Smith: OSU-Michigan rivalry faces uncertain future past ‘12
Published: Monday, September 20, 2010
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
Should the Ohio State-Michigan football game be the final game every year?
Ohio State and Michigan will be in separate divisions when the 12-team Big Ten begins in 2011.
Their annual rivalry game will remain in the final week of the regular season for 2011 and 2012.
However, schedules were only decided for those two seasons.
There is no guarantee that the game, which has been the last conference game every year since 1934, will not be moved in future seasons.
"We didn't even talk about if '13 or '14 would be the same or look different," said OSU athletic director Gene Smith of the scheduling talks. "So we'll have those discussions in October. My guess is it'll be the same, but I can't speak for my colleagues."
Smith said that only the 2011 and 2012 schedules were discussed so that they could be finalized as soon as possible to allow communities to plan accordingly.
When future schedules are discussed, Smith said he will push for the game to permanently remain at the end of the season.
"I know what my position will be, for it to be the same," Smith said. "But again, I can't speak for what (Wisconsin athletic director) Barry Alvarez might bring in the room. So I'm going to listen to my colleagues and their pros and cons and I'm also going to represent what our interests are."
There does not seem to be any question as to what the fans want.
"Over 90 percent of people want us to keep that game at the end of the schedule," Smith said in a video statement released by the athletic department before the initial decision.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany assured that those fans will be considered.
"We're not fan-insensitive, we're fan-receptive and are only interested in doing what is going to grow our fan base," he told ESPN.com.
It seems that the growth will not occur through further conference expansion.
"We're finished (with expansion)," Smith said. "The only thing that would cause us to look at it further is if someone contacted us."
Smith acknowledged that few Big Ten representatives have closed the door to further expansion.
"The reason most of us say it's not done is because we think there are some schools that are going to try to talk to some conferences. But we're not actively out looking at expansion," Smith said.
"After our October meetings, that's going to be the last we talk about it."