If you're interested in reading Dr. Saturday's latest thoughts on what we've been talking about non-stop for days now then go here.
The summary is basically what I've been thinking- putting OSU and UM in separate divisions will weaken The Game and gain the B10 almost nothing.
I'd be interested in other people's thoughts on this, especially well-explained contrarian points of view.
So, MVictors has a good post about conference realignment and The Game: http://mvictors.com/?p=7960#idc-container
Craig Ross talks about the divisional title conditions as well. My 2 cents (AKA, everyone else is NUTs b/c the following is the most logical avenue of reasoning):
1) A simple question: Why is Michigan-Ohio St the greatest rivalry in sports? No really, think about specific reasons.....
OK, now is it really b/c it's played on Nov 22nd? Or in November? Or the end of the year? Can a date on the calendar define the importance of this game? Not really. The reason the Game is so big is simply b/c when the teams play, the BIG TEN TITLE always seems to be on the line. This is the crux of the rest of this post: Overwhelmingly often, the M-OSU winner definitively determined the BIG TEN CHAMPION. That is what made The Game, well.... THE GAME. Nothing more, nothing less. Not the weather or the date on calendar.
Based on the above, if both M and OSU were in the same division, THEY WOULD NEVER DEFINITIVELY PLAY FOR THE B10 TITLE. They would only play for the division. Hence, the game loses it's significance. The Game went from 'determining the B10 Champion' to 'determining the division winner.' By definition, this would be less important.
I therefore submit that, if you truly want to protect the importance of The Game, you MUST support M and OSU being placed in different divisions. Therefore, unlike the alternative, the opportunity to play for the B10 Title will still be available thus maintaining the sustainability of the importance of The Game. It will sustain it's own importance if it deserves to: if M and OSU are good enough to meet in the B10 title game on a regular basis. If they aren't good enough to do this, nothing can sustain The Game's importance.
Obvious point: We must play every year to avoid the Neb-OU situation of the recent past. Hence, the protected rivalry game.
Obvious point: playing a 2nd time in the Title game WOULD BE AWESOME!!!
Not-so-obvious point: Would it not benefit (from an on the field competitive viewpoint) both OSU and M to move The Game a week or two earlier to avoid having to play the 2 biggest games of the year in consecutive weeks? In addition, this may reduce the number of times when the divisions have already been determined prior to the last week of the season (thus diminishing the stake of The Game some years).
Finally, the MVictors post linked at the top discusses the inherent disadvantage M and OSU would have simply by virtue of having to play each other EVERY year in the cross divisional protected game. Craig Ross suggests a complicated point system to mitigate this disadvantage. I submit a simpler strategy for determining the divisional champions:
-- intra-divisional record determines the division champion.
-- overall B10 record is the 1st tiebreaker.
-- head to head in the 2nd tie breaker
moving head to head to the 1st tie breaker may be fine, but then makes overall record moot and essentially makes the cross divisional games worthless.
The End...... ?
Has anyone read today's Bill Simmons column?
It's about the Suns, and also EPL soccer, but it instantly reminded me of the last 7 years against OSU. It got me thinking about what crazy thing will happen that causes us to finally win the game. A 99 yard DRob run? Tate leading a last minute drive with multiple broken bones? GERG thoroughly outcoaching and outsmarting Tressel?
Simmons takes a lot of crap nowadays, but when he's on,
he's really fucking on he can still capture the emotional part of fandom better than anyone except Brian and Nick Hornby.
I wanted to write a post about what I experienced Saturday at the big house and the events leading up to The Game. Warning: This will be wordy but does not feature enough statistical content for a diary.
My friend and his wife are unfortunately in AA because their 4 month old daughter just had open heart surgery at Mott on Tuesday. Mrs. Route66 and I were planning on coming over to see them Saturday. We could not find a sitter so I decided to stay home and watch our girls. Figured it would be best because I would be forced to spend the money on some tickets if I went. There is no way I could go to AA and not go to The Game.
At 3pm Friday, already planning naps around The Game, I got a phone call that said our friends just picked up a pair of tickets to the game from some people in the parking lot of the hospital. Literally these people rolled down their window and offered them the tickets. Face value. Our friends were not in a position to buy them and had to pass. Those folks then said they would sell them both for $65. He abruptly bought them.
