I did not make this headline up
Okay, let's see if I get this straight. The main reason we need to put OSU and Michigan in different divisions is the humunguous payout that the conference will get when they meet (as they inevitably will) in the conference championship game.
We'll still play them every year, but since we don't want them to meet on consecutive saturdays, this means we have to move the U of M -- OSU tilt up to the end of October or beginning of November.
I see lots of disjointed talk about The Value of Progress and Change but at bottom, the logic is: huge rivalry+conference championship=Megabucks.
Now let me tell you why that probably won't work, and why we're risking a very valuable asset on the equivalent of a lottery ticket.
At bottom, sports rivalries are not rational. They are emotional. Mess with the atmospherics and you diminish the value of the whole event.
Timing was always key to the OSU "experience". For decades the game has been played late in the year -- the last game of the regular season (except for one season where U of M had a road game in Hawaii) and that made the stakes high. Championships were at stake nearly every year and if one team or the other was down instant redemption was possible.
Move the OSU game to October or early November and the stakes are lower. The event loses its importance. It's still OSU and Michigan on the field, but the excitement just won't be there. Lose and you can still make up the game against Northwestern next week. Win and you still haven't clinched anything.
For lack of a better way to put it, the magic will be gone. And without that magic OSU is, well, I doubt it will turn into just another game all at once, but it won't be the biggest rivalry in sports any more. It'll look and feel more like MSU. Yeah, it's still a rivalry, but (sorry Sparty) it isn't the huge year-in-year-out deal that OSU is.
And -- here's the irony -- if it's no longer the biggest rivalry in sports, then we can't assume that the league will rake in megabucks when the two teams finally do meet in the championship. Lose the excitement surrounding the matchup, lose any advantage in terms of ratings and, by extension, rights fees.
For this gamble to pay off, Michigan and OSU will need to meet in the championship pretty soon, while memories of the glory days are still fresh. Odds are against that. Let's face it, Michigan isn't all that good right now. Oh, I'm not predicting doom but I wouldn't assume that U of M will be ready for championship contention in 2012. Rich Rodriguez might not be around after this year, and how many people on this board have argued that if we get rid of Rodriguez we're looking at another three years of rebuilding? (I've gotten negged for suggesting otherwise. Don't go wobbly on me now all you spread option afficionados!)
The OSU rivalry is a valuable asset and Brandon looks set to gamble with it. For this gamble to pay off, Brandon's going to need to draw to the football scheduling equivalant of an inside straight. Maybe I'm missing something, but this doesn't look like a smart gamble.
I understand the excitement. We may get to play two OSU games a year every now and then. If it works out -- Cha-ching! But if it doesn't work out, we may not play any OSU games -- at least not the way we're used to, with championships and reputations on the line. The thrill will be gone Oh, they'll wear the right colors and the band will do script Ohio, but it won't be as exciting and it won't be worth nearly as much, emotionally or economically.
Yes, economically -- the game is a great draw, year after year, right where it is. The conference might lose that draw, diminishing the value of its TV contracts. If you still support this move, okay, but lets come to terms with what we -- at Michigan, at OSU, and in the Big Ten -- might lose if the cards don't fall right.
[Edit: Note that I was writing this when Brian posted a front-page reference to the same idea on Slow States. All I can say is either great minds think alike or this is freaking obvious.]
What happened to the biggest rivalry of the old BIg 8 conference, Nebraska-Oklahoma, when it was split across divisions when the Big XII was formed? I'll answer that for you -- it was eclipsed by Texas-Oklahoma, a divisional rivalry. The collapse of that game is a major reason why Nebraska is leaving that conference to join the Big Ten.
What would happen to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry if it were split across divisions? Could it be eclipsed by Penn State-Ohio State, a divisional rivalry? This isn't as far-fetched as you might think. An occasional championship matchup will not make up for turning the regular-season game into a trophy game instead of a must-win game with the divisional title almost always on the line. In the long run, the loss of this dynamic could damage the Michigan program and ultimately the Big Ten brand.
This doesn't need to happen.
It is possible to create both geographic equity (i.e., what Penn State wants) and competitive intensity (i.e., what Michigan and Ohio State should want) in a divisional alignment that preserves or protects all major rivalries. The only real question here is how to split up the quadrangle of hate (Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, formerly a triangle) -- no matter how you do it, you're going to lose part of that. Without further ado:
- Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern
- Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois
Protected regular-season games: Michigan-Michigan State, Ohio State-Penn State, Iowa-Nebraska, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Northwestern.
- Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern
- Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois
Protected regular-season games: Michigan-Michigan State, Ohio State-Penn State, Iowa-Minnesota, Nebraska-Wisconsin, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Northwestern.
