN did this same blog thing with mens Bball so I could get more info.

    I fully expect to see the Big 10 with 14 teams in the 2012 season.

    The only way it doesnt happen is if Notre Dame joins us then we wouoldnt expand any further.

    If we do go to a super conference of 14 I honestly think they will go outside the region and pull in bigger programs.

    Dont count out Texas yet IMHO the subtle rumors of them joining are more realistic than Pitt or WVU or Missou.

    In the end though I truly believe that the Big Ten is trying its best to pressure Notre Dame into joining by announcing this and giving 12-18 months for the conf to find the teams they want.

    Any way they go I think it will be good for the Big 10. As long as they dont add 3 mid majors or Indiana type schools it will be a good thing.

  3. Why does nobody want OSU, PSU, and UM in the same division? I don’t understand what the issue would be. I have yet to hear a cogent reason why this would be a bad idea.

    Makes no sense to split them up to “balance things out” – balance out what exactly? If it were to happen, there’s nothing inherently unfair about it at all for either division. Each team would have the same opportunity to win a conference title as they do now (not including the current co-champion system, that is).

    Is the argument that those in the OSU/UM/PSU division would have a “harder” schedule than those in the other? Not true – those three play against each other every year anyway. And things would even out for the other three teams in their league, as OSU/UM/PSU would likely continue to cycle in dominance/beating each other up.

    Splitting the three up makes rematches in the conference title game MORE likely; they’d be the rule rather than the exception. No Big 10 fan worth his salt would want that.

    Consider it this way: To get to the conference championship, a team would have to have the best division record (best of 5 games). Conference and overall record would only be used as tiebreakers, right?

    So imagine what would happen if you put OSU in a separate division from UM and PSU. To get to the Big 10 title game, OSU would have to have the best record of five other conference teams NOT including UM or PSU.

    In other words – in our scenario, OSU would likely go every year, regardless of whether or not it lost its regular season games against PSU and/or UM. All it’d have to do is beat Indiana, Pitt, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minny each year (like it does almost every year) and it’s in the conference title game. Losses against UM or PSU wouldn’t prevent a title game appearance unless there needed to be a tiebreaker rule applied between OSU and someone else from its division. IMO, this isn’t fair to the “other nine” – it’d make it more unlikely for them to ever have a chance to compete.

    I’m getting carried away; anyway, my vote is to keep OSU/UM/PSU in the same division. Let the other division be ruled by Wisconsin/Iowa/Notre Dame (or whoever).

    Now there is one REAL issue that needs debated: what name does the new conference choose? IMO: geography is so important for branding nowadays that the word “north” should be in there (e.g., the “Big North”). Another route is to work in the Great Lakes somehow.

  4. Sylvester Yon-Rambo says

    PSU and scUM dont play each other every year just an FYI lol…..

    but OSU currently does play them every year….

    As for why it wouldnt be fair IMO let me just use the 2 other big conferences that do split into 2 divisions….

    Big 12 north and south….

    I bet in 2 seconds you can tell me who won the big 12 conference championship since it started a lot easier than you could which north team that lost to them….

    The same can be said for the SEC…..

    sure Alabama has stepped up the last 2 years but in reality the SEC east is by far a much tougher and better collection of teams than the west….

    in the Big 12 north they just dont compete year in and year out to give OK and Tex much of a game in the end.

    Surely putting the 3 best teams in the same division for the most part year after year it would definately make the OSU bracket much harder to win than the other one. Plus the winner of that division would have an easier chance to win the BCS berth….

    but say occasionally the other division manages to win a champ game….(any given saturday type thing)…..would you be happy with say a 8-4 Minnesota team being in a BCS game while 3 10-2 teams form the other side have to fight for the last spot left in a BCS game…..

    In the end I just dont see the league that forever has said when 2 teams are tied for the league the one who hasnt been to the rose bowl longer gets to go even if the other team is better would all of a sudden start weighing thing unevenly as possible.

    Just my thoughts….

