Currently the Big XII, the SEC and ACC all have twelve teams and use the Conference championship game to decide the winner. This practice is extremely lucrative, as the championship games have created a pseudo-playoff atmosphere. Without question the Big Ten and Pac Ten will follow suit.
Unlike the Big XII and SEC the Big Ten should not create sub conferences that are based on regions, but on keeping the most important rivalries played on an annual basis, similar to how the ACC developed. Putting rivals in the same sub-conferences will ensure they play every year. Utilizing a "permanent rival", such as the ACC and SEC currently do, would allow teams from opposite sub-conferences to play on an annual basis as well.
The Big Ten should follow these guidelines:
1. Parity. Keep the strength of the sub-conference as even as possible.
2. Rivalries. Currently there are 12 trophy games and 22 "every year" games played between rivals. Keep as many of these alive as possible.
3. Big names in big games. Allow for one of the biggest games in College football, Ohio State and Michigan, to be a possible match-up for the championship game.
4. Restart the Michigan Nebraska rivalry.
This is what I have come up with:
Michigan Ohio State
Michigan State Penn. State
Each team will always play every other teams in its group and each team would be the "permanent rival" of the team across from it, which means they would play on an annual basis. So Michigan would always play Ohio St., Michigan St., Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana. They would play two of the remaining five teams each year.
This allows for 10 of the 12 trophy games to continue being played, the matches lost are Michigan vs. Minnesota and Ohio St. vs. Illinois. It is possible to give these four teams two permanent rivals instead of one to keep the trophy game played annually, and this would allow for Ohio State and Michigan to play a weaker team since they are penciled in for a tough permanent most years.
21 out of the current 22 remaining games that are played annually would continue, the only game lost is Purdue vs. Northwestern, which I am fine with.