Is the Big Ten about to make a big change?

It was in May that we talked about the Atlantic Coast Conference that held discussions at their annual spring meeting on a new planning model whereby the conference would leave the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions. The NCAA recently repealed a rule requiring conference divisions for any league that wants to play a conference championship game. Now divisions are no longer required for championship matches. With that rule removed, the ACC has become the first league to eliminate their conference divisions, starting in 2023.

The new model that the ACC has adopted is known as the 3-5 format. That would give each of the league’s 14 full-time affiliate schools three permanent opponents, while the other ten schools would run every two seasons for ten seasons, five years on and five years off. That would allow a four-year-old player to play every conference opponent at least once.

The Big Ten has shown faint interest in dropping the conference’s east and west divisions and adopting the same format. However, that change wouldn’t happen until the Big Ten and its TV partners launched a new media rights agreement† That agreement could make the Big Ten the first conference to earn more than $1 billion a year in media rights.

Hopefully, the Big Ten can act quickly and finalize their negotiations and begin the process of holding a division-free conference in 2024. The ACC has taken the first important step and it is time for the Big Ten to start a trend between the other three major conferences with remaining divisions (Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12) and take that important first step and eliminate divisions to create a more attractive schedule for fans as well as for the conference itself.

Check out the list of participants in the Big Ten Championship Game below.

Nebraska

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Appearance of the championship game: One (2012-Legends)

Championship game record: 0-1

Result championship match:

2012 – #14 Nebraska 31 Wisconsin 70

Michigan

© Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Appearance of the championship game: One (2012-East)

Championship game record: 1-0

Result championship match:

2021#2 Michigan 42 #13 Iowa Hawkeyes 3

Penn State

Aaron Doster-US TODAY Sports

Appearance of the championship game: One (2016-East)

Championship game record: 1-0

Result championship match:

2016 #7 Penn State 38 #6 Wisconsin 31

Iowa

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Appearance of the championship game: Two (2015 West, 2021 West)

Championship game record: 0-2

Result championship match:

2015 – #4 Iowa 13 #5 Michigan State 16

2021 – #13 Iowa 3 #2 Michigan 42

northwest

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Appearance of the championship game: Two (2018-West, 2020-West)

Championship game record: 0-2

Result championship match:

2018 – #21 Northwest 24 #6 Ohio State 45

2020 – #14 Northwest 10 #4 State of Ohio 22

Michigan state

© Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Free Press through Imagn Content Services, LLC

Appearance of the championship game: Three (2011-Legends, 2013-Legends, 2015-East)

Championship game record: 2-1

Result championship match:

2011 – #11 Michigan State 39 #15 Wisconsin 42

2013#10 Michigan State 34 #2 Ohio State 24

2015#5 Michigan State 16 #4 Iowa 13

Wisconsin

Appearance of the championship game: Six (2011-Leaders, 2012-Leaders, 2014-West, 2016-West, 2017-West, 2019-West)

Championship game record: 2-4

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Result championship match:

2011 – #15 Wisconsin 42 #11 Michigan State 39

2012 – Wisconsin 70 #14 Nebraska 31

2014 – #13 Wisconsin 0 #5 Ohio State 59

2016 – #6 Wisconsin 31 #7 Penn State 38

2017 – #4 Wisconsin 21 #8 Ohio State 27

2019 – #8 Wisconsin 21 #1 Ohio State 34

Ohio state

© Adam Cairns/Columbus Shipping through Imagn Content Services, LLC

Appearance of the championship game: Six (2013-Leaders, 2014-East, 2017-East, 2018-East, 2019-East, 2020-East)

Championship game record: 5-1

Result championship match:

2013 – #2 Ohio State 24 #10 Michigan State 34

2014#5 Ohio State 59 #13 Wisconsin 0

2017#8 Ohio State 27 #4 Wisconsin 21

2018#6 Ohio State 45 #21 Northwest 24

2019#1 Ohio State 34 #8 Wisconsin 21

2020#4 State of Ohio 22 #14 Northwest 10

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