Iowa athletic director Gary Barta recently told The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman that the Big Ten is considering eliminating divisions and reducing the number of conference games to eight as soon as the 2023 college football season.
The Big Ten currently has East and West divisions and plays a nine-game conference schedule that includes three cross-divisional matchups, but such changes would allow for the Big Ten to schedule yearly games with the ACC and Pac-12 as part of an alliance that was formed last summer.
"We've had several conversations," Barta said. "One of the things that we're watching is whether it's related to The Alliance, which we're talking through, and/or what gives us the best opportunity to have the most success in the College Football Playoff format?
"We’re wondering if we're going to know what the format is before we have to make that decision. So, we're kind of waiting to see where that lands. But we have had active conversations about the schedule beyond 2022."
The news comes exactly two weeks after the Big Ten adjusted its 2022 conference football schedule to account for alternations made during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Included in that announcement was a note about the conference also planning to revise future schedules, which were previously set through 2025.
"Anything we do as a conference has to make our conference better, and so that's the 10,000-foot principle that we're operating from," Barta said. "So, whatever we do in future scheduling, it has to make us better. What will make the Big Ten Conference even stronger? We're very strong, but what would make us even stronger?"
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