Michigan's history in the Big Ten is full of win
If you've been away for a month, meet our new regular feature, a roundtable of sorts where we have the MGoStaff answer questions about stuff on the fan mind. With the future Big Ten schedules getting announced I thought I'd use this week to pull the one we had to cut (for space) from the HTTV Roundtable, wsg Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan. The schedule (home games in bold):
9/24: @Craig Ross School of Obscure Historical Facts About Michigan/3:30p/BTN
10/1: ACE ANBENDER AGRICULTURAL*‡/7:30p/ABC-ESPN
10/8: ---bye week---
10/15: @ Seth Fisher School of Arts & Letters*/3:30p/BTN
10/22: @ College of Blue in South Bend*/TBA/BTN
10/29: MATHLETE UNIVERSITY*†/3:30p/BTN
11/5: @ Heiko Yang College of Medicine and Constraint Plays*/12:00p/BTN
11/12: BRIAN COOK COLLEGE OF SNARK/12:00p/ABC-ESPN
* Big Ten Game
‡ Night Game
And the question:
How many conference games do you think are ideal?
Seth: Let me throw out some stats. Since coming back to the conference in 1918 Michigan has won 69.5% of its conference games, and 72.2% of its nonconference games. If you narrow it down to games since Bo and take out the bowl games those numbers are 76.8% of Big Ten games and 76.5% of non-conference games. Michigan tends to beat Indiana just as regularly as it does its MACrifices, so for us at least it's not a big deal to add conference games. For the record…
Nine conference games in a 13-game season is 69.2% of all games. Ten of 14 (including the B1G championship) is 71.4% of the season. So nine is technically the same proportion we're used to.
Ace: I’d like to see the Big Ten eventually move to ten conference games so there’s home/road balance, fewer crummy non-conference games, and enough cross-divisional games for us to remember that, yes, Wisconsin is in fact in the same conference as Michigan. Nine is fine for now, though, and moving to ten wasn’t much of an option with programs locked into future non-conference games.
Craig: There is no ideal under the current no-conference-at-all hoo-haw. Like Curly, I prefer to be burnt at the stake (as opposed to having my head chopped off) because a “burnt steak is better than a cold chop.” So, I guess I vote for 10 with two meatball pre-season games. Nine is a joke. 5/4 then 4/5? That sucks. And we get to play Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin three of every seven years? Some years a team in the East may not see any of the three? And another team might see all of them?
Mathlete: Ideal for what is the question? If Michigan is continuing to schedule mediocre Pac-12 teams there probably isn't a ton of difference between 8 and 9 games, unless Wisconsin or Nebraska is the extra game and they are having an up year. The ninth game probably helps Michigan and OSU the most in the conference since in any given season they are most likely to have the best team and the more games the less likely a team makes a lucky run at a title. In terms of national championship it all depends on how the other conferences react. I have my doubts that anyone will give real weight to a Big Ten team that plays a nine game slate versus another conference that plays eight. So if the Big Ten is one of few it's probably a slight negative. If a bunch of other conferences are doing it then its probably a benefit to the Big Ten because the middle and bottom of the conference is typically not as good as others. Especially compared to Bob Stoops' Big Twelve, their bottom half is national championship caliber.
The final question is how do teams schedule non-conference. If this is an excuse to schedule three cupcakes then its probably all a wash. If teams are still pushing for at least one quality game then it's at least a bonus for season ticket holders.
Seth: Ten. Unlike Dave Brandon I can live in a world where Michigan has just seven home games per year, especially if I'm trading an $85 UMass ticket for a road trip to Evanston or Madison. I admit that under such circumstances Indiana might never see another bowl game, but I don't care. Scheduling real opponents is only going to become a tougher challenge as other leagues expand their conference games and crack down on any Vanderbilts who might be undermining their marketing. This probably messes with Notre Dame's need to maintain two of their "odds be great" rivalries, but sending their echoes back to bed is not our concern. Right now it's a major coup just to get a date with Oregon State or Cincy; if it's all the same why can't we just ask out Iowa?
Brian: At this point? 12. If Michigan's going to actually play a big name, then I guess ten. To me that means getting the ND series back or actually scheduling home and homes with power programs again. None of this neutral site/Arkansas business.