Rosenberg weighs in quickly on M/OSU separate divisions and gets it exactly right (wut?)

Submitted by wolverine1987 on September 1st, 2010 at 7:54 PM

I don't think anyone can argue with the logic of this fresh Rosenberg column, which he gets exactly right IME. But try if you will. Excerpt: 


"One of the great things about The Game is that when those two teams walk off the field, there is no doubt: The winners have won something that will last forever, and the losers have lost something they will never get back. It just won’t be the same if there is a rematch a week later."…

Can someone provide the print version link thingy? I never paid attention in class.



September 1st, 2010 at 9:38 PM ^

it will only diminish the significance  of the game once in awhile? Playing twice in any year does that--it is not do or die if there is a possibility of a game later. That's close to inarguable IMO. Instead of having it being diminished twice every ten years, I'd prefer zero every ten years. It's not "The Game" if it happens twice.

Section 1

September 1st, 2010 at 11:14 PM ^

The Freep webpage states that it was "updated" at 9:21.

And yeah, I suppose that it was "updated" a bit as Rosenberg watched the BTN special coverage of the announcment show.

But Rosenberg also changed what he wrote, to ameliorate his angry allegation that OSU and Michigan failed to make sure that they stayed together.  That's not an "update."  That's Rosenberg back-walking what he originally wrote.

And still, Rosenberg completely fails to examine whether the OSU-Michigan divisional split was forced on them by the rest of the Conference.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:03 PM ^

He gets it exactly right, one time in the last 20 years.  Literally, the only time in the last 20 years the game hasn't mattered was 2006. Fuck Rosenberg, glad to see his opinion is still short sighted and lacking facts.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:20 PM ^

2003 also would have resulted in a rematch no matter who won the first game.  2007 would have netted a rematch as well, though OSU would not have made it in had they lost that game.

I've only looked at the last ten years so far, but that is three times in that span where we would have played a rematch, and twice where the result of the game had zero impact on that rematch.  Seeing as we would only have made the title game 4 times during that span (2004 being the other), I think it is significant that 3/4 times we made the title game we would have been playing OSU all over again (it is 3/5 for them).

It isn't going to be a once every twenty years event, going by past results, unless one or both programs falls off significantly.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:27 PM ^

2003 I agree, 2007 I don't.  If Ohio State can not make it by losing then the game matters, that's the argument I'm making.  The years I have figured out that there would be a rematch were 91, 92, 98, 03, 06, 07.  (I thought 06 was the only one it didn't matter, but you were right about 03).  Once agian, this is all assuming Nebraska played no part in the conference, which they now do.  I still think it's a once every 20 years, especially now that Nebraska is here.

EDIT: 92 didn't, but the whole standings are weird due to ties all over the place.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

I'm just saying it will mean less.  To me if there is any chance of a rematch (and we would have had three of them in the last decade even with Nebraska) then the Game doesn't have the same feeling/urgency for the reasons mentioned in the article.  Even if it is rare, the years when both teams are really good (when the game should be most important) are the ones where it will merely be a preview of the championship game that really counts the next weekend. 

People will still care and I doubt we'll see teams resting starters or anything like that considering the posturing for a national title bid, but you can't argue that a game under those circumstances would lose a lot of luster, and those are just the games that make this rivalry so special.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:43 PM ^

I just don't understand why we assume it was impossible to be in the same division.  U-M and OSU are bigger than the Big 10.  If the rest of the league wasn't satisfied with another division having PSU, Nebraska (two top-15 programs historically), and probably a few of Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. we should have told them "tough shit."  Like I said below, Texas just bitch slapped the rest of the Big 12 into giving them a big sack of cash for no real reason.  I think we could have at least gotten the biggest rivalry game in college sports preserved completely (same division, end of season date) if the powers that be had committed to preserving it.  I just don't think there was enough political will on the part of the two AD's to get it done.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:50 PM ^

The problem is they know it's an empty threat.  Michigan/Ohio State aren't leaving the BigTen.  Texas can say it's taking it's ball and going home, so they get what they want...we can't.  We're not walking away from the bowl money sharing, the research opportunties and TV network, not a chance in hell.  It's not smart from a business or football standpoint.  And because of that, we can get out voted 10-2 all day long, so we have to play nice.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:19 PM ^

The only of the factors you mention that would actually keep us in the conference would be the research opportunities.  I have no idea why you think bowl revenue sharing is a good deal for UM/OSU.  It's a terrible deal - after expenses, every dime is shared equally.  (E.g., if you go to a BCS bowl that pays $10M, after expenses you pocket under a million bucks.)  TV-wise, the BTN would instantly become unviable if UM and OSU left, and its ABC/ESPN contract would plummet in value without us.  (And while our current TV deal is okay, it's not on par with the SEC's.)  We have all the leverage in the world if we ever choose to exert it.  The Big Ten without UM and OSU is garbage. 

