Say goodbye to the Legends and the Leaders.
The Big Ten will switch to two geographically defined divisions beginning in 2014 when the conference welcomes Maryland and Rutgers into the fold. As speculated, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue will be in the West while Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland will make up the East.
University chancellors and presidents are expected to approve the changes — and give a green light to a nine-game conference slate beginning in 2016 — next week.
Under the new plan, the only protected rivalry is Indiana-Purdue (always a barnburner).
The big winners in this brave new world? Clearly Wisconsin and Nebraska, who seem poised to paint the West red for the foreseeable future. The big loser? Michigan State, whose path to the conference title game will get exponentially more difficult.
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