It's no secret that the Big Ten East and the Big Ten West aren't viewed as equals. Ever since the Big Ten Conference implemented the new East and West divisions back in 2014, every single conference championship has gone to a team from the East - and it certainly looks like that will be the case once again in 2022.
Here's a look at the results from each Big Ten Championship game since 2014:
- 2014: No. 5 Ohio State, 59 - No. 13 Wisconsin, 0
- 2015: No. 5 Michigan State, 16 - No. 4 Iowa, 13
- 2016: No. 7 Penn State, 38 - No. 6 Wisconsin, 31
- 2017: No. 8 Ohio State, 27 - No. 4 Wisconsin, 21
- 2018: No. 6 Ohio State, 45 - No. 21 Northwestern, 24
- 2019: No. 1 Ohio State, 34 - No. 8 Wisconsin, 21
- 2020: No. 4 Ohio State, 22 - No. 14 Northwestern, 10
- 2021: No. 2 Michigan, 42 - No. 13 Iowa, 3
In the last eight Big Ten Championship games, the East division has outscored the West division by a cumulative score of 283-123, an average score of 35-13 per game.
The 2022 season is once again playing out much like the previous eight seasons, with the Big Ten East dominating and the Big Ten West hoping for a miracle in Indy. While the top three teams in the East boast a cumulative record of 28-2 (19-2 in conference play), the top three from the West are a combined 19-11 (12-9 in conference play).
Although the Big Ten is planning to implement a new model when USC and UCLA join the conference in 2024, it's clear that a major change is needed to even out the balance of power within the conference.
On Thursday, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey indicated that league officials are not only exploring the possibility of moving to a single division, but that it will likely happen.
The ACC is also planning to eliminate its divisions and instead move to a single-division format, beginning in 2023.
As conference realignments continue to reshape the landscape of college football, now is the time for the Big Ten Conference to take advantage by putting its teams in the best position to win conference championships and beyond. One of the best ways to do that is to eliminate the East and West divisions.