Smith Leaning Towards Michigan and Ohio in the Same Division

Submitted by bluebyyou on January 18th, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Per ESPN, Gene Smith favors the concept that Michigan and Ohio should be in the same Division, nothing new for Mgoblogers.  Not locked in stone, but leaning in that direction as DB feels similarly.

Smith said he has had informal discussions with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon about the two teams being in the same division and that both sides were open to the idea. In an email to, Brandon said, "I would certainly not be opposed to being in the same division as OSU if it was in the best interest of our conference. I look forward to the discussion with my colleagues and our conference leadership." 

"Going into the meetings, we would be leaning toward being in the same division," Smith said. "But there might be something that comes up in the [AD meetings] that could change our minds."…



January 18th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

Play for Conference Title?   National Championship?  Or play Ohio in the last regular season game?  Since my preference is the first 2, I'd rather Michigan was in a different division without a fixed cross divison game against Ohio every year.


January 18th, 2013 at 6:51 PM ^

There are multiple goals.  Sure, winning a national championship is big, but it has to go through OSU, it just has to, and them through us as well.  In years where a national championship or ever a Rose Bowl is out of the cards by November, we always have OSU.  It's tradition, and one of the best in the country.  

The first goal is to play Michigan football, and part of Michigan football is playing Ohio State.


January 18th, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

If the B1G kept UM and Ohio in separate divisions and did away with protected cross-over games, that might not be so bad.  First, instead of one rotating crossover game per season, there would be two.  That means UM would play Ohio 2 out of every 7 years in the regular season, in addition to possible BTCG matchups.  If UM met Ohio in the BTCG, say, 3 of every 7 seasons, then we are looking at playing Ohio an average of about 5 times every 7 years (of course, some of those years could overlap, which would be unfortunate).  I could live with that.



January 18th, 2013 at 8:33 PM ^

Maybe, but those aren't the only two options.  The option that this thread is advocating is for us to play OSU in either Columbus or AA, and the winner (presumably) can play someone else in the soulless NFL stadium.


January 18th, 2013 at 6:57 PM ^

Why don't they make a Big Ten WOO division with:

Michigan, MSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois, and Ohio... conveniently listed last

and a Big Ten MEHHH division with:

Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue, and Northwestern.

That way the winner of the WOO division has an easy road to the Rose Bowl and since whoever wins the B1G will have came from that division and played tougher teams, they'll be more ready to compete in the BCS game.


Side note: When the B1G gets Georgia Tech, they go to the WOO division.


January 18th, 2013 at 7:07 PM ^

I don't understand how this is good for the conference. If both teams are in the same division then the other division will certainly be on a lower tier. I don't get how that would help. 


January 18th, 2013 at 7:39 PM ^

But the other division could have Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin, and that's not really a lower tier.  In every conference where there are divisions, it always looks like one is better than the other, and sometimes that flip flops.  Right now, the top 2 teams in the Pac 12 are Stanford and Oregon, and they're in the same division.  FSU and Clemson are in the same division of the ACC.  

Hell, ten years ago the SEC East was king and the West was garbage, and 2 years ago it was the exact opposite.  If the other division has Nebraska and Wisconsin (likely), it's hard to say they're a lower tier considering those were the two teams who played for the leage title this year, one of which has made 3 straight Rose Bowls.


January 18th, 2013 at 7:09 PM ^

How about we scrap divisions, keep OSU the last game of the year, and just have the top 2 teams in the conf in any given year play for the conf championship?


January 18th, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

One of the things that sort of irritated me when they put us and our archnemesis in Columbus into separate divisions is that, either way you slice it, the loser of "The Game" is not going to the BTCG  more than likely anyway most years. However, if both Michigan and Ohio State are in the position of running away with their division, then "The Game" loses some consequence in that regard in that one team could win it, then in the BTCG, the other team could win and the whole ordeal is a wash on some level, at least in my view. That bastardizes the rivalry a bit, in my mind. 

I would prefer having both teams in the same division really because I  expect both teams would be #1 and #2 in the division more often than not going forward with the staffs they have and the game should have - as it did before -  even more immediate implications, such as the chance to go to the BTCG and, by extension, the Rose Bowl. Those sorts of implications made the game incredibly exciting more often than not. The prospect of sending Ohio State home with nothing in the way of a conference championship has always been a nice prospect. 



January 18th, 2013 at 8:25 PM ^

The same division makes sense, if one of us beats the other, why should they have to beat them again? Of course, it would help if one of us actually got to the B1G title game. I think being in he same division would make it seem like the old days, play for a chance to win the B1G title.


