Can A Conference Brotherhood Trump A Bloody Rivalry?

michigan wolverines plane

By Dr. Jeff A. Glenn / @jagadelic

Q: What do you get when you cross a pig with a Michigan Cheerleader?

A: Nothing. There are some things even a pig won’t do.

Anyone who has known me for more than an hour knows that my pro-Ohio State, anti-Michigan credentials are beyond reproach. I have rooted for Ohio State ever since both teams were undefeated and they played a great game in, no, not 2006, I’m talking about 1973! I did my undergrad, dental school and residency program at the school so I’m a proud alumni as well as a loyal fan. Like any properly brought up Buckeye, I was taught to find joy in everything that went wrong with Michigan. The Fab Five lost two straight championships? Wonderful! Football team lost to Appalachian State in one of the most humiliating defeats a division one team ever endured? Hallelujah!

But times and circumstances stand still for no one. Conferences have declared war on each other and the stakes are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s kill or be killed. My position has evolved. When Michigan goes to the Final Four, it’s in the best interest of the other Big Ten schools for them to cut down the nets and bring another title home.

When I was on Twitter Saturday night with my GO BLUE pronouncement, many folks were inquiring as to the status of my mental health. One friend even called to tell me that someone had hacked into my account and was playing a cruel practical joke. Actually, rooting for Michigan Saturday and tonight makes perfect sense. The further you go in the NCAA tournament, the bigger your check. NCAA revenue is shared equally throughout the Big Ten. If Louisville wins, does Ohio State benefit in any way? Nope. You don’t think the Rev’s beloved Penn State could use every penny it can get its hands on to bounce back? From Bloomington to East Lansing to Ann Arbor to Columbus, we proudly proclaimed that we had the best hoop conference. The claim rings hollow if one of us doesn’t take the crown.

If we’re going to get back on competitive ground with the SEC in football, we need to stay competitive in raising revenue. Not only are they kicking our butts on the gridiron, they’re starting to pull away when it comes to overall revenue streams. Every dollar is important. Having the defending National Champion in our conference will certainly help ratings and entice ESPN to give Big Ten games the best prime time slots. This helps recruiting as well. Basketball dollars will help football. It all goes in the same pot.

President John Kennedy famously stated, “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Ohio State benefits from having rivals that everyone respects. When Ohio State and Michigan were ranked 1-2 in 2006 and the Buckeyes pulled out a thrilling 42-39 victory, it was historic. When Michigan showed up in 2009 with a 3-8 record and we beat them 42-7, it was dull beyond belief.

Think of Ohio State and Michigan as Hillary and Barack from 2008. They tried their best to tear each other limb from limb. But when it was over, they didn’t want to see another party (conference) take the White House (championship). Now do you get it?

So, I’m calling on all Big Ten fans to root for your conference brother to deny Pitino the chance to become the first coach to win titles with different schools. It will be that much sweeter to put the wood to the Wolverines next year when they’re defending National Champs.

The same applies for other conferences as well. Texas fans need to stop laughing at Hook and Ladders and marriage proposals and cheer for the Sooners. When UNC is eliminated, Carolina fans should to take a couple of Advil and cheer for Duke. It’s a new day. Survival of the fittest can be ignored no longer.

5 Replies to “Can A Conference Brotherhood Trump A Bloody Rivalry?”

  1. This debate has been going on all throughout the internet since the B1G teams started falling by the wasteside. You will have some fans who adhere to the "never root for my rivals across the board" mantra but there are others who only stick to that for certain sports. I think in regards to the B1G because its considered a football conference first, thats where the loyalties are the strongest. Whereas the other sports basketball included a lot of fans arent as rabid in their fandom. I found myself rooting for all the B1G schools because it made the conference look better and like you said winning the national championship helps put money in every team pocket, where a bowl victory by Sparty or Ohio does nothing for U-M, because they got their bowl share just from the team making it it. But even saying that, I do believe that there is one common enemy and thats the SEC, and any time any B1G school faces off against that hated conference in the south there is a desire for them to get punched repeatidly in the face

  2. Well said, Q. Yes, OSU and Mich must knock each other off to claim conference superiority. That hasn't changed. The rivalry is intact and can be as intense as it ever was.

    But beating each other up means nothing if the SEC, Big 12 and Pac 12 teams toy with us like orphaned stepchildren. Our true enemy lies outside the conference, when we battle for National Championships.

    We've seen recently what happens to conferences that don't keep up. The big fish are eating the medium sized fish. The SEC has passed the Big Ten in revenue. We need strong teams across the board to attract TV viewers, which bring fat TV contracts. That money is used to upgrade facilities, hire the best coaches and entice recruits.

    If Ohio State were the only ranked school in the conference, we would be in a heap of trouble. We need to beat good teams in the conference to prepare for winning titles outside the conference.

  3. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win something for your conference. Everyone gets to reap the benefits. You can bet that the rest of the BIG 10 schools are rooting for the Wolverines to bring that big check back to the BiG 10 as well. Sometimes people can't put their differences aside.

    I for one don't really like anything about NC A&T but when they decided to rep for the MEAC I was all in their corner. Root for your surroundings.

    I doubt you will ever see UNC fans rooting for Duke in a big game like that but I don't see why they wouldn't. A party is a party.. Especially when you are that close together. Funny thing is the players from UNC would be rooting for Duke in that situation because they have battled with them and to them it's not really that serious.

  4. Ed and Rev gave me tons of grief over this one. Said I'd flipped my lid for certain this time. Questioned whether I used nitrous oxide for personal reasons.

    They were confident that no one would come to my defense.

    Thanks, Q and Joe for proving them wrong!

    You're right about the players. They don't take it nearly as seriously as the fans. Nowadays, most "rivals" played together on AAU and McDonalds All American teams and are cool with each other off the court.

  5. Well said Doc.

    Michigan fans had a great laugh when Florida stomped on Ohio State in the 2006 National Championship game.

    Ohio State fans had a great laugh when Alabama smoked Michigan last September at Jerry Jones' Funhouse.

    So where does that leave Ohio and Michigan fans? Until they catch up to the SEC, they're just some laughing losers.

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