When I heard the Big 10* was splitting into two divisions that would culminate at the end of the year with a single playoff game between the two divisions to determine a Big 10 winner, I was undecided. Would the Michigan-Ohio State game get lost in the shuffle? What if it wasn’t the end of the season? Would we all die???
Turns out the divisions do not suck and I find myself mildly pleased. Not overly enthusiastic because I am mourning the loss of the UM-Penn State game — YOU PENN STATE PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE — but it is far less a bag of suck then what usually comes out of college football. The divisions are:
* Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
* Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana.
I liked the addition of “protected games” although some of them are a little contrived. I also realize everyone wants Michigan to play Nebraska every year as a big marquee game. They kept the Michigan-Michigan State game and the Little Brown Jug game. I think it works out. Sure, no more UM-Penn State, UM-Purdue or UM-Wisconsin games, all staples of the schedule, but I think we’ll live.
I also suspect this has been engineered to absorb Notre Dame and Missouri. No one has made any particular secret that the dream is to expand the Big 10 into a 16 Team Supergroup**, sort of like a Velvet Revolver of College Football. Or maybe Them Crooked Vultures — it has Dave Grohl. But that means Notre Dame and Missouri have to sign up. I bet they will — it makes the Big 10 huge and the ad revenue on TV will be even more astronomical, astronomical-astronomical, than it is now. The lure of filthy lucre will pull Notre Dame, forever going ‘I will not be seen with those stinky State Schools***’ into its ugly orbit. And Missouri will want to play Nebraska. But what do you do about the Michigan-ND rivalry since the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is protected? Complications!
The only big hitch? This entire system is all predicated on Michigan not sucking. And that, my friends, is hilarious.
1. I am not horrified by the Big 10 divisions.
2. But I am a bit sad at the lack of some of the staple games I look forward to every year. And the yearly mockery.
3. I look forward to a glorious 16 team future! Where there are 16 teams! … or at least 14.
4. I like the playoff game to determine a Big 10 Champion. Now if we can have interconference play between other conference champions that built up to some kind of, oh, I don’t know, playoff system at the end of the season, all the better.
Eric points out that the addition of Missouri and Notre Dame would make the Big 10 the Big 0x10. They are all engineering schools, right?
* Now with 12 team action!
** Mysteriously still called the Big 10. State schools save ND, and we don’t count gud.
*** Unless it’s college hoops.