The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.
Some things should never be changed:
This is one of them
We think we can’t stop it but we shouldn’t stop trying. We think that the countless voices across the blogosphere and fan forums can’t change the powers-that-be up in higher places that sit in lofty Chicago penthouses or Ann Arbor and Columbus mansions, drinking hundred-dollar scotch while tinkering with some of our most revered traditions. We think we can’t, we probably can’t. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.
While it may be true that some “traditions” seem trivial or mundane and some “don’t seem to work,” there are some that should NEVER be touched. Touching the “M Club” banner, dotting the Script ‘I’, with Winged helmets, Carmen Ohio and The Victors are a few examples – playing Ohio State the last game at the end of November is another. The useless traditions fade away as fast as the wishbone offense and Nike jerseys - the enduring, valued traditions, that endure the tests of time and the changing ways around them. These traditions are the ones that stay, and those who stay, will be champions.
There are those, even amongst Michigan and Ohio State camps would prefer to move The Game earlier in the year, or at the least – have conformed to the idea. This is a dangerous way of thinking.
Like Ramzy posted on Bucknuts, stating far more eloquently than I ever could: "What is a big deal is corrupting the tradition of college football, which is its most prized and unique asset.....it’s the steady destruction of what keeps college football from just being slower, smaller professional football. Without tradition, that’s all college football is."
But these individuals don’t care – so they try to change it. At best, they make excuses and reasons. At worst, theybelittle our traditions, tell us we are out-dated, and want to determine (what is and what was) right and wrong for past, current, and future generations of Michigan and Ohio State fans – all because they think that their logic and their ideas trumps everything (and this idea doesn't even have logic behind it). And they think we're arrogant?
We hold on to our traditions. We respect our traditions. We remember Mercury Hayes in 1993, we remember Timmy B in 95, and we remember Griese off the bench in 96, to say nothing of matchups in the last decade....does anyone honestly think those games would be just as significant played in October, or knowing that we would perhaps face them again in a Big Ten title game? Hell no!
I remember the pure, unadulterated ecstasy that accompanied the feeling of watching the boys put up 13 unanswered in the Shoe in 1996, to see Cooper's face on the sideline. I remember what it feels like to spoil your mortal enemy’s entire season in just a few, precious hours on late November afternoon.
At the same time, I also remember the feeling in 2004, 2005, and 2006, seeing rows of scarlet-clad fans rush the field in jubilation. Would the pangs of sadness have been as intense had it been played October? Would The Game lose any significance if there was always the possiblity of the season being defined as The GameS? The answer seems obvious.
It’s when we remember these moments and show respect to the ones who played and coached, we respect the generations before us, something that has existed long before us and (hopefully) will exist after us.
Coach Schiano sums it up best:"When Delany, Brandon, Smith, and the other nominal powers-that-be decide, for good reasons or bad, to move the Game, they are not just changing the schedule. They are changing our memories, changing the sights and sounds in our minds. Not destroying them. But lessening them, cheapening them."
So what do we think in the face of such disregard of something so sacred? We fight! And we fight the arrogant attitude of the Big Ten, Delaney, Gee, Smith, and even Dave Brandon and anyone who thinks that they know better than the ones who have come before us. We fight even if we know we cannot win. We battle back to defend the traditions others believe are insignificant, out-dated, irrelevant and close-minded.
I also hate that term: close-minded. They attack our values by saying we’re close-minded. Close-minded? We're close minded because we want our history to have a voice? We're close-minded because we believe that those traditions are part of what connect us with those before and those who will come after? We’re close-minded because we want the countless generations who have come before us and have experienced the same as us to shape our reality? We’re close-minded because we want our children and grandchildren to experience the same thrills and agonies that we have? We're close-minded because we think The Game, which has been played as, proved to be and become the Greatest Rivalry in All of Sports for generations should not be changed?
That makes us close minded, when they are the ones who want to close the book on a hundred years of history, forget everyone before us, and ruin everything we have known as good in our little scope of time known as the "BCS era" because they think they have something new and better? Who's close-minded?
We're not close minded - THEY are!
--NoNon (I don't want to beat a dead horse but these are the feelings that I have)
The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.
Actually, quite an appropriate quote.
A more interesting question English majors out there. "Close minded" or "closed minded?" I actually googled and it appears either can be used. That was all I could think of while reading this.
but that's hardly necessary here. Both seem to be accepted and widely used, but both should be hyphenated.
(1) American Heritage 4 lists "close-minded" with "closed-minded" getting listed as an "or" in the definition for "close-minded."
(2) Garner's Modern American Usage doesn't even bother with an entry.
(3) "Closed-minded" actually wins the Google results contest by a narrow margin.
(4) Both seem to be used by educated writers.
All of that adds up to, almost regardless of where you are on the prescriptivist/descriptivist scale, to both being acceptable.
...clearing my name and grammar, good sir
Let's make sure that our voices are heard. Get your emails rolling. Email to email@example.com to let Mary Sue Coleman know your thoughts even if it is too late.
or has there been virtually nothing written or said that thinks moving the game is a good idea. Yes, there have been occasional posts that say it's not the end of the world, but even they would admit keeping the game at the end of the season is preferable. For heaven's sake, even Rosenberg says it's stupid. [mea culpa, I admit I clicked through to the article -- although I didn't know it was Rosenberg until I got there.] Given this unanimity, why is it that Coleman, Gee, Brandon, Smith et al, can't see it? I don't get it. What am I missing? What are they missing?
"good idea" per se. It is a fallout of what they do think is a fantastic idea. I think their thinking goes something like this:
- We want to make the Big 10 Championship the crown jewel of the conference games
- Therefore, lets make sure all of the elite teams and biggest rivals are in different divisions so that they can potentially meet in the Big 10 Championship game - Michigan vs. OSU, Nebraska vs. PSU, etc.
- Therefore, lets make sure that the last game of the year is witihn the division. This sets up some exciting final games for the right to go to the Big 10 title game, and assures that you don't face the same team in the division championship as you will in the Big 10 championship.
- Therefore, we'll have to move the cross-division games to before the final in-division games.
- Therefore, we have to move Michigan-OSU because it is a cross-division game.
This all is perfectly logical . . . if you are starting a conference from scratch.
Well, we're not starting from scratch. The big mistake they made is not setting some initial boundries (like "Don't mess up The Game" ) and working around them from the start.
Everything can not just be sacrificed at the alter of the The Big 10 championship game. It needs to be set up within some boundries. One of them is honoring traditions that make the Big 10 the Big 10. The Big 10 championship game is not the end all and be all of the Big 10.
Somewhere back in time, M-OSU was not the last game of the year. I wonder if there was an outcry the first time this game was scheduled at the end of the year?
What made the game great was its finality -- win and you feel great until next season (often enjoying a trip to the Rose Bowl as the prize), lose and it is a long cold winter. But. alas, the college football world has shifted its focus to the national championship stage, already taking some luster off the game. The certainty of the Big Ten winner going to the Rose Bowl to face off against the PAC 10 champ is gone. Further, in the face of the Big Ten championship game, there is no way to structure a schedule so that the M-OSU game is not either reduced to a intra-divisional rivalry or a cross-division rivalry with the possibility of a rematch.
Perhaps it is fatalistic, but the game's value/meaning was not sustainable and in fact has already eroded. The game was bound to change in its meaning, and while this feels like a premature and artificial end, it is the fulfillment of destiny.
I doubt there was an outcry when OSU was first scheduled at the end of the season (in 1935), because the team we had been playing at the end of the year (Chicago) withdrew from the conference. Someone had to become our end-of-the-year opponent to replace them. That is not the case now.
Whenever I read an argument supporting the tradition of the Michigan-Ohio State game, it always comes down to one thing--preserve the timing of the game in late November so that we can enjoy a Michgan victory for a year or languish in a Wolverine defeat.
I haven't read anything where people have seriously contemplated taking the other steps necesssary to put the game in its old framework--the contest between two schools at year's end that either decided the conference championship or allowed one team to play spoiler. To do that, you would either have to uninvite Nebraska and go back to eleven teams (and while you're at it, kick Penn State to the curb as well for tradition sake--provided that tradition is defined as starting in 1993) or petition the NCAA to allow a conference champion game without forcing the Big Ten to adapt the two-division format.
I think what Michgan and Ohio State have built over the years is strong enough to survive having the game moved from late November to earlier in the season. As I see it, the core of the rivalry isn't the timing or the stakes at hand, but because UM and OSU are both extremely strong programs that have competed for years against one another at the highest levels--and both want to beat the other very badly. The thing that will erode the rivalry for the college football fan isn't changing the timing of the game--its when it becomes so lopsided that people begin to lose interest.
I would venture to say that Michigan's second rival is Notre Dame. We all know the history, including how it started when a UM team travelled to South Bend in latter part of the 19th century enroute to Chicago in order to teach ND how to play football. Would Notre Dame still be as much of a rival is they were no longer independent? Would the fans on this board find a victory over the Fighting Irish less satisfying if it was a Big Ten game played during a crisp October afternoon rather than a warm September day? And finally, if some future conference expansion were to take place and Notre Dame was put in Michigan's division and UM-ND was the last game of the season--Would that eclipse the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry? Would UM-OSU suddenly take a back seat?
What makes Ohio State and Notre Dame and even Penn State rivals to Michigan is that these are peer programs with long histories and loyal (some say obnoxious) fans to support them (and Nebraska will soon be on that list) who the Wolverines play on an annual basis (or near annual basis in the case of PSU). You don't want to lose to these teams--regardless of when or where and under what stakes--because you own the bragging rights for the year. That's what makes rivalries and being competitive is what keeps them strong.
The Big Ten is undergoing a major cultural change right in front of us. The conference is shedding its Michigan/Ohio State/Rose Bowl centric image and going in a new direction. The ultimate goal for the conference's teams isn't a trip to Pasadena to play a Pac 10 team--its to be where the national championship game is being played and beating some of the very best football teams in the other conferences in the nation. The changes that we're likely to see in terms of the divisions, scheduling, etc., all support that new goal and outloook.
I came to the Unviersity of Michigan from the Chicago area as a freshman in 1978--the last year of Bo/Woody Ten-Year War and the first season of the current Michigan-Notre Dame series. I suppose I'm about as bona fide as anyone else here to comment about this matter as anyone else. I've been to a handful of UM-OSU games in person, including Biakabutka's 300-yard plus rush game (313?) in 1995 and Desmond Howard's "Heisman Pose" game four years earlier. Goodness knows I enjoyed both those victories. I've also been to Rose Bowls (0-2 against Texas and USC) and last was in Ann Arbor for the 2003 game against Notre Dame (the famous 38-0 beatdown). Two things made these games great--the level of competition, and when it did happen, beating the other guy--especially the teams Michigan played on a regular basis (someting about familiarity breeds contempt and rivalries, I suppose).
When Michigan gets into a B10 conference championship game, I know I'll be jacked up for it. Not only will winning it mean a BCS bowl trip, but it might well involve a chance for the national championship or an opportunity for redemption after a season that began badly or maybe even revenge for an earlier loss. Whateve form it takes, I know it won't be cheapened by the fact that UM played OSU in October, not November.
Go Blue! Beat UConn!
I don't understand why so many people are convinced that it's a done deal. It's clear that the idea of splitting us up and having us play in October is extremely unpopular. It makes no sense for the Big Ten to do something that the vast majority of the fans hate. I don't think the conference understood just how important the rivalry is to us. The key is that we just make ourselves heard. We are the customer.
