Fantastic. This sums it all up perfectly.
How is it possible that the vast majority of us can understand this but Delany, Brandon and Smith can't?
I'm not posting this in the hope that it will change anything. Since Dave Brandon came out in favor of moving the Michigan-Ohio State game to midseason there's been tremendous fan pushback, with opinion running about 10-to-1 against. It obviously doesn't matter, because the men in suits are ramping up the meaningless PR doublespeak to alarming levels:
…the reason the Big Ten is great is because of our fans. We had five and a half million fans come to games [in 2009]. Whether it’s the Rose Bowl or Ohio State-Michigan, we welcome that, and there’s an awful lot of discussion of, generally speaking, how our fans feel about what we do. We're not fan-insensitive, we're fan-receptive and are only interested in doing what is going to grow our fan base.
Whenever someone starts talking about how great the fans are, the fans are about to get it in uncomfortable places, especially when that's the first thing they talk about in the face of obvious, massive opposition. Meanwhile, the SID is trying to calm people over email by saying for Michigan and Ohio State to meet for the conference title they will "have to play their way into the championship game." If it was a trial balloon people would be walking it back by now after the reaction it's received. The thing is far enough along that Barry Alvarez is flat-out stating that Iowa and Wisconsin will be split up. It's actually happening.
So this doesn't matter. But here's why Michigan and Ohio State's athletic directors should be out in the streets rounding up pitchfork-toting mobs instead of rolling over like Indiana:
The financial benefits are almost literally zero. Dan Wetzel cites a TV executive claiming that at maximum, the vague possibility of Michigan and Ohio State meeting in a Big Ten championship game once a decade might be worth two million dollars a year ("it might be half that," he adds). Even taking the most optimistic number, the end result for Michigan is another 150k per year (the conference takes a share). Assuming an average of seven home games a year, Michigan could earn that by raising ticket prices twenty cents. Meanwhile, every other Big Ten team sees the same increase in their bottom line.
Michigan and Ohio State will almost never meet. The Plain Dealer looked back at the league since Penn State's addition and concluded that in the last sixteen years, a Michigan-Ohio State championship game would have happened all of three times.
In the future you can expect that to be far less frequent. Michigan will be guaranteed that 1) they play an outstanding Ohio State team and 2) three of the other five teams in their division do not. If the matchup is going to occur it's going to be the same for Ohio State. The loser of that game is going to have to overcome that deficit against teams that have a much easier schedule. The addition of Nebraska adds another historic power to the league. "Once a decade" is not hyperbole. It's a reasonable estimate.
As a result, you are turning M-OSU from something that will always have stakes to something you hope to do over. This is Delany's reasoning:
"If Duke and North Carolina were historically the two strongest programs and only one could play for the right to be in the NCAA tournament, would you want them playing in the season-ending game so one is in and one is out?" he asked. "Or would you want them to play and have it count in the standings and then they possibly could meet for the right to be in the NCAA or the Rose Bowl?
"We've had those debates. It's a good one. The question is whether you want to confine a game that's one of the greatest rivalries of all time to a divisional game."
Yes. Because the loser of that game is doomed and knows it. Moving it to midseason just makes it a particularly high hurdle that might not mean much—that the conference explicitly hopes doesn't mean much—at the end of the year, when the two teams can do it again, except indoors in Indianapolis. Doctor Saturday:
Keep the game what it's always been, the ritualistic culmination of an entire season in a single, freezing orgy of centuries-old hate that cannot be overturned or redeemed for at least another 365 days. In good years, the division championship (hence a shot at the conference championship) will be on the line, preserving the familiar winner-take-all/loser-go-home intensity that made "The Game" what it is in the first place.
You are doing something your fans hate. The kids don't get paid, the stadium doesn't have advertising, the idea that there is a Michigan Thing that it is possible not to "get" in a way that it is not possible Jim Schwartz does not "get" the Lions Thing: these are the things that separate college football from minor league baseball. For decades Michigan's season has had a certain shape defined by the great Satan at the end of it.
