Per a report from friend of the blog Scott Dochterman of The Athletic, the Big Ten is discussing dropping divisions ($) all together and thinking about going to eight conference games so as to add a non-conference matchup with one of the other Alliance (ACC, Pac-12) conferences.
Dochterman was speaking with Iowa athletic director Gary Barta who mentioned the discussions that Big Ten administrators were having:
Big Ten administrators have discussed dropping to eight games beginning in 2023 so it can create matchups with teams from the Pac-12 and ACC conferences, with which the trio has a working arrangement called The Alliance.
There also are serious discussions about the Big Ten ending divisional play with schools playing three opponents annually and cycling through the other 10 teams either every other year or two years on, two years off.
After the 2022 season, the Big Ten’s media rights deal is up for bidding again so the conference will probably want to have this decided before then so they can present the most valuable set of football games to networks.
It’s interesting to think about what might be more valuable for the Big Ten: having nine conference games (which features matchups like Illinois vs. Maryland or Michigan State vs. Rutgers that don’t really move the needle) or adding a non-conference game with the ACC or Pac-12. The non-conference route offers up mouth-watering matchups like Michigan vs. Southern Cal, Ohio State vs. Clemson, Penn State vs. Oregon, Wisconsin vs. Utah, etc. but also brings along its fair share of duds like any game involving Boston College or Oregon State.
Which would you prefer? Who should Wisconsin’s three permanent opponents be?