With Nebraska (the butt of many academic jokes in its current conference, the Big 12) coming to the Big Ten (plus one) next year, Big Ten officials have decided upon how the football programs will be split into two yet-unnamed conferences so they can get a football championship game in. Nebraska was placed in one conference with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. While in the past, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State have all been consistent contenders for the Big Ten title, their performances over the last decade haven’t exactly been good, with only one of those teams at a time being contenders for the conference championship.
Meanwhile, in the other conference, Ohio State (not-so-affectionately known as OverratedSU around these parts and back at the Bar when it was up and running for consistently choking against other national powerhouses), Penn State and Wisconsin, all consistent contenders for the Big Ten title the past decade, will be beating each other up to see who gets to play in the Cornhusker Invitatio…er, Big Ten Championship game, and which two get lesser bowl opportunities.
The inclusion of Wisconsin in the Power Division also threatened to break up two long-standing rivalries with associated trophies, one with Minnesota for Paul Bunyan’s Axe and one with Iowa for the Heartland Trophy. The Big Ten officials graciously decided to make one cross-division rivalry a guaranteed one for every team. Fortunately for Bucky, it’s the most-played rivalry in Division I-A sports that didn’t visit the proverbial chopping block.