4 Big Ten Realignment Possibilities For College Football
Last week, the NCAA officially divested itself from the process of how leagues determine participants in their conference championship games for football.
Almost immediately thereafter, the Pac-12 announced its title game representatives will be the teams with the two highest winning percentages in Pac-12 play, shunning the old model that sent the winners of each of the league's two divisions to the conference title game.
Will the Big Ten do the same? There's no definitive answer just yet, but it looks like some sort of change is in the works.
In January, Iowa AD Gary Barta told The Athletic the Big Ten has had conversations about ending its divisional format in football in favor of a model where each team would have three protected opponents they play each season while cycling through the other 10 teams on a regular basis.
The league is also considering lowering its conference slate from nine games to eight. This would help the Big Ten to better leverage its scheduling opportunities with the ACC and Pac-12, conference partners with whom the league is working to battle the SEC. The partnership, called "The Alliance," was formed last summer after Oklahoma and Texas formally announced they're leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, beginning with the 2025 college football season.
The Big Ten could move back to an eight-game conference schedule as soon as the 2023 season, according to The Athletic.
With all of this news as a backdrop, we've identified four distinct realignment possibilities for the Big Ten in this new era of college football, and we've outlined them below.