ESPN's Bennett suggests MN/WI end their rivalry
I know this is old (from last week), but it certainly has caused quite a stir over at GH.com.
And then the follow up response to the backlash:
Chris from Williamston, Mich., writes: Brian, does it bother you that there is no MSU-Wisconsin game scheduled past the 2012 season? Any chance of a protected rivalry happening in the future? These past couple years have had some fun games in this budding rivalry.
Brian Bennett: If those two teams can stage games anywhere near as entertaining as the two we got last year, then they should play every year. However, it's not a protected cross-division game. Wisconsin has Minnesota and Michigan State has Indiana.
Until the Gophers and Hoosiers get back on their feet, doesn't it make sense to switch those? I know Minnesota-Wisconsin is a rivalry, but it's been pretty one-sided of late.
Thoughts? I know you guys had a pretty historic rivalry with Oklahoma and it ended up going by the wayside due to the conference divisions, so I figured you'd have some good input on this.
Michael from Minneapolis writes: How you get to write about the Big Ten or college football with nonsense like suggesting the end of the Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry is beyond me. The battle for the Axe is the longest running rivalry in football, and you don't just stop that because of a period of imbalance. The Gophers and Badgers have played 120 times since 1890. Notice that's 120 times in 121 years. I must have missed when you said they should stop playing Army/Navy (10 straight Navy wins 13 of 15) or Ohio State/Michigan (OSU 7 straight and 9 of 11 before this year) or Harvard/Yale (Harvard 10 of last 11). Worst. Answer. Ever. And there have been contenders over the several years I've been reading the blog.
Brian Bennett: OK, OK, I get it. Readers weren't happy with that thought. I was asked about Michigan State and Wisconsin not playing, and I didn't mean to suggest the end of the Axe rivalry. But if you ask me who I'd rather see play in 2013, Michigan State vs. Wisconsin or Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, it's not even close.
I couldn't agree with Michael from Minneapolis more. Brian Bennett never impressed me, but he certainly put himself in my doghouse after his initial comments. And his response to Michael is not sufficient. I wouldn't be bothered if he found his way covering the BigEast tomorrow...
Minnesota and Wisconsin absolutely must continue to play each other every year. Tradition is what makes college football great.
Oh, and as a Gopher fan (although my loyalty is not even in the same ballpark as my loyalty to Nebraska), I want the Gophers to pound the Badgers each and every time they play!
You just became my new favorite HM.com poster. =)
Originally Posted by Blue Howl
As I understand it, there were 2 criteria the conference had to work with when assigning teams to divisions and the protected crossover games, Ohio State vs. Michigan and Minnesota vs. Wisconsin. Not sure if you guys believe that, but I absolutely do. That rivalry is THAT big up here.
Originally Posted by HZKRFAN
That said, Minnesota/Wisconsin (in all their sports, really) are natural enemies. Why else would the earth be created with a moat separating the states? =P
I have a long history with Minnesota. I have lived in the state twice. Went there for summer vacations every year for multiple decades. My father taught me the Minnesota Rouser when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My sister lived there for over 30 years. One of my best friends the first time I lived in the state was the oldest son of your one Heisman winner.
Originally Posted by Formo
I would love it if the Gophers got back to being a football power.
One thing that eventually helped destroy our relationship with the big 12 (and there were many) was the conference division split and the loss of our rivalry with Oklahoma. I don't think most Nebraska fans ever got over that.
I was initially going to disagree with this, but upon reflection I agree. Things in the Big 12 just never "felt" right and the loss of the annual game with Oklahoma was a big part of that. I don't think it was solely the loss of the rivalry with Oklahoma though, it was that a bunch of factors happened all at the same time. The Big 8 was gone, the rivalry with Oklahoma was gone, after the second year in the Big 12 Coach Osborne was gone and Bob Devaney died in May 1997. I know he wasn't AD anymore but when Devaney died it just felt like the end of the "mom and pop" Husker program we all loved and the program was going to be run more like the multimillion dollar business that it is.
Originally Posted by PlanoHusker
That is a lot of change for one fanbase to take. A lot of us grew up with three constants, Bob Devaney as the AD, Coach Osborne and knowing that to get to the Orange Bowl we had to beat Oklahoma every November. All of a sudden all of that was gone.
Even though Minnesota is really down right now I hope they don't stop playing that rivalry. I really like Coach Kill. If he can keep his health right hopefully he'll make Minnesota's program competitive again.