This is where the disconnect between the suits and the fans is greatest. Beating Ohio State isn't about winning the Big Ten, it's about beating Ohio State, just like the Egg Bowl is about beating that other team in Mississippi or the Civil War is about beating that other team in Oregon or any billion other year-end rivalry games that have been played since the Great Depression. M-OSU is the super-sized version of the old-fashioned rivalries based on pure hate. It's not Miami-Florida State, a game entirely dependent on the teams being national contenders for it to even sell out, but the Big Ten is treating it like the country's fakest rivalry game anyway.
It so happens that a lot of the time OSU and Michigan do decide the Big Ten, but did anyone want to beat OSU less in the mid-90s when Michigan limped into the game with 3 or 4 losses every year? Or last year? No. Would it matter less as an October game to be followed by three or four more? Necessarily yes. Is that the worst thing in the world? Yes.
I have no tolerance for anyone too dense to grasp this, much less see it as a potentially good thing, as Dave at Maize N Brew does. I said his post on the matter was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen a Michigan fan write and it remains so. Orson's post on the matter is also the dumbest thing I've ever seen him write. The reason college football matters in a way the NFL does not is the idea it has that some things are not worth selling. Once the date of the Michigan-Ohio State game goes the only thing left is the labor of the players.
I'll still be there. I don't have a choice, really, but the special kind of misery I'll experience when Michigan plays Ohio State at 8 PM in October and Special K blasts "Lose Yourself" during a critical review will make me feel like an exploited sap, not a member of a community in which my opinions matter. They clearly don't. This will matter in the same way erosion does.
AND NOW: A BUNCH OF UNAFFILIATED FOLK SHARE THEIR OPINIONS
Speaking as an Auburn fan on Big 10 moving M/OSU to midseason: If they'd tried that w/ the Iron Bowl I'd have burned SEC HQ to the ground
Because I have a soul, I've already firmly aligned myself with the "armageddon" crowd, made up of those of us who can't stand the thought of one side telling the other in mid-October, "We'll see you again when it really matters." Which probably means I've aligned myself with the losing side. Whatever the motivations of its less influential champions, the prospect of a Buckeye-Wolverine split only has traction among people who matter because the people who matter see a buck in it: If one Ohio State-Michigan game is good, two Ohio State-Michigan games must be even better, and I'm sure they have the ratings projections and accompanying ad rates to prove it. The rivalry has already defined and shaped the national perception of the Big Ten for the last 50 years; just think of the possibility of the rivalry-as-championship game as "expanding the brand."
Saving this game at the end is the culmination of a season-long crescendo.
Michigan-Indiana at the end of the year, for example, doesn’t offer the same cachet.
And it never will.
Are you kidding me? It's been played the last week of the season all but once since 1935, and it's the league's single most important franchise. You would think conference leaders would go to any length to protect it. …
Sometimes leaders make decisions without properly thinking through the issues. This one sounds like a case of over-thinking. Do the right thing, Mr. Delany, Mr. Brandon and Mr. Smith, lest the ghosts of Woody and Bo haunt you in your sleep.
Be warned, Big Ten: you move The Game, you will rip the heart and suck the soul out of the single greatest property the conference owns. And for what, a few more advertising dollars every few years when they do happen to stumble into a title showdown? One that will, incidentally, likely be contested in a sterile, domed, neutral location as opposed to yet another reason that The Game is what it is -- The Big House and The Shoe.
So… yeah. Join the Facebook page. Maybe it will help. It won't, actually, but maybe you'll feel better about it.
Fantastic. This sums it all up perfectly.
How is it possible that the vast majority of us can understand this but Delany, Brandon and Smith can't?
the consequences of a loss (or a win) in October to the rest of the season. Let's take a couple of examples:
-- OSU comes in to late October 7-1 (loss to Texas) and loses to Michigan. How would you like to get the Buckeyes up for the next couple of games, knowing that they're probably not going to the championship game and they don't have the Michigan game to redeem the season. [For argument's sake, you may substitute Michigan for OSU and vice versa.]
-- Michigan comes in to late October 8-0 and whips OSU. How hard is it going to be for RR to get the guys to take the next couple of opponenets seriously (and how much would MSU enjoy being the spoiler). And, for those of you, who say that won't happen, I remind you of the big wins over Notre Dame and the games the following weeks.
If it were up to me, I would suggest that Michigan and OSU fans stage a boycott of the B10 Network until these geniuses come to their senses. It may only be 1/6 of the conference, but believe me the ratings hit would be substantial.