It's entirely possible that we could make more money as an independent than as a Big Ten member.  It's history, and the academic opportunities, that keep us in the league.  Financially, we probably bring as much in as we get out, if not more.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:23 PM ^

Without the BigTen we have no bowl tie-ins.  No Rose bowl etc. These past couple years when we haven't gone to bowl games the revenue sharing is pretty helpful wouldn't you agree? The BTN would be fine, they have enough of a footprint that they would still be profitable.  On top of that, we still lose the ABC/ESPN deal so where are we going to show games? We still lose all the scheduling (you really think any big ten team is going to play us after we gave them a big F-U?).  We won't make more money as an independent, Notre Dame is the only independent that has made any money in the recent past and if i remember correctly we currently take in more money than them.  The BigTen becomes more like the ACC, not a power conference but not a mid major by any means.  If we really held all this power it would have been used.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:36 PM ^

The bowl revenue sharing deal is absolute ripoff for us.  We're talking about the difference between keeping 100% of profits and 9% plus shared revenue (which does not come close to matching what we'd get as an independent).  We went to 33 consecutive bowls from 1975-07 (and the streak would have been longer if not for an idiotic conference rule prior to 1975), earning the conference millions while we settled for crumbs. 

As for TV, Michigan is the most televised program in history.  We'd always have a TV deal.  We are not dependent on the leverage of the rest of the conference; they are far moreso on us.  Maybe we wouldn't get exactly what we're getting now, but the massive increase in bowl revenue would more than offset it. 

And the Rose Bowl?  At this point, who gives a shit?  It's been massively debased.  It's only the ultimate destination once every four years, when it hosts the BCS title.  Otherwise it's just another consolation game.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:38 PM ^

All I'm saying is that you're talking about becoming another ND and we already make more money than them as it is.  They are independent, with their own TV deal and 100% bowl revenues and making less than us.  That's all there is to it.  Add in the fact that the conference brings more than just football money/perks and it, to me, is a no brainer that we're not leaving (at least not without another conference to move to).


September 1st, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

The Big 10 gets more from Michigan-OSU than the other way around.  I'll take our direct cut from bowl revenue the last 20 years over the diminished slice we get for supporting IU and Northwestern.  Would there be a Big Ten Network without U-M and OSU?  Could we get a hell of a lot more as an independent or as a package deal with OSU than we do carrying the deadweight of Minnesota and MSU (who nobody cares about nationally)? 

And the fact is we wouldn't have to even attempt to do those things, merely stand firm and make the argument.  Frankly, I find it hard to believe that Brandon and Smith could allow themselves to be bossed around by their counterparts at the schools who do not make the Big 10 what it is as a national product unless they in some way sided with the view of the ten in opposition to the fanbase of the two.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:29 PM ^

As I said above, the BigTen network would be fine without Ohio State and Michigan.  They have a big enough footprint and enough games during the season to remain profitable.  Taking a direct cut from bowl games is well and good when you're going to them.  Over the past 2 years we haven't, and without the BigTen bowl tie-ins we're not going to see large pay outs unless we're going 10-2 or better every year.  We wouldn't make more as an independent, ND is independent, with getting full bowl payouts, and their own TV contract and we make more than them now, by a large margin. The fact of the matter is that it's smarter financially, academincally and footballically to stay in the BigTen than it is to leave, and everyone else in the BigTen knows that. 

The only way we can reasonablly threaten to leave is if we have another conference to go to, which as it stands now, we don't.  All it would take is Delaney calling our bluff, which he can easily do becuase he knows threats to leave are empty, and the argument folds.  We hold enough power to get some of the stuff we want, but not to hand pick divisions.  At the end of the day Delaney is looking out for what's best for the conference, and that is to have Michigan and Ohio State split.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:40 PM ^

I don't see the point at looking back on what happened in past years, when the schedules those years weren't made with divisions in mind and when the conference didn't include Nebraska.

Adding Nebraska alone lessens the likelihood of a U-M/OSU rematch. Additional Big Ten expansion will further lessen the likelihood of this happening.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

I couldnt agree more. It's interesting to look back, but all those races get usurped if Brasker is on the slate. Even without, it looks like it would be a rare rematch. The addition of an elite, national program ought to make those chances even more rare.

Unless MICH goes on a Lloyd vs JoePa run. I kinda like the sound of that, regardless of how many rematches we may get in the title game


September 1st, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

That scenario you mention sounds just fine to me. I'm not that bothered by the possible rematches, and I just think people are exaggerating how often they might occur.

