Send E-mails to the Athletic Department to Keep Michigan-OSU as the Last Game of the Season

Submitted by SchrodingersCat on August 20th, 2010 at 2:50 PM

To the extremely active Michigan Fanbase here at MGoBlog. Please spend a minute to send a letter regarding your thoughts on the change to the Michigan-OSU game to the following people.

Bruce Madej
Associate Athletic Director
[email protected]

David Ablauf
Director of Media Relations
[email protected]

then post your letter to this forum! I will start.

Mr. Bruce Madej and Mr. David Ablauf,

I ask you to please read the comments on the following message board so that you can rethink your position on moving The Game: 
This blog is the most active Michigan football fanbases on the world wide web. There are at the moment 173 comments regarding the decision to move The Game, please review them so that you understand where your fanbase stands. Please keep The Game as our final game of the year. It is a tradition that will help insure the Michigan-OSU game remains the greatest rivalry in sports.
Go Blue!
Nicholas M. DeHaan
University of Michigan 
Class of 2011

Also, sign the



August 20th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

Even your new AD says it, "change is good." Things are bound to change, we can either play OSU at the end of the season to have the rivalry or start a new one in the Big Ten championship. The latter sounds best to me.


August 20th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

I'm sure the comment with the graphic of the donkey para-sailing is totally going to sell the athletic department on the need to keep The Game at the end of the season...

This blog is awesome, and I read it all day, but I don't know that this is the best way to make your case. 


August 20th, 2010 at 11:20 PM ^

If you want to get really legalistic, okay, maybe you didn't use those exact words, but don't tell me that isn't the gist of what you've argued before.  (Weren't you the one grumbling about the HARD EDGE sign in the tunnel the other day?) 

As for the OSU game, it won't be the same.  Especially when we won't be in the same division.  When you have two divisions, it's almost like having two mini-conferences.  Your most important games become the ones against your fellow division members, because those determine head-to-head tiebreakers.  This won't happen overnight, but eventually OSU will become more focused on its PSU rivalry (assuming they're in the same division) and we'll become more focused on our new Nebraska rivalry.  The OSU game will still be big as long as they're a strong program, but its meaning will diminish over time.    

Bando Calrissian

August 21st, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

See, this is the viewpoint I'm coming from:  Splitting a 12-team conference into two divisions isn't an incredibly easy thing to do, especially when you can count on at least half of the conference as it is today to pretty much never be relevant when it comes to determining the championship game.  The Northwesterns and Indianas of the world are a non-factor. 

Then you have to take the remaining half of the conference, which based on long-term history (though not recent performance) includes Michigan, and split them in half.  And, guess what?  There's no geographical way to do it without making things ridiculously unfair. 

So what gets put on the chopping block?  There's 12 teams who all have independent interests in this thing, who all have their "we need to play Ohio State at the end of the season" card to throw into the mix. 

Then I ask myself, well, what is it about the Michigan-Ohio State game at the end of the season that makes it so awesome?  The BIg 10 championship.  But, as we know, that doesn't happen every year.  That's pretty much the crux of the argument here, isn't it?  If you put Michigan and Ohio State in different divisions (preparing for the negbang...), guess what?  You can STILL play Ohio State for the conference championship the last week of the season! 

In the new conference championship game picture, neither team can play the spoiler of ruining a national championship bid, or literally box up the conference championship trophy and packs of roses sitting in the locker room and send it elsewhere.  We're in a different world now, and putting UM and OSU in different divisions and retaining that chance that they could face each other for a conference championship in the CCG is one way of retaining the tradition of this rivalry.  Lest we forget, for the first 40 years of the rivalry, The Game was played when it fell in the schedule...

Michigan-Ohio State being the last game of the schedule isn't the sole reason this rivalry is so great.  It's part of it, but it's not the only reason.  And there's very little of the vitriol and greatness of this rivalry lost if it's played earlier in the season.  The sky is not going to fall if toe meets leather in October.


