Lopsided match-ups not worth it
By Doug Halberstadt
Huge blowouts in Big Ten college football were pretty common this past weekend. The Wisconsin Badgers annihilated Austin Peay 70-3. The Iowa Hawkeyes shut out the Ball State Cardinals 45-0. Ohio State crushed Eastern Michigan 73-20. Michigan rolled over Bowling Green 65-21. Michigan State outscored Northern Colorado 45-7.
What do these games prove? I’ve often wondered why these large schools schedule these cupcake games. What purpose do they serve for them? The Buckeyes were 44 1/2 point favorites over Eastern Michigan. The Buckeyes are the second-ranked team in the nation. Eastern Michigan had lost 15 games in a row coming into the game with Ohio State. I ask, why on earth were these two teams playing one another? What did OSU gain from their 53-point win? I say nothing.
Ohio State showed little or no respect for their underdog opponents. They continued to pile up the points long after the outcome was decided. Eastern Michigan coach Ron English seemed bemused, but aware of what was happening.
“My thing is this: You’ve got to stop them,” English said. “So, I’ll never whine about that. Yeah, he kept throwing. He throws the throwback to the quarterback and all that stuff, but we were trying to score, too. … I respect Jim Tressel. I don’t say that I’m (ticked) off at Jim Tressel. That’s the nature of the beast. The strong survive in this profession.”
Of course, Tressel and Ohio State will survive. They are one of the perennial premier college football programs in all of the country. It’s not a question of survival; I’d say it’s more about respect. I don’t think any team running up the score on a clearly lesser opponent is beneficial to anyone involved.
These games mean nothing to the larger schools, other than an easy win on their schedules. I think I understand why the underdogs agree to go up against the Goliaths. I assume they do it for the opportunity to get some exposure for their programs and their players. I’m just not sure it’s worth it.
Is it advantageous in any way for your team to suffer one of these lopsided losses? Can head coaches take away anything positive by seeing their teams destroyed in one of these so-called contests? I can’t think of anything.
Once in a great while one of the underdogs will pull off the upset. I’m sure Michigan fans will recall it was just three years ago (Sept. 1, 2007) when Appalachian State beat the Wolverines 34-32 in Ann Arbor. The problem is, it doesn’t happen often enough.
I’d like to see these mega powerhouse programs pick on someone their own size and quit padding their records by continuing to book these types of games. If they don’t, we may end up seeing a 100-0 game sometime in the near future.
From the Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2010 issue
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