A Different Kind Of Football Armageddon Comment Count

Brian August 20th, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I have terrible news: David Brandon's pimp hand has badly malfunctioned and is now marching, Godzilla-style, on the greatest rivalry ever in the history of ever. This morning he showed up on WTKA to discuss Big Ten divisons and said this:

SAM WEBB: If you are making the decision, are Michigan and Ohio State in the same division?

[pregnant pause in which Brandon struggles valiantly against the malfunctioning pimp hand's electrosteam power source. "NO," he stammers. "MUST… NOT… SUBMIT." He feels like he's trapped in an episode of Star Trek, playing Kirk in any one of the dozens of episodes in which something in his brain compels him to evil. Sweat breaks out on his brow; he begins to tremble. The shaking increases in intensity, threatening to break out into violent convulsions! At any moment David Brandon's existential dilemma will come to a head! Things are afoot

A twitch. Two twitches. Now a facial tic. All is silent. An unnatural calm descends.]


[Deep in a bunker underneath a Kenosha corn field, Barry Alvarez allows himself the deep rumbling bass laugh only the blackest hearts can muster. Yes. All according to plan.]

SAM WEBB: And why? [Ed: …GOD WHY?]

THE UNSPEAKABLE THING THAT POSSESSES THE BODY OF DAVID BRANDON: Because we're in a situation where one of the best things that could happen … would be the opportunity to play Ohio State twice.

As highlighted by Doctor Saturday, Ohio State seems awfully wishy-washy about the whole thing, too:

He said he has received only a couple of e-mails from people worried about the possibility of moving the Michigan game to earlier in the season. Whether those – and other critical opinions expressed on the Internet – are reflective of the broad fan base is impossible to know, Smith said.

"I know one thing for sure - that we're going to play (Michigan) every year," Smith said. "We may end up playing the last game of the year, or not. I just don't know that yet."

The "not" scenario will only come to pass if the two teams can play again and the Big Ten is trying to avoid the farce of a best-last-one-out-of-two scenario. And with both ADs at Michigan and Ohio State trying to prepare the fans for a soft landing, it's clear which way this is going: the stupidest possible way.

ONE: It is extremely unlikely that Michigan and Ohio State would ever actually score a championship game rematch. Splitting the two teams is a pointless exercise in hoping that once every ten years you get another one. This is no longer the 1970s.

TWO: Michigan's year-end opponent: Michigan State? Boy, that will fire up everyone on Rivalry Week: "It's Michigan! It's some team that's been within a game of .500 every year since SEC schools started recruiting black kids! On ABC!"

THREE: Whatever damage the rivalry sustains because of the split is going to vastly outweigh the piddling slice of extra revenue Michigan and Ohio State will get from a 1/12th split of the incremental bump the Big Ten Championship Game gets because maybe once every ten years they'll get to pit Michigan against Ohio State.

FOUR: Dennis Dodd thinks this is the way to go. QED.

Not that this matters. Apparently it's done. Get ready for Michigan-Ohio State sometime in October, not even playing for a division or anything, because the "TV people" really want it. Do I need to remind you about Mark Shapiro?



August 20th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

If this happens, I may turn in my fancard.  I'm completely serious.  I can take all the dong punches, but neutering the most important game in sports (outside of Glasgow) is just too much. 


August 20th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

I think the more important point here is that putting them in separate divisions is a horrible idea b/c it ensures that M and OSU will likely have the #1 and #2 most difficult schedules w/in B10 play, assuming the divisions are otherwise balanced.

Although playing OSU twice in one year would be awesome. 

Edward Khil

August 20th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

So, as Brian says, this is probably a done deal.

And I like it.  Playing OSU twice a year will allow Michigan to make up for the last several years that much more quickly.

Brian's 'Unverfied Foragity" column a few days ago had this to say:

"There's a rumor out there that Michigan and Ohio State will be split into separate divisions, which I find abhorrent because it necessitates protected cross-division games, which are dumb, and guarantees that Michigan will be elaborately screwed by that cross-division game being Ohio State, guaranteeing them a brutal schedule year-in, year-out as Ohio State and Penn State go play with Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, and Illinois."

In my opinion, Ohio State's schedule in this scenario would be more brutal than ours.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:07 PM ^

David Brandon, Former UM footballer, played for Bo..  And he wants to do this?  How are the Jihadists going to spin this to be RR's fault?  That it is RR who is ruining all of UM's traditions.  My guess is, this will recieve the support of a lot of folks who would normally not be so inclined and it will recieve much less press. 

Personally, I see a rematch as much more likely than Brian, and think that the chance for the B10 to be decided by UM v OSU to be the most important factor.  I have been wrong before.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:52 PM ^

If you think that there are only about 2-3 teams in either division that are going to compete every year for division title, you would suspect that they could realistically only meet 1-2 times in the championship every 5 years. So, it's not as bad as he's making it sound, but it's still not good.