August 21st, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

Frankly, the more I think of it, Geography isn't that bad a split.  I think Iowa and Wisconsin have been going on long enough to show they're not flash in the pan programs. And at any one time it seems OSU, PSU or M is down a bit, so it's never 3 really tough ones. But if we're already discounting geography, there's no reason to not put PSU and Neb together rather than split up M and OSU. Though I'm not even really objecting to that, that much.

If everyone has their "Michigan-OSU" tradition...that means it's probably played at the end of the switching up The Game probably means switching up one of those too.  The way to keep everyone happy in that respect is to keep ALL those year end rivalry games right year's end. Stays the same, no conflict across the board.

In discounting the spoiler roll, I think you discount what makes the rivalry great in all those years that it doesn't involve the championship. Or even if it's not about being a spoiler, how one team can make a lackluster season by winning that last game.  That's out the window in September. And in the same division (if the idea is they can't play the last game and be in separate divisions...still not sure how that's worse than all the other changes) you can still have championship implications...because you're probably not going to play for a championship if you don't win that game. And most of the time, those are the secondary implications of the game.  It's rarely FOR ALL THE MARBLES...usually it's for a share, or elevating/knocking someone out of it. I think you lose more by trashing 8 years of a tradition to accentuate it for 2, out of ten (and that may be generous in the new Big Ten). 

And by saying 40 years (which is actually more like 30, but whatever) it's discounting the other 70+ years it's been the other way. Most of our traditions in the country aren't much older than that. (Most of the staples of something like Christmas and other Holidays, or BBQing, or any number of things aren't as ancient as people like to make).  The idea is to carry them on, into the far future. Thus a tradition is made.

No, the last game of the year is not the sole reason it is great. Them being two great programs is the main reason. But the last game is high up there, in it attracting traditional national attention. The sky won't fall come next October. But a couple pieces might. And as the years go by, it becomes a more and more irrelevant game, till it only matters to those involved in it. M-MSU, but with better teams. And I can't help asking myself "what would Bo think?" And I think he's be pitching a hissy fit right now.


August 22nd, 2010 at 4:04 AM ^

Hammer to the nail.

In 20 years, which game is the Ohio State student going to care more about winning? The one against the team in the other division they play every October? Or the one at the end of the season against Penn State for the division title and the right to keep their BCS dreams dreams alive? Let's face it, the Game is important because the stakes are high... the stakes aren't very in interdivisional games in October.

PSU scares me in this scenario because they really are a good natural rival for Ohio State. Right now OSU fans just ignore them because they have a real rivalry with us, but if the Big Ten forces them to pay more attention to each other it could very easily eclipse the Game in a few decades.


August 22nd, 2010 at 4:04 AM ^

Hammer to the nail.

In 20 years, which game is the Ohio State student going to care more about winning? The one against the team in the other division they play every October? Or the one at the end of the season against Penn State for the division title and the right to keep their BCS dreams dreams alive? Let's face it, the Game is important because the stakes are high... the stakes aren't very in interdivisional games in October.

PSU scares me in this scenario because they really are a good natural rival for Ohio State. Right now OSU fans just ignore them because they have a real rivalry with us, but if the Big Ten forces them to pay more attention to each other it could very easily eclipse the Game in a few decades.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:14 PM ^

You might want to also email OSU's athletic director, since this affects them as well.  MIchigan-OSU has been the final game of the season since 1935.  For the vast majority of us, it's been the last game of the season for our entire lives.  The Big 12 pulled this crap with Nebraska-Oklahoma and effectively destroyed that rivalry.  This must not happen.

OSU AD Gene Smith:

[email protected]


August 20th, 2010 at 3:14 PM ^

is actually emailing, throw at the end that you'd like to be able to exit the stadium and/or go to get concessions without it taking 45 minutes.  While they're renovating the stadium maybe they could widen those exits a bit....


