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Barry Alvarez Wants The Annual Iowa-Wisconsin Rivalry Back

  • The College Football Hall of Famer echoed many of his colleagues by saying geography needs to play a bigger role in division alignment than it did two years ago.

    "When you add two teams from the East--Maryland and Rutgers--I think it's important that you consider the option of determining the divisions by geography," Alvarez wrote in Wisconsin's official online magazine, Varsity. "That only makes sense.

    "I thought the Big Ten did a very good job in researching everything from the time that Penn State joined the league. It clearly showed that there were teams that separated themselves from the others. But I want to play Iowa every year. I didn't like not playing Iowa the last two years. I know our fans didn't like it either. I want to continue to play Minnesota every year. I also want to play Nebraska every year. That has turned into a natural rivalry for us. Those games are important to our fans because they can travel to the games."

    Badgers' Alvarez weighs in on re-alignment -

    We talked to a majority of Big Ten athletic directors for our series of stories looking at the issues that need to be determined for the 2014 season a
  • This has ALWAYS made sense, except to those in B1G Conference HQ. Location, location, location! Iowa fans HATE Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois and vice versa, and everyone hates each other. That's what it takes for great rivalry games- not some stupid trophy (except for Floyd of Rosedale, of course!).biggrin

    Now, how about some common sense instead of bizarre creativity with the division names? East and West sounds pretty logical to me. Legends and Leaders has sucked from Day #1.

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    GO HAWKS!!!

  • fuisu

    Agreed I want that trophy back but if Barry wants to keep Minny, Nebraska & Iowa. That means he wants to join our divison when we realign.

    I have only one problem with this. The West division is tough enough as is. Mich, Iowa, MSU, Nebby vs OSU, PSU, Wisc. Rutgers & Maryland are duds. They always drop the ball at the end of the season & will never contest OSU. I hate OSU & Meyer so we need to keep Wisconsin & PSU over there to keep them in check if not it will be a PSU vs OSU championship game bid every year.

    My vote is give is Illinois and tell Barry to quit worrying bout Braska & schedule Iowa

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  • 1) Sometimes, in order to get something, you have to give up something, in which case Delany can keep Leaders and Legends just as long as he realigns the divisions geographically.
    2) One of the "Seven Habits of Highly Successful People" is to begin with the end in mind, which means that if they're smart sarcasm they're only going to want to do this once, which means that as they discuss "realignment," they'd be smart to have an eye on future expansion possibilities so that adding new teams is just a tweak and not a complete system reboot. If they keep the divisions the way they are and split up Rutgers and Maryland, that tells me they're thinking future expansion is more likely to come from the east (ACC) than the west (Kansas). Of course, if they got to 16, the whole 2-division alignment could get tossed in favor of the "pod" plan of four divisions of 4 teams each.

    3) What's also obviously at stake is the future of the annual rivalry games, e.g., Ohio State-Michigan, Iowa-Purdue, MSU-Indiana, Wisconsin-Minnesota, PSU-Nebraska, and Illinois-Northwestern. If they keep playing them, it will screw up the frequency of how often each team gets to play the rest of the teams in the other division. Assuming they realign geographically, that means either the Michigan or Indiana schools would have to be separated. I personally believe they'll put both Michigan schools and Indiana in the East with Ohio State, while Purdue goes to the West. Purdue and Indiana's rivalry gets screwed but something's got to give and the B1G can rationalize splitting them up easier than keeping Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions. That means the divisions would look like this:

    East/Leaders: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
    West/Legends: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

    There's actually very nice balance in there because while the East/Leaders is admittedly top heavy with OSU and Michigan plus MSU and PSU (assuming they can keep their head above water for the next 3-4 years), while the West/Legends is pretty solid from top to bottom, i.e., a strong argument could be made that its "worst" team (Minnesota) is better than IU and Maryland and maybe even Rutgers. Also, everyone of the current "rivalry" games gets addressed by putting those teams in the same division except PSU-Nebraska, which really doesn't qualify as a "rivalry" in the traditional sense in that they just started playing each other annually two years ago.

    This post was edited by iowabuckeyes 15 months ago

  • I agree with pretty much everything here, except I've never considered Purdue a genuine "annual rivalry game." That particular game was basically the result of the realignment, and with the desire to maintain Wisc-Minn, we got stuck with Purdue.

    The Big Ten unfortunately is not going to be able to satisfy every desire in terms of rivalry games, but certainly, Iowa should be given every opportunity to play Wisc, Minn and Nebraska each season.

    On a side note, I'm definitely not a big fan of expansion. I thought bringing in Penn St. was fine, and was OK with Nebraska, mainly because of the tremendous tradition and close proximity, but the additions of Rutgers and Maryland is a step backward IMO. Becoming a large fragmented conference may serve financial interest but from a fan perspective, the "intimacy" and sense of exclusivity is lost.

  • This.

    If two teams have to be separated, it's much more likely to be IU-Purdue than UM-MSU. The Indiana schools simply do not have the political power in football. Maybe it can be worked out to give them protected, inter-divisional status (the only rivalry that would need it), but if the B1G goes to 9 games, that would be very difficult. That would mean Purdue would play the 6 other west teams, plus IU, and then the other six east teams would rotate in for two years every six years. Not good for conference cohesion. The other twelve teams would rotate in three opposite division teams every two years.

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  • Comment: I've always been, so, so concerned with Barry wants. grumbleno

    LOL hawkeyes

    'Texan by birth, Hawkeye by the Grace of God'

  • Nor did Indiana and MSU consider themselves rivals. My point was that if the B1G values those rivalry games so highly, with a geographical realignment they'd be able to protect them all except Nebraska-PSU because each team's "rival" would be in its division.

    I also can't help but think Wisconsin got screwed. I seem to recall they really wanted Nebraska but the B1G gave the Huskers to PSU.