Though I expect this to fall on deaf ears, I typed it up, so I might as well share it, right?
A.) The argument that OSU-Michigan has anything to do with keeping up with the Joneses is totally off base. It would apply if the discussion still involved the chance there could be no championship game. That is clearly not the case. The debate is only about whether or not to draw the league’s divisions based on the simple and ultra successful SEC model, the relatively decent Big 12 plan or the completely disastrous ACC actions.
(As an aside, the argument that a conference must have a championship game to be relevant is wrong in itself. The Pac-10 and Big East play regular season games that weekend to remain in the public’s consciousness. There’s virtually no difference except the winner of a conference championship game gets a bastardized version of its league’s title regardless of the quality of the two teams in the game. Meanwhile, last season Oregon-Oregon State and Cincinnati-Pitt were end-of-regular-season games that weekend that decided the winner of the conference and had the added benefit of actually involving the two best teams in the conference, something not always true of a conference championship game because divisions are rarely balanced from year to year.)
As Frank The Tank explains, the geographic model is the way to go.
B.) In terms of “joining the whorehouse”,that’s already done with the addition of Nebraska, and no one is crying about it anymore. But fundamentally changing the Ohio State-Michigan game would have to qualify the Big Ten for its own special suite unless you can name another conference that broke up end-of-season conference rivals for such a reason as the Big Ten is considering (or perhaps has decided to do). Last time I checked, the SEC expanded without harming the Iron Bowl and the Big 12 did not touch Texas-Texas A&M, Oklahoma-OSU, Missouri-Kansas, Kansas-KSU and Nebraska-Colorado. Otherwise, yeah, it’s totally the same thing.
Texas and Oklahoma don’t fit the analogy because they had a rivalry long before they were ever conference members, so expansion enhanced that rivalry by adding more to the stakes whereas moving OSU-Michigan would lessen the importance of the game as it exists now. Miami and Florida State never played in the same conference, either, but in case you hadn’t noticed, their setup has completely failed to accomplish anything positive for the league or the schools and there is not really any evidence an OSU-Michigan move would produce any better results.
So to compare this specific action to anything done by any other league is to prove a complete lack of understanding about the situation because the facts don’t fit the case.
If you don’t find the preservation of tradition to be a compelling reason to do something, that’s all well and good. Please go find a situation that involves only that argument and mock those people instead because there’s more to the story here.
Contrarians are always welcome in a debate, but at least get the major points of the argument correct before refuting them.
If you believe the Big Ten must have 12 teams and a championship game to be relevant, A) You’re probably wrong, but more importantly, B) that can be achieved without changing the yearly impact of the Ohio State-Michigan game to such a significant degree. I disagree with Jim Delany’s probably insincere belief that Ohio State and Michigan should not play for a divisional title. Doing that every year beats the hell out of playing for nothing most years.
(Previously discussed here and here.)