I'm not sure which of these two are better in terms of the quadrangle, but you get the idea. This protects most border-war and all in-state rivalries while spreading out the divisions, thereby not screwing anyone in that regard (i.e., like Penn State would be if you put them in an otherwise western division).
Finally, lest you argue this is the ACC redux, let's take a look at their current alignment:
- Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami
- Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State
I don't know if there are protected rivalry games across the divisions, but regardless, this is not a consistent system. Like the quadrangle of hate, the main problem for the ACC is how to handle the four North Carolina schools and, actually, I think the current scheme has got that right. The main problem with it is they don't split up Virginia-Virginia Tech, resulting in Maryland being split from Virginia.
If the ACC were to follow my methodology with regard to the Big Ten, it would look like this:
- Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State
- Boston College, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Miami
Protected regular-season games: Maryland-Boston College, Virginia-Virginia Tech, North Carolina-North Carolina State, Duke-Wake Forest, Georgia Tech-Clemson, Florida State-Miami.
There, fixed two conferences in one go!
Last spring I wrote a diary called "Please God, Let me be Dead Wrong About Michigan Football 2010". Part of my concern at the time was Michigan's lack of upperclassmen in the secondary. Like most other Michigan fans, when T-Wolf was injured I felt my whole world collapsing in on top of me.
Having had some time to think it over, I'm much more hopeful than I thought I would be.
Two main reasons:
1. Our offense could be on the verge of a breakout year.
*Denard really sparkled in the spring game. I know, I know, it's just a scrimmage, and he wore a red jersey. However, more encouraging than his accuracy on the short routes and the long TD to Roundtree was the understanding he showed of the offense and his role in it. He sold the pass and THEN ran.
*If Denard is not the starter, I still feel very confident in Tate. Wingless helmet or no, he's added 20 lbs, will have a much better line, and showed a lot in his freshman year.
*Devin is apparently the goods. This means that while our QB's are young, we are in VERY good position for this year and beyond.
*O-line looks good, with upperclassman starters and solid redshirt underclassmen for depth.
*Receiver core is experienced.
*Sure, RB is an open question - but the talent seems to be there, and with a solid O-line we could see a breakthrough (especially if our top 2 RB's are not injured off and on thru the whole season)
*RR's offense has succeeded everywhere he's ever been. At Michigan he hasn't had the personnel he's needed on the field - until now.
*Conclusion: yes, the D will be a weak spot, and yes, we can safely assume that our secondary will be awful. BUT in contrast to 2008 and 2009, one of the two units should be solid, and possibly dominant. Only when BOTH units are bad can we say there is no hope. If one is spectacular, as our O could be, we should be at least .500 and possibly better.
2. Contrary to the what pundits are saying, I do not believe that RR has to win 8 or 9 games to save his job
*What if Michigan wins only 6 games and loses to OSU again, BUT the offense makes major strides, averages 25-30 pts per game, and Denard looks like Pat White? What if Demetrius Hart sees that and says, "Huh, they only won 6 games but the offense is finally up and running, I want to be a part of that"?
*The defense will get better as the talent we already have ages. Defensive recruits could see our progress on the offensive side of the ball and think, "Hmm, their D stinks, so I can step in right away, but their O is dominating, so I know their program is moving in the right direction..."
I am much more hopeful than I thought I would be. We should be much better this year than last, at least on one side of the ball. This should diminish the number of plays we have on defense, and thus reduce the error opportunity of our D-backs. B10 title? Not this year. Victory over The Hideous Minions of Evil? Not likely. But don't be surprised if we surprise. I trust RichRod, and I think that after this season a lot more of the doubters will as well.
There has been great anxiety on this board after the injury to Woolfolk
The loss of the following:
- Warren due to his inability to judge his draft status
- Dorsey due to his inability to read
- Turner due to his inability to get motivated
- Witty due to his inability to read
- Cissoko due to his inability to be smart
- Woolfolk due to his inability to have luck
has caused mass concern and panic regarding the Michigan defense
many people have given up on this season as a lost cause and have started focusing on the 2011 season instead
However, these people have missed the most important fact of all
THE KNOWLEDGE returned to these very pages a few days ago and posted that Michigan will win the National Champsionship game in Jan 2011 against the BS Broncos
people must understand that the post writted by THE KNOWLEDGE was not a mere prediction
it was a season REVIEW
While a prediction/preview can change drastically due to the loss of key players, a review is not prone to changes
THE KNOWLEDGE speaks from the future
therefore, saner minds will quit worrying and start preparing for the champsionship parade
when that happens, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and bask in glory yet again
Folks that read the previous post by THE KNOWLEDGE carefully will note that THE KNOWLEDGE did not predict an undefeated season for Michigan
Michigan will sustain one loss in the season, which will not prevent the Wolverines from getting to the NCG
That loss will not happen in the OOC games. Michigan will win all four OOC games very comfortably
Many curious minds have requested THE KNOWLEDGE to provide more information about THE KNOWLEDGE. some have requested a "profile" of THE KNOWLEDGE to be made
THE KNOWLEDGE rarely grants interviews. however, to satisfy his fans, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soon write a self-profile
We have lost blood this week, but as long as the team still breathes… it will continue to fight. Show me something more dangerous than a cornered wolverine.
