Reader Mail — Should the Big Ten Go to Dynamic Divisions?

Big Ten Football

I like to answer questions because it makes me feel like a big man, so if you have anything that you think would be a good Reader Mail submission, feel free to send it to me.

I will then judge it to be worthy or unworthy, which also makes me feel like a big man.

If it’s worthy-ish, I may just include it in a Mailbag. No offense.

Today, however, we have an interesting question that has some merit.

Especially in the dead of summer.

The B1G is a pioneer. Why not pioneer themselves to dynamic divisions. They could change every 2 years with an eye on 1 – competitive balance, 2 – protecting rivalries and 3 – ensuring all 4-year players play in every B1G stadium.

I mean come on, has any player been proud of winning a division? NO. So there’s no need to be protective of them. And they could be picked by having the 2 worst or best teams pick divisions. — Josh I.

I’m not tied to the stakes of traditionalism, so I think I like this idea.

I don’t know if the math works out to get the players to every stadium in four years because you’ll have protected rivalries, but it would certainly lead to a wider spectrum of visits than we’re seeing now.

It may help programs on the west side to recruit if they can tell players that they are guaranteed to play against Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State during their four years.

As far as competitive balance, there are pluses and minuses to this. On the positive, it may be better to send somebody from the East to the West to bolster that division, but correct me if I’m wrong on this one — Iowa beat Ohio State by 31 points last season so maybe the West needs to send somebody to the East?

The argument against competitive balance is that the West division has recently had two teams who were one win away from a playoff berth, and that’s pretty cool for the “lesser division” of the B1G. If Iowa beats Michigan State in 2015, they go to the playoffs. If Wisconsin beats Ohio State last year, they go to the playoffs.

There is something to be said for that kind of opportunity in a division where people don’t necessarily have the same amount of respect as they do for the East.

It is an enticement for the programs in the West to invest and compete. Purdue has more incentive than Indiana does. The more teams with incentive, the better for everyone.

Of course, dynamic divisions would then give programs like Indiana or Michigan actual hope for a seemingly easier road as well.

Personally, I love the fact that almost anybody from the West (with a couple of years of consistency behind them) can be in a position for a playoff game. And it doesn’t matter how those teams might actually fare in the playoffs because they couldn’t have done any worse than the East in their last two attempts.

One of the reasons why we love college football is because the teams are constantly changing, so what would be the problem with the divisions changing?

And you’re absolutely right about fans not taking pride in winning the division because every time I mention that Urban Meyer has won a division each year at Ohio State, it is news to most people.

And it’s not like winning the division is a playoff necessity.

Do Buckeye fans take pride in touting their 2013 Leaders title? Or their 2012 title?

I do, however, think players take pride in winning a division because they spend every day working towards that goal. But they’d rather go to the playoffs than win a division.

If we go through with dynamic divisions, I think you have to do the splits based mostly on conference records over the previous two years.

Or maybe the media could vote on it. I will vote for the shortest drives, so maybe the media shouldn’t be involved.

The idea of teams picking the leagues would be interesting. But if you think Ohio State is being a bully now, just imagine how bad it will look if the two best teams get to pick the divisions and Ohio State chooses Michigan with their first pick every time.

Or if OSU gives up their first two picks as long as the other team leaves Michigan alone.

I would not be opposed to dynamic divisions because it gives us something to talk about and I like that. But the reason it won’t happen is because they won’t be able to come up with good names for the divisions. Especially now that we know how the people would react to “Legends” and “Leaders.”

5 Responses

  1. Biggest reason it won’t happen is scheduling. Somehow that often gets in the way of fun ideas.

  2. Recruits commit to the schools they end up at by choice and preference over others. They couldn’t care less if they play in every Big 10 stadium. They want to play in THEIR HOUSE, in front of THEIR fans. After that they want to play first in Bowl games as a reward for their level of play, and hopefully that leads to playing in the tied in venues first for the Big 10 title, and hopefully National title venues.All things are not made “equal” and they shouldn’t be for the sake of some derangement syndrome of a phantom equality issue.

    Last year Iowa got their once in a decade win IN their house against a team who would stomp them 9 out of 10 times a year.

