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New Big Ten divisions to actually make sense: East and West, reportedly

The Big Ten's new division names won't inspire images of past greats and inspirational leadership, but they will make it much easier to tell which team goes where.


The Big Ten will reportedly change their divisions' names to East and West when Maryland and Rutgers join the conference in 2014, according to ESPN. The conference has been using the dubious and confusing titles of Leaders and Legends for their divisions since Nebraska joined the conference, which has drawn no shortage of jokes and wisecracks.

University presidents and chancellors are expected to approve the new divisions next week, as well as a nine-game conference schedule. The expanded conference schedule would begin in 2016.

The new divisions will break down like so:

East West
Indiana Illinois
Maryland Iowa
Michigan Minnesota
Michigan State Nebraska
Ohio State Northwestern
Penn State Purdue
Rutgers Wisconsin

The geographic split makes sense and should actually be pretty easy to remember, which is a huge step up from the current divisions. I'm a fan of a Big Ten program, and I still have problems knowing which teams are Leaders and which teams Legends.

However, in terms of competitive balance, it would seem that the East is a much tougher draw than the West. If Penn State wasn't going through their issues, that division would be a total meat grinder compared to the West, which is Nebraska, Wisconsin and then the rest. Northwestern should be very good in 2013, but they aren't exactly a perennial contender. That said, competitive balance can be a fluid thing, so it's unlikely things will stay as lopsided as this for long.

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