I just emailed Jim Delany and Gordon Gee (I am an OSU student....). Everyone should, it only takes a few minutes!
It is sad. I am 22 years old and thinking about how I will one day have to tell my kids what THE RIVALRY was really all about.
When the expansion was announced, I didn't worry about UM-OSU because I literally did not believe anyone could be this fucking dumb.
I am sorry to see how wrong I was. I really am tired of the world being run by psychopathic cocks like Delany when rational, normal people outnumber them, like, 1000 to 1. I do not advocate violence, but I also would not be sad to see the heads of the Delanys of the world on pikes ushering in a glorious new era of non-dickheaded humanity.
Yeah, I'll still watch... but I won't really give a fuck anymore and I won't buy any more gear and shit because... yeah, I don't give a fuck.
Guys, I love all of your responses and agree with you. Now please take that extra ONE MINUTE and cut and paste some of what you've just said and email everyone that counts so we flood them with our opinions:
Here's the addy for Big 10 Commish Jim Delany
President Mary Sue Coleman: [email protected] AND
Football (Athletic Dept): [email protected] (attn: Dave Brandon) AND
Also sign this petition:
ACTION IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL COUNT!!
I don't understand why, even if we and OSU are in separate divisions, we can't play on the final day of the regular season. i know there's excitment of settling who will play in the championship game and an intra-division game would have more impact on that result than an inter-division game, but nothing would have the excitment of an UM-OSU game.
Dave vs. the brain cook
in loin cloths armed with hatchets and a hand full of dog poop.
What makes Michigan-Ohio State special IS NOT that it potentially decides the Big Ten championship. Anyone who thinks that is out of touch. The reason it's so intense is because one team frequently plays spoiler to the other team. We did it all the time in the 90s and almost did it a few time in the 2000s.
When the teams are split up, the only time the spoiler role will be in effect is when either Michigan or Ohio state is undefeated or on the off chance that a loss will knock one of them out of the Big Ten championship game (based on how divisonal standings are determined). The game will never have the spoiler-end-of-the-season effect that it once did unless they are in the same division.
I guarantee you that this will no longer be viewed as the greatest rivalry in sports if we're in different divisions. Hell, I'd be more eager to watch OU-Texas, because I know that they'd play each other with real consequences on the line.
Play 11 conference games and don't have a Big Ten championship game!
This is a badass idea. Not a chance in hell of happening, but badass nonetheless.
This is an idea I would get behind. Maybe when we go to 14 game seasons.
I used to admire the PAC10 because they played a round robin and wished the Big Ten could do that as well. Now the PAC10 is no longer 10 they won't play everyone either. At some point, even having conferences becomes pointless when you don't play everyone in your conference.
It's about the dollas.
If they don't change this BS, 50 years from now, you are going to have 70-80 year old fans of Michigan and Ohio State telling their grandchildren how a small group of individuals destroyed the most meaningful day of the year. Even people looking in from the outside understand the meaning of the Game as is, and do so without the attached emotion held by fans involved on both sides. These guys need to figure it out and stop screwing with things that haven't broken in generations.
There is nothing in this world worse than getting screwed with your pants on. Thanks Dave.
ps You should look up Semper Fi some day
Horrible atrocities are taking place in the world right now that demands this lack of intolerance. For example, the destruction of real wolverines habitats. Don't talk about this game being moved as if it deserves this type of intolerance. It's disrespectful to the innocent youth that spend their days as slaves producing lets say....footballs.
Stfu, gtfo, and go start a venture capital fund to finance socially responsible enterprises, k? Then you can chastise. Until then, let us care about what we care about and we'll leave your moral vanity to you
This totally sucks because the game could often be totally meaningless as far as division standings is concerned.
If M beats every other team in the division and only loses to osu (bleak!), they would still be division champions since every other team in the division has at least one loss (to M) and M wins the head to head within division tie-breaker.
Thus the importance of the game is -- by definition -- decreased.
Leave M and osu in the same division and play the game on the last Saturday of the regular season.
I will definitely take a vacation day to join an unruly mob and protest this travesty.
Just tell me the time and place.
So you haven't read one of the dozens of posts that patiently explain it?
Or you just lack comprehension skills?
Disagreement is one thing, but "can't begin to understand" is either hyperbole or a sign you need a drool cup.
