Blog Entry

Big Ten booted it

Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:22 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2010 11:34 am

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Big Ten. You got your way.

There's a bold, bright world out there beyond your Saturday tailgate full of Yuenglings, Leinenkugels and Rust Belt pride. Your conference chose to ignore it. The core issue in Big Ten divisional alignment was Michigan-Ohio State.

If one of those games was good, two was better. Still is. The problem is that tradition won out over that bold, bright world. "The Game" will remain on the last Saturday in November, diminishing the chances for a rematch in the championship game. That essentially negates the fact that the Big Ten's two biggest franchises will compete in opposite divisions -- as yet unnamed.

Commissioner Jim Delany harkened back to the epic 2006 game.  On the weekend that Bo Schembechler died, Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39 at The Shoe. The Wolverines remained No. 2 in the BCS for while creating the possibility for a BCS title game rematch. Then UCLA beat USC and Florida played Ohio State for the national championship.

In 2003, Oklahoma actually lost by four touchdowns to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game and still played LSU in the BCS title game. So miracles can happen late but what Delany was referring to still remains 100-year flood type stuff. In other  words, don't count on a rematch.

In fact, it's more likely the Ohio State-Michigan loser misses out on a BCS bowl. Try getting beat twice in a row by the same opponent. Sure, they could still win their divisions and meet again the next week in the championship game, but it isn't likely. There just isn't much room for error. Look at the SEC and Big 12, the major conferences that have played a championship game the longest. Combined, there have been only 11 of 32 regular-season rematches (34 percent) in those two leagues. Few, if any of those rematches, were played within two weeks of each  other.

The Michigan-Ohio State loser is going to need a cushion. Twenty-six of the 36 SEC divisions races since 1992 have ended in ties or the combatants were within one game of each other. You don't want that to be a factor on the last day of the regular season.

Some of you will celebrate the preservation of the sanctity of the last Saturday in November. But something is going to be missing. "The Game" is not going to be for the Rose Bowl ever again. Oh, it could eventually lead to a Rose Bowl, or a national championship, but it won't be that end-all, be-all.

 There was discussion, Delany said, of moving Ohio State-Michigan to earlier in November. That would have at least created a better possibility for a rematch. The loser would have at least had a chance to "rehab" itself by winning out over the next month. Do-or-die on the last Saturday in November makes it mostly die for the loser.

What's wrong with building excitement? Big Ten isn't suffering for bucks but a second such game would have made the first look like a preliminary. Big crowd, big TV, big hype. The conference is used to that but slowly inexorably, there is going to be change. Delany talked of rebranding the conference in the next 90 days. There will be a new logo. Maybe that will create a stir because this didn't. Not for me.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Sep 14, 2007
Posted on: September 2, 2010 1:45 am

Big Ten booted it

Chances are easily 50/50 that the conference championship will be a rematch, especially when the Big 10 moves to a 9 game schedule.  Whatever season, whoever is up or down, with protected rivalries between OSU/Michigan and Nebraska/Penn State the conference championship almost can't help but include 2 teams that played each other previously. 

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2010 1:00 am

Big Ten booted it

Amen brother.  You're totally right. Dodd doesn't get it.  It's why the rest of the nation is a spectator to our rivalry.  They tune in because they know we get it, even if they don't understand it.  Dodd's thinking is indicative of 2-10-1 John Cooper and "the 13-13 tie is one of Ohio State's greatest victories" Gordon Gee.  I advise Dodd to watch the episode Game Day from season 1 of The Wire:

Referee:  If you want, I could put some time back on the clock and we could replay it?

Losing Coach: "Are you talking about a do-over? That's not how the game is supposed to be played!"

