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Big Ten Considering Scrapping Divisions, Iowa AD Gary Barta Says

Penn State

Since the Big Ten last realigned its football divisions before the 2014 season, all eight Big Ten championship game winners have been from the Big Ten East.

The disparity— as well as the widely regarded persecution that the Big Ten East is superior to the Big Ten West in the regular season as well as the annual championship game— has led college football fans and experts alike to call for another realignment.

They might be getting their wish.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told the Athletic that the conference is considering scrapping the Big Ten East and West divisions. The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman reported that a new college football playoff format would influence whether the Big Ten decides to either “eliminate divisions, remain status quo or drop to 8 league games.”

A new alignment is thought to give the Big Ten standings for all 14 teams and have each team play eight conference games. The four out of conference games could come against schools from the ACC or PAC 12, since the Big Ten has an “alliance” with those two conferences in non-conference scheduling.

“We’ve had several conversations,” Barta told the Athletic. “One of that things that we’re watching is whether it’s related to The Alliance, which we’re talking through and/or, what gives us the best opportunity to have the most success in the College Football Playoff format?”

The Big Ten first installed divisions before the 2011, with “Legends” and “Leaders” being the names. That alignment lasted before three seasons, before the Big Ten “East” and “West” were born.

Since 2014, only four schools— Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Michigan— have won the Big Ten. All four of those schools are in the Big Ten East, and Ohio State (5) has more titles than any other Big Ten team (3) combined.

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