    Maybe we should just do away with intra conference games period for the sake of playing in every Big 10 stadium, which is pretty lame since it’s never going to happen anyway unless they expand the number of games played. Since those closest to players already believe that the their players are overextended and worn out by the end of the season, adding games lends to potential serious injuries because guys just aren’t as sharp by the season end. The most horrific injuries on the field often happen because guys aren’t always playing 100% on every play. It’s a recipe’ for unfixable damage to the game . People whined and cried to have Divisions and when they get it they cry foul and how unfair it all is. BOO freaking HOO. It’s sports and all things no matter what some lame brained politician want, will NEVER EVER be equal. Guys come to Ohio State because they want to be the best, and have the platform to be center stage for potential employers at the next level. Human nature attests to exceptionalism much more often than not being the victor over political nonsense. UPSETS happen for a litany of reasons and it’s part of the game. There’s no such creature as unbeatable, but being among the best is a reality That’s especially true in a game where the devise (a football in this case) used was to create crazy bounces and cause unexpected results.

    People demanded certain things of College football. When they get it they cry about the shape it’s taken. Places like Ohio State grew BECAUSE of tradition and the history of those who poured the foundations to build on. Players come to top level schools with that tradition and history being one of the check marks they’re looking for. Sure they like playing in opposing programs stadiums but that isn’t very high on their “give-a-shit-o-meter”. They came to play in Ohio Stadium. Lets see…..would they prefer to lock horns with Texas, Alabama, Southern Cal in their houses, or toss that aside for the sake of playing in stadiums where THEIR fans are generally the largest part of the crowds? Ohio Stadium West, otherwise known as the place Indiana calls home, or Tiger stadium? Hmmmmm that’s a toughie to decide where the kids would prefer to play (dripping with sarcasm). E X P O S U R E to their dream of a professional life couldn’t care less about playing in every Big 10 stadium. Just the ones that matter. Again, Buckeye players came to play in Ohio Stadium. To chase the legends that made it one of the premier stadiums ON EARTH. THAT is where they want to play ball. They don’t give two flips about going to Piscataway, except it’s on the schedule for them to do.

    Tinkers, Tailors, Beggar Men and Thieves need to leave the game alone. I’ve been to hundreds of stadiums for games. VERY VERY few of the Big 10 stadiums leave a very lasting impression beyond I know where and when to go there as the schedule comes up for them, BUT, going into both Death Valley’s, the Colosseum, Memorial Stadium in Texas, Jones World, The Swamp, Kyle Field etc remain fixed moments of fond recollection.

    Tinkers wanted to disrupt a tradition of Bowls and those intra conference matchup games because “they wanted to settle it on the field.” It was still a mythology then, and it REMAINS a mythology today with this whole playoff garbage…….and THAT is the point of the game. They RUINED the tradition and history of the game for an unattainable idea On any given day the unexpected can occur, just as the originators of the game envisioned by giving the sport a ball that bounces in crazy ways, and where mere inches, and fluke plays (Springs slips) can change the fortunes of a seasons end. Playing in every stadium in your conference doesn’t make a DAMNED bit of difference. Everything about the game hinges on fortunes of the bounce. Those programs who have marginalized those fortunes or MISfortunes the best have created the lure of kids wanting to simply play the game for a chance of fortune and glory. Ohio State and Ohio Stadium are one of those elite level places. I’ve been in every Big 10 stadium several times and STILL have to look up the names of a couple of them, even though I can get you to all of them.. Players play the schedule that’s given to them. They simply couldn’t care less about the particular Big 10 stadium venue. Most can’t name them all, BUT they can name the stadiums of marquise BIG BOY matchups, even the date and time decades later.

    People just need to leave the game alone for fanciful nonsense.

  3. This Buckeye is very proud of Ohio State’s 2012 de facto B1G title. Any team that feels they have a basis to say otherwise needs to look at the score of our game against them year.

    1. It’s hard to win a title, if you don’t play for one, defacto or not. That goes for all of those that say osu would have won the national title as well. Osu did win a facto division title in 2012. That does count.

  4. That’s a really smart idea.

    — Josh I.

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