Thursday, September 2, 2010

How badly is the Big Ten conference idea screwed up?

Pretty fuckin' badly, if you axe me. I'm certain Buddy will have something to say about it when he gets back from his weeklong fornication vacation, too.

The divisions were announced last night, and they're more gerrymandered than a New York congressional district.
Neither division has been named but they break down like this: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern in one. Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana in the other.
The conference had said previously that their three concerns in dividing up would be 1) maintaining a competitive balance, 2) maintaining rivalries, and 3) geography, and in that order.
So how did they do?

1) Maintaining a competitive balance. This is so dumb as to be hardly even worth considering. It assumes that schools become no better and no worse over time. And even if they don't, who is the current "competitive balance" to Ohio State in the other division? Michigan? Please. Michigan State? NORTHWESTERN? COME ON! What if say, Wisconsin, grows into a Ohio State-like powerhouse (one that wins its bowl games, though)? Will the divisions change? No. So, fail.

2) Maintaining rivalries. What are the tradition Big Ten rivalries, and were they "maintained?"
  • Michigan - Ohio State: Obviously the biggest. Will still play each other in a "cross-division" rivalry game on the last week of each season. So, why put them in a different division? Georgia-Florida: both in the same division. UNC-Duke (hahaha... aaahhhahahahaha... no, not football): both in the same division. THAT'S how you make a rivalry. You don't make up some bullshit "cross-division" name and then call it a rivalry. I call this "not maintained." That they still play each other every year is a mere technicality. Playing the game on the last week of the season makes it sort of an "all or nothing" deal. Either the game has meaning for the championship, or it doesn't, whereas putting the two in the same division would make the game float in the schedule each year. With the addition of a championship game, can you see a situation where Ohio State has the division sewn up going into the Michigan game, and then plays scrubs so nobody gets hurt? I can.
  • Minnesota - Wisconsin: Same deal. Huge game. We've been assured they'll play each other in a cross-division rivalry game. Just dumb.
  • Wisconsin - Iowa: NOT MAINTAINED.
  • Even the recent quasi-rivalries we've seen emerge over the past few years, like Wisconsin - Northwestern have not been maintained.
  • ESPN says: "The other cross-divisional rivalries will be: Nebraska and Penn State, pitting the Big Ten's two newest members; Indiana and Michigan State, which play for the Brass Spittoon; and Iowa and Purdue; and in-state rivals Illinois and Northwestern."Lame, lame, lame. Penn State and Nebraska are not rivals just because they're the newest in the Big Ten. That's just stupid. Indiana and Michigan State? I've never even heard of that. Iowa and Purdue, obviously even too lame for the article to elaborate on. Illinois - Northwestern is sort of legit, in the way that watching two babies fight would be kind of interesting for a minute.
  • Other ones too dumb to mention. Except maybe Michigan - Michigan State, which I guess is sort of maintained.
3) Geography. This obviously didn't come out in a strict East - West sort of deal, as the far east teams like Penn State won't be routinely going to Nebraska or Iowa. I can sort of see a rough arcing North - South deal, though, if you squint really hard. Frankly, I think an East - West breakdown would have made the most sense, and best accomplished the other two goals.

I honestly don't see a whole lot of logic to the announced split, but we can be damned sure it was driven primarily by loudmouth Ohio State fans, and whatever beer-soaked corn dog logic they barfed up behind the Denny's.

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