The Survey to Save Michigan-Ohio State (but won't) Comment Count

Seth December 1st, 2012 at 2:51 PM



The Big Ten doesn't actually care what you think about the destruction of longstanding rivalries so they can have more NYC/DC viewers in the duration of tiered cable's death throes. However BTN has put up a survey for the purpose of discussion points on their Monday show that represents the first crack I've yet seen in the conference's apparent immunity to public opinion on its expansion plans. This, like the survey when they announced the division names, will of course be duly ignored; I say let's tell them anyway.

Take the Survey on Facebook.

Take the Survey on the BTN homepage.

Call your friends and family and that girl you studied abroad with what's her name, and make them take it too. Whatever you answer in the rest, say "VERY IMPORTANT" for Question 9, and use 17 to ask they put Michigan and Ohio State in the same divisions.

The questions, and opinions:

1. What is your favorite B1G school?

This one is thrown in there to weed out the hardcore fans when they break their mouse by clicking on this SO HARD.

2. My favorite school is in which division?

???? I think it says "Leaders" in the song; I'm guessing that one. Also I'm guessing if everybody says "I have no idea" that can become a talking point against the division names.

3. As the conference expands beyond 12 teams, should the new teams be added to an existing division or should new divisions be drawn from scratch?

Start from scratch please.

4. What do you think of the "Legends" and "Leaders" names? (Strongly Like to Strongly Dislike.)

Again, this is put here to make you break your clicking device. Gently. Gently.

5. Should the B1G change or keep the current division names?


6. If you think the division names should be changed, what should they be changed to?

This is an input box; write what you want. Like most old timey NHL fans I prefer divisions named for historical guys, so Yost-Stagg or Bo-Woody. Brian likes East-West. North-South. Plains-Lakes. Big Ten-Little Four. Persistence-Perseverance. Wait no not that last one, they might actually go for that.

7. If divisions were to be changed, what criteria should be used to determine them? (Rank by importance Competitive balance, geography, protect traditional rivalries.)

I suggest putting "Protect traditional rivalries" first because they're all important but at least that might put M-OSU in the same division.

8. How important is it for IN-STATE rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)

Irrelevant. Every in-state school is already traditional rivals with the other one.

9. How important is it for TRADITIONAL rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)

VERY important. Rivalries need something at stake, and beating your divisional rivals counts as virtually two wins if you're against them for the championship invite. If we're not with Ohio State the game becomes a "protected" rivalry, which means we'll see them every year while our division rivals face them maybe twice a decade.

10. Currently, the number of conference games the B1G plays is 8. Should this increase?

The answers they give here include "Yes, increase to 10 games (2 non-conference games; 5 home conf games and 5 road conf games)" which, hell yeah (now that ND is gone I think 2 games is plenty to have a warm-up and an interesting matchup) except it will never happen because they make their money off of home games and more conference games means more losses at the end of the season and fewer bowl-eligible teams.

11. What is your preference on a B1G Basketball Tourney? (Every team qualifies, or 12 of 14 teams qualify.)

They don't let you go less than 12. So 12, obviously.

12. Currently, the B1G has no divisions for basketball. Should this be changed?

I'd go for a tiered system before divisions. Don't care either way; if I knew they wouldn't screw it up I might be more inclined.

13. If yes, why should there be divisions for basketball?

Text entry. Share your opinion; mine is above.

14. If no, why shouldn't there be divisions for basketball?

Text entry.

15. When people reference "B1G", do you recognize that to be the Big Ten Conference?

Obviously you do, but think about what this could mean in context: if everyone is saying "no" then the talking point becomes "Nobody even knows what B1G means." I'm all for talking points that hurry along the demise of that embarrassment of a logo.

16. With 14 teams currently, should the B1G remain the "Big Ten", or should its name be changed?

I don't have a better name for it; we should have sued the Big XII and the Big East when we had the chance because "Big" is the nickname that grew up organically and should be the qualifying piece of information in the name, not the number.

