The Big Ten has surprised me recently with their grasping of the college landscape spotlight. They somehow took the normally quiet off-season and made it all about the Big Ten and possible expansion. Commissioner Jim Delany used his network and found a way to be the top prince in the ballroom. Unlike recent lack of relevance during season’s end for football and basketball, the Big Ten looked to make the biggest splash as of late. Instead, they turned a division announcement into a major failure.
Splitting Michigan and Ohio State in divisions is a catastrophic mistake. The chances of these two teams meeting in the Big Ten title game are extremely minimal. Look at Florida State-Miami (never), look at Nebraska-Oklahoma (once in 15 years). Conference title games are a money-grubbing, competition diluting event that does not help out as much as “the experts” make it out to be. With Michigan and Ohio State meeting in the final game every year, even if they do play each other the next week in the title game, the first edition could be relatively meaningless.
The league that is known for its basketball championship game taking place during NCAA tournament selection, and ending its football season nearly two weeks before others, did not do anyone a service by not having a name for the divisions. In the meantime, divisions will be known simply for the teams that are contained within.
Who knows whether this call was intentional or not, but one would have to guess so with all of the contained questions during the “news conference.” I know a bad publicized event when I see one and the 11 (soon to be 12) commissioners should question the leaks and the way that this was rolled out to the public. With the excitement surrounding the divisional announcement, one would have to believe that the 2010 season is a mere throw away for the league.