We then had a sitter, one of 20 we called, call us back and say she could do it. COUNT ME IN! I was on my way to another UofM/OSU game! Only my second ever.(1995) Oh, and the tickets were section 23, row 40 seats 9&10. Um....yeah, those are mint.
The people who gave the tickets away were friends of Coach Hobson. That's why the tickets were so good. We both laughed that we would not be able to say anything bad about linebacker play because we may be sitting next his family.
If any of you know, that section's isle is THE isle to the press box. Saw the likes of Jamie Morris, John U. Bacon, etc.
Here are two others that stand out:
Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum was walking up and I immediately noticed his name tag. I nudged my buddy and buddy yells out, "HEY BIG TEX!" Big Tex smiles and leans over and we both give him a hand shake and say welcome to the Big House, Go Blue, and Please Sign Today as we stumble over our words. He moved on and we both looked at each other like after you looked at the girl you first kissed. Really awkward yet stoked.(no homo) I then said to the people around me that if he signs, it is because two fat white guys, 40 rows up, welcomed him with hand shakes. Yes, I will take full credit right now when he commits. If he doesn't then it is my friends fault.
After the game, we were just chilling, soaking up the atmosphere realizing that we may never sit in this good of seats again. Kind of fuming over what could have been. Then across the isle, in our same row walks a balding guy holding a Members Only coat. His head was down, but I knew it was Bill Martin. I say...again, like a dork because you never know what to say in those situations, "Hey Mr. Martin!" He looks up and kind of stops. Both my friend and I give him the thumbs up say thanks for RichRod and keep up the good work. We also said, simultaneously "Keep Rich!". Bill moved on and we again looked at each other like dang, we just had an impact on RR's job security! Not really, but Martin did say he appreciated the support. Again, I am SURE that we were the reason for Martin giving RR the vote of confidence yesterday.
There you have it. We totally fell into some sweet tickets and got to chat, if you can call it that, with some cool people. For 3 hours yesterday we were able to get away and forget about everything and enjoy a fun atmosphere in the Big House. Thanks friends of Jay, whoever you are!
The announcers were talking about Tate Forcier hitting the wall this year late in the season. And I was wondering whether a whole team could hit the wall.
What has bothered me the most about this team this second half of the season is their complete inability to take advantage of opportunities and their tendency to collapse at the most inopportune times.
Obviously in the first four games (but also Michigan State and Iowa) it felt like they could still make plays when they needed to; like they were going to keep fighting until the end. I can take the losses of MSU and Iowa, like the wins against Indiana and ND, because it felt like we played hard and were in it right until the end.
But in this slide is just didn't feel that way. Whenever the defense played well the offense struggled. If the offense made a big play the defense immediately gave up one.
Today was just another example. Tate just inexplicably fumbles and gives Ohio State 7. We can't make a short FG. The defense plays well but the offense goes three and out. When we do move the ball Tate throws a pick in the endzone. The score may have been close but I never felt we were going to win this game - maybe that is my lack of faith - because we gave OSU the perfect set up: protect a lead and wait for Michigan to make a mistake. It worked.
Maybe it is because there are so many young players - Forcier is still a freshman after all - but it just feels like this team picks the worst possible time to make critical mistakes.
Ohio State is a good defense, and they played conservatively on offense, but five turnovers?!?! Three with the game hanging by a thread.
I don't know if it is inexperience, mental and physical exhaustion, or trying to do too much. But this team found ways to lose rather than finding ways to win and it wasn't always clear that it was due to lack of talent.
One thing I will be looking for next year is a sense that those who return will play smarter and within the system. I am not sure I can take another year of massive turnovers and the overall lack of poise and discipline.
P.S. For the record I am totally against firing RichRod. I think continuity is a must right now. We need as many returning players as we can get plus as many recruits as is possible. This team needs to continuing building not start over again.
I don't blame this inability to find ways to win games during conference play primarily on the coaches - the players were in a position to make plays but didn't. But I do think next year this team has to show composure and discipline or I will begin to wonder about coaching.