17. Do you have any further thoughts on B1G expansion?

PUT MICHIGAN AND OHIO STATE IN THE SAME DIVISION! Also don't add Maryland and Rutgers, name the divisions from whatever's on the motivational poster in your boss's office, make another stupid looking logo, etc.




December 1st, 2012 at 7:07 PM ^

we are way beyond names making any sense for these conferences-- big 10/11/12/14, louisville in atlantic coast conference, hawaii in the big east or whatever!

legends and leaders help B1G stand out versus northsoutheastwest designations.

discarding leaders/legends only makes things more confusing in the short term.

the downside is that we dilute the league- crappy schools help michigan get wins but the product is unappealing.

indiana v.  rutgers football should only be played on weds night on espn infinity!


December 4th, 2012 at 12:44 AM ^

No, what's kept the Big 10 relevant is that they have huge fanbases, so TV inherently loves them. Yes, I'm sure Delaney has made some nice moves, but seriously, what do you think would have happened without him? Tons of Big 10 fans would still be wanting to watch their teams play and TV would be happy to oblige. Delaney hasn't done nearly as much as the fans to get Big 10 teams into premier bowls that they don't deserve to be in based on resume.


December 1st, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

I'm curious why a fan of UM would want OSU in our division?  Granted, I don't like the possibility of playing them twice to win the conference, but I'd rather get there more often and lose than not get there very often because they beat us in division.  I'm sure the rest of the conference would love to have both of us in the same division, espeically if they are not in our division.  But, I think it would be really hard on Michigan if for example MSU and OSU were both in our division.  And, unless you are putting PSU, Nebraska, and Wisconsin in the other division, it wouldn't be very equal.  


December 1st, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

Because having us in opposite divisions dilutes the importance of The Game. Consider these scenarios:

  • Michigan is already locked into the championship game as the Legends division winner. A win by Ohio in The Game changes nothing for either team in terms of the championship game; Michigan winning = B1G championship game, Michigan losing = B1G championship game.
  • Vice versa for Ohio having locked up Leaders and Michigan having no shot at Legends (like what would have been this year had Ohio not been on probation.)
  • Both Michigan AND Ohio have locked up their divisions by this final game of the regular season and are guaranteed to play again the following week to determine who goes to the Rose Bowl. What's the point of playing at all?

Putting Michigan and Ohio in the same division puts them in direct competition for a spot in the B1G championship game. Having us in opposite divisions allows for the possibility of a Michigan - Ohio B1G championship game, but also introduces the icky possibiities of the three scenarios above.

Michigan Arrogance

December 1st, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

That's just pointing out the worst case scenarios. Of course, when M & O are both in tight races (which will presumably happen many years), the stakes will be all on the line on the last day of the year, as it has been so many times.

And the case where one of the two are in a tight race will probably happen most years.

In addition, one could argue that the importance of the game is not based on geography, distance, or that these are 2 universities which mirror each other, but rather the fact that the game has so often have such GREAT stakes on the line: the B10 title.

If they are both in the same division, M and O will never play for the B10 title- just the Western Lakes Legendary Leaders of Persistance are Perserverance Division title.



December 1st, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

No, they can't play for the conference title itself. But what you get in return for that possibility is the comfort of not ever having the three abovementioned scenarios dilute the meaning of The Game. You also get more importance added to The Game because it will probably decide who wins the division in most years; this (to Michigan and Ohio fans) should be almost as big a victory over their rival as winning the conference championship itself over them.

Dutch Ferbert

December 1st, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

Worst case scenario is having the last week of the Big Ten season be the equivalent of the last week of the NFL' when teams rest their stars for the playoffs if a win cannot improve their playoff position.

As someone who, unfortunately, no longer lives in Michigan, I would be pissed if I made plans to travel back for the Game only to have both teams already locked as division champs. The coaches would have no incentive to risk their stars' health in order to win an essentially meaningless game. It would suck to travel to A2 expecting to see future Woodsons, Breastons, Carters and Howards and instead have to watch a bunch of 2nd and 3rd stringers running around for both teams.

The other alternative to the same division is to keep them in separate divisions and to play earlier in the year (and this was threatened two years ago when the divisions were formed). And my response to that alternative is PLEASE GOD NO!

