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Posted on Tue, May 18, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

Michigan, Ohio State expect rivalry to remain an annual one, despite Big Ten expansion talk

By Dave Birkett


If the Big Ten expands, what happens to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry? Would they be in the same division, or is it better to have two of the Big Ten's biggest names in different divisions so they could play in a theoretical conference championship game? ( file photo)

CHICAGO - It’s a minor detail in the grand scheme of expansion, but one the Big Ten must address if grows to 12, 14 or 16 teams: What to do with Michigan and Ohio State?

The Wolverines and Buckeyes have one of the most storied rivalries in college football, and the league likely won't do anything to disrupt that.

But should Michigan and Ohio State be in the same division, or is it better to have two of the Big Ten’s biggest names in different divisions so they could play in a theoretical conference championship game?

“I think what’s probably most important is that you play them every year,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday from the Big Ten spring meetings. “For us, it’s always been at the end and that’s always had a great buildup and excitement to that, so you would think that would be part of the conversation. But there’s a lot of factors in play. I have not put a lot of thought into it.”

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said that issue is “very important” to him.

“At the end of the day when I look at things quantifiably, I’ll determine how hard I jump on the table,” Smith said. “But I can’t say for sure how high a table I’ll jump on. I have to wait and see.”

Rodriguez said the Big Ten’s plethora of rivalries makes these expansion talks unique. Along with Ohio State, Michigan has a protected in-state rivalry with Michigan State the Big Ten also will take into account when drawing up future divisions.

“There’s other rivalries that have been going on for years in our league, so how do you work that into the process?” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s why it takes more than two or three months to figure this out.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Thu, May 20, 2010 : 5:21 a.m.

Ohio players are going to ohiost because there is no other BIG school in Ohio to share them with. Now don't say bowling green,Akron,Ohio,findlay, etc..... How about Michigan or MSU Central,western,eastern Michigan etc... Check your facts before posting. Check rosters to see who has who. 2011 recruits are dominated by Michigan players, from receivers,qb,dt,cb,ot,og,and athletes. Point being players come from all over

Basic Bob

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 7:27 p.m.

OSU-Michigan was such a big rivalry because most of the good Wolverines players and coaches came from Ohio. The rivalry is weak now because the Ohio boys would rather win in Cowtown than lose in Ann Arbor or South Bend.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

I think "the game" should be played regardless if they are in the same or different divisions. If they both end up in the confrence final then that would even better to play 2x's per year. Imgaine the excitement! GO BUCKS!

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

Because alot of Wolverine fans are spoiled and when they are blinded by frustration because change didnt happen over night they tend to throw tempertantrums.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

I'll redue my post.....explan to me robbieboy why uofm stadium was all buckeye fans? wouldn't such a storied program with a whinning record vs the buckeyes support their team?

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 1:07 p.m.

57-43. I know mathematics isn't a high priority at The Ohio State Penitentiary (that's another word for prison), but 57 > 43.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

Theo212.....Explain why you've been trounced for everal years by the BUCKEYES?! Richigan? This guy won't make it to next year! He will be canned by the NCAA. If not by them then the school. Hey i know what you guys should do....go get Harbaugh....he'll get smacked around just like your last 2 coached! GO BUCKS!

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 12:58 p.m.

And yet you're still behind in the series. Hope you've had fun. And why are you typing in all caps? I still can't hear you.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.


Robbie Webb

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 11:24 a.m.

Richard, you do know the offense wasn't the problem, right?


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

It doesn't look like Mich v OSU will be a competitive rivalry for quite some time. Might as well take a few years off and wait and see. With RR calling the plays we need more Big East / ACC rivalries so we can get in a bowl. Go pale blue!


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

Basicbob Penn St is not OSU rival game that is funny. I guess that would be UM riva Game to. UM vs OSU UM vs MSU UM vs ND And dare we add UM vs Minn (oldest trophy game) And Penn St? No I don't think so Osu just wishes they were a storied program like ND or UM Just take a look at all of ND's rivals Nice try bucks. HINT -try to schedule a rival game every year like Texas,USC not just once a blue moon but 20 years straight Until then. Just another state school

Basic Bob

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 5:06 a.m.

@Richagain, A "Protected rivalry" in the Big Ten refers to two games that each team plays every year. For Ohio State, that is Michigan and Penn State. Yes, two rivalries. Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan are fortunate to have two Big Ten schools in each state, but that does not reflect on the state, it reflects on the institutions. There are a number of FBS teams in Ohio that just aren't Big Ten level when it comes to fan support, academics, etc. Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Kent, Miami, Toledo, Ohio. None of them are natural rivals to a top-level and historic program like the Buckeyes.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 11:04 p.m.

Mr. Birkett- It is NOT a "minor detail" by any stretch of the imagination. If you wish to write in this market, you need to understand this. I, for one, am against expansion (not that I think there is any chance they won't go ahead with it) for the sole reason that it will, without question, destroy the Michigan - Ohio State game as we have known it. There is no way to keep it alive as it now is, and that is enough to oppose the whole idea of expansion.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:42 p.m.

Neither Michigan football nor college football would be the same without UM-OSU playing at the end of the season. That is the game in all of sports, and to take it away takes away a big part of what makes the sport great. It's awesome in those years where both teams are dominating and we fans try to decide from week to week which team is stronger and which team has the edge heading into the showdown. Even when one team is down, we've all seen enough upsets to know that the underdog can completely derail the other team's season to make their own. True, Michigan is down now, but they will rise again (at some point) and make this rivalry relevant. I love college football, and one of the big reasons why is UM-OSU.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:13 p.m.

Exactly, voiceofreason! They can enjoy their time in the limelight.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

-"It's a minor detail..." because Michigan has made it so.- Michigan leads the overall series 57-43-6. Sometimes you have to let your little brother(OSU) win a couple games in order to keep the series relevant!


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

"It's a minor detail..." because Michigan has made it so.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

Cincy would be good in many ways, but it can't be, at least not now: 1. Marginal academically - some bright spots( music, architecture, some engineering departments) but not an AAU member 2. Facilities insufficient: stadium holds only 35k, no clear plan or resources for expansion; can't bring in enough $$ to sustain a major conference football program Maybe someday,


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 7:52 p.m.

This is a non-negotiable item. I also disagree with the following statement from the first paragraph of this article. "Its a minor detail in the grand scheme of expansion, but one the Big Ten must address if grows to 12, 14 or 16 teams: What to do with Michigan and Ohio State?" What the.... minor detail?!


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

OSU has 1 rivalry Why does Michigan have 2 teams in the big 10 Why does Indiana have 3 top schools in the state Why does Pennsylvania have 2 great schools And Ohio has 1? Such a great state -yeah right You journalist want to make good stories? There's one for you. Cincinnati is the obvious choice. Two schools the state of Ohio has to battle for recruits. Also adds a rival game to their 1 (Michigan) Add Cinncy Pitt ND or Texas Richagain 2010


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

clarklaker... "i get the feeling that rich rod doesnt put a priority on winning or even competing in these game." You don't actually believe that... do you?

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

Harbaugh will never be at Michigan.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

hopefully michigan gets a coach that understands the priority of a rivalry like ohio state or even michian state. i get the feeling that rich rod doesnt put a priority on winning or even competing in these game. but i will put money on jim harbaugh understanding the importance of these games.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

Not playing OSU every year wouldn't be the end of the world. I know, how dare I speak such nonsense! Well, I said it... can't take it back now.