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You’re Nuts: What should replace the Big Ten/ACC challenge?

After 23 years, the iconic challenge has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Ohio State v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We are now officially a month into the college basketball season, and the Ohio State men’s team is 5-2 heading into the second month of non-conference play (although they play Rutgers next week, too).

It has been an interesting two weeks for the Buckeyes, as they have participated in the Maui Invitational and took on Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Buckeyes finished the tough four-game stretch at 2-2, and looked incredibly promising at times.

The Duke game was part of the iconic Big Ten/ACC challenge, an event in which the Buckeyes defeated the top ranked Blue Devils in Columbus last season. The ACC won the challenge 8-6 this season.

To recap last week, in honor of the Michigan game (pain), we debated our favorite Ohio State-Michigan moments on the hardwood. In a landslide, Justin’s pick of Evan Turner’s half court buzzer beater in the 2010 Big Ten tournament took the win, getting 76 percent of the vote. “Other” got 18 percent of the vote, and Connor’s pick of Kyle Young’s ripped jersey game in early 2020 got six percent of the vote.

Here are the updated standings.

After 77 weeks:

Connor- 33
Justin- 31
Other- 9

(There have been four ties)

This week, in honor of the end of the Big Ten/ACC challenge, we are going to be debating what we think the Big Ten should replace the challenge with. The ACC will be now doing a challenge with the SEC, and the Big Ten already has the Gavitt Games with the Big East.

Ohio State finishes 10-12 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC challenge, and went 1-1 against Duke these last two seasons. Purdue finishes as the only Big Ten team with a winning record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Today’s question: What should replace the Big Ten/ACC challenge?

Connor: Regional rivalry week

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It seems very unlikely that the Big Ten will create any kind of “challenge” with another conference next season, mostly because the most likely candidate — the PAC-12 — is on the other side of the country. So if the Big Ten doesn’t pick a new partner to battle it out with every season, why not ensure that every school plays a game against one of its in-state rivals?

Basketball fans all have one thing in common — they all think their team is the best in the state. Look at Ohio, where Dayton fans have laid claim to being the best program in the state ever since beating Ohio State in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Ohio State fans, on the other hand, have a pretty strong case that it’s the Buckeyes who are the most successful college basketball team in the state of Ohio.

This rivalry isn’t unique to Ohio. There’s a good inter-state rivalry in pretty much every state. Typically, this sense of competition burns between a mid-major like Dayton and a traditional power five like OSU, but that’s not always the case. Look at New Jersey, where Rutgers and Seton Hall have grown into rivals at close proximity. Rutgers plays in the Big Ten, while Seton Hall competes in the Big East. Both are successful programs which have garnered attention on the national stage over the past decade.

Now, this wouldn’t operate like the Big Ten-ACC Challenge or the Gavitt Games or anything of the sort. There wouldn’t be a “score” kept, but each individual fanbase would have the opportunity to see their team play one of their inter-state rivals once per season. Ideally, this would be on a rolling basis so that different teams would get to take a crack at the big dog in that state. For example: Ohio State plays Dayton in 2023, Xavier in 2024, Toledo in 2025, and Wright State in 2026.

Here’s one example per school of what this could hypothetically look like for each team:

  • Rutgers - Monmouth
  • Ohio State - Dayton
  • Michigan - Central Michigan
  • Michigan State - Eastern Michigan
  • Iowa - Drake
  • Illinois - Loyola Chicago
  • Indiana - Butler
  • Minnesota - UM-Duluth (there are no other D-I programs in Minnesota)
  • Penn State - Temple
  • Maryland - Towson
  • Nebraska - Creighton
  • Wisconsin - Marquette
  • Northwestern - DePaul
  • Purdue - Notre Dame

Justin: Big Ten/MAC challenge

Akron v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

I said this on the podcast this week as a joke, and then I started to think about it and I actually think it could be an incredible slate. The one caveat I will give to that is I don’t know if there are any TV rights or anything that could impact this, so I am just throwing this out there as an idea and nothing more.

We all know that the MAC is competitive in basketball against some of the top teams and programs in the country. Michigan has already struggled with Ohio and Eastern Michigan, Kent State had Houston on the ropes and last season, it took a last second bucket for the Buckeyes to take down the Akron Zips in their opening game of the season, who ended up playing UCLA tough in the NCAA Tournament.

Buffalo and Toledo have been incredibly strong programs over the past four and five seasons, and Ohio has beat Virginia recently.

Some people might ask, why would the Big Ten do this? What is the benefit to them? Well the simple answer is most of the Big Ten schools play MAC schools through the season anyway, so might as well make it a challenge.

I like and its entertaining. That is my argument.


What should replace the Big Ten/ACC challenge?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Regional Rivalry Week (Connor)
    (26 votes)
  • 42%
    Big Ten/MAC challenge (Justin)
    (28 votes)
  • 18%
    Something else (But that can’t include Big 12, ACC, SEC, or Big East)
    (12 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now