Was Delany able to keep a straight face when he made the comment about the "first 18 years"? Does anyone out there think this current thing is going to last for more than a few years? (Yes, I know grant of rights in the ACC and all. That just means that the SEC, the Big Ten, ESPN and Texas are going to have to pay off the ACC when they start poaching more teams.)
The Hot Take: Divisions
HONORING EASTS AND BUILDING WESTS
/soulful electric guitar
IT'S BEEN A BIG TEN TRADITION FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS
WE HONOR THE EASTS WHO'VE GIVEN US MOMENTS WE'LL NEVER FORGET EVEN IF WE WEREN'T WATCHING THEM BECAUSE NO ONE WATCHES RUTGERS OR MARYLAND
AND BUILDING WESTS? WELL, THAT'S ABOUT DOING SOMETHING SO CONDESCENDINGLY DUMB YOU'D HAVE TO BE A SEA ANEMONE FOR YOUR POISONOUS TENDRILS TO THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA WITH YOUR PREHISTORIC NON-BRAIN, AND LIVING A LIFE OF MAXIMUM RESOURCE EXTRACTION EVERY SINGLE DAY
AHHHH OH WAIT
much better here's a picture of a guy graduating oohhhhhhhh
NOW GIVE ME MY HUNDRED MILLION AWWWW OHHHH
Our New Less Miserable Experience
It's not news. But it is official. Per everyone in reports going on the last six months, the Big Ten is this:
Michigan cannot be champions of the West, because obviously.
Also yes I made a Gin Blossoms reference. Up next: flat-out Blossom references.
Love the quote that comes with the non news:
"The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll."
Sometimes I wonder if the goal of adding Rutgers and Maryland was to give the B10 leadership a way to save face as they exited Legends and Leaders. Then I think that's crazy. Then I remember that the Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland and think it's not crazy enough. THEORY: The Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland because Jim Delany is secretly a plant in need of more soil. THEORY: The Big Ten expanded because now they have those bastards from Delaware surrounded, and can finally give them what-for for signing the Constitution first. THEORY: Bo Ryan controls everything and is unhappy only ruining basketball. &c
Anyway: over the long term Michigan will be meeting teams in the other division about half the time. Purdue will be on under a third of future schedules since they have a protected crossover with Indiana; the other teams will be just under 1/2, except the league is going to kick off their new divisions with as many sexy matchups as possible:
Big Ten also will use "parity-based scheduling" for initial crossover rotations. Top teams in divisions will play more, Delany said
"In the first 18 years, you’re going to see a lot of competition between teams at the top of either division," Delany said. "We call that a bit of parity-based scheduling, so you’ll see Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa playing a lot of competition against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. But it will rotate. Early on, we feel this gives the fans what they want."
Ace and I talked about whether this was terrible or fine; I initially thought terrible but after some time I think I just want to see interesting games, and putting top teams against each other does that. It also helps smooth any schedule imbalances.
- I will miss playing Iowa annually.
- I enjoyed making Michigan Ryan Field's Big Ten Team every other year.
- I don't even feel like Wisconsin's in the same conference any more.
- In general it will be hard to start hot feuds against anyone Over There. See the rapidly dying MSU-UW quasi-rivalry.
- I'm actually okay with the Jug game not happening annually, but it is a symptom of how you're not really a conference at 14 teams.
- Hey remember that thing where they might move the game to midseason and—horror—put Michigan State at the end of M's schedule? That is ding-dong dead.
- Now I can root against Ohio State with all my heart when they play Nebraska and the like, and the Game is what it always should be: critical.
- Sparty did not escape to the other division, saddling M with a protected crossover, guaranteeing them an annual game against Purdue, and giving the Spartans some vague hope of ever reaching the Rose Bowl again.
- I welcome the return of Penn State to the schedule annually and look forward to re-establishing the Zombie Nation WE OWN PENN STATE meme.
- My loathing for the incompetent and debt-crippled athletic departments of Rutgers and Maryland will give those games some spice. HOW DARE YOU BE IN OUR CONFERENCE is good foundation for hate, I guess?
- They did fix it so the divisions switch off 5/4 home games as a unit.
All in all, Delaware is screwed.
BHGP finds a man distressed at the callous disposal of the Big Ten's most sacred traditions: "Legends" and "Leaders". Dave Brandon has put down the prospect of moving The Game, backed away slowly, and whistled idly if anyone passing by pointed at it and said "what the…?"
