Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
As most people know, U of I is playing Northwestern at Wrigley Field November 20th. This is a unique setting for a college football game, albeit it is NU and U of I. A game at Wrigley has not occurred in a long time (Chicago Bears Dec. 13 1970) and there is no gaurantee that this will happen again. Unfortunately, this is the same weekend as when the Badgers come to town, Michigan's last home game.
I live in Chicago, but make it to most if not all Michigan home games. I am already missing the Iowa game (Friend's Wedding...Argh!), which besides the UW, MSU and UConn games, this is one that I was really looking forward to. My girlfriend (U of I grad) understandably wants to go the Wrigley game. I have repeatedly dragged (not forcefully) her up to Ann Arbor, even for a few u of I games. She will be at the Ucon game for sure among others. She has taken me to Champaign a number of times as well. I should also mention, that we did go to the Rose Bowl at the expense of missing Lloyd's last game.
So here it is..
What do I do?
It appears that the thinking of the B10 Office regarding The Game goes something like this:
"It would be a shame to have a setup where Michigan and Ohio State could not play each other for the Big 10 title. Besides, a potential Michigan-Ohio State Big 10 title game would have tremendous appeal to the networks when we're trying to sell the broadcast rights (not that we would ever let a thing like that drive our decision making . . . wink, wink).
So to make this a possibility, we'll put Michigan and Ohio State into separate divisions.
But this creates a new problem. It would be a bad thing if they played each other the last game of the season and then played immediately again in the Big 10 championship game. This could dilute the interest of the networks to whom we are trying to sell the broadcast rights (not that we would ever let a thing like that drive our decision making . . . wink, wink).
So we'll move The Game to earlier in the season so that there will be time for the networks to "cleanse their palettes" between the two games. Problem solved. We'll slip this past everybody by announcing it in drips and drabs in late August, and no one will be the wiser. Martini Time."
While it may seem like a tidy little solution to the Big 10 Office, many Michigan fans and college football fans in general are outraged. We believe The Game should be played the last game of the season, one shot. You have to go through the other team to advance. Win or lose, it's final. It's the cumulative end-point of the season, the crown jewel of "rivalry weekend".
We now have to hope against hope that the Big 10 Office will come to its senses and not let what happened to the epic Oklahoma-Nebraska and Miami-Florida State rivalries happen to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.
But if the Big 10 still insists on putting Michigan and Ohio State in separate divisions and not allowing them to play each other back-to-back in the regular season and the Big 10 championship game, there may be a way to do that that still preserves the essence and tradition of The Game:
- Play all of the traditional Big 10 rivalry games, including The Game, at the end of the Big 10 season the Saturday before Thanksgiving, just like they are played now.
- Schedule a non-conference game the Saturday after Thanksgiving, between the last Big 10 season game and the Big 10 championship game.
The non-conference game would be like that end of season Hawaii game that many of the Big 10 teams have played over the years, except now it would be for everybody.
There would be plenty of tomato cans available to schedule for the end of season non-conference slot, most of whom would have finished their own regular seasons and would welcome the extra paycheck. The two Big 10 championship game opponents can rest their first string and use this game to give their second/third string some reps. The non-Big 10 championship game teams can use the non-conference game to keep their team sharp for the bowls, avoiding a long layoff.
The significance and tradition of the Big 10 rivalry games would be preserved. They would still be played at the end of the Big 10 season on "rivalry weekend" the way they are now, and would still be the final word on the Big 10 standings. The non-conference games would have no bearing on the Big 10 standings or a slot in the Big 10 championship game.
This solution is not perfect of course. Many fans will not relish the idea of sitting in a cold stadium in late November to watch their team take on the seventh place MAC team. The networks would not exactly be scrambling to show these games either. Luckily for the Big 10, we have our own network to save the day. It can be an all-BTN overflow channel extravaganza day. The Big 10 would even get to keep all the TV money.
This is by no means preferable to the sensible solution of keeping Michigan and Ohio State in the same division and letting them brawl it out in The Game at the end of the season for the division crown and the right to go to the Big 10 championship.
If the Big 10 is adamant on putting Michigan and Ohio State in seperate divisions, then The Game should still be played as the last game of the season. There is no good reason to move it every year because of the possibility the teams might play each other consecutively a couple times a decade.
But if the Big 10 is hung up on Michigan and Ohio State never playing each other back to back and won't budge from this position, then a non-conference buffer game would be much more preferrable to moving The Game to the middle of the season. As a last ditch effort to keep The Game from becoming just “a game” it may be the best hope we’ve got.
This is about as worthless of a topic as there could possibly be. But it's late, my JV football team plays it's first game tomorrow and I can't sleep, and the NW preview is on BTN.
I really like Pat Fitzgerald. I watched him as a player and was impressed by his tenacity and leadership qualities. I loved the way he played the game. I felt horrible for the guy when he led his team to the Big Ten title and Rose Bowl but was unable to play due to injury. Can you imagine how heartbreaking that must have been?
I'm watching their practice on BTN and I admire his coaching style. He's intense but has fun. I loved the line he used on his D-lineman during one segment when he referred to him as "Molasses." After a less than stellar effort, Fitz blows the whistle and ends the drill by yelling, "That was just too painful to watch." I love sarcasm when trying to coach up a player.
I've coached football for some time now and I like to think I run a practice with the same enthusiasm and intensity as Fitz. My son is an excellent student and will start his first varsity game at QB this Friday. I don't know if he's got what it takes to earn an athletic scholarship but he can certainly gain admission to just about any school he chooses. I would be elated if he walked-on and played for Coach Fitz.
(Of course, my first choice would be for him to follow in his old man's footsteps).
This five minute video is worth your while if you have any love for the heritage of the Michigan Marching Band. It's from the mid '80's when it was last conducted by a "Michigan Man." I am not trying to imply that the band is anything less today, but this clip gives you a good sense of the "historic sound" at its best. It also gives you a look at the practices that most people never get to see. Watch the first and last minute if you're bored with this sort of thing, but don't skip the last minute.
A few notes:
1. The picture quality is poor. The sound is quite good. Thanks to the original uploader.
2. Yes, the young lady getting her ankle wrapped was very attractive.
3. When the shows were almost all high-stepped, band members got hurt all the time.
4. Silverdome officials told the M director that the MMB was significantly louder than The Who, who had played there a few months earlier.
5. Note that Michigan was using a glide-step and has, at times, ever since the early 80's.
Just saw this linked on the twitters-
University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez confirmed Wednesday that when a two-division format for football is unveiled by league officials next month, UW and Iowa will be separated.