Don't do a drug you find in Oakland. Ever.---The Oral History of the Big 12
I know I'm not over it. I still think it ranks as one of the most myopic decisions in college football history. I could not agree more with Micheal from Minneapolis - you don't abandon a long-running rivalry due to a period of imbalance. It impacts Nebraska to this very day. We have no rival, and it could take a half-century of competition to develop one in the Big Ten.
Originally Posted by PlanoHusker
Minnesota is going through some tough times, but the team and the fans can circle the battle for the Axe on their calendars every year. An upset win can save an otherwise mediocre season.
~Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man.~
The BigTen should just go full-Armageddon and scoop up the four Kansas and Oklahoma schools. This does a number of things, but chiefly it solves the East-West problem and creates two divisions of four geographic rivals:
West: (Nebraska/Iowa) (Wisconsin/Minnesota) (Kansas/KState) (Oklahoma/Oklahoma State)
East: (Illinois/Nwestern) (Indiana/Purdue) (Michigan/Michigan State) (Ohio State/Penn State)
Of course you can argue that Nebraska-Oklahoma is bigger than NU-Iowa, but they're all in the same division. Same goes for Ohio State and Michigan.
From a geographic perspective, this makes sense, but academically, it doesn't.
Originally Posted by DuckTownHusker
I don't think OU and KU are Big Ten material, and I'm certain KSU and OSU are not. (Not that an improved NU is in the Big Ten's academic neighborhood, but we're still cellar dwellers in that Big Ten quality measure).
Football drives all else, and not sure KU is a quality addition, and not sure OU needs the Big Ten.
I'd like to believe there will be different results next year, but doing the same thing, and expecting different results....
KSU's not as academically slow as you might think. For what it's worth, KState and UNL just received a $25MM grant for research in beef and cattle farming. I'm sure the Big Ten would love to get their hands on that money.
Originally Posted by Husker Country Doc
FWIW....looking back this year, it did seem strange NOT to play Colorado or K-State.....I truly enjoyed giving them a beat down now and again, and the close games with them rival some of the Great NU-OU games. Wasn't NU-KU one of the longest played games out there? I agree that the preservation of the NU-OU game should have been a priority when the Big 12 was created, even though at the time, those games were pretty one sided for long periods.
Gophers and Badgers are natural enemies ....they should continue to duke it out for the ax!! There will always be a better option out there, but tradition should be allowed for at least one game....right?
Fairly certain that the ONLY thing that drives ESPN is $$$$$$$ At this time, Wisky v Sparty is a more attractive draw than Paul Bunyan's Axe......sorry FORMO....kill the message not the messenger
Badger by birth - Husker by choice !!!
It wasn't just the fact that Nebraska was TOLD we were losing the Oklahoma rivalry game. I feel that it was the fact we were being TOLD that Texas vs. Oklahoma was a more important game to preserve. I think fans at least held onto the fact that we would at least play them every other two years, but when the Red River Shoot out got blown up into a rivalry that it really wasn't was when Husker fans really started getting bitter. I applaud the Big Ten for at least trying to preserve some of the rivalries but stating the simple fact that some others would fade for the time being. Two games does not make a long lasting rivalry....although if Wisconsin picks up another QB for a year and MSU is able to continue this run they've been on then yes that would be a great match up for many years to come.
Originally Posted by BIGRED..CHEESEHED
Can you please everyone? No, however you are able to look at the big picture and at least save a little bit of what made us fans to begin with....acknowledge history. It is about those times when you huddled around the t.v. with your family, when your Grandpa first told you that you stay till the end no matter what, it about those times when you step back and shake the hand of a person from another state who is just like you but they root for a different team; mutual respect regardless of who you root for NOT for what constantly shifts and changes with the times T.V. RATINGS.
Personally, I hope they keep it and its because of what our rivalry with Oklahoma meant to us, what it feels like to have to look back on it and not forward to it.
I hope the people at Wisconsin and Minnesota do everything they can to keep the rivalry. Everything written above, about how not playing Oklahoma ruined the conference for us, is true. We will never know the answer, but I feel that if we would have kept playing Oklahoma every year, we would still be in the Big 12. Berry Tramel wrote a column on that subject in the Oklahoman. One of his comments was, "Nebraska fans know a rival when they see one, and rivals don't wear purple".
Izzy, fear not. There's no way that they'll 'cancel' the protected cross-divisional game between Wisky and Minny. Though curiosity abound.. I wonder what would happen if the B1G DID try such outlandish things?