The rumored Big Ten realignment is extremely fair…and I can prove it.

Andy Katz from reports that the Big Ten divisions will be:

Division A Division B
Iowa Illinois
Michigan Indiana
Michigan State Ohio State
Minnesota Penn State
Nebraska Purdue
Northwestern Wisconsin

Yesterday I posted several Solver Foundation models that attempted to find a realignment that is “as fair as possible”. If you take a characterization of a program’s historical strength to be its Sagarin rating over the past twelve years, and you are looking to build two evenly matched divisions then this is an extremely fair proposal. The average Sagarin rating is almost identical:

Division A   Division B  
Iowa 77.46 Illinois 69.56
Michigan 82.98 Indiana 65.55
Michigan State 75.82 Ohio State 87.67
Minnesota 73.96 Penn State 82.03
Nebraska 83.65 Purdue 77.25
Northwestern 69.61 Wisconsin 81.59
Average A 77.25 Average B 77.27

In fact, this is the fairest possible realignment that follows these rules:

  • Six teams per division.
  • Preserve the Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana in-state rivalries. (But not Illinois.)
  • “Fairness” is measured by Sagarin rating.

No artificial rules about splitting Michigan and Ohio State are required – that happens naturally as a result of trying to find a fair split. Division A has 427 total conference wins since ‘93, Division B has 412. Division A has 724 total wins versus Division B’s 708. Note however that Nebraska is in Division A and that it had a run of near perfection in the early 90’s. The average attendance for Division A schools is 69,128 versus 74,035 in Division B; much of the difference is due to Northwestern.

Download this spreadsheet to see more details, or to create your own realignments. Follow my instructions from yesterday if you wish to use Solver Foundation to experiment with the models.


Author: natebrix

Follow me on twitter at @natebrix.

One thought on “The rumored Big Ten realignment is extremely fair…and I can prove it.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: