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The Time is Now to Move ‘The Game’

Via Maize & Blue Nation on Flickr

Played at the end of the year, a game considered one of the biggest in college football happens in the Big Ten. An epic rivalry between two of the sports most historic programs, The University of Michigan and The Ohio State University. It is now time to move 'The Game'. For most of these two fan bases its the only game that matters.

'The Game' has been played the last Saturday of the Big Ten regular season since 1935. There have only been three occasions over those years that it hasn’t been, 1942 (World War II), 1986, and 1988 (Michigan ended both seasons by playing Hawaii). Now the time has come for one tradition to end and a new one to begin.

With the rapid changing landscape, and constant evolution of college football, the time has come for Michigan and OSU to pick a new day for this battle. With the NCAA and Big Ten both transitioning to new playoff models in 2024, the changes are making it even more challenging to maintain the significance of the game. If college football continues to progress as it has, trying to keep the game the last week of the regular season will only grow to be more difficult.

Due to this very new landscape to the college football world, there could be several problems that will affect the ability to play the game as it is right now, as well as maintain it’s significance. Some of these problems could eventually help to kill one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Three problems that came to mind right away are as follows:

  1. The game being played too many times and to close together in a single year. With the regular season, Big Ten championship and a playoff meeting all being possible we could see the same game three times within a month and a half. This could lead to a mentality throughout the college world of “seen that, done that already.” What makes this game special is the yearly wait to watch these two powerhouses collide.

  2. Bragging rights for the two fan bases make up a big part of what makes this rivalry great. Every Michigan fan knows a Buckeye and every Buckeye knows a Michigan fan. With the possibility of back-to-back games being played and the chance of both teams being able to take home a win, that feeling of knowing you have a year to gloat after a win will now be gone.

  3. By the time the game arrives the last week of the year, the outcome could now become meaningless for both teams. Picture a scenario where both teams already know that they will meet a week later. Or, for one team, the game will have no affect on reaching their future goals. For the first time we could see key players rested, playbooks closed and turned basic, and teams not wanting to show new plays. 'The Game' could be nothing more than a preseason NFL matchup.

With all this being said, I propose a solution to the above issues. It’s one I think will help fix the problem’s I’ve outlined above. The solution is to move the game! When, you might ask? I suggest the first week of the season. Rosters would be the healthiest of the season. Fans would no longer be able to argue, “if we had this guy or that guy”. The chance of having more “ideal” weather the first week of September is significantly better than the last week of November.

The build-up to 'The Game' as the season approached would be unbelievable. In July, the countdown and commercials would commence, pushing both fan bases and the college world into a frenzy. Fans and media would be impatiently waiting for one of the biggest games of the year to kick off the new college football season. With the game falling on the long holiday weekend of Labor Day, it would give former students a better chance of returning to their alma mater and be part of the atmosphere, rather than traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday. Neither university could argue it’s too cold to play in prime time and the country would finally get to watch the anticipated game under the lights.

By moving the game from November to September it would help to maintain bragging rights for the winning team. Fans would be able to boast for a minimum of 12 weeks if the two teams happen to meet again in the championship game or playoff. The game being played in September would also mean one teams season would start with a bang and the others crushed before it even begins.

I’m a traditionalist as much as the next guy, I truly understand the pushback most fans would have against this. Trust me, just writing this hurt, but, with the already large amount of change that has taken place over such a short time period, I truly believe that this is the best way to protect one of the greatest rivalry games in sports.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions – please leave your comments on the College Football Dawgs Facebook page…and as always – GO BLUE BABY!

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