Oh my god that intro was completely perfect and hilarious. You don't always hit the mark with that sort of humor (though it's always appreciated), but you really did there.
is going to increase the odds of a terrible team reaching the Big Ten title game.
The SEC title game history is full of teams who reached Atlanta(or Birmingham) who simply played a softer conference schedule. Not because they were actually better than everyone in their division.
The difference is in the SEC, the team that reaches the title game due to a softer schedule is a team like Georgia last year, who played Mississippi and Auburn whileone of its division rivals, South Carolina, drew LSU and its other rival, Florida, drew both LSU and Texas A&M. But Georgia is a pretty damn good team in its own right. Who's going to benefit from a softer cross-division schedule in the Big Ten East? Penn State? Sparty? I'll take my chances.
the number of times a Mississippi State, Arkansas or South Carolina made the Championship game when a better team in their division didn't make because they played a tougher schedule has happened too much. I hate to see that happen to the Big Ten.
But none of them ever won the conference title so why does it matter if they made it?
I'd like to see the best possible matchup in the so called "championship game" rather than a mismatch because the schedule's screwed someone over.
Nebraska was supposed to be head and shoulders better than a weak Wisconsin team that got to the title game via a weak schedule. Hiow'd that work out?
In the 21-year history of the SEC championship game, the only years where a lower-ranked team made the championship over an eligible higher-ranked team were:
- 1992: #12 Florida made the championship game over #8 Georgia. Both were 6-2 in conference, Florida beat Georgia during the regular season, and Georgia actually did better against the West (3-0) than Florida (2-1).
- 1995: #23 Arkansas made the championship game over #17 Auburn and #21 Alabama, but beat both Alabama and Auburn during the regular season. All three teams went 2-1 against the East.
- 1998: #23 Mississippi State made the championship game over #11 Arkansas. MSU beat Arkansas during the regular season and each team went 2-1 against the East. No other team in the SEC West had more than 7 total wins on the season.
- 2002: #22 Arkansas made the championship game over #20 Auburn (#14 Alabama was ineligible). Arkansas beat Auburn during the regular season, and both teams went 1-2 against the East.
- 2004: #15 Tennessee made the championship game over #8 Georgia. Tennessee beat Georgia in the regular season, and both went 2-1 against the West.
- 2006: #8 Arkansas made the championship game over #5 LSU. LSU actually beat Arkansas in the regular season, but had a 6-2 SEC record versus Arkansas' 7-1 record. Arkansas went 3-0 versus the East, beating #25 Tennessee, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, while LSU went 2-1 versus the East, beating #25 Tennessee and Kentucky while losing to #1 Florida. Ignoring both teams' record against the East, LSU would have made the championship over Arkansas.
- 2007: #14 Tennessee made the championship game over #4 Georgia and #10 Florida. Tennessee (6-2 SEC) beat Georgia (6-2) in the regular season but lost to Florida (5-3). Tennessee went 2-1 versus the West, while Georgia went 3-0 and Florida went 1-2. Florida beat Mississippi but lost to #1 LSU and #15 Auburn; Tennessee beat Mississippi State and Arkansas but lost to Alabama. Ignoring cross-divisional records, Florida would have made the championship over Tennessee.
Thus, cross-division scheduling has only resulted in an inferior team (judged by the polls) making the SEC championship game over a superior team twice in 21 years. This isn't something to worry about.
A terrible team? No. By that logic, Maryland would have a significantly better shot at making the Title game.
A decent team who isn't great? Maybe, but keep in mind that a loss to a divisional opponent is effectively worth two.
Example: Michigan plays Nebraska and Wisconsin in crossovers; Ohio plays Iowa and Wisconsin; and Rutgers plays Northwestern and Illinois. Assume Michigan and Ohio lose BOTH crossovers, but both beat Rutgers.
Even if Rutgers wins out, they would need BOTH Michigan and Ohio to lose at least once more.
So can someone explain how the parity-based scheduling does anything other than screw the teams most deserving of making the championship game? MSU fans must be drooling over the words, "you’ll see Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa playing a lot of competition against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan."
You do realize that Michigan State will be playing Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State each year. If they're drooling about that prospect, it's not because that's a happy option for them. Then add in their games with Notre Dame (four years out of every six through 2032) and future games with Alabama, Oregon, and Miami-FL and you can see why they're going to have a pretty tough road to hoe.
Also keep in mind that Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern are going to be on the slate for them as well. It's not going to be much of a picnic for Sparty.