August 20th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

I don't understand all the uproar. A good precedent for this is the Tennesse Bama game. Its an old rivarly between powerhouse programs that has changed little-to-none despite conference realignment.

Despite being in separate divisions they still play on the 3rd Sat in October (roughly). And,despite both being among the top performers in their respective divisions they have never met in the championship game, but have combined for 12 appearances since 92. I think this is the model the B10 uses unless I'm missing the boat on something.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

Alabama's biggest rivalry is with Auburn.   The Tennessee game is strictly secondary in importance, something analogous to PSU for us.   You can rest assured that no Bama or Auburn fan wants to see the Iron Bowl moved to the middle of the season. 


August 20th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

From speaking with Bama fans (its hard try it sometime!), I understood Auburn game to be more of an UM-MSU type of rivalry. But, I just looked at the series records and they are very close, so maybe Bama fans are simply wishful thinkers!


August 20th, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

Well, it's like UM-MSU in the sense that it's an in-state game, so it often divides families, neighbors, etc.  But it's a much bigger deal than that (and attracts a lot of interest from neutral observers).  Both programs are historically strong and one or both is usually in conference title contention. 


August 20th, 2010 at 5:39 PM ^

The conference title game is a fait accompli.  That we can't realistically nix.  But we can lobby to be in the same division as OSU, which would make this whole debate moot, because playing our strongest division rival the last week of the season makes the most sense for all involved.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

So I won't link it but this is a great idea.  We have to do something, I can't imagine The Game retaining its current significant if played at any other time in the season.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

Some thoughts on what to say to the Athletic Department.  By all means feel free to add your own observations -- this is just to help people get organized.

1. Tradition -- moving the OSU game will water down the greatest rivalry in sports.  That much is hard to deny.

2. Timing -- for decades the OSU game has been the highlight of the season and having it as the last game meant our season (and OSU's) always had a potentially tremendous finale -- even in the years when one of the teams was so-so.

3. The Program -- It's no secret that the program has been down.  Is this the time to water down one of the hallmarks of Michigan football?

4. Money -- Supposed to be what this is all about, but it's hard to see what the conference gains from this.  Maybe a 1 out of 10 chance that U of M will meet OSU in the conference championship.  But will that boost ratings?  That's doubtful.  A conference chamionship should sell itself, even if a topsy-turvey season that results in an Indiana-Illinois title matchup.  At most you're looking at a 2-3 point ratings bump every ten years or so.

5. Fairness -- This is not needed to ensure fairness.  Since geography is not supposed to be an important factor in setting divisions, there is no reason why we cannot have Michigan and OSU in one division, and put PSU and Nebraska in the other.

6. Scheduling -- if your concern is having such a big rivalry before the conference championship, why not make the last weekend in November a league-wide bye week?  Now the Big Ten still has a big game in December so it won't be passed over in the BCS rankings.  And you can have PSU play Nebraska on the same day as the U of M-OSU game.  I'll bet the league could make some money off that doubleheader.

Simply put, the league is watering down one of its greatest assets for no good purpose.  In the process they are ruining one of the traditions that makes Michigan Michigan.  This is a monumentally stupid move that will be compared to New Coke.  If they go ahead with this, one can only hope that the Big Ten brass will have the brains to undo this decision before permanent damage is done.


August 20th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

From the Money standpoint, a 2-3 ratings point boost every few years is a fairly big deal.

It also gives the Big Ten way more negotiating power when you can dangle the possibility of the two marquee teams in the league facing off against each other in prime time.

If you keep them in the same division, you go into those negotiations with one arm tied behind your back.

"Okay so before we begin, lets make it clear, there is ZERO chance that the two marquee teams in the league will ever face each other in this championship game.  Now that that's clear, let's start the bidding at....."

