Michigan-OSU Article on ESPN.com (Good News and Bad News)

Submitted by bklein09 on August 24th, 2010 at 4:09 PM


The good news is that this is getting publicity. 

The bad is this:

"I'll tell you we'll go to great lengths to make sure that the tradition and rivalries are respected," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said this summer. He then added, "I think the important thing is, that they play."

Uh oh.

Maybe some of you had heard this quote. I had not.



August 24th, 2010 at 4:20 PM ^

don't seem to understand?  If The Game is not played as the last regular season game, then it loses its significance and becomes just another "important conference match up."  I have neither heard nor read and explanations that justify moving the the UM-OSu game from the end of season.  Move it and all the significance of it and its history is diminished.  Playing two weeks in a row would never be a problem.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:27 PM ^

Agreed. I just think that their focus here is really off.

They are sooo concerned with playing back to back weeks that they seem to be forming the entire conference around preventing it. Would it be better is Mich-OSU played the second to last week of the season? Or the third? Is that enough time in between games? What are they gonna do if God forbid two other teams make the conference title game that do play the last game of the year? I'm sure the world would not end, and the games would do very well both on TV and in attendance. 


August 24th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

as soon as Nebraska came in and the championship game was announced, that things had to change right? We can't have it both ways, but the conference brass are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Most people really want to ensure that the game is the last game of the season, which means same division and that it no longer "decides" the champion. Otherwise, we will be in different divisions, which sets up a repeat in the championship game.  If we play twice, it cheaps the regular season game (in a lot of people's eyes.)

We need to face reality here. If you are completely against changes to "the game", then you should really focus your attention on the issues that are making it change, not the nuances of how it changes.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:34 PM ^

I just can't see how playing in back-to-back weeks every 5 to 10 years would cheapen this rivalry more than playing in October.

Imagine this, Michigan beats OSU in Columbus the last week of the regular season. Then, one or two weeks later we lose to them in Indy and they get to go to the Rose Bowl.

How much would that suck? How infuriated would you be? How much more would you hate the nuts?

As much as this may suck for whoever this happened to, I think it would create more passion for the rivalry, not less. 

I would have loved another shot at OSU in 2006 at a neutral site. Having them split and play the last game of the season would allow for that to happen if a similar situation occurred in the future. 

Seems like the best option to me.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:46 PM ^

that no matter how the game changes, which is going to happen (either happens earlier, chance of playing twice, no longer the final say of who is league champions) a large amount of people are going to be pissed. No matter what your stance is, you can come up with some scenario where your favorite would be better than the alternatives.


August 24th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

The "problem"of back to back games is ONLY a talking point (and a weak one at that) and anyone who falls for it is just as short sighted as the Big Ten appears to be right now.  

Back to back will happen so rarely that it will only add to the rivalry.  Cross division game in Nov/Oct will slowly kill the rivalry.  An intra-division game in Nov/Oct will be a bummer but will keep the rivalry alive and well.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

Yes, we are aware that things will change.  That is not some bold revelation.  But there are different degrees of change.  I want us to be in the same division, so we can play once per year, last week of the season, with the division title on the line.  That would be a vastly smaller change than what they're proposing.  I can live with the Game being for the division and not for the conference.  To me, that's not a huge deal.  I have a much harder time accepting a situation in which we're not even competing in the same division, making our game almost like a nonconference rivalry.  A midseason game between two cross-division teams cannot be the league's marquee rivalry.  The SEC understood this and it's thriving.  The ACC didn't, and it's a flop.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

diminishes the game, because then it's not "The Game" its "a game that may or may not mean anything depending on records because we could conceivably play again the next week". "The Game" means one team wins everything and one team loses everything (historically, slightly metaphorically). You get the idea...


August 24th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

What are the scenarios where Michigan-OSU play in the last game of the season, end up ranked 1st in each of their divisions, and do not meet again in the Conference Championship because they just played? Is the fear that they could be co-champs of their division with someone else and the other team would get the nod for the championship?

Side note...


"The Game" means one team wins everything and one team loses everything (historically, slightly metaphorically). 

The championship itself is what diminishes "the game"... not playing two weeks in a row. 


August 24th, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

I disagree with this whopper of a sentence:


If The Game is not played as the last regular season game, then it loses its significance and becomes just another "important conference match up.


No matter when it's played, UM-OSU will always be a big one.  The networks will hype it, the fanfare will be there, and I sure as hell will be excited.  It might not retain the all or nothing significance of ruining one or the others season at the last second, but it will still be The Game in big bold letters to me and I would hope the majority of UM fans and the rest of the country.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:48 PM ^

If a trip to the Big 10 title game, or previously the Big 10 title/Rose Bowl isn't on the line, and the chance to "ruin their season" during the time of year where pollsters are really paying attention isn't part of THE GAME, it will gradually lose its impact.


Here's to beating OSU in humiliating fashion in 2010!


