The Big Ten is adapting to a changing college football landscape and is now doing away with divisions. However, they aren’t doing away with big rivalries within the conference. Divisions within the conference will go away in 2024, and with that change, the schedule of each Big Ten team will look more diverse on a year-to-year basis.
There’s about to be more variety from a scheduling standpoint while still honoring the legacy of rivalries such as Michigan-Ohio State and Michigan-Michigan State. If the Big Ten was a food brand they’d be keeping original recipes while adding new and improved flavors.
“Preserving some of the matchups that are important to Big Ten fans and to the member institutions,” Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said on Thursday. “Making sure those matchups continue understanding that goes beyond just one or two schools.”
Petitti believes the new format will create a stronger Big Ten Conference. With more variety in the schedule on a year-to-year basis fans will be able to travel to locales they wouldn’t be able to under the current division format.
“Being able to see more opponents more frequently is really important. When you think about the integration and bringing everybody together,” Petitti said. “Just having that rotation. I think it really connects everybody when you’re going to rotate through opponents very quickly. I think the plan they had makes a lot of sense.”
The Big Ten has found a way to toe the line and make their television partners happy as well as conference institutions. The new format will have its critics, but the SEC will be doing away with divisions as well and the Big Ten was wise to roll with the tide, no pun intended.
“You want competitive balance, you want to respect history and tradition in conference even as you’re expanding,” Petitti explained. “And you also want to connect fans. I think all those things we’ve done with this format, we’re going down the absolute right direction.”