Some traditions are more hallowed than others.

Matt Hinton, in the context of an impassioned plea to the Big Ten to leave well enough alone with regard to the Michigan-Ohio State game, has this to say:

… If it succeeds on that front, and The Michigan-Ohio State Game™ is no more valuable as the championship matchup than any other potential championship matchup between deserving teams, there’s no incentive whatsoever to risk blowing up the hallowed traditions that mean so much to so many people on both sides. Keep the game where it’s always been, at the end of the schedule. Keep the game what it’s always been, the ritualistic culmination of an entire season in a single, freezing orgy of centuries-old hate that cannot be overturned or redeemed for at least another 365 days. In good years, the division championship (hence a shot at the conference championship) will be on the line, preserving the familiar winner-take-all/loser-go-home intensity that made “The Game” what it is in the first place.

Forsaking all of that in the hope of an extremely marginal increase in TV ratings for two or three championship games per decade is extremely cynical, but it (probably) wouldn’t make Jim Delany one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It also wouldn’t make the conference any better or more valuable than it would be otherwise, and it would arbitrarily undermine one of its most valuable, unique pillars for virtually nothing. Michigan-Ohio State already stands on its own…

Now, I don’t argue with a single word he writes there, but (and you knew there had to be a “but”, right?) I’m having a hard time squaring his eloquent sentiment with his unabashed support for a college football playoff.

Take his post and substitute “regular season” for “The Game” and “extended playoff” for “Big Ten Championship”.  How does that then read any differently from the uneasiness I’ve expressed about the risk that a D-1 postseason negatively impacts what makes college football better than any other organized sport – a truly meaningful regular season?

I’m not trying to be snarky here – I’d genuinely like to know how those of you who dismiss my fretting about a diminished regular season yet agree with his point about the Big Ten can reconcile the two positions.

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11 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

11 responses to “Some traditions are more hallowed than others.

  1. Dawgfan17

    I am 100% against a playoff for that exact reason. A playoff may have some benefits but to me it is not worth the risk that the best regular season of any sport (pro or college) would be lessoned even by a small amount, and quite possibly by a good bit. My biggest fear is that 4 teams would turn into 8 and 8 into 16 and eventually the anomaly that was the 2007 season with a 2 loss champion would turn into teams that win it all with 2/3/4 and possibly even 5 losses winning it all. While it fun to see a team like Danny Manning and the Miracles win in basketball the occasional run like that is not worth what it would do to the rest of the season.

  2. Connor

    Senator, excellent point.
    My response to extended playoff propenents has long been, “you’ll probably get it, and you’ll probably hate it.”

  3. BadM

    I read the post and get the absolute opposite reaction. The greatness of the game come very little from the time of the year or even repective records at the time. They just hate each other.
    I might not be for a playoff if some schools just didn’t keep getting screwed b/c of their schedule while others (I.e. 90s Fl St and 00s Ohio St) get to coast to a MNC game. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

  4. BadM

    Besides, name one sport where the fans are pushing to get rid of playoffs? Who thinks the NFL should go to a poll system? I don’t even thing Patriot fans think the Giants should give back the Super Bowl because overall the Pats had a better team/season. They even came up with a crazy playoff in NASCAR where it makes no sense. (well maybe NASCAR fans don’t want it. I’m not sure. I don’t know any.)

    • FisheriesDawg

      I happen to believe that the fact that the Giants won that Super Bowl is one of the greatest arguments against an expanded playoff. They had no business even being anywhere near that game. Eli Manning should have been packing his things for Hawaii while it was being played.

      If we lose in Columbia in week two, I don’t want to be leaving the stadium saying “well, that’s ok, as long as we only lose another game or two we’re still in good shape.” I want it to burn my soul with the fire of a thousand suns because that is the way college football is supposed to be. I want to leave the stadium in Jacksonville knowing that we just ruined Florida’s season and they’ll have to think about it for the next year, not think about how there is a good chance we’re going to have to do it again on a different neutral field as long as they can beat South Carolina and FSU.

        • BadM

          You want to burn that LSU gets a shot at a MNC with two losses? You must love that If we beat Fl they will still get the benefit of any doubt b/c of past years. You want to be the next Auburn? Because I guarantee if two of Ohio St, Tx, or Okl end up in a tie with Ga…they will get to invite, they have tradition and we get screwed.
          BTW your right. That whole Super Bowl thing is a joke. They should just vote for a winner.

          • Hackerdog

            I think you’re on to something. If UGA and GA Tech each reach the final game of the regular season undefeated, I think they should each rest their starters and turn the game into a scrimmage for the 2nd and 3rd string. The way they do it in the NFL. I know I don’t want any of our starters getting hurt in a meaningless game before the playoffs even start.

            • BadM

              Because that’s the only time it means something…when we are playing for a spot in the MNC game. That happens a lot. And with a four team playoff…you can’t drop a game. Your not going to rest anyone. You still have to prove you are one of the top 4 teams in the nation.

  5. Gen. Stoopnagle

    What is wrong with:

    East:
    Penn State
    Ohio State
    Michigan
    Michigan State
    Indiana
    Purdue

    West:
    Nebraska
    Iowa
    Wisconsin
    Northwestern
    Illinois
    Minnesota

    ?

    • Macallanlover

      Not a damned thing. In fact, anyone with a bit of CFB sense would divide it that way and have the first 3 teams you have listed in each division as the designated “annual rival” game to insure balance. But that would be way too logical, much like the SEC does it with their top 6 teams, look how poorly that has worked out for making sure the best team emerges. Surely Godfather Delany would want that!