Big Ten splits up Michigan and Ohio State

Buckeyes and Wolverines will play each other on the last day of every season

Published September 1, 2010 11:42PM (EDT)

The expanded Big Ten will place Ohio State and Michigan into different divisions.

The conference announced its divisional breakdown Wednesday night, though neither division has been named.

Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern will make up one division when the league grows to 12 teams in 2011. Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana are in the other.

Commissioner Jim Delany said creating divisions with competitive equality was the top priority and No. 2 was maintaining a cross-division rivalry game.

Big Ten teams will play eight conference games the next two seasons, but that could increase in the future.

"The athletic directors have the intention of exploring a ninth conference game in 2015," Delany said.

Ohio State and Michigan will play each other every year on the last day of the Big Ten season, and could conceivably play each other twice in one season. Because they are in different divisions, the Buckeyes and Wolverines could play in the new Big Ten championship game.

"I'm very pleased that we came out of this with protected rivalries that will go on permanently with Ohio State and Michigan State," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told The Associated Press. "We'll play Ohio State in the last game of the regular season, following a tradition that has lasted for decades. And if we both earn the right, we can play the Buckeyes again in the Big Ten championship game."

The first Big Ten football championship game will be played in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the NFL's Colts.

By Ralph D. Russo

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