In our ongoing effort to find the best two (or four or 32) teams to join the Big 12 conference, we have unearthed some surprising candidates. Today, we veer away from the norm. Today's installment is not a Q&A session, but a simple and modest proposal from EDSBS stalwart commenter, minor internet celebrity, and die-hard Michigan Man blanx (@jblanx). Really, it's hard to argue with his sentiment.
But we will in three hours anyway.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.” -Plutarch
Since the dawn of college football, the University of Michigan Wolverines have stood dominant over the Big Ten Conference. There is no conference foe with a favorable record over Michigan, and there is no school with the storied history of success and achievement in the conference that Michigan possesses. No school has a higher winning percentage in conference than Michigan, and no school in any conference has a higher winning percentage in the history of college football than Michigan. With the return of Jim Harbaugh to his ancestral home in Ann Arbor, and the inevitable national championships which must assuredly follow suit, the time is now right for Michigan to shrug off the constraints of the Big Ten Conference, and venture out in search of new opponents (not competition -- as a Michigan Man has no true competition). I believe that the proper and true home of the Michigan Wolverines must be as the rightful head of the Big 12 Conference.
Coach Harbaugh's satellite camp voyages have been the precursor to determining which of the other conferences should receive the benefit of the addition of the Michigan Wolverines, and after much research and study, really, no other conference is appropriate.
If you doubt me, it's right there in the Victors -- the greatest fight song of all time -- “Hail to the Victors, Valiant -- Champions of the West.” It is Michigan's birthright to dominate in the Big 12. Who but the most storied program in college football could be better suited to properly instruct the members of the Big 12 Conference on how to comport themselves with the requisite dignity and grace to succeed in the gentlemanly sport of football than the Wolverines? It is Michigan's obligation to enlighten the rest of the country, and in particular, to shine its light to the less storied programs of the Big 12, and Michigan is certainly capable of meeting this arduous task.
Moreover, there are natural rivalry games in the Big 12 Conference, just waiting for Michigan. Michigan's program has longstanding historic ties to the state of West Virginia. Fielding H. Yost was born in Fairview, West Virginia. Don Nehlen, West Virginia's legendary coach, was an assistant coach under the great Bo Schembechler at Michigan. West Virginia's colors resemble the majestic Maize and Blue of the Wolverines. Michigan mistakenly hired that parvenu, Rich Rodriguez, from West Virginia. Yet, in the storied history of Michigan football, the Wolverines have never played West Virginia. It is long past time to rectify this oversight.
If we presume that West Virginia would be Michigan's natural in-division featured opponent (certainly, when compared directly with the greatness and history of Michigan, calling West Virginia a “rival” would be risible, but it would give the fine people of Morgantown an aspirational goal), the natural cross-division featured opponent must, naturally, be the University of Texas at Austin. While no one in the Big 12 has quite the level of success, academically or athletically, as the Wolverines, if any program can be used as a comparison of sorts, it's the Texas Longhorns. While being Michigan's junior in football by over a decade, the long-term success of the Longhorns is an admirable accomplishment for such a program. A protected cross-division featured game against the Longhorns would be fine sport for all concerned, and would provide for an exemplar for the youth of the nation, when broadcast across the airwaves.
While the other members of the Big 12 Conference would not, of course, receive the benefit of protected featured opponent games with Michigan, each opponent would receive the incalculable benefits of being permitted to play Michigan in the Big House. The opportunity to bask in the best home field experience in college football might prove instructive to the other members of the Conference, and might have a salubrious effect upon the conduct of those fans when they return to their home stadia. One hopes that the experience of attending a game in the Big House would inspire those fans to elevate their own conduct when they returned to their home locales.
Certainly, Michigan would not join the Big 12 Conference without requiring several necessary preconditions, which I think all would agree would inure to the benefit of all concerned.
First, all Michigan conference games would, of course, occur at noon, Eastern Standard Time. Commencing a football match at other times is unseemly.
Second, naturally, for the first 3 years of membership, all Michigan conference games would occur at the Big House. It would be criminal to deprive the opportunity for all members of the Big 12 Conference to have the experience of attending a sporting match in the Big House in person.
Thirdly, and I suppose it goes without saying, the Championship game will have to be played in a commodious venue, convenient for the participants in the game. Might I suggest that the championship game be played in the Big House? After all, Michigan will, obviously, be one of the participants in the game in every year that it is a member of the conference, and so it would be wrong to deprive the opportunity for all members of the other division to have the experience of attending a championship level sporting match in the Big House, in person. Regrettably, the other members of Michigan's division will be bereft of this opportunity -- perhaps some sort of revolving schedule might be envisioned?
Finally, of course, the victor of the Big 12 Conference will get the right to go to the Rose Bowl. Every Michigan season should end with the team in Pasadena. I can't stress enough that this is a dealbreaker, and is non-negotiable.
There are other minutia to discuss. How attached are you to the name Big 12 Conference? How about, “Michigan's Big 12 Conference”? The divisions should have appropriate names- how do you feel about the Yost Division and the Schembechler Division?
I feel energized by the prospect of the Michigan Wolverines becoming a senior member of the Big 12 Conference -- really, it is the move that we were born to make. The ability to bring civilization and proper football to those who have languished in the shadows for so long is really enervating, and an appropriately complex task for Michigan Men. Thank you for your attention, and Go Blue!
And there you have it. A truly compelling argument for the Champions of the West. Shall we get the invitation ready?