Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OSU, MICHIGAN ON DIFFERENT SIDES, BUT 'THE GAME' REMAINS THE SAME

Photo by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
CHICAGO — Ohio State and Michigan will compete in different divisions starting in 2011, the Big Ten announced on Wednesday evening. However, "The Game" will remain intact annually, and during the final weekend of the regular season.


"That game will occur on the last day of the regular season as it has since 1935," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on Wednesday, about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry game. "There's been a lot of speculation about this game and where it will be placed. I think it's candid to say that we looked at different places. We never did look at an October date, contrary to a lot of reports. We looked at a mid-November date and a final season date.

"Basically we decided to go with the final season date because we felt that in part that was the way to maintain the tradition."


Ohio State will be in a six-team division with Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. The other division will consist of Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and conference newcomer Nebraska.

Annually, each team will play every school in their respective division (five games), as well as one rivalry game, and two rotating match-ups with the opposing division — making it an 8-game conference schedule beginning in 2011.

Many felt that with Ohio State and Michigan residing in separate divisions, their storied rivalry game would be moved from the final week of the regular season. Many thought that it would be unwise to have a possible back-to-back showdown between the two schools.

Delany said that all they had to do was look back at the 2006 season when Ohio State and Michigan faced each other undefeated and ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

"We thought back to 2006 when Ohio State and Michigan played that classic game," Delany said. "Ohio State went on to play in the national championship game, and there was a lot of discussion about Michigan possibly maintaining their No. 2 position because they played so well.

"It didn't happen, but I can tell you that I think everyone in the country would've been excited to see that (rematch) game. So I think regardless of the teams involved, if two teams are divisional champions and they qualify even though they may have played the immediate week or two weeks or three weeks before, we'll still have great followship."