Just when we thought the conference realignment chaos was over, the Big Ten went ahead and started the cycle all over again. A story broke this afternoon that the Big Ten was in some serious conversations with both Maryland (ACC) and Rutgers (Big East) about joining the traditionally midwestern conference. Both schools would likely have significant conference exit fees: Rutgers would be required to pay $10 million and Maryland could be forced to pay up to $20 million (it's no wonder that Maryland opposed the $50 million exit fee the ACC voted on in September). The addition of these two teams would bring the Big Ten team count from 12 to 14.
My biggest question is whether this would mean the Big Ten would take the opportunity to reallign the two divisions in the conference, as well as give the divisions more traditional names like East and West perhaps. Legends and Leaders was a good try (actually, let's be serious, no it wasn't), but if both of these teams are added, a geographical split makes the most sense. As it stands now, the allignment is as follows:
Legends: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern Leaders: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Here is a map with the current Big Ten layout for y'all to put this into perspective:
If it were to be divided by an East/West Division, clearly Rutgers and Maryland would fall in the East, as would Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and likely Indiana, although it's almost exactly as far east as Purdue. The West Division would include Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. That keeps a Michigan/MSU rivalry, a Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, a Michigan State/Penn State rivalry, and it also keeps the rest of the country from making fun of the Big Ten for moronic division names.
information source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaab--maryland--rutgers-in-serious-talks-about-move-to-big-ten.html