The Big Ten botched this whole realignment thing, and it did Penn State few favors.
The Nittany Lions are stuck in the same division as Ohio State. That's not good news.
And it's foolish to have the Buckeyes and Michigan in separate divisions. Just ridiculous.
Let's start with the bright side: Penn State will get to play Nebraska every year, which is very exciting.
The Cornhuskers are in the opposite division, but the Big Ten made them a protected crossover rival of Penn State. So Big Red will visit Happy Valley every other year -- the first time being next November -- and two of college football's historically dominant programs can establish a great annual rivalry.
Penn State also has an opportunity to play Wisconsin in the regular-season finale for the next couple of years, getting rid of the faux rivalry against Michigan State and letting us forget about the hideous Land Grant Trophy.
The finale against the Badgers is only two years for now, but if everything goes well -- meaningful games, good TV ratings -- it could become a staple of the schedule.
Now the bad news.
Rematches don't work in college football. They're fine in the NFL and every other sport, but this sport in particular prides itself on how every single game matters.
Few games in any sport matter more than Ohio State versus Michigan, and the hated rivals will continue to play each other in the regular-season finale. But there will be a number of years when the outcome of that game won't mean anything because the two teams will win their respective divisions anyway and play again the next week in the Big Ten title game.
The guess here is that will happen two or three times a decade -- once Michigan turns things around, which is guaranteed to happen.
Having Ohio State and Michigan in the same division would have been better for Penn State, since there's no way the Lions would have been in that division, too.
The Lions still could have played Nebraska every year because they would have been in the same division, and the league could have made the game against the Buckeyes a protected crossover rivalry.
As it stands, Penn State now must contend with Ohio State in the same division.
Yes, you have to beat the best to be the best, and the Buckeyes have always stood in PSU's path to becoming conference champs. But it would be a lot nicer if the Lions were in a division they could dominate year after year and have an easier path to the title game, instead of one where they are likely to play second fiddle.
Ohio State is a superior program right now. Penn State fans may not want to hear that, but a national title and two more trips to the BCS championship game in the past eight years, plus the possibility of another national title this season, make it clear the Buckeyes are better.
Will it be that way forever? No. Jim Tressel is 57, and there's no telling what will happen when he retires, although that could be 10 years down the road.
During those 10 years, Ohio State may win the division eight or nine times. And if Penn State suffers a post-Joe Paterno slump the way many other programs have when a legend retired, the Lions could remain behind the Buckeyes for even longer.
What difference does it make, you might ask, if PSU has to beat Ohio State in the division race or in the conference title game? Plenty, actually.
Those league title games are marquee national broadcasts that carry with them a lot of prestige, and that along with bragging rights of winning the division are great selling points to recruits.
Losing to Ohio State in week 10 prevents Penn State from enjoying that exposure. Beating them, or even losing to them, in the league championship gains the program more national prominence.
The Lions can do several things to avoid constantly finishing second to the Buckeyes. They can recruit better around the country, keep in-state stars like Terrelle Pryor and make sure they hire the best coach available when JoePa retires.
Also disappointing, the end of next year's schedule is brutal, with games at home against Nebraska followed by road trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes and Badgers were supposed to visit Beaver Stadium during the first year of the more expensive STEP seating plan, and some fans certainly won't be happy about that.
All in all, Penn State could have fared much better in the realignment sweepstakes.
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. He can be reached at 949-7031 or email@example.com.