CBS Sports has an interesting article that concludes that Michigan and Ohio State are far more valuable to the conference if they split, creating the Hayes and Schembechler Divisions. I must say this idea has grown on me, and I have gone from "absolutely not", to seeing the merit. I've listed some pro's and con's below, with the understanding that Michigan and Ohio State must play during the regular season every year regardless of Divisions.
- I really think that having Michigan and Ohio State in the same division throws the power into one division too strongly and the only way to compensate is to have State level of competition as the other 4 teams, and that isn't good for any conference.
- The idea of having Michigan, State, Iowa and Nebraska in the same division is exciting, and creates a good competitive division while securing the inner division rivalries that you want to keep/create (UM/MSU & IA/NE). How great will it be to put little brother in their place year after year?
- It sets us up for the potential of two Michigan / Ohio State games many years. Say that again, 2 of "The Game." I don't know about you but on The Game Day, I'm up by 5am scouring online for any last minute morsels of info, waiting for ESPN Game Day to start. Once the game starts I'm sick to my stomach unable to keep anything down, yelling at the screen, pleading with the screen, cursing that the players don't care as much as I do with every missed tackle. In short, I'm loving every minute of it, and to be able to do that twice, well it just couldn't be better.
- Ohio State can catch up twice as quick. Assuming we return to 2006 glory, but find ourselves the 2nd best team in the conference, OSU would have a clear opportunity. The only thing I can brag about to Ohio State Fan who finds me in a crowded diner in AZ somehow weekly, is that in the end the Overall Record stands with Michigan leading, 57–43–6. As bad as it has been the last few years, overall we have still pounded those cellar dwellers, and I feel we will again shortly.
- We are going to have to move The Game Part I to earlier in the season. This is not uncommon for rivals to meet earlier in the season, and will give both parties the ability to bounce back from Part I in the standings. The good news is that if things go to plan we will still plan on meeting on the last game of the season and play for all the marbles.
While there are clearly some disadvantages I have come to the realization that they don't outweigh the positives and if you factor in just the monetarial benefits for the conference I think it again makes an overwhelming argument. Now all we have to work on is to get them to name the conferences after the true great ones.