Is the East that Much Better Than the West?

East Division coaches sound off on the subject, including Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

The Big Ten conference now has 14 teams and two divisions. The East Division consists of all teams that reside in the Eastern Time zone: Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State. The West Division consists of teams that reside in the Central Time zone: Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska.

But are they fair? Is the East Division that much better than the West? Maybe or maybe not, but here are some notable quotes from coaches in the East Division from the Big Ten Media Days on the subject.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer:

“East Division is very strong. As we get close to the season, start looking at the schedule, there's a tough run. We have three very tough road games. But the East is strong. And I have learned a long time ago you control what you can. Scheduling is certainly not who is in the East and who is on the other side.

“But very strong conference. You can tell by the recruiting, too, on that side, some very good recruiting that's been going on. So that's going to be a challenge.”

Meyer continued: “I think it's one of the toughest divisions in college football. Once again, you just have to look at the recruiting that takes place at the schools and then the style of defense and offense. It's a rugged conference.

“So all those comments that you said the other coaches were making, I see it. And we're going to do our best to be prepared for it.”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke:

“I think it's a great competitive division. How it shakes out, we'll find out. But as far as the competitiveness of the division, and at the end of the day, you know, it's what we all want to do, and we all want to do is we want to compete. We want to compete on every Saturday. So as far as we're concerned, we're looking forward to it.”

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson:

“We're excited to be part of the Big Ten East. Being in the Eastern Time zone with our recruiting region and whatnot. We're really excited with the opportunity with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers. So we're really excited about the east brand going.”

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio:

“I think both divisions are very well represented, great football teams in those divisions. The east where we're at, you know, great conference. Great games and a lot of games, a lot of teams that have built-in rivalries. Obviously our rivalry with Michigan is intense for us, but we've also got a rivalry with Ohio State from the past and Penn State. So those things exist for us. Indiana is a game as well.

“We've got two new members in the Big Ten Conference entering that side of the Big Ten. So I think it's going to be a tough division. There's no question about that.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany:

“I don’t [think there is power imbalance], simply because during my tenure we’ve had seven or eight different teams play in BCS quality games. We’ve nine different teams play in the Rose Bowl. I’ve seen the strength of teams even flow. The SEC have doing their divisions for 22 or 23 years, and for a longtime the East [division] was dominant and then the West was dominant. So I think these things even flow.”