Section 1

December 1st, 2012 at 6:47 PM ^ the case that you describe -- Michigan and Ohio State both already locked in as divisional champions -- there will be another game between the two teams that will mean something soon after.  Like one, grand, eight-quarter game over a couple of weeks.  (Not really but you get the idea.)  You can always make reservations for Indy.

I'm not so sure I care too much; as long as the rivalry is protected annually, and as long as it is the last regular game every year.  The thing I really fear is the Conference moving The Game to October.  Death to anyone who even considers the option.

I really don't like any playoffs, so it is all kind of dullish after that anyway.  And I don't much care whether a Michigan portected rivalry is tougher on us, that a protected rivalry with Indiana is on Sparty.  That's a pathetic concern.  If your school's protected football rivalry is with Indiana or Maryland or Rutgers, you have bigger problems than Michigan will ever have.


December 1st, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

1. Something at stake. This year OSU couldn't go to the postseason anyway but imagine if they could? If Michigan won we'd still be left out of Indy for the loss to Nebraska while OSU would still have been the Woody Division champions. If we were in the same division, that game--just as was when we were all in the same division and the prize was the Rose Bowl--would have been for the autobid. A win by Michigan means we both have a conference loss and Michigan has the tiebreaker.

The reason this rivalry grew up in the first place is we were the conference's traditional powers. Take away that reason and it's the same effective importance as MSU-Indiana, an anachronism we pay for by sacrificing...

2. Parity. Over the next 10 years Ohio State will be a 50/50 proposition for Michigan, if not worse, while Indiana will probably lose to MSU every time. Not being in a division with OSU guarantees Michigan will get the worst possible protected cross-divisional rival from a competitive standpoint.  And even if we make it through all of that there's still the possibility of a...

3. Rematch.  Which should be avoided at all costs from a fan standpoint (the Big Ten doesn't agree--they see a guaranteed sellout). Imagine Michigan and Ohio State meet undefeated as No. 1 and 2 in the country in 2014. Michigan shows up with an answer for everything OSU can throw at us, Devin Gardner plays a Heisman-clinching game, and the Woverines win in Columbus to finish 12-0. Then the following week we go to Indianapolis to face...Ohio State again. This is just wrong.

Also wrong: there's a chance we'll both come into the game having locked up our respective divisions. Had Michigan beaten Nebraska this year (and OSU was eligible) that would have been the scenario: both teams locked into playing the week after for all the marbles, making the scheduled game in either 100,000+ seat hallowed building just a feeling out sideshow where neither team wants to give away their plan for the real game.

There's a way to maintain parity with us in the same division. To wit:

Yost Division: Mich-MSU-OSU-Illini-NW-Ind-Pur

Stagg Division: Wis-Neb-Iowa-Minn-PSU-Maryland-Rutgers

Protected Rivalries can stay to keep some of the annual games of proxmity together that aren't based in winner-take-all history:

  • Michigan-Minnesota
  • Michigan State-Nebraska
  • Ohio State-Penn State
  • Illinois-Wisconsin
  • Northwestern-Rutgers
  • Indiana-Maryland
  • Purdue-Iowa



December 1st, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

So then WE get the easy protected rivalry and State has a tough one. I like it. But seriously, I think that any "protected corss divisional rivalry" scheme will cause a strength of schedule imbalance in the long term. With so many teams in the league, the only way to protect a rivalry is to put the teams in the same division. And honestly, the best thing about the little brown jug is the waffle fries.

Wolverine 73

December 3rd, 2012 at 12:26 PM ^

This protected rivalry thing seems to have been put into place to account for Michigan and Ohio being in different divisions.  Put us in the same division, and let the chips fall where they may.  As the league gets bigger, it isn't as if Michigan or Ohio will be winning the league (or playing for the title) yearly, as it used to be.  If there is another rivalry that people really care about out there, put them in the same division too.  If that can't be done, prioritize the rivalries you protect.  Then have a balanced slate for each team in each division to play.  And leave THE GAME where it is on the schedule.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

Let's assume the Big Ten goes to 9 conference games and uses the divisions I suggested which maximize the number of trophy and proximal rivalries that are maintained. That's MSU-OSU-Illinois-NW-Ind-Pur as division rivals we see every year. Then there's 3 conference games left against 7 teams in the other division.

