Ranking Big Ten football teams by number of division titles

In case you missed the news yesterday, according to an article by Athleticism, it seems the Big Ten is wondering if having two divisions in football is still worth all the hubbub. Citing the new alliance with the Pac-12 and ACC, eliminating divisions and moving from a nine-game conference schedule to eight games might be better for the conference.

So, as we jump into the football time machine, let’s take a look at the history of having two divisions in the big, bad, Big Ten. The two-division thing started way back in 2011, except it was kind of bonkers when things first came off the press. In a nod to competitive balance (good move), the conference combinations decided not to go geographically and named the divisions the Leaders and Legends divisions (just weird, man).

After dodging all sorts of division name jokes like a front-row entrant at a comedy show, the Big Ten moved to the East and West divisions and fielded teams based more or less on location. . And that, my friends, is where things are at today.

But that may not last long. If the Big Ten decides to make the most of the splits, the move to a more linear roster could come as soon as 2023. Welp, this got us thinking about how successful each team is in winning a split, so we decided to go go back and do the math very simple (that’s how I like my problems) and figure it all out.

Here’s every Big Ten team ranked by the number of division titles they’ve won since the two-division format began in 2011. As usual, we’re going from worst to first.

Teams tied without a division title

October 30, 2021; Champagne, Illinois, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights backup Adam Korsak (94) pats teammate and placekicker Valentino Ambrosio (1) on the helmet after a second half field goal against Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Teams still chasing a division title

Illinois Fighting Illinois
Indian Hoosiers
Maryland Terrapins (joined Big Ten in 2014)
Purdue Boilermakers
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (joined Big Ten in 2014)

No. 8 (tie) – Nebraska Cornhuskers (1 division title)

October 6, 2018; Madison, Wis., USA; A Nebraska Cornhuskers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2012 | Legends Division

No. 8 (tie) – Minnesota Golden Gophers (1 division title)

October 26, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of the Minnesota Golden Gophers helmet before a game against the Maryland Terrapins at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2019 | Tie for the Western Division with Wisconsin*

* Wisconsin won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

No. 4 (tie) – Penn State Nittany Lions (2 division titles)

November 16, 2013; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of a Penn State Nittany Lions helmet before the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Beaver Stadium.Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2011 | Tied for Legends Division with Wisconsin*
2016 | Tied for Eastern Division with Ohio State ^

* Wisconsin won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship
^ Penn State won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

No. 4 (tie) – Northwestern Wildcats (2 division titles)

Sep 30, 2017; Madison, Wis., USA; Northwestern Wildcats helmets on the field before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2018 | West Division Title
2020 | West Division Title

No. 4 (tie) – Michigan Wolverines (2 division titles)

Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn allegedly coached against NCAA rules

November 18, 2017; Madison, Wis., USA; A Michigan Wolverines helmet during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2018 | Tied for the Eastern Division title with Ohio State*
2021 | Tied for the Eastern Division title with Ohio State ^

* Ohio State won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship
^ Michigan won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

No. 4 (tie) – Iowa Hawkeyes (2 division titles)

The helmet Drew Ott wore during his playing days in Iowa sits on a closet at his and wife Kali’s home in Trumbull, NE on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Year(s) earned

2015 | West Division Title
2021 | West Division Title

No. 3 – Michigan State Spartans (3 division titles)

Michigan State‘s Jalen Nailor wears the “S” logo on his helmet with the rest of the Spartans for the game against Indiana on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2011 | Outright Legends Division Title
2013 | Outright Legends Division Title
2015 | Tied for the Eastern Division title with Ohio State ^

^ Michigan State won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

No. 2 – Wisconsin Badgers (5 division titles)

November 9, 2019; Madison, Wis., USA; A Wisconsin Badgers helmet during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2011 | Tied for the Leaders Division title with Penn State ^
2014 | Absolute West Division Title
2016 | Absolute West Division Title
2017 | Absolute West Division Title
2019 | Tied for the West Division title with Minnesota ^

^ Wisconsin won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

No. 1 – Ohio State Buckeyes (10 division titles)

Sat 1 Jan 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; A special pink helmet strip adorns Thayer Munford’s helmet before the start of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2012 | Absolute Leaders Division Title
2013 | Absolute Leaders Division Title
2014 | Absolute East Division Title
2015 | Tied for the East Division title with Michigan State*
2016 | Tied for the East Division title with Penn State*
2017 | Absolute East Division Title
2018 | Tied for the Eastern Division title with Michigan ^
2019 | Absolute East Division Title
2020 | Absolute East Division Title
2021 | Tied for the East Division title with Michigan*

* Opponent won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship
^ Ohio State won the head-to-head tiebreaker to play in the B1G Championship

Contact us/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow continuous coverage of news, ratings and opinions from the State of Ohio. To follow Phil Harrison on Twitter.

Let us know your thoughts, comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.

Comments are closed.