Here's a different way to look at it: What's more likely to harm the U-M/OSU rivalry? Moving the game to eariier in the season or having an occasional rematch for the Big Ten championship? I think the answer is clearly the former.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:17 PM ^

AFAIC, though the Big Ten should have put Michigan and OSU in the same division, at least they got the game right.  Keeping the game on the final week of the season was the correct move, and trumps the divisional mistake.  The game won't lose anything and neither would a rematch; the loser will probably be knocked out of the championship game.  If they do play it a second time, it will probably be because one or both of the teams went into the regular-season game undefeated. 

There are a lot of things I would have rather seen from the POV of a Michigan fan.  To me, though, keeping this game as the last one of the season is THE single most important thing they could have done.   

Besides, after seeing Nebraska's first two years, I don't feel as bad about anyone else's draw.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:19 PM ^

of the conference championship, even if both teams are not in the running for it. That will help keep it important. And if they DO play the following week, Rosenberg is WRONG. Know why? Because that will be so rare that there will be huge hype for it. 


September 1st, 2010 at 9:25 PM ^

So what if it's rare? Answer this: how would you feel if we finally broke through and beat OSU in the last game, after how many years, and whoops-we play them the next week for the conference championship and lose? How would you feel about the season and breaking our losing streak? for me, I'd feel like we didn't accomplish much if we split a two game series.

Section 1

September 1st, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

Essentially, Rosenberg says that Ohio State and Michigan should have insisted on being in the same division.

Without ever once examining the question as to whether that option was ever open.

I think it was never an option; it was never something that the rest of the Conference would tolerate.

But Rosenberg didn't even ask the question.  Instead, he just whined about Ohio State and Michigan.  It wasn't a smart column; it wasn't a good column.


September 1st, 2010 at 8:38 PM ^

I think your bitterness toward all things Freep is coloring your judgment here.  Michigan and OSU are the two biggest programs in this conference.  If what they want "isn't an option" then they either aren't aware of their power or aren't flexing their muscle properly.  If Brandon and the OSU AD had said this is a dealbreaker, I doubt the other AD's stick to their guns when the other option is a Big 10 without U-M and OSU.  Texas was able to get the rest of the Big 12 to just give them more money because they said so.  I think U-M and OSU could have gotten something as trivial as the schedule and divisional alignment they wanted had they taken a firmer stances (especially considering the other division would have had traditional powers like PSU and Nebraska in it).

Section 1

September 1st, 2010 at 8:52 PM ^

with Brandon.

Obviously, Dave wasn't revealing everything, to everybody, about what the state of the neogitiations were.  He told me, and said to the crowd, very pointedly, that there were 10 other votes in the conference.  It is my distinct impression that the rest of the Conference had made it clear; OSU and Michigan were going to be split up.  If the majority of the other AD's vote that way, what are Gene Smith and Dave Brandon supposed to do?  Join the MAC?

Divisional alignment is not "trivial" as you suggest.  You try to explain to the Illini, or the Badgers or the Hawkeyes or the Wildcats that, sorry, you are going to a Leftover Division with Nebraska and Penn State.

Now, in comparison to that issue, the weekend of the OSU-Michigan game is sort of something that is solely of concern to those schools, and if they don't mind the possibility of a two-week rematch, then who are the others to care?

But see, in just the space of these last couple of posts, we've examined the real issues better than Rosenberg did in his suckass weaselly little column.  You can take sides in any manner that you'd like; but the fact is that what you and I are talking about, substantively, is what Rosenberg didn't even consider.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:01 PM ^

First off, how is being with Penn State and Nebraska with a combined 7 national titles in the last 40 years (5 more than U-M and OSU put together) a leftover division? 

As for explaining to Wisconsin, Iowa, etc. why we should get what we want, that is easy.  Because we can.  We are the big fish.  If Brandon and Smith had said, "This is how it is or we're leaving," then that is how it would have gone down.  You don't think Michigan and OSU could survive and thrive as independents or in any conference they wanted to be in?  The Big 10 is nothing without Michigan and OSU.  We have all the power and exercised none of it in this situation.  My guess is that for whatever reason Brandon and Smith did not want U-M and OSU in the same division, otherwise they could definitely have gotten it done.

U-M vs. OSU is the biggest commodity the league has.  It is the one Big 10 game that everybody in the country watches.  It pits the two best teams and the biggest moneymakers in the league against each other.  It is not just important to U-M and OSU fans, but we are the ones who were taken for granted and it has now in some part been taken away from us in order to appease the league's long list of also-rans.  How in the world is that a good thing?  The fact that our own AD was the one making the pitch for it to our fans is frankly pretty irritating.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:08 PM ^

This is where I think you're wrong.  Michigan and Ohio State can't leave.  They're not leaving the money/research/BCS auto qualifier/TV CONTRACT! etc.  Texas can do it, thus they have the threat (hell, they almost did it a few months ago).  Can the BigTen survive without Michigan and Ohio State? Yes, without a doubt.  Can Michigan and Ohio State survive independent? Probably, but not without a major hit to the finances and being forced to play crappy teams all over the country.  In the argument Michigan/Ohio State have themselves as barganing chips, the BigTen has the BCS qualification, the shared bowl dollars, a TV contract with ABC/ESPN and it's own network.  Who do you really think holds more cards?