One of the reasons the passions run sky high is that the game is played once, at the end of the season, usually with something big on the outcome.  The thrill of victory is complete and unabiding.  The agony of defeat lasts all year.  It's how each program measures itself.  If the schools were in the same division as they should be, then the outcome most years will be who represents the division in the conference title game.  That's perfectly fine.  The Rose Bowl?  Sorry, the BCS ruined that and one day playoffs will kill the BCS. The Game is not meant to be played on an NFL field at a neutral site inside a dome.  All of the people who conjured this up should go swallow a gun.  We're not relics or old fasioned, we just don't want New Coke.  Dodd, Delany, Brandon, Smith, Coleman, and Gee - you just wrote the 2nd line of your obituaries - "was Komisar/President/Athletic Director of Big Ten/Ohio State/Michigan who foolishy voted in favor of destroying one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports.  Fine legacies, expletives asterisked over.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:56 am

Not perfect, but not terrible either

The competitive balance between the divisions is fine for now.

Sure, a tidy east-west split would have worked too.  But you have to try to keep a lot of teams happy with this.

If form holds next year, looks like Nebraska and Iowa are butting heads in the, um, "north" division.  Ohio State and Penn State in the "south" division.  (Everyone in that division, except Wisconsin, is in the southern half of the conference.)  Nebraska-Ohio State, Penn State-Iowa, something like that, for the first Big Ten title game... that's a pretty good show for TV.

Since: Oct 12, 2009
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:50 am

Big Ten booted it

Is he actually refering to there not being a chance of them rematching in the national championship? I have read this a few times and it is kind of unclear to me. If he is, how is that different from any other conference with a conference championship? You see SEC fans all the time saying they eliminate eachother from NC contention, now Dodd is already starting it here. As far as I can tell, Dodd could've written this article regardless of how they decided to split them up.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:43 am

Dodd really is an idiot, but...

The Big 10 really did screw up. First of all by putting OSU and Michigan in separate divisions. When Michigan finally wises up and boots Rodriguez back to a wannabe conference team and Michigan goes back to Michigan football, the Big 10 will hurt their own chances of putting a team into the BCS Championship game. Take both teams a few years ago when OSU beat Michigan at home 42-39 as number 1 beat number 2. Had they gone on to replay each other in a conference championship, I doubt that OSU could have beaten them a second time in two weeks. Therefore, they would have kept each other out of the National Championship game most likely. If, and when Michigan makes a comeback, it's likely that they'll play back to back more times than not, and unless one team is good enough, or lucky enough to beat the other twice in two weeks (which is doubtful), the Big 10 conference, in their quest for more excitement, will knock a Big 10 team from the bigger game. The best news is for Michigan as their side of the bracket is far weaker than the Ohio St. side. The brackets don't make sense as they stand. As in other conferences, the teams were divided by location, either north and south, or east and west. The Big 10 seems to have tried to even out the sides by evening out how good the teams are now. What happens in a few years when a better team or two of one side falls apart and aren't as good then as they are now? That leaves a bracket empty with the other bracket full, thus, far less excitement and the conference looking to re-align. It would have made more sense to divide the brackets by north and south which would have left Michigan and Ohio St. in separate brackets. East and west would have overloaded the east but also would have had OSU and Michigan in the same bracket.

The Big 10 has done nothing good for itself starting with bringing Nebraska into the conference instead of Notre Dame, and more of a disservice to itself with this bracket alignment. The best hopes the Big 10 has of competing for a national championship each year is if Michigan keeps Rodriguez and that they stay in the crapper each year.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:42 am

Big Ten booted it

Cooney, your Badgers got the short end of the stick in the divisional realignment.  They should have at least swapped Northwestern and Wisconsin.  For the MU-OSU game, I think it would have helped the rivalry to keep both teams in the same division.  Then they could be playing for the Big 10 championship each year.  But the way they did it at least keeps the rivalry alive, unlike what happened in the Big 12 with OU-NU. 

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:35 am

Big Ten booted it

I could not agree more with my Hawkeye friend. This was a Bo-Woody decision. The prblem is that both of those guys are dead!!! The Big Ten welcomes Nebraska into the fold and immediately treats them to the cold shoulder. The Big 12 was all about Oklahoma-Texas and now you are in the Big Ten that is all about Michigan-OSU. This is not 1960 where Michigan and OSU have all the scholarhip players from the midwest on their rosters. In fact it is quite the opposite. 