But before we get our panties in a wad, let's see how the scheduling works out. Besides, I read plenty of message boards where fans complain that the games they attend aren't worth the tickets. Now that we may see something of an upgrade with more games against B1G opponents, where's that complaint now?
everyone else in the division does that as well.
But we can't play ourselves, which is a "break" in a way. MSU will probably be weaker than us most of the time, so it's an advantage for us to play them compared to them playing us.
Of course, but that's obvously just a case of one team being better than another, not a scheduling advantage, which is what I'm talking about here. I.e., Notre Dame can't complain that Alabama had an easier path in the national championship game because Notre Dame had to play Alabama but Alabama got to play Notre Dame.
have never met a Notre Dame fan.
I envy you.
I'm not crazy about parity based scheduling. It's a great theory until that one season Michigan State/Penn State winds up in the championship game because parity-based scheduling matched it up with Purdue and Illinois, when each M and OSU lost a game to Nebraska/Wisconsin/Iowa okay not Iowa.
I realize that can happen with standard scheduling as well, but at least those are planned in advance. I'm not crazy about parity-based scheduling in the NFL, as it leads to that come-out-of-nowhere playoff qualifier that gets torched by 40 in the Wild Card round (at least it used to before the entire NFL essentially became as good as everyone else).
Also, does this mean the "Land Grant Trophy" is going to be a thing again?
Any way to get more Mayim Bialik in people's lives is a good thing
We didn't play Iowa and Northwestern every year anyway, so no big loss. In the "everyone else is going to rotate off 2 or 3 times while PSU only does so once" format, it seemed like certain teams fell off more than others. And adding Penn State every year is a pretty fair trade when we start winning again and driving their fans nuts. Ah, good times.
And I had forgotten the "move MSU to the end of the season talk"....a cold reminder. Brrrr.
Hypothesis, not theory.
For those Michigan alums and fans living on the East Coast, this is a big deal (something Brian is consistently satirical about in his narratives). It's taxing getting to Ann Arbor for a game, although having Penn State in the neighborhood since 1993 helps out. Now that Rutgers and Maryland have been added to the conference, seeing the Wolverines in person for football, basketball, etc., became that much easier.
When was the last time Michigan football travelled to the northeast or mid-Atlantic for a regular season football game? The Wolverines played at Syracuse in 1999 and before that, UM travelled to Beantown to play Boston College in 1995. Michigan will be playing Connecticut later this year as payback for UConn being the stadium dedication opponent in 2010. So that's almost 14 years between appearances.
But with Maryland and Rutgers regularly on the schedule, it's probable that Michigan will be playing those two teams on their home turf in alternating seasons. Who knows? It might be on their home stadiums or even at the bigger pro venues in the Washington DC, Baltimore and New York City areas. Personally, I like the idea that Michgan's geographic footprint in terms of conference play now goes from Nebraska to the Atlantic Ocean.
I'm excited for the change. Annual games with Ohio State, Michigan State and now Penn State coupled with a steady dose of Nebraska or Wisconsin along with I anticipate will be a series of pretty good home-and-home games with at least one top flight non-conference opponent per year means the overall schedule is going to probably be better going forward. We'll see what David Brandon can do with the OOC schedule--if he can line up teams like LSU or Texas A&M or Tennessee from the SEC or Oklahoma or Texas from the Big XII, then that'll be a definite upgrade.
The flipside of this is that for those of us living in Chicago, the two closest options to see a Michigan game (Northwestern, Notre Dame) are going to be dropping off the regular schedule, and the two next-closest options (Illinois, Wisconsin) still aren't going to be played very frequently. Under the East/West system, Michigan will play a game within 3 hours of Chicago about once every 3-4 years. Sure, we're gaining access to the NYC and Washington markets, but I'd bet that more Michigan alums live in Chicago than any other city, and we're basically losing that.
Sure, but in Chicago, there's still the option to drive to Ann Arbor for a game. It's kind of a long haul, sure, particularly if you're trying to do there and back, but it's completely doable (and preferable to seeing a game anywhere else) and other than Northwestern, it's not that much further than going to Illinois or Wisconsin.
Ann Arbor is 3.5 hours from Chicago. TONS of people from Chicago make it to Ann Arbor for home games. No way we are losing the interest of Michigan alums in Chicago.
If you can get from Chicago to AA in 3.5 hours on a game day, you drive like a maniac.