Because 99% of the time, you won't be able to win the Big Ten without beating OSU, as only the division winner can play for it.
Separate them, and it'll be such a rare occurrence, that no one will remember it has significance most of the time. Because they never really "played for a championship"; they played a game that may have come down to them at that point, but it wasn't a championship game. Which can never happen again, anyway, because there is a championship game. It changed. And to change it more, is for the worse.
1) Are you really comparing the Notre Dame game to the OSU game? Apples and oranges, historically. Not at all the same thing.
2) Everyone understands that the addition of the championship game has altered things. Keeping M and OSU in the same division is merely the least bad option for maintaining the intensity of the traditional rivalry. Having them in separate divisions and then moving the game are worse options. Which of course the assholes in suits are going to opt for, God damn them to hell.
what's mind boggling is one of those suits played in the 10 year war!
the last game of the season, every year.
This is more important to me than the possibility of playing Ohio State once or twice a decade in an NFL dome in the Big 10 title game.
If Expansion requires change and making choices, then this is my rational choice.
You may disagree, but you can't "not understand".
Everything I love about Michigan football in the last few years has been pooped on, lit on fire and pooped on again, all for the $dolla bills$. I watch college football because it is more than winning and losing, it is tradition. I'm a Michigan fan because I like what Michigan represents and what it is: its culture, the winged helmets, the big house, the cold November afternoons playing that school down south, etc. All of these things give you "ownership" of a team. Of course not real ownership, but you feel that you are part of something bigger than you. It means something. You know all the tidbits of knowledge about your team and can recall memories of games past. This is why rivalries are so great in college football. If you change the Game, to be practically an exhibition game, it will lose its luster, and you will have no way to reclaim a losing season by beating your rival at the end of the year.
Changing the brand makes it meaningless. I might as well watch the NFL because I don't recognize college football anymore.
You mean, like in the back of a Volkswagen?
I don't see the problem with M and OSU playing to determine a spot in the Confernece Championship Game. Just think of it as an additional bowl game. Winning the division will be a large prize in and of itself.
I've said this already but I'll say it again. Brandon and Smith need to vehemently oppose this or they lose a huge chunk of their credibility with their bases. If the rest of the conference want's to steam roll them and mess around with The Game, that's their business. Institute a 7 punds of flesh tax every football season for the rest of time. Make those assholes pay for their transgressions forever and ever. But, until that happens there's only one right move if you're a fan of The Game, stand there with your middle finger waving, waiting for the cataclysmic asteroid to hit you. You're going to die, but you don't have to embrace it.
Pride, honor, and nobility!
What is noble? Consider the noble gases -- everything around them is engaged in a repulsive, atomic fuckshow. But the noble gases? Not so much. They are above it all.
That is noble -- to be unaffected by the rabble! Don't embrace disgrace!
It's that important.
I hope everyone has bought their shirts-
Please keep this on the top of the news Brian.
I have joined the Facebook page.
OMFG! STOP THE PRESSES! MJB JOINED THE FACEBOOK PAGE!
No. And I like the idea of Ohio State and Michigan playing last to determine the Big Ten East or whatever the division is. The game is meant to come last, hopefully just before the Conference championship game is the post season. Playing Ohio State to win the division every year would be just fine.
Because, guess what, if you beat OSU earlier in the season, then lose the Championship Game vs. OSU, or anyone else, it would be just as meaningless under your view.
And I can think of a lot of seasons where Michigan didn't win a Big Ten Title, go to the BCS/Championship Game, and people thought they had a good season because they beat Ohio State. I think it was, hmmmm...ALL OF THEM.
Why? Because we beat Ohio State and knocked them out of the national championship picture.
The rest of those 2 seasons was pretty weak. I don't even rememder if we won the bowl games or not. It doesn't matter.
If they were in the same division and an 11-0 Michigan beat an 8-3 Ohio State to win the Big Ten East, and then lost to Nebraska or Wisky in Indy, the Ohio State win would mean very little and won't come close to salving the hurt of missing out on a possible BCS final.
the Ohio State win is always one to be savored. and with any shred of dignity, savored on the third Saturday in November.