Wisconsin now moves to the O or X Division what ever the hell it is called, and joins PSU and OSU. That works great for balance if everything stays status quo. The problem is that NEVER happens. Things will change and people will complain. I wish rivarlies like Iowa v Wisky and NW v Wisky were taken into account. It is sad to think that UW will not play Nebraska, Iowa, or NW regularly.

Why did they not consider the style of football that each school plays? I look at the division with Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State and Minnesota and think that there are four programs that want to run a Power Offense. They are not spread formations or ticky-tack. On the other hand who in the other division is not a chuck and duck offense? Indy, Purdue and the Illini are all spread and throw. They don't offer power games very often. PSU and OSU are hit and miss. Clarett was the last OSU back that was a real 3rd and 1 kind of guy. The whole division set up is sad given the complete lack of respect that every school other than OSU and Michigan got.

Shame on the Big Ten and I hope Michigan and OSU NEVER play one another in the Title Game!!!!

Since: Sep 2, 2010
Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:15 am

Big Ten booted it

People, people, people.  IT'S DENNIS DODD.  He's more troll than sportswriter. Always has been.  Someone who has no heart/soul and knows nothing about college football outside of Missouri and K-State should not be given a second thought.  Don't feed the trolls.

Since: Feb 15, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2010 11:57 pm

Big Ten booted it

"The Game" is not going to be for the Rose Bowl ever again. Oh, it could eventually lead to a Rose Bowl, or a national championship, but it won't be that end-all, be-all.
Hm. You did realize that was going to happen anyways, just like the rest of us, right? And it can still happen in the championship game, seeing that the Ohio State-Michigan game is just one of eight conference games. I'm happy with my consolation prize. We still play on a cool November afternoon at one of the premier college football venues. Sure, no dancing around with roses between our teeth, but it's not like that was a yearly tradition, anyway. 

I still fail to see how playing the last game in opposite divisions eliminates the opportunity for a rematch, though. You'll have to explain that one to me. Anyway, it feels good to see you so upset that the Big Ten didn't do things EXACTLY the way you wanted them to. Maybe it will give you a little perspective on how those of us who wanted a simple East-West split, or perhaps no divisions at all feel.  Anyway, enjoy your oblivion! 

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2010 11:14 pm

Utterly Wrong

I almost never come on here and rip on the sportswriters, because the ones I disagree with the most I usually find the most entertaining to read about.  But Dodd made a completely absurd error that undermines the entire article that cannot be ignored.  Whoever wins the divisions in a conference is based purely on won-loss records.  There is no polling, computer ranking, or any other subjective element involved.  Therefore, it doesn't matter whether OSU and Mich play in the last game, in October, or in April on Mars, the timing of the game will make NO DIFFERENCE in whether one or both qualify for the conference championship game, and it's just a complete mental lapse to suggest otherwise.  Let's say both teams finish 7-1 in conference and therefore win their divisions, with one team losing to the other who had previously lost one game.  When those games were played is completely irrelevant, all that matters is the final record in which all conference games count the same.
This glaring logical flaw upsets me because I actually agree with Dodd that the game should have been moved earlier in the season.  I have been a diehard Ohio State fan since the day I was born, and the OSU-Michigan game is my favorite (or least favorite) day of the year.  To suggest that moving the game to a different date undermines the rivalry doesn't give the rivalry enough credit.  For me, the rivalry is watching my Buckeyes lose every game during my formative years in the 90's, which made me hate Michigan.  I'm going to hate Michigan the last game of the season, the first game of the season, on my birthday in March, when the Blue Jackets play the Red Wings, on Christmas, and every morning when I wake up.  OSU-Michigan is every day, one day a year they just happen to play each other in football.  I don't cheer for UM to play well during the season so that it can be an "meaningful" game.  I don't root for them in the bowl game "for the good of the Big Ten."  I want them to go 0-12 every year, including a 90 point loss to the Buckeyes and an 88 point loss to the other 11 teams they play, even if one of them is Florida.

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