Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The New Big 10 Divisional Alignment Part III: Too Much Tradition?

Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports argues that the Big 10 paid too much respect to tradition in terms of it scheduling with the new division alignment.

His particular complaint was that the Ohio St.-Michigan game would remain on the last weekend of the season:

The problem is that tradition won out over that bold, bright world. "The Game" will remain on the last Saturday in November, diminishing the chances for a rematch in the championship game.


"There was discussion, Delany said, of moving Ohio State-Michigan to earlier in November. That would have at least created a better possibility for a rematch. The loser would have at least had a chance to "rehab" itself by winning out over the next month. Do-or-die on the last Saturday in November makes it mostly die for the loser."

I do not understand this. If the two teams play earlier in the season, that would have just as big of an impact on the divisional race as a game on the last weekend of the season. Actually it would seem that it would more likely lead to a re-match in the Title game. If one of the team's is in a do-or-die situation and the other has already clinched its division, the team in the do-or-die situation will probably have a greater chance of winning than an earlier point in the season. The non-do-or-die team would presumably be the better team, as they already won their division. So under normal circumstances, like an early November game, they would be more likely to win, decreasing the probability of a re-match relative to the last week of the season.

Actually the problem with this setup is that the re-match is too likely. The same two teams playing on back-to-back weeks is less intriguing than other possibilities. The obvious solution to this problem would have been to put Michigan and Ohio St. in the same division.

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