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.