January 18th, 2013 at 8:34 PM ^

Yep, and the Big Ten would cash in on it because they essentially get 2 Big Ten title games out of it - the M-OSU game one week, and the winner of that against the other division winner the next week.  


January 18th, 2013 at 8:37 PM ^

As long as we are still the last game on each others schedules before the end of the regular season, I'm cool with it. We ruin each others seasons enough where the divisions don't really matter anyway.


January 18th, 2013 at 8:46 PM ^

I get that, but there are two things about it that really bother me.  First, that there will be a number of years where we play them two games in a row.  Second, the part that bothers me even more than that is that in most of those years, one or both of those teams will have the division title already wrapped up, and they'll know that they're in the championship game win or lose.  

I'm not saying the teams won't try when that's the case, but it just won't be as fun for the fans.  And it will suck for everyone who buys tickets to the first game, when by gametime everyone will know it's the first of two games, the second of which means more.  

E. Gordon Gee

January 18th, 2013 at 9:27 PM ^

Ok, I think its easy to say that OSU and Michigan will most likely collide in Indy. How about we use the 2013 season as a test drive to see if we even like meeting twice, TV ratings, emotions behind playing twice and so forth. This is a good year to experimet before Delany changes anything. If we like it keep it the same, if we don't change it. 


January 18th, 2013 at 9:07 PM ^

Delany has stated that geography will play a much larger role and that crossover games are far less important. If he sticks to that, I will propose a simple East/West plan. Only one pair of teams by coordinates get moved. Purdue to the East and MSU to the West.

East   West
Michigan    Nebraska
Ohio St Wisconsin
Penn St     Michigan St
Purdue Iowa
Rutgers     Illinois
Maryland   Northwestern
Indiana Minnesota

Michigan and MSU could play a crossover game preserving that series. The trophy games are still pretty much in tact except for the Little Brown Jug. I don't think either side would really care if there was a break between games. If you do add teams in the future and you are sticking to geography only 1 or 2 teams get moved bringing some stability to the expansion. 


January 18th, 2013 at 10:24 PM ^

Granted this is done with very little thought to geographics, which I don't think matters:



It would be nice to poach a GA Tech, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, or laugh all you want...Duke....hey it would help hoops out! Not that the B1G needs to be stronger in will be interesting to see what happens with Duke if the ACC goes bye-bye.


January 19th, 2013 at 1:10 AM ^

Michigan and Ohio MUST be in the same division.

1. by being in separate divisions, it becomes a competitive disadvantage for both M and Ohio because we would still have a protected crossover game every year, where others in our division would have protected crossovers against crap teams, making our strength of schedule more difficult year in and year out.

2. the obvious possibility of back-to-back games which has been discussed.

3. it makes the rivalry mean so much more.

4. It works because if MSU is not in our division, they could still be our protected rivalry game.  The only rivalry game we could lose out on every year would be the Little Brown Jug -- does anyone care THAT much?

Proposed divisions (the same as umbig11 proposed above actually now that I look at it):

East : Michigan, Ohio, Penn St., Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, Purdue

West: Michigan St., Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois

The reasons why I like the division matchups and think they are good for the conference are as follows:

1. It allows the major programs, Michigan and Ohio, to get yearly access to huge markets and alumni bases in NYC and DC, which is good for the BTN's prospects and the many thousands of fans of either school on the east coast. (while also keeping Penn State in the mix in the east -- something they really want.)

2. it protects all the rivalries in the Big Ten, when considering protected crossovers as well.

3. The competitive balance is still there.  The East has 3 traditionally great programs, and the West would be anyone's division on a yearly basis. 



January 19th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

Of directional terms for division names makes no sense to me, they should have no bearance to future expansion. I don't mind leaders and legends...they aren't great, but really, is divisional names that big of a deal? Who cares, I wish they would spend more time coming up with a better symbol besides B1G.


January 19th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

How about we re-hire Bill Martin instead of sitting and watching Brandon DESTROY our Athletic Department. I read in Three-and-Out and Martin seems like a much better fit as AD. IIRC, he was responsible for nothing but greatness while he was here. We miss you Bill.


The FannMan

January 19th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

At this point, I am neutral. To me, this isn't really the Big Ten anymore. It's some TV focused marketing deal that won't make any sense at all in five or six years when cable packages are history. So, put us in the same division and have The Game played at 8:30 at night in September at Yankee Stadium. Both teams can wear alternate uniformz with advertising. It would have about as much to do with tradition as Rutgers and Maryland in the Big Ten.