According to published reports, the Big Ten plans to change their football division names to “East” and “West” when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference for the 2014 season.
Michigan and Michigan State will both be in the East Division, along with Indiana, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. The West Division will be made up of Purdue and the conference’s six Central Time Zone teams: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
Because the new alignment keeps most rivals together, the only rivalry game that will need protection as an annual occurrence will be Indiana-Purdue.
The Wolverines and Spartans will play Rutgers and Maryland every year, but the Wisconsin-Michigan State Border Battle and the Little Brown Jug games between Michigan and Minnesota will become less common.
ESPN is reporting that the new alignment and names will be voted on by the conference’s presidents and chancellors next week.