September 3, 2010

LBU Reaction to Big Ten Divisions

Those who are about to become
Penn State's biggest rivals, salute you!
It's been a crazy 24 hours, but a fun 24 hours. Big Ten Divisions are here, and we have something to say about it...


My initial reaction to the divisions was ‘meh’ but the more I think about it the more I like them especially with a guaranteed game against Nebraska. I was hoping to be in Michigan’s division but the Michigan series has been one of ‘who can put together a win streak against who’ and not really that competitive lately. The Ohio State series, for the most part, has been chocked full of close, hard-fought games so we’ll have that every year. I’ve always liked Wisconsin for their ground and pound style of play and I’m still holding out hope that Nebraska will become our rival since we’re both the “new kids” in the conference.


At first, I didn't think I would like how things turned out. But these divisions are not something I hate, so it's a start. Had Penn State's protected rivalry been with Michigan State, it would have disappointed me severely; particularly now that Nebraska is our homie, which is absolutely destined to rival "The Game" as "The Game." [Shut up, UM/OSU fans] The east-west split was my original hope, and I do have it in the back of my mind that it would have had more outside appeal. But Jim Delany had a tough bunch to deal with [see:UM/OSU again], yet still managed to hit a home run with this thing. I'm not sure when the conference expands again, but it does look like the next logical step is eastward. When that time comes, we'll probably go through much of this again, but not nearly to the same degree. The series I'll miss: Northwestern, Michigan State; The series I'm excited about: Nebraska, Wisconsin; and Ohio State is, well, Ohio State.


The simple, most common sense, logical division along time zone wasn't good enough for some stupid, overwrought reason, but I don't hate this divisional set up entirely. I'm very excited to be playing Nebraska every year as our cross divisional rival and hopefully we can make Michigan a regular when they expand to nine conference games. Not sad to see the Land Grant trophy take a break, however the end of season match-up with Wisconsin has me similarly meh (maybe if they create an equally hideous turd of a "trophy" to fight over it will build excitement!). I do get the feeling though that the Big Ten is betting the house on Notre Dame and an eastern team (Rutgers/Syracuse) for future expansion, because Wisconsin would be the easy switch to balance the divisions out.


To me, it didn't really matter how the divisions were stacked up, as long as it led to the end result of a conference championship game. Now that the "rivalry games" are kept sacred, especially in the case of Michigan and Ohio State, I am in full support of the new divisions. I am however deeply grieving the loss of the yearly game against Michigan State, and it will take me a long time to accept the new rivalry with Nebraska. Okay, I am ready to take on the Cornhuskers every year. That Land Grant Trophy sure was a prestigious prize. And for those who argue that Ohio State playing Michigan two weeks in a row could ruin the rivalry, well I think you better take a second look at this Michigan team before envisioning them in a championship game anytime soon.


As much as I'll miss having a guaranteed win against Michigan State in even-numbered years, I'm glad that we've dumped that faux rivalry with Sparty. Now, if we can only dump that POS known as the Land Grant Trophy...I'm also elated about Nebraska being our "protected" yearly cross-divisional rival, get ready for some future "instant classics" between us now that Bo Pelini has the Huskers back to relevance. Furthermore, as someone with a *slight* emotional investment in the OSU-Michigan game (born in Columbus, mother is an OSU grad) words cannot describe how happy I am that they kept "The Game" on the last weekend of the regular season, even if it will lead at some point to a rematch the very next week in the Big Ten Championship game.

As usual, my above thoughts were incoherently written in five short minutes while at work in the late afternoon.

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