August 24th, 2010 at 5:01 PM ^

Yes, we will watch.  But we'll watch any Michigan game.  The bigger issue is whether neutral observers will care as much about a midseason, cross-divisional game as they do about UM-OSU now.  I don't think they will.  In the long run, the OSU-PSU game at the end of the season - one game to decide the division title - will supplant it.  This isn't some wild prediction.  It's not hard to see that divisional games, by nature, are more important than cross-divisional games.


August 24th, 2010 at 5:11 PM ^

I think people are just refusing to believe that perceptions of the rivalry will change over time. It's such a shortsighted view.

Remember that once upon a time Ohio State was a minor rivalry we plugged into the spot vacated by our traditional rivals in Chicago. Shit changes. And Penn State is in the perfect position to usurp us as OSU's primary rival within the next few decades.


August 24th, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

I agree with your first point that the rivalry will change over time.  I don't believe Penn State would replace us unless, like Chicago, we lost our football program.  It is in Buckeye DNA to hate Michigan.  They may forget why someday, but they will still hate.


August 24th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

I think 10 years is actually generous.  It will happen sooner than we think.  A lot of these guys don't really follow college football until they get to high school, or even later.  If a kid starts following the sport in 2011, one of his first impressions will be the OSU-PSU game.  He won't know that it's a break with tradition, and he won't care anyway. 


August 24th, 2010 at 6:14 PM ^

Yes things change, but bringing up Chicago is a bit extreme considering they haven't been a part of the conference since 1946.  I suppose in another 65 years things could be completely different.  In truth, I'm probably only forecasting about 10 years ahead, but beyond that I'd wager no one can say.  Crazy shit happens.  

So yes, maybe I'm being short sighted.  I still don't believe this is the death knell of the rivalry on the national stage.


August 24th, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

The media will still try to hype it up in the next couple of years, but the hype will become more and more forced and artificial as time passes.  At best, it will be like ND-USC, a game that we're told is "important" but hardly anyone knows why anymore.  USC cares more about winning the Pac 10 (and beating its true rival, UCLA) than winning a nonconference game with ND.  OSU will care more about winning its division (and beating PSU) than winning a non-divisional game with UM.  (Again, the biggest problem is not the date change - jarring though that may be - but the fact that we won't be in the same division.  That's what's going to kill the rivalry.)



August 24th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

You can't generate or sustain a true rivalry with artificial media hype and money.  It has to be AUTHENTIC.  The timing, tradition, and stakes all matter.

Moving the game to midseason throws out the tradition and lowers the stakes (conference title berth not on the line, large drop in final polls not on the line).


August 24th, 2010 at 6:17 PM ^

Did you read the article on Rivals?  It's not at all clear that the Big Ten makes all that much more money by allowing U of M to meet OSU in the championship.  The money is all theoretical.  There's no guarantee that anyone will make any money off this move.  If they debase the rivalry they could actually lose when its all said and done.


August 24th, 2010 at 7:39 PM ^

to try to get my point across. Texas-Oklahoma.  The biggest rivalry in the BIG12. How much bigger (popularity, $, etc) would it be if it was played the final week of the reg season? Think of how many Big 12 titles, or at worst division titles, have come from the result of that game? HOWEVA, the game doesn't get near the pub it could since it's played in early-mid October.

What's crazy is imagining how big the Red River Rivalry COULD be right now, despite the short history of the Big 12, if that game were played at the end.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

If both teams were undefeated coming into The Game, consider the following options:

Team A beats Team B:

1) Team A beats Team B again in the Big Ten Championship and has a chance to play for a national title.


2) Team B beats Team A in the Big Ten Championship the next week, then both schools will almost assuredly go to the BCS.

That's your worst-case scenario... losing the first time and winning the second time and getting a Big Ten Championship.  So you have to beat the other team twice to go play for a national title.  So what, you were going to have to beat someone else in that title game.  If you're the best, you should win both games no matter who the opponent is.

I'll take this any day of the week over losing the tradition of The Game.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:35 PM ^

Depending on how the conference determines each division's champion, playing at the last game of the season could very well be a huge game.  Imagine a situation where Michigan has already locked up their division, and Ohio State needs one more big ten win to lock theirs up.  They have to beat Michigan for the right to play them again.  If they lose, no rematch, and we cost them a chance at the title one week later.

Not sure how likely, but it is possible that this could happen pretty often.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

once every 5 years or so, it wouldn't diminish anything, it would be great news!! The Michigan-Ohio State game should always be played at the end of the season.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

Someone at ESPN posted this:

"I also enjoy Jim Delany's spin that the main thing is the two schools play. So I suppose he'd be in favor of moving Christmas to July (since people would still celebrate it)."

LOL, exactly.


August 24th, 2010 at 4:59 PM ^

...Is the people who say it is diminishing the importance of the game. 

A game or a rivalry is only as important as the fans say it is. Michigan and OSU will always hate each other and always battle each other no matter when and no matter where The Game is. 

