Big Ten football: OSU, Michigan in different divisions, will meet in final regular-season game
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 07:10 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 08:08 PM
The Big Ten Conference this evening confirmed a poorly kept secret about its divisional alignment in football, which was widely reported earlier in the day: Ohio State and Michigan will be in different divisions and play each other every year -- as the final game of their regular seasons.
Each Big Ten team will play the other five teams in its division every season. In addition, each team will have a permanent "crossover" game, Ohio State-Michigan being one such example. The other two conference games will be against teams from the opposite division on a rotating basis.
The new-look Big Ten will line up this way (divisions have not yet been named):
* Ohio State
* Penn State
* Michigan State
Commissioner Jim Delany said that creating divisions with competitive equality was the top priority and No.2 was maintaining a cross-division rivalry game.
Big Ten teams will play eight conference games the next two seasons, but that could increase in the future.
"The athletic directors have the intention of exploring a ninth conference game in 2015," Delany said.
Ohio State and Michigan will play each other every year on the last day of the Big Ten season, and could conceivably play each other twice in one season. Because they are in different divisions, the Buckeyes and Wolverines could play in the new Big Ten championship game.
"I'm very pleased that we came out of this with protected rivalries that will go on permanently with Ohio State and Michigan State," Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon said. "We'll play Ohio State in the last game of the regular season, following a tradition that has lasted for decades. And if we both earn the right, we can play the Buckeyes again in the Big Ten championship game."
The first Big Ten football championship game will be played in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the NFL's Colts.