Breaking B1G: New Division Alignment and Names

According to sources...
The Big Ten will replace Legends and Leaders with East and West when Maryland and Rutgers join the league in 2014, league sources told ESPN.

The proposed Big Ten West includes the six teams located in the Central time zone -- Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin -- plus Purdue, sources said.

The proposed Big Ten East includes Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.

"Just take a ruler and a map [and split the 14 teams]," a source said.
Oh, to be in the Big Ten West.

I actually like this. And here's why.

• It's clean. Like the source said, just split the conference down the middle and call them East and West. Finally, we can end this whole Leaders and Legends mischief.

Can we work on a new logo while we're at it?

• Yes, there's a noticeable disparity in competitive balance between the divisions. But what I think the league is hoping for here is that this could help increase the overall level of competition among both the league's elite and "middle of the road" squads. If anything, it will create tighter and exciting races (especially in the east).

• Of course, and there's probably really no way around this, the new BCS era will only punish schools that don't win their conference. Finish 2nd or 3rd in your league, and getting into the 4-team playoff is next to impossible. However, a school that finishes 2nd out of the East division with say an 11-1 (7-1 in the B1G) record could make an interesting argument since strength of schedule is now a bigger factor. The East division will be daunting.

• Welcome to the Big Ten Maryland and Rutgers. Now enjoy playing the leagues best teams every year.

• Nice to be Purdue right now. The Boilers, initially thought to be headed to the East because of the competitive balance argument, are instead headed to the west. Stinks for IU though. However, that will likely be the only protected crossover game.

• Speaking of protected crossover games, will Michigan and Minnesota remain a yearly rivalry? What about OSU-Ill? My initial gut says no, at least not right away. Also to be voted on by the leagues presidents and chancellors is a move to a 9-game conference schedule by 2016. That's expected to pass.

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