Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big Ten Expanding - Is Pitt It?

Word on Twitter has Pitt announcing a jump to the Big Ten. The official word could come as early as Thursday.

Of course none of this is official.

First off, the only reason I can see for waiting until Thursday to make the announcement is to avoid conflicts with National signing day. (By the way, is there even precedence on what a shift in conference would mean to recruiting?) Regardless, I'm not putting much hope in hearing anything official in the coming days, and that includes denials.

But should Pitt join the Big Ten, the magical 6-team divisions would be one of the next major announcement. Looking at football, this would mean that teams would play all divisional opponents plus half of the other division. At present, Big Ten teams have two exempted rivalries permanently on the football schedule. Seeing as Pitt would supplant one of Penn State's rivals, the dominoes fall. It will be interesting to see if any school wants to revisit their choices (a la Purdue's selection of Northwestern).

How then will the new divisions balance rivalries and geography? Here's how they might break down.

East & West
  • East: Pittsburgh, Penn St, Ohio St, Michigan, Michigan St, Indiana
  • West: Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa
North & South
  • North: Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan St, Wisconsin, Minnesota
  • South: Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio St, Pittsburgh, Penn St.
Rivalry Sensitive
  • Purdue, Indiana, Penn St, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Minnesota
  • Michigan, Ohio St, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan St.
End result: These divisions are gonna be a tough mash up. One completely insane idea would be to go with three 4-team divisions.

OK, that won't happen. And let's not forget, this whole Pitt thing might not happen either.


Anonymous said...

Wait. The "Rivalry Sensitive" divisions have PSU-MSU in separate divisions! But what will become of the prestigious Land Grant Trophy?!?!?!?

Ross McLochness said...

I know! The agony of realignment will touch all Americans.