Would you rather...

a.) Award the Brown Jug every year but see Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Rutgers and Maryland 33% (2 every 6) of years, or

b.) Face Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Rutgers and Maryland 43% (3 every 7) of years?

Ask this same question of Ohio State-Penn State, Iowa-Purdue, and Wisconsin-Northwestern.

snarling wolverine

December 1st, 2012 at 5:05 PM ^

'm curious why a fan of UM would want OSU in our division? Granted, I don't like the possibility of playing them twice to win the conference, but I'd rather get there more often and lose than not get there very often because they beat us in division.

We're going to play them every year regardless. The league may as well be equitable about it and make sure that all our division rivals do, too.  I believe that next year neither Nebraska nor MSU will play them.


December 1st, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

Well, Im glad I've been told how to vote.  Thank you MGoBlog authors for acting like every Michigan fan agrees on each one of these points.  You have, once again, shown how arrogant and stuck up you all are.  


December 1st, 2012 at 3:49 PM ^

M v Ohio last regular season game #11 as they are in the same division.

week 12 should settle the championship and bowl set up. 

1 v 1

2 v 2

3 v 3 and so on from each new division, does not matter if you played a cross over or if your rival game prior to the Big Ten CHAMPIONSHIP week. This is all about the final standing just off your in division records. 7 games on the Saturday after THX GVNG. 





That survey is the best thing Jim's done in a long time!  Keep em coming there Mr. Jim.


December 1st, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

11. What is your preference on a B1G Basketball Tourney? (Every team qualifies, or 12 of 14 teams qualify.)

I voted for everybody because you can essentially have a border line big ten team that needs one or two wins to sneak into the tournyey. This would give them a better shot since they would most liekly have an easier matchup than with 12 teams. The more B1G teams, the better.


December 1st, 2012 at 3:57 PM ^

Having them in our division means we play in the B1G championship game less.  OSU is the winningest program in the conference in the modern era.  Having them in our division means we play in the B1G championship game less.  UM has won 42 B1G conference championships, OSU 34, 16 more than the next closest team (Minnesota with 18).  Being both in the same division takes away from both of their collective chances of winning the conference title, which goes against the history of what the B1G is IMO.  I'm sorry, but the B1G is about UM and OSU.  They have the most wins and deserve the right to not have to be in the same division.  It makes it unfair to both of them as well as all the rest that don't wind up in their division.  Espeically since I gurantee they won't split up MSU and UM, which means all three are in the same division.  But, ultimately it all comes down the fact that having them in our division takes away from our chances of's that simple.


December 1st, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^


Knickerbocker, as Seth explained above, having Ohio in UM's division would actually improve our chances of winning the conference.

To win the conference now, we first have to win the Legends Divison and then we have to win the conference title game.

Let's say the divisions stay the same, with either Rutgers or Maryland joining the Legends.  UM will still have to play Ohio every season because they are our protected cross-over rival.  Only a couple of the other teams in the Legends Division would play Ohio in any given season.  

Assuming Ohio is one of the best two or three teams in the league every year, this will give at least a few of the other teams in the Legends Division an advantage over UM (in tems of a less-difficult schedule) every year.  Then, let's say Michigan does manage to win the Legends--we may well have to face Ohio a second time in the championship game to win the conference.

If Ohio is in Michigan's same division, then all the teams in the division would have to play Ohio too.  Teams would still have more-favorable and less-favorable draws in particular years based on what their cross-over games are, but UM would not be automatically drawing the most consistently difficult cross-over opponent every single season.  And if UM did happen to win the division, then there would be no possibility of a rematch against Ohio in the title game.



December 1st, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

I see your point.  In order to preserve the game we got stuck with the worst guranteed cross over when they originall split us up.  I guess any way you look at it expansion takes away from the tradition of The Game winning or losing the conference.  I can't have my cake and eat it too.  I guess you have to evolve...I'm working on it.