After the Big Ten conference announced the two divisions of their new 12-team conference, they made sure to indicate that Ohio State and Michigan, the two most dominant football powers in that league, would continue their rivalry without interference or interruption, meeting in the last game of the regular season as they have done since 1935.
“I’m very pleased that we came out of this with protected rivalries that will go on permanently with Ohio State and Michigan State,” Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told The Associated Press. “We’ll play Ohio State in the last game of the regular season, following a tradition that has lasted for decades. And if we both earn the right, we can play the Buckeyes again in the Big Ten championship game.”
There was speculation the Michigan-Ohio State game could be pushed out of its end-of-season spot, maybe even into October. It sent some fans into an outrage and Delany said that was a factor in the final decision.
“We heard the fans, there’s no doubt [that] their voices mattered,” Delany said. –Y! Sports.
While some will be upset about the facts that (a) Michigan and Ohio State could theoretically play each other in back-to-back games, and (b) that The Game is no longer the de facto Big Ten title game that it once was, this arrangement is really the best scenario for both teams. I’ve said before that the rivalry wasn’t so much about tradition for its own sake but rather a natural crescendo for the campaigns of each team. If you took the Statue of Liberty scene from Planet Of The Apes and put it in the middle of the movie, that’s what moving the Ohio State-Michigan game would have felt like. Congrats to the “Big Ten-ish” for not screwing it up.