Also, hasn't anyone heard of the Red River Rivalry? When's that happen? October. The only thing is that they are in the same division and usually playing for the division title. I don't think anyone is going to deny that as a high profile game. I can see where you are going to "lose the importance of the game", but that is going to happen no matter what when we add a championship game.

FTR, I'm indifferent toward the change. I see pros and cons for it. If I had to choose, I'd say keep it where it is at, but I'm guessing Dave Brandon has some reasoning for wanting this that obviously none of us see.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:33 PM ^

...the fact that you apparently think the Red River Rivalry is the biggest traditional game for Texas and Oklahoma says it all.  Historically, Oklahoma's main rival was Nebraska.  UT was a fun nonconference game, sort of like ND for us, but it wasn't their biggest game.  The Big 12 utterly destroyed the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry to the point that many fans (like yourself) apparently aren't even aware of its prior importance. 


August 20th, 2010 at 8:19 PM ^

There are two things people are upset about: Separate divisions (no championship implications) and playing in October. I'm only arguing the point of playing in October. What destroyed the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry was not playing every year. Not playing in October.  Michigan and Ohio State are going to play every year. This is nothing like what happened with Oklahoma-Nebraska.


August 20th, 2010 at 1:04 PM ^

Clearly RR has dirt on Brandon and is blackmailing him to destroy age-old traditions such as no night games, OSU at season's end, and pizza diets for linemen.

This conclusively proves RR is not only destroying Michigan's most beloved traditions, but he is also a heartless bastard who is forcing a disciple of Bo to propose, promote and enact those changes.  

He is obviously the antichrist.

VaBeach Wolverine

August 20th, 2010 at 12:08 PM ^

Is there a reason we wouldnt be able to play osu for the last game of the season? I dont see why we would have to play someone in our division for the last game. Granted that could set up Michigan playing osu two weeks in a row but like Brian said, that will probably only end up happening once every ten years. Not saying I am for this idea, but just curious.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:51 PM ^

Also, a loss at the end of the season always looks worse than a loss in October. So, if Michigan and OSU are undefeated going into the last week of play, but then say Nebraska only has one loss in big ten play. If, heaven forbid, we lose The Game, and Nebraska wins their last game, then the Big Ten Championship will be OSU and Nebraska, not a rematch of M v OSU.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

Bring on the super-conferences.  Only thing that might get us back in the same division it seems.  I assume in a 16-team conference they'd worry a bit less about 2 consecutive games, which is unlikely to happen  even now....


August 20th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

I actually dislike the idea of playing Ohio State twice.  It renders the first game pointless, and seems to fly in the face of one of my favorite things about college football, namely, that a year's worth of bragging rights are decided in three hours on a fall afternoon.  So, I really want Michigan and Ohio State in the same division so that it can be on Rivalry Weekend AND so that they cannot play twice in one year.

name redacted

August 20th, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

F*cking bullsh*t. 

I'm so close to just being done salivating over college football.  Upping my comcast every year to the HD subscription in late August.  You know what, I don't even care anymore, lets sellout every inch of Mich stadium with advertising.  Lets put Domino's Pizza all over our jerseys.  Bring sticker helmets back just so we can put them up for auction to the highest corporate bidder.  Have sponsored plays.  I guess there's always high school football...

steve sharik

August 20th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

Coaches I know have told me they are starting to see the result giving everyone in this generation of teenagers medals and trophies when they were little leaguers--the notion that everyone gets to win, everyone gets ice cream after the game, and everyone gets a trophy.  The result is that a lot of today's teenagers don't want to play football unless they get to start.

Folks, human beings are competitive.  We are animals, too, and competitiveness is hard-wired into our DNA.  To me, the safest place to scratch that itch is via athletics.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

He was asked a direct question on the subject and he answered against putting them in the same division. Whether or not is was his brainchild, he's endorsing the idea and that is what is disappointing.

This is one of those times where the right move is to get Osborned and step in front of the train even though you know you're going to get smashed. So be it.

Brandon's job is to defend the best interests of the Athletic Department of the University of Michigan. Does a negligible amount of incremental revenue offset a tougher schedule or diminution of the best tradition in college football? Screw what's best for Indiana in this matter. Hell no. I don't see how Brandon is doing the right thing by Michigan by going along with this.


August 20th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

I've said it before without much fanfare, Nebraska adds very little to this conference.  While they certainly have great football tradition, the addition is only serving to antagonize the league equilibrium.  I'm not saying this is purely Nebraska's fault as any team addition would have produced the same fucked up conference realignment.

We never needed to add a team to the big 10.  Things were fine as it was.  And if its not broke...