It blows major goats, but the train is in motion.  After the back peddling that the coaches did at the B10 meetings about it not being the worst thing in the world if we don't play on the last weekend, and now Brandon's comments on the radio this morning, I'd say it is a done deal and there is nothing we can do to stop it, short of taking our ball and going home and leaving the conference.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

You don't mess with UM-OSU in November.  The Game, and its traditional placement at the end of the regular season, is part of what makes this such a great conference.  If we don't get to play them at Lucas Oil Field in December, so be it.  There are two other extremely successful programs in PSU and Nebraska, too.  This isn't the Big Two and the Little Eight.  PSU and Nebraska are our peers as programs, and would be great opponents in a championship game.  Put them in one division and UM/OSU in the other.  Problem solved.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

I completely agree with you, and that's what I'd like to see.

I just know that when sitting down and talking money, the remote chance of a Michigan v OSU in prime time championship game gives the network execs a money-sign-shaped erection.  Moreso than telling them that there is a ZERO percent chance it will happen.  Which leaves them with a more sadface looking flaccid dong.

Also, there are two teams that dont want this, and 10 that do.  We can't win that kind of battle.  This is why ND stays independent, and why Texas flexes their muscles with the rest of the Big 12, and will resist joining an equal share/say conference until the bitter end.

We're really screwed here.  I wish there was a way to tell them all to go piss off, but there isn't, unfortunately.  All we can do is get these programs back on the upswing and beat the living crap out of them year in and year out.


The alignment I proposed over on rivals:


Bo division:


Woody Division:

It makes it so just about everybody gets ripped away from their main rival.  If we have to endure it, then so do they.  Fuckers.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

I really don't care what the network execs think.  They don't make the league.  We don't have to go along with this and neither does OSU.  Our programs are the biggest reason our league is a financial success.  They can't afford to piss us off.  Otherwise, hell, we just might walk away.  The key is to make it clear to Dave Brandon and Gene Smith that we don't want this.  If you're opposed, don't just bitch on an internet forum - tell them.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

...there were more than two marquee teams in the league.  To me it's not clear that the league gains anything at all from this.  We aren't tying our hands behind our back, we're preserving one of our most valuable assets.  I don't see how a U of M versus OSU championship is all that much more valuable to the networks than a PSU/Nebraska championship.  Or an Indiana/Illinois matchup if they're both great teams.  You shouldn't need to water down the biggest rivalry in sports in order to make a Big Ten championship a valuable property.

Cynicism is not wisdom, tradition is an asset, and the league can make lots of money without wrecking The Game.


August 20th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

If you water down the rivalry, its value is diminished even in those blessed years when U of M meets OSU in the title game.  If they're not careful the "bump" could turn out to be bupkis.  Don't think the networks aren't aware of that possibility.

Mark my words: moving the game=New Coke.


August 20th, 2010 at 5:37 PM ^

You might be surprised.  Our athletic department has a good record of listening to the fanbase.  To name two examples: the halo around the stadium was taken down because of a fan outcry, and a proposed SBC sponsorship of the UM-OSU series (which would have paid $300K per school per year) was nixed because of another outcry. 


August 21st, 2010 at 1:01 AM ^

is to win the B10 championship. Change is already happening and there is nothing that can stop it regardless how many "keep the old" emails are sent. "The Game" that was, is no longer and has become "The Game" in B10 Championship form. Old rivalries "in the past," will be remembered as new ones emerge.

I like the new Isiah Thomas commercial..."There's one winner and the rest are losers." I suppose we could give the loser of the first game annually between Michigan and Oloho a mulligan. Are you kidding me? They get to play each other for all the marbles in the championship game, only if they are good enough.

O$U has owned the decade, it's time for Michigan to get back to prominence. It's the carrot our guys are working towards. The Maize and Blue will be there soon. Don't impede progress.


August 21st, 2010 at 3:14 AM ^

You do NOT just casually watch the greatest rivalry in college athletics get thrown by the wayside. 

This isn't progress.  This is absurd.  It's akin to having the Boston Red Sox join the National League, so maybe once in a while they'll get to play the Yankees in the World Series.  And hey, there's always interleague play!