Divisions not looking good for Wisconsin

The Big Ten will announce its two divisions tonight at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network and it's looking like the Wisconsin Badgers won't be enjoying the news.

According to ESPN.com's Andy Katz, the divisions will look like this:

Division 1: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.

Division 2: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois.

That's right Badger fans, if these divisions are true, Wisconsin's top two rivals -- and potential big time rival (Nebraska) -- will all be in the other division.

Ohio State and Michigan will also be split up and so will Northwestern and Illinois. In fact, at first glance, the only major rivalries that appear intact are Purdue-Indiana and Michigan-Michigan State.

So why are these the divisions?

From day one Jim Delany has said competitive balance would play a big part in forming the divisions. Well, it certainly did. Lindsey Willhite from the Daily Herald did the math and found that the two divisions' winning percentage since 1993 ARE BOTH .580.

Talk about even. But did they really need to be even? The conference sacrificed rivalries and lower travel costs for both teams and fans by organizing the divisions the way they did. Northwestern is the closest school to Madison, and Penn State is the farthest. So why are the Nittany Lions in Wisconsin's division and the Wildcats are not?

Now, let's move on to the basketball side of the things.

The other half of Katz's report indicated that the Big Ten could go back to a 16-game basketball schedule in which teams would play divisions opponents twice.

Now, take a good look at his reported divisions and imagine how absurd that would be. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois would all be in the SAME DIVISION. That would leave Michigan State with Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota.

Are you kidding me? Wisconsin has more NCAA appearances in the last decade than Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota put together. Add Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois to the mix and it would be the most unequal divisions possible, which would completely contradict the competitive balance in football.

Luckily, a source told me today that there will not be divisions in basketball. That source said nothing about the schedule, but I expect it to stay at 18 games.

Phew.

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