Legends vs. Leaders scoreboard

It's been a while since we checked in on how the Big Ten divisions have fared against each other. Why should we care? Well, it's the first year of division play in the league, and the Leaders and Legends divisions were set up not on the basis of geography (and definitely not on the basis of cool names) but instead with competitive balance in mind. So we should make sure there is actual balance.

The last time we did this, on Oct. 10, the Leaders Division held a 4-2 edge on the Legends. Since then, we've had these cross-division results:

  • Iowa over Indiana

  • Penn State over Northwestern

  • Michigan State over Wisconsin

  • Northwestern over Indiana

  • Michigan over Purdue

  • Nebraska over Penn State

  • Wisconsin over Minnesota

  • Michigan over Illinois

As you can see, the Legends Division came back with a vengeance, going 6-2 in those interdivision contests. So that gives the Legends an 8-4 advantage for the season, with the following cross-division games left: Indiana at Michigan State, Iowa at Purdue, Ohio State at Michigan and Illinois at Minnesota, plus the Big Ten title game. The Leaders will have to win all five of those games to finish with a winning record against the Legends.

We can also look at the strength of each division in a couple of different ways. First, by ranking (i.e., BCS standings):

Legends: 3 (No. 12 Michigan State, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 16 Nebraska)

Leaders: 2 (No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 21 Penn State)

And we can also look at cumulative records for each:

Legends: 37-23

Leaders: 34-26

So just about any way you slice it, the Legends is the slightly stronger division, especially with the three highest ranked teams in the league. The lack of a third power in the Leaders, given the drastic falloff by Illinois and Ohio State's inconsistency, has hurt its stock.