the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon provides his take on the divisional alignment decision and it's effect on The Rivalry.
...when the Big Ten added Nebraska, everything seemed up in the air, including the Michigan-Ohio State game. Next fall the Big Ten will have 12 teams, playing in two divisions, culminating in a title game -- all new.
So that raised a few possibilities -- not to mention plenty of rumors and fears. If Michigan and Ohio State were placed in the same division, the teams could never meet in the title game. But if they were in different divisions, they might have to play again in the title game just one week later. Big Ten athletic directors considered moving the game to earlier in the season.
Fans, former players and reporters -- including me -- responded with their "usual level of cool maturity," as Dave Barry would say, "similar to the way Moe reacts when he is poked in the eyeballs by Larry and Curly." One Ohio politician even went so far as to introduce a resolution demanding the game never be moved.
Spoiler alert: Bacon likes the decision.
In this Michigan Today piece, John U. Bacon examines the history of Big Ten membership, focusing on when Amos Alonzo Stagg forced Fielding Yost's hand causing Michigan to leave the Big Ten in 1907.
Reform was all the rage in college football—and that's where Stagg saw his chance. As the de facto leader of the Big Ten, Stagg pushed for new rules governing recruiting, funding and eligibility—which Yost, probably to Stagg's surprise, readily agreed to—but Yost couldn't stomach the conference's proposals to reduce schedules from a robust eleven games to a measly five, restrict player eligibility to three years, and insist that football coaches be full-time faculty members. Stagg already was, Yost was not.
Yost knew if he complied with the new Big Ten regulations, his team would have little chance against the Eastern powers. To sacrifice that hard-won recognition galled Yost.
When it came time for Michigan's Faculty Board in charge of Intercollegiate Athletics to vote, Yost urged them to refuse the conference proposals. They did, forcing Michigan to drop out of the Big Ten in 1907.
That's right: Michigan, the school most closely associated with Big Ten football, left the conference in a huff.
Michigan was an independent for ten years and during that time, it had to find new opponents to fill out its schedule as Stagg made sure a rule was passed that prohibited Big Ten schools from scheduling games with schools that had left the conference (i.e., Michigan). It was during this period that Michigan began its most important rivalries: Ohio State, Notre Dame and MSU.
Michigan...had to resort to filling the schedule with independent schools like Notre Dame twice, and Ohio State, which was not yet in the Big Ten, for the first six of those years. Another independent, the Michigan State Spartans—then called the Michigan Agricultural College Farmers—appeared on Michigan's schedule for just the third time in 1907, and have continued to do so all but four seasons since.
So, whenever a commentator remarks that Michigan is the nation's only team with three great rivalries, Wolverine fans should thank Amos Alonzo Stagg, who made it all possible—however unwittingly.
Ladies and gentleman, the inimitable John U. Bacon delivers the goods once more.
John U. Bacon's latest in Michigan Today is the story of the hockey team's late season surge and Shawn Hunwick's key role.
The story's narrative isn't new to us, but some of the personal recollections by Hunwick give some nice insights into how hard it must have been to muster the confidence required for the former practice goalie to lead his team to the CCHA tournament championship and the NCAA regionals.
Besides, it's Bacon, so it's a must read.
Because of their seventh-place finish, the Wolverines not only had to run the table, they had to do it the hard way. They would have to play the first round of the league playoffs, instead of enjoying their usual bye, for the first time in two decades; and if they won, they would have to travel to their opponents' rink for the next second, instead of playing at home. To say the outlook was bleak would be to understate the case considerably.
They all felt the weight, but none more so than their substitute goalie. "I had a decision to make," Hunwick recalls of the long bus ride back to Ann Arbor. "I could keep my confidence up, or I could pack it in."
Wolverine players swarm goalie Shawn Hunwick after U-M won the CCHA hockey tournament to keep alive its streak of 20 consecutive NCAA playoff appearances. (Photo: Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services.)
John U. Bacon wrote a somewhat interesting article on Michigan Football traditions in the Fall 2009 issue of LSA Magazine-- worth a read. Sorry- don't know if it's available online.
Two items I found of interest:
"Clemson players touch Howard's Rock before games, Oklahoma's mascot rides the Sooner Schooner after touchdowns, and Ohio State fans sing "Hang on Snoopy" at the slightest provocation-never bothered by the fact that they've got the name wrong."
"One overlooked aspect of "The Victors" separates it from all others: While other schools' songs urge their teams to make a great effort in the hopes of winning, "The Victors" celebrates a crucial contest already won....The first Michigan tradition was confidence. Hail, Hail."
Hail, indeed. Go Blue