September 1st, 2010 at 9:23 PM ^

All that money and all those TV contracts are created because people are interested in Michigan and Ohio State, not because they want to watch Purdue vs. Illinois.  We lose money (and lots of it) by splitting bowl payouts.  Michigan and Ohio State are both bigger nationally than Texas, so why wouldn't we have the same clout?  You don't think the BCS would adapt immediately to include Michigan/OSU as often as possible?  You don't think cable companies would start asking for their money back if the Big Ten Network no longer included Michigan and Ohio State or that ABC/ESPN wouldn't try to rework their deal to pay less for a lesser product?

I think you severely underestimate the positive financial impact these two schools have on the Big Ten rather than the other way around.  The fact that we didn't even attempt to exercise our clout and make a stink about this indicates to me that the powers that be at U-M and OSU didn't think it was that big a deal, not that they tried really hard and couldn't get it done.


September 1st, 2010 at 9:36 PM ^

The biggest problem I see with leaving is that it's not a strictly football decision.  You lose everything the conference brings to the table when you leave, and that's too much to give up for either school.

I think we did make a big deal about it, especially once talk of moving the game was made.  As soon as the reaction got back to the ADs it all of the sudden wasn't moving any more.  You really think that was Delaney changing his mind or the ADs telling him that it's not moving.  I think it was the latter.

Section 1

September 1st, 2010 at 10:29 PM ^

We've been discussing a HUGE issue -- whether or not the rest of the Big Ten conference insisted on splitting up Michigan and Ohio State into separate divisions -- that Rosenberg did not even consider.

That was my original point.

Now you are free to argue that "Michigan and Ohio State should have thrown their wieght around, and should have bullied the rest of the Conference into letting them stay together."  Well, okay.  But wouldn't it have been nice for Rosenberg to have at least acknowledged that possibility, to have discussed that option?

I have a feeling that your idea(s) as to Michigan and Ohio State threatening to leave the Conference wouldn't have gone over too well in Ann Arbor, or Columbus, or Chicago.  But I won't deny you the opportunity to make those points as you see fit.

See, this thread started out as a congratulatory item for Rosenberg.  But why?  For his having written what I regard as some very minor feelgood garbage that didn't seriously examine the real issues?  For having accused the Michigan and Ohio State AD's for having been complicit in the splitup?  Did you see one word of serious analysis from Rosenberg reflecting on why, perhaps, did OSU and Michigan either want or not want to be in separate divisions?  Gene Smith's job, and David Brandon's lives would have been so much easier if they had been in the same division together.  What does Michael Rosenberg think knocked them out of that position?


September 1st, 2010 at 10:38 PM ^

Again, the words, the actual quotes, of Brandon and their AD show that they want separate divisions.  This idea you have that the rest of the B10 wanted us in separate divisions is unsupported by anything. In fact, i would argue several B10 teams wanted the opposite--M and OSU in the same division, at least if you were a team that was not going to be there with them.

Section 1

September 1st, 2010 at 10:53 PM ^

But please, THAT is the whole story here!  Was the OSU-Michigan split forced on the two schools?

And OF COURSE Dave Brandon and Gene Smith put on their happy faces for the Big Ten network.  How gullible are you?  Do you think that they'd come on and say something like, "That old rascal Barry Alvarez -- he got out ahead of us, and he had eight votes rounded up to make OSU and Michigan split up.  We had to work our asses off just to get The Game preserved on the schedule at the end of November.  And we only succeeded because everybody else didn't care, and they were tired of getting pissy e-mails."

You really think that's the kind of statement you'd get from anybody on BTN tonight?!?  Sheesh, to listen to all of the AD's, they are all thrilled and happy and delighted with the outcome, and like what disagreements could there possibly have been?

Again, for the umpteenth time, you can disagree with me.  What is beyond dispute is that our old buddy Rosenberg didn't even consider the angle.

I used to think that Rosenberg was smart, and evil.  More and more, I think he is just a waste of time.


September 1st, 2010 at 11:39 PM ^

This pretty much confirms it.  It is also a lot easier to believe than thinking the guy who set a letter from Subway on fire on national TV took it like a bitch when Purdue and Indiana and a host of other nationally irrelevant schools told him U-M and OSU couldn't be in the same division.