Since there is now a championship game, The (regular season) Game will never again have the same bowl game and NC implications as it does now and has had in the past.

But, that does not mean we should give up on the rivalry, The Game, or the B10 Championship game. For both the schools and the conference, I think 99% of people would agree adding a championship is a good thing. We only have to decide as fans one thing: Would we prefer for The Game (again, the regular season version) to decide who goes to the B10 Champ game, or do we want to leave open a 2nd chance for redemption? 

I like the all-or-nothing approach. No matter what, one school gets bragging rights for a year, and the other curses and shakes their fist. For that to happen, it means that OSU and UM must be in the same division and should play just once a year in the last game of the regular season.


August 24th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

While most here grasp the importance of playing OSU the last week of the season, I'm afraid a lot of people don't quite understand what a huge change it would be if we were put in different divisions.  That bothers me even more than the date change.  People will find out soon enough that cross-divisional games are VERY different from divisional games.  You're not competing against those teams in the standings, so it doesn't necessarily matter what happens.  IMO it is absolutely paramount that we stay in the same division.   


August 24th, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

As someone who was raised in the ACC, I can tell you that this is absolutely true. The FSU-Miami rivalry is bigger than it was because they are in the same conference, but not as big as it could be because they are in different divisions. I'm sure when the divisions were made the idea was that Miami and FSU would play for the conference championship just about every year and it would do wonderful things for the rivalry and the conference. This has never happened. FSU has only one it once, the first year, and Miami has never even played for it.

Fun fact though, just to play a little devil's advocate:

Moving the Michigan, OSU game to earlier may not be such a bad thing. The FSU vs. Miami game, when held on labor day (as was tradition at a time), holds the the Top Two Spots on the all time list of the highest rated games.

That said, I like the UM-OSU rivalry better, just the way it is.


August 24th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

Yup, and then it became the most watched regular season game of the year, pretty much every year. 

A lot of things helped them to that, though, such as the fact that there are few football games on that day (often just 2), they were primetime, and it was early in the season (and therefore everyone is still just dying for more football, any football).

I repeat though, that i DO NOT believe that UM and OSU should replicate this. It's the wrong way to start the season.  The season should build to this game, be a goal to work towards.

Gulo Blue

August 24th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

...if people took the time to figure out how the rivalry got to be so important.  It isn't magic or predestination.  The fact that the games capped the season year after year ensured that they would be important.  That's just how it is, the end of the season is more important than the beginning.  Over time, this was sure to happen.  The upsets ruin seasons, the big victories send you to better places.  Mid-season games don't do that to the same degree.  If things go terribly wrong and OSU becomes a midseason game and MSU ends the season each year...MSU will eventually become a bigger rivalry.  Not to you, but to the next generation of Wolverines.  We can tell them about history, but they will develop their own passions and memories in the stands, and OSU won't be there when it really counts.


It's cause and effect.  Mich - OSU at the end of the season is the most important element to preserve in all of this.


August 24th, 2010 at 7:14 PM ^

I think that OSU - UM has more national attention, but to those that care MSU - UM is just as important.  How do you feel about the past two years?  To me it's just as bad as the last 6...


I can still remember UM/MSU week in elementary school.  This is when the administrators forced you to choose sides: we had huge flags all over the building, everyone wore Blue/Maize or Green, we learned "The Victors", etc.


I agree though, a midseason rivalry game doesn't have the significance of season ending game.  However, to those that matter it does not lessen the value of the rivaly itself.  Not to downplay what you're saying, but I'm just saying...


August 24th, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

There was only 2 times that Michigan and OSU could have even had a chance to play a second time.  Both times that it could have happened the 2nd place team was tied with someone else.   2002 OSU and Iowa both 8-0.  2003 Michigan is 7-1 and OSU and Purdue are 6-2.  2003 Iowa and Michigan tied at 7-1.  2005 PSU and OSU tied at 7-1.  2006 OSU 8-0 and UM and UW 7-1.  2007 OSU 7-1 and Illinois and UM tied at 6-2.  2008 OSU and PSU 7-1.  2009 OSU 7-1 and PSU and Iowa 6-2.

So 2 times since 2002.  My question is playing the last game of the regular season worth enough to say that if the losing team is tied in their division with another team that the other team would automatically win the tie breaker and in the case of a three way tie Michigan/OSU would be out and the other 2 teams would be the only 2 teams in the tie breaker.

Thus the only way that there could be a rematch is if each team won their divisions within the conference outright.




Would playing earlier in the season and still having another chance at beating OSU by winning a tie-breaker in their division be worth not playing the last game of the season but changing that game to a PSU/NEB game and moving the UM/OSU game to the last Saturaday in say October?



August 24th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

On net, I think this is good news.  The spokesmen are leaving the door open to leaving the game at the end of the season -- that's something they were trying to rule out a couple days ago.  It's subtle and I may be mistaken but I think we're having an effect.