Have these Wisconsin players just learned that Leaders & Legends will soon be naught but an unfortunate memory? (AP)
By Holly Anderson
As expected, the Big Ten has officially announced its plans to shift from the constantly-maligned Leaders & Legends divisions to geographical halves. The league has also decided to move to a nine-game conference schedule. First, the business, and lordamercy have they ever mathed this thing out:
The Big Ten Conference office announced football division alignments set to begin in 2014 and nine-game conference schedules set to start in 2016. [...] The new division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. [...] Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. [...] With the start of the nine-game conference schedule in 2016, teams from the East Division will host five conference home games during even-numbered years, while teams from the West Division will host five conference home games during odd-numbered years. As a result of the nine-game conference schedule and the Big Ten’s schedule rotation, every student-athlete will have the opportunity to play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period.
Got all that? Right. Now, on to the important part: How we are all going to keep these straight without carrying around pocket globes. Using the first letter of each school’s name in a given division to form an anagram is possible (PRIM MOM for the East and WIMP INN for the West), but we prefer Tony Gerdeman’s technique: