...this is a terrible idea. This will never ever happen.
Mike Lantry, 1972
It appears that the thinking of the B10 Office regarding The Game goes something like this:
"It would be a shame to have a setup where Michigan and Ohio State could not play each other for the Big 10 title. Besides, a potential Michigan-Ohio State Big 10 title game would have tremendous appeal to the networks when we're trying to sell the broadcast rights (not that we would ever let a thing like that drive our decision making . . . wink, wink).
So to make this a possibility, we'll put Michigan and Ohio State into separate divisions.
But this creates a new problem. It would be a bad thing if they played each other the last game of the season and then played immediately again in the Big 10 championship game. This could dilute the interest of the networks to whom we are trying to sell the broadcast rights (not that we would ever let a thing like that drive our decision making . . . wink, wink).
So we'll move The Game to earlier in the season so that there will be time for the networks to "cleanse their palettes" between the two games. Problem solved. We'll slip this past everybody by announcing it in drips and drabs in late August, and no one will be the wiser. Martini Time."
While it may seem like a tidy little solution to the Big 10 Office, many Michigan fans and college football fans in general are outraged. We believe The Game should be played the last game of the season, one shot. You have to go through the other team to advance. Win or lose, it's final. It's the cumulative end-point of the season, the crown jewel of "rivalry weekend".
We now have to hope against hope that the Big 10 Office will come to its senses and not let what happened to the epic Oklahoma-Nebraska and Miami-Florida State rivalries happen to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.
But if the Big 10 still insists on putting Michigan and Ohio State in separate divisions and not allowing them to play each other back-to-back in the regular season and the Big 10 championship game, there may be a way to do that that still preserves the essence and tradition of The Game:
- Play all of the traditional Big 10 rivalry games, including The Game, at the end of the Big 10 season the Saturday before Thanksgiving, just like they are played now.
- Schedule a non-conference game the Saturday after Thanksgiving, between the last Big 10 season game and the Big 10 championship game.
The non-conference game would be like that end of season Hawaii game that many of the Big 10 teams have played over the years, except now it would be for everybody.
There would be plenty of tomato cans available to schedule for the end of season non-conference slot, most of whom would have finished their own regular seasons and would welcome the extra paycheck. The two Big 10 championship game opponents can rest their first string and use this game to give their second/third string some reps. The non-Big 10 championship game teams can use the non-conference game to keep their team sharp for the bowls, avoiding a long layoff.
The significance and tradition of the Big 10 rivalry games would be preserved. They would still be played at the end of the Big 10 season on "rivalry weekend" the way they are now, and would still be the final word on the Big 10 standings. The non-conference games would have no bearing on the Big 10 standings or a slot in the Big 10 championship game.
This solution is not perfect of course. Many fans will not relish the idea of sitting in a cold stadium in late November to watch their team take on the seventh place MAC team. The networks would not exactly be scrambling to show these games either. Luckily for the Big 10, we have our own network to save the day. It can be an all-BTN overflow channel extravaganza day. The Big 10 would even get to keep all the TV money.
This is by no means preferable to the sensible solution of keeping Michigan and Ohio State in the same division and letting them brawl it out in The Game at the end of the season for the division crown and the right to go to the Big 10 championship.
If the Big 10 is adamant on putting Michigan and Ohio State in seperate divisions, then The Game should still be played as the last game of the season. There is no good reason to move it every year because of the possibility the teams might play each other consecutively a couple times a decade.
But if the Big 10 is hung up on Michigan and Ohio State never playing each other back to back and won't budge from this position, then a non-conference buffer game would be much more preferrable to moving The Game to the middle of the season. As a last ditch effort to keep The Game from becoming just “a game” it may be the best hope we’ve got.
...this is a terrible idea. This will never ever happen.
I agree with you, but it's "due respect."
No offense, but for the players, who wants their senior day to be against Eastern?
for me to poop on.
It would be a shame to have a setup where Michigan and Ohio State could not play each other for the Big 10 title.
Is it just me, or does this sound really really arrogant? Would a Michigan vs Penn State or an Ohio State vs Nebraska matchup ruin the conference? Or heck, what about a MSU vs Iowa matchup? Michigan vs Ohio State might be the biggest single rivalry, but to think this is all planned out for a re-match is a little nuts.
I'm starting to get pissed.
Any one of them would make a good opponent for Michigan or OSU in a Big 10 championship game.
There is no need for the Big 10 to ruin The Game in the hopes of a Michigan-OSU championship game.
From a Michigan perspective, a division championship game against OSU in The Game at the end of the season, then a Big 10 championship game against PSU or Nebrasksa would be very appealing.
It's not like there won't be a worthy opponent in the B10 championship game if it can't be OSU.
Egotistical. Egocentric. Blind. Train wreck in the making.
If I were among this genius-laden group of decision-makers, I would immediately start working on who I plan to point the finger at and what excuses I am going to make when Michigan-Ohio State turns into Miami-Florida State.
There's no reason to split them except to try to make a rematch possible. Even if they're dumb enough to insist that competitive balance (the one factor that can't be accurately planned for) trumps everything else, there are perfectly good divisional alignments that don't split Michigan and OSU. So that has to be the rationale (either that or everyone at the B10 office is insane, which I can't rule out).
... though I'm not sure whether it's arrogant or simply less-than-honest spin.
Yes, everyone agrees that an UM-OSU title game would be a big deal. And there's no doubt that UM-OSU playing for merely a division title makes The Game less meaningful than playing for a conference title as it is now.
But what is being quietly swept under the rug is this: UM-OSU playing a cross-division game in October is much less meaningful than UM-OSU playing at the end of the season for a division title -- and that is the OSU-UM game that will be the only one played in 90% of years.
Recent history suggests that UM and OSU are each about 1-in-3 shots to win their division. They'll each probably have a perennial power (Nebraska/PSU) and a recent power (Iowa/Wisconsin), and a couple good-on-occasion teams in their division. Add in the fact that the October game between the two will hang a loss on one of them, and you're looking at maybe a one-in-10 to one-in-15 shot for an OSU-UM title game. The Big XII saw one Oklahoma-Nebraska game in 14 years, which is in the same ballpark.
Soon we will be recruiting kids who were in kindergarten the last time UM-OSU played in the Big Ten championship game. To them, The Game's only significance will be as a mid-season cross-division game against a perennial power, that's really not all that relevant to getting to the conference title game. It will be an interesting game like UM-ND, but it will not be the game.
I don't see the wisdom for killing the meaning of The Game for a twice-per-generation UM-OSU Big Ten title game. The infrequency of the latter makes it a pretty bad trade in my opinion.
You may not have noticed, but the Final Word was posted on this subject a few hours ago.
I should have obeyed that.
Just because it's easy for fans/players to get pumped for a tomato can to start the season - the season hasn't started yet! yay football! you know? But the last game of the season, nobody is going to be excited for that, and they shouldn't be - they just beat/lost to their rival.
I like where you're head's at, trying to figure out a way to make lemonade and all. But I don't think this proposal is a very good idea.
It is a solution to a problem that really does not exist . . . the "problem" that Michigan and OSU may play each other back-to-back once or twice a decade. So what?
Is that really that big a deal that we need to destroy the significance of The Game every year by moving from the end of the season?
But if the Big 10 won't budge and insists that there be a "buffer" game between The Game and the B10 Championship, I would rather have the "buffer" game be a filler non-conference game then a consequential B10 game.
Another possible alternative would be to keep the season-ending B10 rivalry games where they are now, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and have an off-week between rivalry week and the Big 10 Championship game. You would not have a "buffer" game, but you would still have a "buffer" week.
Just grasping at straws. It will take some thinking outside the box to try and avoid the impending (and unnecessary) train wreck that is coming.
Absent Raback coming out and saying anything to the contrary, I'm going to say that the Game will be played the first week of the football season.
Discuss and Decide.
than to have to switch gears for another team, then switch back.
But if the Big 10 is adamant about not allowing that to happen, then I would much rather play a "Hawaii" game after the Big 10 season-ending Michigan-OSU game, than have the The Game game artificailly moved to the middle of the season just to avoid consecutive Michigan-OSU games.
Lesser of Evil's.
As someone who is irked by the very existence of The Game (the hyped rivalry not the rapper) and all it represents, it really needs to be saved just for tradition's sake.
The biggest lesson of the Big 12 and ACC division splits is to keep the rivals together in sensible divisions and don't try to manufacture a championship matchup, we're going to not make rivalries the highest priority and try to manufacture a OSU-M championship game?
Can Tom Osbourne explain to his new peers what happened to the Oklahoma-Nebraska game and how that wasn't good? And how trying to guess competitive balance is a pretty inexact science taught at Colorado and Kansas State? One problem I see with the since PSU joined data is that you've had at least two pretty improbable things happening during that time.
1.) Michigan's historic reign of winning seasons encompasses most of it. Anybody think any school in the 85-scholarships, everyone's on TV era breaks that?
2.)Joe Pa's reign at Penn State. The average good school would have had to make a hire or three in 17 years since they joined the Big 10, with all the pitfalls that entails. Excellent Big East coaches or promoting assistants who get big bowl wins after Saban leaves might have done Penn State in for a 4-5 period at some point under the normal run of things.
Maybe the compromise would be to say, the geographic ones are the divisions for the next 8 years, we can revisit them if they prove to be uncompetitive.
If they don't want to play them in back to back weeks drop the bye week, move the game back to before thanksgiving. Finsh the season like usual and give the bye before the championship game.
teams who dont play in the championship game. their bye week would then just become another week added to the huge gap before bowl season or else washed away into the summer.
When all is said and done, Michigan and OSU should stay in the same division. As I've posted elsewhere, if Michigan and OSU are in separate divisions, one or the other will have a loss. If they have a loss, the chances of getting to the championship game diminish significantly so we're solving a problem that at most is going to happen once a decade. The better course is to just bite the bullet and recognize the game has been slightly diminished and the teams are going to be playing for a chance to go the conference championship rather than a BCS bowl bid.
I can understand and accept the argument that, statistically (and in the era of parity-enducing scholarship limits), UM and OSU are likely to play in the conference championship game only about once or twice per decade. I'm even coming around to accept that it's not a good idea to arrange your divisions around the hope of a UM-OSU championship game.
However, I don't see the logic in your assertion that a loss by UM or OSU, presumably in The Game, diminishes the chance of getting to the champ game. If head-to-head within the division is a tiebreaker and you lose no other games in conferenence play, then losing [only] to OSU in a cross-division game would still guarantee UM a spot in the champ game (or vice versa).
Now, if you're simply asserting that UM and/or OSU will likely have lost to another team in conference play (and therefore have two losses), then your assertion could hold true.
But there's still a chance...
There would be plenty of tomato cans available to schedule for the end of season non-conference slot, most of whom would have finished their own regular seasons and would welcome the extra paycheck.
I think finding scheduling partners for this would be infinitely more difficult than you're leading on. It's already apparent that many teams, even the so-called mid-majors, are growing more hesitant to schedule away games without a return visit. Yes, you can still convince a tomato can to come and take a whoopin'. But 1) to do it at the end of the season, 2) in a cold stadium (assuming you want a home OOC game), and 3) for all 12 teams in the conference? Good luck. This is partly why we've ended up with uninspiring D1-AA (FCS) teams on our schedule for the last two years. And when we schedule an inspiring one, we get The Horror.
Of course, you could try to convince Hawaii (or some other warm-weather school) to play you at their place. But is this all worth a ho-hum OOC away game? That Hawaii game in 1998 was one of the most boring, most anti-climactic games I've ever watched.
The two Big 10 championship game opponents can rest their first string and use this game to give their second/third string some reps.
This isn't like resting Peyton Manning in Week 17, when you already have a playoff bye. Yes, hopefully you could be up 27-0 at the end of the first quarter and pull your starters. But you could also end up in a dogfight with everything to lose and virtually nothing to win. Or worse, blow out David Molk's knee.
I'm with the others -- this isn't an idea that I could support.
Thanks for trying to come up with something in the first place but I don't like it. The idea of playing Eastern or Akron as the last game of the season is bad for the fans and the players.