From Larry Lage of the Associated Press, via Twitter:
We’ll see if that’s really how it plays out tonight, but it sounds like the rumors are true. You know what? I’ll take it. I know there’s a lot of consternation out there about competitive balance and how this affects The Game (the possibility that the Michigan-Ohio State game in the regular season could be somewhat meaningless, especially if only intra-divisional games count in the Big Ten Standings). I think when it comes down to it, however, The Game will still be The Game, and with how up-and-down college football is from year-to-year, let alone how much things can change in the span of a mere decade, there will always be some imbalance in the divisions one way or the other. Does everyone really expect Northwestern to buck 130 years of tradition and become a perennially decent team, especially if a big-name school tries to lure Pat Fitzgerald away?
I’m just saying, take a step back and look big picture here. We have what should be a tremendous rivalry between two tradition-rich schools with great fanbases in Michigan-Nebraska. The Little Brown Jug will be played for each and every season, like it should be. The already-bitter rivalry with Michigan State should only intensify. The Wolverines will get to duck Penn State and Wisconsin every once in a while, which should ease some of the team’s schedule difficulty. There will be a Big Ten Championship Game at the end of the season, like there should be — who doesn’t love big-time conference title games? Most importantly, The Game is in its rightful place, at the end of the regular season. And finally, unless every other writer claiming to have the inside scoop is astoundingly incorrect, Dennis Dodd is wrong, which makes this all feel very, very right.
On Saturday, the Big House will be full again, and we’ll all be enjoying (and stressing about, of course) the thing we should all be focusing on anyway: The Team, The Team, The Team.