We’re back this week with the next round of the MGoShirt 2010 Season Line, as designed by yours truly and produced exclusively by Underground Printing in conjunction with our very own MGoBlog.
As an MGoBlog exclusive, we’re keeping it light today, focusing on perhaps the most highly demanded design from the Michigan faithful. And, yes, conveniently enough, these very same shirts are immediately available for purchase at the MGoStore! Remember, the title of every shirt is an active link directly to the catalog entry for that product. You can shop as soon as you see the shirt if you'd like.
AND the special offer continues today— Buy all 10 shirts (or any 10 shirts - mix and match your favorites) and get them for $150 (25% off!). MGoStore has also heard your prayers and is now offering multiple shirts in the coveted American Apparel option-- you asked for it, you got it! Think of it this way— life will go on, and the season is far from a wash. Show your optimism by wearing a fashionable MGoShirt, and to hell with the naysayers!
Pride is worn on the sleeves of the faithful. Our shirts have sleeves.
Let’s get to the shirts:
Here it is, people… because YOU demanded it, the Hulk wears #68!!! MIKE SMASH!!!! We all know that the Hulk’s shirts always rip into shreds when he hulks out, but thanks to the new performance materials of the Adidas authentic jerseys, he can show his true colors and sport a certain uniform number.
DESIGNER INSIDER: I originally had an idea to do this shirt on a green background, but it just smelled a little too Sparty. Obviously the face looks nothing like a certain mammoth defensive lineman, and that’s by design to avoid Imperial entanglements. That’s the game we have to play,kids.
Quatre-vingt-quinze. Today's featured athlete on CTK, but Renaldo was not the first. First Alain Kashama wore the number, and made it proud. I envision a day when the #95 jersey will hold a certain stigma of honor not unlike the legendary #1 jersey, one that will be expressly reserved for large Quebecor defensive tackles from the great white north.
DESIGNER INSIDER: Tried to keep it simple. I think the last time I used Vivaldi was on my wedding invitations. Bizarre.
This next shirt, sadly but obviously, has been put on hold...
This shirt was desi—ah, no. No. STOP.
I just can’t… I don’t wanna talk about it. This… it's still a little painful and raw and fresh. I’m legitimately thinking about doing a shirt that touches on what happened, but we’ll see where that pans out. Above all else I want to be respectful to Troy-- what bothers me is that so many of us, myself included, think of what this means to the team, rather than to the player himself. Imagine how he must feel.
DESIGNER INSIDER: Maybe we can just throw his dog in the #29, and no one will notice the difference?
Two weeks, kids. Sure, this week hurt… but the season is coming. All I can suggest is to think about what Bo would say about this week. There was no crying in your beer when the ol' general was around, so why should we start now. Pick up your head, buy a shirt, wear it with pride, and remember your allegiance to the Michigan Wolverines. And don’t forget—if you’re interested in loading up your closet with some high quality MGoApparel, UGP has made it possible with the MGoShirt Alert special offer: Simply go to the store and put 10 shirts into your cart, and the special offer will take the discount off for you!
I have posted this transcript before the start of the last 2 seasons, so here we go again. This is from a rally held a Chrysler when Gerald Ford was in town in 1976.
"There run's through the core of all Michigan activities both on and off this campus, a certain intangible thing. We call it "The Michigan Spirit". Maybe you can relate to it. It's the atmosphere that permeates that stadium every Saturday afternoon in the fall where over a hundred thousand fans patiently wait to see whether Bo Schembechler is going to continue his winning ways. You know what I mean! You can feel the tension, the excitement, the charisma that surrounds that stadium every Saturday afternoon. Especially ten to fourteen minutes before kickoff. When a hush settles over that stadium and we all anxiously wait for that simple 4 word command to eminate out of the P.A. system. I can hear it now! "Band take the field!" and out of that eastern tunnel pour 215 well drilled, well disciplined Michigan bandsmen. They pour over the Eastern sideline and they form the big block M and they play the greatest college fight song ever written! The Michigan Victors!! That's when the chills go up and down your spine! You get goose pimples all over, your blood turns maize and blue and everyone out there becomes part of the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten football as well as the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten athletics. Folks lets join in and sing the song that the late and great John Phillip Sousa claimed was the greatest college fight song ever written. The Michigan Victors!!!"