I concur. If we could only win one game a year I would always want it to be against those damn Bucknuts...and if it weren't for the Feds getting in the way we would've taken the Toledo territory from those sorry bastards back in the day!
and then gone on to lose Bowl games.
It does not diminish the OSU victory one bit.
it will go down in infamy along with Crystal Pepsi, changing of the original KFC recipe, and the firing of Ernie Harwell - decisions by out of touch bureaucrats in board rooms based on questionable market research as opposed to the will of the vast majority of the public.
I was waiting for Axl Rose to start singing.
Of course playing OSU twice is better than playing them once! That's why the Tigers/Indians rivalry is so significant, the more games the better! Oh wait.
If they played flag football on August 15, I'd still hate the Buckeyes and want to win the game.
If either team is any good, ipso facto, it won't that team's last Big Ten game. That's already gone.
Would you guys have argued against letting Big Ten teams go to bowls other than the Rose Bowl in the seventies? After all, before 1976, if both UM and tOSU were undefeated, the game determined which team stayed home. Did it cheapen the game in 1976 when Michigan went to the Orange Bowl after losing to the Bucks?
I always want to kick tOSU's ass. Always. If there's a 1% chance UM can do it twice in one year, I'm all for it.
in the same division has to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard!
Keep the Game in late November though, but they must be in seperate divisions. The thought of never playing OSU for the Big Ten Championship again makes me sad, "Oh but you can still play them for the right to beat somebody else for the Big Ten Title"? Please! Not even close.
What the hell is the matter with you people?
I've formulated my plan.
I'm going to mail David Brandon, Jim Delaney, and Gene Smith a box of classic literature and a letter. Literally, Romeo and Juliet, Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, etc, etc, the books, in a box, shipped to their office.
My argument: To UM and OSU fans, each football season is a story. It starts with the hook of the preseason, when everybody is 0-0 and within reach of a national championship. It continues with the plot of the season, with the jubilant highs and terrible lows of each week.
AND FINALLY THE SEASON ENDS WITH THE CLIMAX: MICHIGAN VERSUS OHIO STATE. ITS WHAT THE WHOLE F*N SEASON BUILDS UP TO. There may be a bowl game later, but thats just tying up loose ends. THE GAME is always against a team in Scarlet and Grey.
Could you imagine how bad classic literature would suck if the climax came before the plot? If Romeo committed suicide before he fell in love? If Harry Potter killed Voldemort in Year one of school next to the sorcerors stone? If Gatsby scored Daisy (I think her name was daisy) when they first met? The books would get pretty lame pretty quickly.
To put it into my college-aged words: perhaps I am unique here; but I don't like to climax early!!!!! .
I'm going to make it my protest sign:
"Stop Premature Climax. Don't Move The Game".
Fuck it, if it’s the last true “Game” everyone (UM and OSU fans) should wear black at Columbus. It isn’t much but, “this aggression will not stand man.”
The $5k per year i donate to the Victors club and renewal for club level seating is going to cease to exist....just like The Game on the last wk of the regular season. And I only go to 1-3 games a year depending on my travel schedule from California and give the other tix to friends who are loyal UofM faithful.
This is simply dispicable and I won't renew when they change it.
The Curse of Bo's Passing continues.......
For those that have read my diary, you know my stance. I don't mind separate divisions, compared to same divisions. Here's the place where Brian is wrong, and IME is the crucial point:
Beating Ohio State isn't about winning the Big Ten, it's about beating Ohio State, just like the Egg Bowl is about beating that other team in Mississippi or the Civil War is about beating that other team in Oregon or any billion other year-end rivalry games that have been played since the Great Depression. M-OSU is the super-sized version of the old-fashioned rivalries based on pure hate.
You're equating M-OSU with the Egg Bowl, Brian. And the Civil War. M-OSU is 1000 times more than either of those rivalries. No one can debate that point. And the reason it's not just another big rivalry, but the biggest rivalry in sports, is that the B10 title has been on the line more often than any other rivalry. I never heard of the Civil War untill I was like 22. Everyone knows M-OSU, because they tuned in to see the B10 title being won. They wanted to see the winner with roses in their teeth. Strip away the stakes (never again the opportunity to play for the definitive B10 title) and Brian is absolutely right: M-OSU will be no more than the Egg Bowl or the Civil War. Really important to the fan bases, but not to anyone else.