I'm about as casual a college football fan as they come, and I don't find anything really terrible about the alignment. After reading about it and some of the reactions, I don't think splitting Ohio State and Michigan was a great idea. I know it's a protected game, but the continued existence of that game was never really in doubt. Coupled with the fact that they won't move that game from it's traditional spot in the schedule, I think they should've been paired in the same division. The reason is under the current set up if both teams have their respective divisions wrapped up, how does that affect the "rivalry game" when next week's matchup for the conference title is the one that matters? Of course, you can simply say that the rivalry is so strong that both schools will pull out the stops to beat the other anyway, and that's reasonable. But imagine if Ohio State and Michigan were in the same division and now the game potentially decides who goes to the Big Ten championship game? I'd say that's also a very tantalizing subject. I dunno, perhaps the idea of having the conference's two marquee programs potentially meeting in the championship game was enough to showcase the conference. Under the idea that Michigan and Ohio State should be in the same division, I took a crack at a different set up as a mental exercise (yes, reel-line-mint) to see if it could be improved. Using Wikipedia to document all the rivalry games in the conference and attempting to preserve as many of those rivalries as possible (either keeping rivals in division or using the protected game round it off), I came up with pretty much an East/West split with the exception of Illinois and Northwestern going in the East and Indiana and Purdue going in the West. Here's the layout with their protected rivalry across from each other: Ohio State - Wisconsin Michigan - Minnesota Penn State - Nebraska Michigan State - Indiana Northwestern - Iowa Illinois - Purdue I think the only rivalry that is lost is the Governor's Victory Bell between Penn State and Minnesota, but that one is just as lost under the current set up. Of course I didn't take into account "competitive balance". Anyway, this was just a mental exercise that I thought I'd share.