The problem that I have with this move is that the "old" Big Ten is now good and truly dead. Brian is right that Wisconsin (as well as Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Prudue) may as well be in another coference. That is really the end of a history and a tradition that has been in place for as long as any of us can remember (about 35 years for me.) In exchange, we got Rutgers and Maryland. They simply don't add much in terms of football tradition and have zero to do with the Big Ten as anyone ever thougt about it.
In my view, the fact that there are a bunch of alums on the East Coast does not make this a good move. Sorry, but let's agree that the East Coast just doesn't have anything to do with the Big Ten. I am sure that it is taxing to get to a Michigan game if you live on the East Coast, but I am sure that wasn't a surprise to you. Let me put it another way. My brother went to State. He now lives in Florida and has met a surprising number of Sparties down there. That does not mean that we should add South Flordia to the Big Ten so that those folks can see MSU more regularly.
If you really want to preserve the relationship with the "old Big Ten", then I trust you will soon be writing Commissioner Delany and telling him that the conference should rid itself of Nebraska and Penn State, but keep the nine game conference schedule.
This way, Michigan will play a true round robin of B1G teams and not have any worries about one of those "non-traditional" conference championship games either.
To help you out with your quest, here's the address and telephone numbers for the Big Ten Conference offices:
Big Ten Conference Headquarters and Meeting Center
1500 West Higgins Road
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Phone: (847) 696-1010
Fax: (847) 696-1150
Good luck, Don Quixote!
And yes, a nine game round robin would be great. Until then, we can all look forward to visiting friendly east coast types like yourself who respond reasonably to those who disagree with their views. After all, what is tradition and history compared to helping out folks like you who were shocked at how far Ann Arbor is from the East Coast.
Everyone focuses on tv money, but I suspect that this will significantly increase giving by east coast alums. I can't wait to go to College Park to see Michigan play
I suspect he'll be wrong about this too
I'm not a fan of the on-purpose scheduling imbalance. It pretty much puts a dagger in the heart of decent non-conference scheduling for the big name teams. Yeah, you'll get more OSU vs Nebraska, but you'll also get more OSU vs. Akron to balance it out. It also probably isn't going to work very well. Schedules have to be made years in advance. Five years from now, whose to say if Wisconsin will be where they are now, or back to where they were before Barry Alvarez? If and when Illinois finally puts together a legitimate Top 20 team, they are going to have a cakewalk to the CCG, because the schedule will be made up assuming that they are shit. And good luck filling up stadiums in Minneapolis, Evanston, and Ross Aide from now on.
If that's your concern, then you haven't been paying attention. First off, the conference is mandating that teams play at least one non-conference game against an opponent of similar stature in another league. There will be real pressure on the Michigan, Ohio State, etc., to have that one marquee game in place on the schedule because we're looking at a new television contract in a few years' time.
Secondly, when it comes to the four-team playoff, the committee is going to look at strength of schedule as one of their metrics. If a program has a bunch of MAC level programs on their non-conference docket, it's going to be a negative when all factors are being considered.
Finally, the Big Ten is telling teams no more FCS programs. That means Illinois can't play Eastern, Western or Southern Illinois and that game between Minnesota and South Dakota State is a thing of the past.
Besides, schedules have to be made years in advance even if they aren't "on purpose". It's always a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to figuring out if a team or program is going to be good five years down the line.
Good point about the plan for inter division games. If I'm any team in the west other than Nebraska, Wisky and Iowa (teams who sell out or come close to selling their stadiums every home game) I sure as heck want to see OSU or UM coming to town every year because I know that's one game where the stadium will be sold out or darn close. If I'm Illinois, NU, Purdue or Minny the last thing I want to hear is that I'm probably going to be hosting Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana a lot more than OSU or UM.
The Big Ten: Giving Delaware What-For Since 2014!™
I also laughed at the "18 years" part. Then again, it's hard to take anything Jim Delany says seriously. However, I'm sure that he was able to keep a straight face, given the other things he's said. POSIT: Jim Delany is actually a robot sent by aliens to soften human resistance to the upcoming invasion by destroying our most beloved pastimes and causing us to mistrust even the most basic communication from other people. When we're all deep in the molybdenum mines of China digging up precious ore for our new overlords, it's all going to be on him. ;-)
(ed: earlier poster was right; "theory" was wrong :-) ).
I believe the 18-year time span was used because that how long the complete scheduling cycle will take. It's not a prediction for how long the Big Ten will be a 14-team conference.
