What the Hell Is the Point of Divisions Within College Conferences?

Friday, August 27, 2010

As we all know by now the Big Ten is going to be the Big 12 but still be named the Big Ten. As a result of them gobbling up Nebraska come next year they are discussing how they will change the conference around to morph into the cookie cutter twelve team conference. Two divisions of 6 teams with the winners of the divisions playing in the Big Ten title game to set the trip to the Rose Bowl and make a shit load of money.

With this potential useless divisional alignment there have been ample rumors of bending tradition over and shoving a giant rod up its tail pipe. The tradition I obviously speak of is the final game of Michigan and Ohio State's regular season being against each other. Perhaps led by the president of Ohio State, the conference is contemplating both splitting up Michigan and Ohio State into different divisions as well as moving their game, aka possibly the biggest rivalry in college sports and hands down the biggest rivalry in the midwest, to a more pedestrian and meaningless date in October. Cause why care about tradition when you can get all progressive and potentially make hand over fist worth of cash in the potential UM vs. OSU rematch Big Ten title game.

Anywho... that was just a random rant because the Big Ten is stupid. The true subject I wanted to discuss in this post was... What exactly is the point of divisions within a college conference? The Big Ten seems set on morphing their conference into two divisions of 6, but for what purpose?

Purpose 1, Two Winners play in the title game!
So you won your division... who the hell cares? The Big 12 for about the past decade has had Texas or Oklahoma ravage the poor step child who "won" the Big 12 North. Does anyone truly put any weight on winning your division? Or should it simply matter whether you won your conference that matters? I choose the latter. If you kill the division idea and just select the top two teams in the standings year in and year out, then you actually get the best matchup you could get. Sometimes with divisions it works out that way... see SEC 2009... and sometimes it does not... see Big 12 2000-2009. Isn't it better to ensure a good matchup, rather than gamble and potentially get a crappy one?

Purpose 2, By Creating Divisions We Create/Intensify/Keep Rivalries!
Again this is a bullshit excuse. Outside of Penn State and newly joined Nebraska, the Big Ten has had the same 10 core base since 1950. And 9 out of the 12 have been in the conference since World War I. They all have rivalries. Hell half of them have trophy games for every game. Why split up the teams into divisions and arbitrarily say Michigan should play Wisconsin every year but not Iowa, oh definitely not Iowa. Why not just keep the scheduling as is? You play your core rival each year and then there's a rotation of two teams that you don't play that changes every single year.

I can't really think of any other purpose of these divisions and since I debunked the first two I think my work here is done. The Big Ten really should just forego the whole division philosophy because it adds zero benefit and actually works towards potentially degrading the championship game.

Posted by Simon at 12:03 PM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


Good work, SOS!

Bogus Paco said...
5:20 PM  

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