Michigan State’s Protected Rivalries in a No-Division Big Ten

Changes are coming to the Big Ten. We know that for sure.

Last month the The NCAA has officially divested the process by which leagues determine participants in their conference championship games for football. Almost immediately afterwards, Pac-12 announced its title game representatives will be the teams with the two highest winning percentages in Pac-12 play, avoiding the old model that sent the winners of each of the league’s two divisions to the league title game. conference.

Just days after that, Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller confirmed the Big Ten were “working through” their own changes. This has led many to believe that the league will follow suit and abandon its division-based format.

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If/When that happens, conventional wisdom suggests that every Big Ten team would need three protected rivalries to help the league maintain a roster system. The idea is that each school would be guaranteed to play against its three protected rivals each season, while the other six opponents on the nine-game conference schedule would rotate every two years to ensure that every member of the Big Ten faces the 13 other teams every two seasons.

So what would that look like for the state of Michigan? It’s safe to assume Michigan’s game would be protected. But after that, who are the other opponents the Spartans would be guaranteed to face each season?

MSU’s other conference rivalries are with Penn State (which is made from a common point between the two schools which goes back to the time of the civil war) and Indiana (thanks to a very old pot). The thing is, there aren’t two clear candidates beyond Michigan.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with some options for Michigan State’s protected rivalries in a nondivisional Big Ten.

Michigan State’s Protected Rivalries in a No-Division Big Ten

There is a lot of speculation among the media that the Big Ten will drop their division format for football in the 2023 season.

If/When this happens, each team will likely have three protected opponents. This means that these specific games will be played every season.

With that in mind, we’ve offered some picks for Michigan State’s three protected games in a nondivisional Big Ten.

Candidates for Big Ten expansion

If the Big Ten plans to form its own 16-team mega-conference to compete with the SEC, it will need to add two schools. Here are some candidates, including the attributes that make them attractive to the Big Ten and some things that could make them bad.

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