    I am just excited to have something to talk about until spring ball lol

  5. Sylvester Yon-Rambo says

    as for names…..since most schools states border a great lake that would be difficult to have happen…..

    unless we had Lake Erie division and Lake Michigan +Mississippi River Division lol

  6. SYR –

    Just one thing I’d like to add to my comments above: In the same period of time that the Big 12 and SEC have been around, the Big 10 has had _nine_ different teams win its championship. OSU has really only been the only dominant and consistent winner – all this talk about PSU and UM being “good” assumes that they are in fact relevant anymore.

    PSU is no more dominant in Big 10 play than Iowa or Northwestern over that same period of time. And it’s the same for UM, now, too… they’re going through what PSU went through in the early 2000s.

    So if your argument is that PSU and UM are “tougher” than Iowa, Wisco, or Northwestern, that’s not really the case. IF Michigan returns to form, then _maybe_ the league will have two heavyweights. Until then, it’s OSU and “insert rotating team here” (likely Iowa so long as Ferentz is coach).

    Anyway, re: your comments… I’m not sure what you’re saying:

    Are you saying that the internal Big 12 and SEC divisions are UNfair? Or that they’re MORE fair because the dominant teams are split up? Can’t tell what you’re getting at.

    Just a few observations, though: UM and PSU have played 15 of the past 17 years since PSU joined the B10 and both had planned to play every year from now on until this conference talk started. (If Pitt joins, they’ll likely take a yearly spot – that rivalry is one of the oldest in the country and re-starting it will be one of the league’s priorities).

    In the Big 12’s early days, the North dominated with those great Nebraska and KS St teams. In the past few years, it’s been the Bradford/McCoy show for the South.

    The SEC is even more back-and-forth, with Florida, LSU, and Tn taking turns since they started in the early 90s.

    >>Surely putting the 3 best teams in the same division for the most part year after year it would definately make the OSU bracket much harder to win than the other one. Plus the winner of that division would have an easier chance to win the BCS berth…<< Again, sorry! I'm missing something, because this doesn't make sense... how can a division be harder to win, yet easier to win BCS berth at the same time? Also, remember what I said about OSU/PSU/UM being in the same division - they're going to play against each other anyway, no matter what division they're in, so it doesn't make the schedule harder at all. >>would you be happy with say a 8-4 Minnesota team being in a BCS game while 3 10-2 teams form the other side have to fight for the last spot left in a BCS game<< I see what you're thinking, but I think you're on the wrong track. I can't imagine a scenario where three teams from a five-team division win 10 games apiece. I think it might be technically possible - but it would require 7 of the conference's teams to lose a total of 32 games against the four in question (including having the two divisional outliers go 0-11), plus 6 of those same 7 teams would have to go winless against Minnesota. The big three teams would have to go 2-1 against each other, and win 100% of their 12 nonconfernece matchups, while Minny would lose three nonconference games. That is such a big pile of fail that, statistically, it would never happen - or happen so rarely that it wouldn't be worth hitching one's opinion to it. >>as for names…..since most schools states border a great lake that would be difficult to have happen…..<< My open-question wasn't for divisional names... those will likely be geographic. I was thinking of the overall conference branding. Seems like you might agree, though, that the Great Lakes Conference might be a reasonable idea. (GLC East and GLC West...)... I still wonder if working in the North is a good idea... e.g., "Great North Conference" or the "Big North"... BNC East and BNC West? Could also do Lakes/Rivers divisions... but you'd have teams like OSU that are in between both... hmmm...

  7. Sylvester Yon-Rambo says

    my only point is more than not OSU and PSU and scUM will be the 3 best teams in the big 10….

    surely everyone knows scUM will get back to normal sooner rather than later….

    PSU consistintly will finish 1-3 in the conference…

    NW and Wisky and Iowa will NEVER be consistant in the league and will only occasionally step up to compete with the Big 3.

    My suggestion is this in theory having the Big 3 in the same division will most certainly be unfair more years that it wont be over say the next 50 years.

    Thats it and thats why I dont want to see them all 3 in the same division.

    Not just for OSU sake but for the sake of the league
    now if they add Texas or ND or some truly big time programs then we can discuss putting them in the same division but not pitt or missouri or any other middle level school.


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