And I wish that we had done something to preserve the Brown Jug game. It's one of the few remaining traditions in the game that reminds us of its roots. And don't tell me that it's not important anymore. There's a restaurant in Ann Arbor named after it for Chrissakes, and at the end of the day, our schedule is going to be calibrated in a manner that Minnesota is replaced with a team of equal caliber (in a game that has less charm).
And don't tell me that it's not important anymore. There's a restaurant in Ann Arbor named after it for Chrissakes,
Well yeah, but the restaurant itself is historic (founded in 1936). It dates from when the Minnesota game actually was the biggest game (or close to it) on the schedule.
I think it's a cool trophy too, but Minnesota just isn't a good enough program anymore to warrant protecting the rivalry. We're still going to play them about 50% of the time, which is OK as far as I'm concerned.
They would be a great addition to the conference, a Rivalry for Sparty ( green S vs green S), and the Deleware market could be added to the Big 14/10 market. (\s)
How will this work if we're also supposed to see everyone from the other division at least once every four years? Rotate one or two cross division games and make the remaining one based on who has been good lately? Still seems like there's some mystery to how all this is going to work.
Also, if we are picking opponents from one year to the next as opposed to rotating, it seems like it might set up a situation where we have to face a team on the road in consecutive meetings, even if those meetings are a couple seasons apart. For example, say we're at Nebraska one year... they rotate off the following year, but are put back on for the following season because both teams have done well. Problem is, our other two crossover games are scheduled at home. We can't have three cross-division home games, so the Big 10 puts us back in Lincoln again.
I mean, I'd like to give the conference more credit than that, but that was before I had heard that purposeful imbalance was part of this equation. I should have known after they actually got it right on H/A split that they'd go and do something like this.
Yes, I think there will only be one "parity based" game each year.
Here is how I would do this...
* each Eastern team (other than Indiana) plays Purdue once every 3 years, on a strict rotation. Indiana and Purdue are excluded from Parity games.
* Michigan rotates through the rest of the Western teams so they play each opponent 5 times in 18 years.
* Each year, 1 "parity based" game is added to the schedule.
So an example schedule...
1: at Wisconsin, vs Iowa, extra game away
2: at Minnesota, vs Nebraska, extra game home
3: at Purdue, vs Northwestern, extra game away
4: at Illinois, vs wisconsin, extra game home
5: at Iowa, vs Minnesota, extra game away
6: at Nebraska, vs Purdue, extra game home
7: at Northwestern, vs Illinois, extra game away
etc, repeating after 18 years.
So maybe Michigan has their "extra" games against Nebraska in years 1 & 4, Wisconsin in years 2 & 5, Iowa in years 3 & 6, etc.
This satisfies the "minimum one game every 4 years" requirement, it fits the Purdue/Indiana pair into the schedule, and allows the conference to set up some marquee inter-divisional games for television
Parity based scheduling only benefits teams in the Western division who might get a pass to the Big 10 Title Game because they missed both Michigan and Ohio State. Unfortunately for them, just like Georgia in the SEC, they'll have to play Michigan or Ohio State in the Title Game and will probably lose. Furthermore, if they win that game, then the schedule strength question gets answered.
Also, I loved the first 18 years comment. Penn State has only been around for 20 years.
I feel old. Twenty years seems like 5-10 year.
Looking forward to MSU and NW making random late-season runs to the fringe of the conference championships because they missed the top teams in the other division, then failing on the last weekend and hearing (at least MSU) fans complain that the system is rigged against them.
Sparty's going to get thrashed by Michigan and Ohio every year. It won't matter how they do against everyone else.
Exactly, and it order for it to matter, not only would MSU have to beat either UM or OSU, but those guys would have to actually lose a game or two in those cross division games.
If that happens, then MSU probably deserves to go. That won't, however, happen any time soon so I won't worry about it.
and we add a couple more east coast teams in "major media markets" to make Jim Delaney happy, then Indiana shifts to the west, and that division is pretty much the old Big Ten minus Michigan and Ohio, what with MSU in the 50s and PSU in the 90s being johnny-come-lately's.
If/when the Big 10 goes to 16, guarantee Notre Dame a spot in the West. They have their annual game with Purdue and rotating games with Michigan and MSU. They would be in the Championship game more often than not with a 50/50 chance to make it to the Rose Bowl or the four-team NCAA playoff. It is an offer they may not be able to refuse.
if ever they were joining teh Big Ten, they would already have done so.