Make sure that any UM or OSU fans you know are informed about this. Many people are still completely in the dark.
What we have been seeing is the last act of it - selling it to the masses.
Now all we can hope for is that the deal will be undone. This is not trivial even if they are willing. They will have to go back to the drawing board and redo complex details with a new set of assumptions and competing priorities.
We can only hope that our collective voices will be enough to make them feel compelled to undo it and then redo it.
The details aren't that complex, unless you try to overcomplicate them.
1) Rivalries: Keep as many as possible in-division. That means MSU-Mich-OSU-PSU and Neb-Iowa-Wisc-Minn form the cores of the two divisions. As to the rest, throw Illinois with either NW or Indiana. Probably NW since Purdue-Indiana is an actual rivalry and Purdue-NW is even more phony than the Land Grant rivalry.
2) Geographical sanity-check: The four furthest teams on each side are in the right place. Illinois-NW to the West gives you a perfect geographical split, but really any split of the Illinois-Indiana schools is geographically sane.
3) Competitive balance sanity-check: I'm not convinced this actually needs to be done at all, as predicting who's going to be good five years from now, much less 20, is a fool's errand. But if you're going to ... the top six are split 3-3. The East looks a little more top-heavy on names, but recent records say otherwise - OSU is well ahead of everyone else, but the rest of the top six are nearly equal. If you happen to go with Illinois-Indiana in the East, the divisions have nearly equal win counts in conference over the 11-team era. Indiana-Purdue favors the East slightly more, but it's still within reason. (The other advantage to Illinois-Indiana is that it also restores the Illibuck game to an annual rivalry.) On short-term balance, it's hard to see how you could do much better (given that short-term, Michigan is not good and Iowa and Wisconsin are); long term, nobody really knows and this doesn't look utterly ridiculous.
Really, there's no excuse for setting up the divisions to take 10 weeks. There's not really much excuse for it taking more than 10 minutes. Scheduling (whether to do a cross-division protected rivalry or not, and who if you do) might take a week to hash out, but the right divisions are pretty obvious.
I think that we have lost hope, because we see it as a money decision. Maybe, 20 years ago, the decision would be driven by something like tradition - or appeasing a fan base. But, now, it's an issue of tv contracts ... and we all know it. And, we know that, because of the inability of people (namely the Big Ten offices) to elevate tradition and heart above money and glitz, then we are going with the foregone conclusion. We all know what's talking - and it speaks louder than any of us can.
Brian, perhaps you can help with this...is there a OSU counterpart to this blog? What if the MGOBLOG community began to post/invite conversation with our counterparts in OSU blogland...start a grass roots movement. Bitter rivals coming together on this topic would speak volumes..
Our AD has to just say NO to this along with Mary Sue. These people should be well aware of Michigan traditions and will have to stand up to those who are trying to do away with them. It will be a sad day if we find out that both our AD and president signed off on this. OSU fans will have to put pressure on their AD and president to uphold the traditions of "The Game"!!!!
I started going to games in Michigan Stadium in the 50's with my grandfather. I was there when Bo beat Woody 24 to 12 in 1969, and I've attended the Big One in the Big House ever since. I've been a season ticket holder since my freshman year of 1968. I fought as hard as I could against the quarter BILLION dollar luxury box expansion to benefit the Martin corporate fat cats. Tradition, I said. Fiscal responsibility! But I felt little support when Martin (and abetting regent Brandon) pushed through the descecration of our stadium. Tradition? Oh how I wanted to keep the tradtion, and the beauty. But I was told that tradition needed to give way to other values, and that I was stupid and short sighted. Now we know where this all leads. Fool us once so easily, and they'll fool us again, over and over. What do we matter anyhow? We're nothing but money-green meat. See you in September OSU. Thanks for the memories.