"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
"Tonight we were reminded that Michigan is five years further down the road. Which means we have a long road ahead. The State Farm Center renovations start in a few hours and will run for three years. Let’s hope that when they’re complete, we’re Michigan."
Editor's note: with the recent influx of quality diary entries I'm reviving a short-lived plan from last football season and bumping my favorite to the front page once a week.This might be tricky during football season but we'll play it by ear.
UConn taking popular choice Virginia to the woodshed45-10 last year (sorry MaizeandBlueWahoo) Donald Brown the 27th overall choice of the 2009 NFL Draft Okay, it's UConn, the general reaction from the MGoCommunity has been, "UConn, why would we play them for the opener? Bill Martin is an idiot!" UConn's blog has caught wind of the opener and is pretty excited but has however noted our comments on the situation.
Man UCONN would be a HORRIBLE game. We all had illusions of grandeur for a huge opponent and per usual they get blown to bits.
It’s a lose/lose for UM! We win and no one really cares outside the fan base. We lose and we just lost to a middling to low BCS team from a weak, weak conference. I’d rather schedule a true pansy and just annihilate them.
UConn is worse than WMU. I hope it’s not them because a 7-5 team in the Big East does not deserve a home and home.
Ouch. Not our highest praise for the Huskies, they even said MGoBlog was "a simply fantastic website devoted to Michigan football". We do have a basketball program too, even if it is nothing like yours.To be fair, Connecticut, a program that has been in a BCS conference for less than a decade, is not our illusion of the Wolverines taking on the Bulldogs (no, not Fresno State) nor the Broncos. It's not the big splash that we anticipated to be sure, but this late in the process it's not totally a terrible "MAC-level opponent." They play in a BCS conference (the BCS is not every conference in the FCS Division, there are six BCS Conferences. The Big East is one).
Another reason that we are angry with this choice is the fact that it is indeed a home-and-home with the 2013 return game being played here. Rentschler stadium is not the Big House, it's only approximately 36% of the capacity. Michigan fans are frustrated with the fact that a precious OOC road game that isn't in South Bend is being played at a relatively tiny staium, and that Connecticut is getting a home-and-home instead of a 2-for-1 at least. Proposed locations for the return game include Gillette Stadium, Yankee Stadium, and the Meadowlands but are not legitimate choices because of this. Notre Dame screwed over UConn with the "5 games in South Bend, and the rest not in Connecticut" schedule which UConn did to get some exposure and go from "basketball school who has a new football team" to "big-time major college football program."
Not the Big House Thus Michigan is resigned to play a game in the state of Connecticut , which is nice for the East Coast fans and alumni who haven't seen a game out there since Michigan defeated Boston College in 1994, but not great for many others. Brodie proposed going to the Yale Bowl, which has more capacity than Rentschler. Michigan will be the biggest name ever to play there, and UConn is lucky to have a big-time team there while only sacrificing one away game.
The MGoCommunity is also not too happy with the fact that UConn is not a team with the "prestige" of another potential BCS opponent, such as Virginia (see above). The point is, Michigan doesn't need a phenomenal (read conference championship contender in a BCS conference) opponent next year. Reasons are here, in Michigan Arrogance's excellent diary. Some quick facts on Connecticut, not a lot is known around here about the Huskies. Most historical information (that being said, not much) found here:
The Huskies have been playing football since 1896, and in 1-A since 2001. (Interestingly, they and Villanova were both given the choice to become a football member in the Big East. Obviously Villanova passed).
They have been to three bowl games, going 2-1.
UConn tied West Virginia for their only Big East title, but WVU got the BCS berth because of this loss at the hands of Rich Rodriguez. More on Rich Rod versus Connecticut here.
This is how the Huskies have fared since entering the Big East in 2004, not phenomenal but pretty successful at 34-29:
In 2009, the Huskies look to replace 4(!) first day draft choices including Brown (above). They have a new offensive coordinator who looks to ignite an anemic passing game, which reminds me of Michigan's last year. They have a four-star former Notre Dame quarterback Zach Frazer who looks to lock down the starting job and a stable of backs to replace Brown. CFN, NY Times on Connecticut's 2009 season. We will be rooting for the Huskies this year because we want Michigan to beat a good team* in the opener. They are a young team and figure to be more experienced and successful next year.
*We know that a win is not a given considering Michigan's recent failures in the season openers.
Dan Orlovsky, former HuskyThus, 'tis Connecticut. A bunch of anonymous MGoBloggers will not change Bill Martin's mind (or a contract for that matter). This move does make sense as it is a BCS opponent, Michigan has a good chance of winning since by then Rodriguez should have the ball moving, and it is far harder to schedule and defeat a big-name opponent in real life than it is in a video game (I note your examples of Alabama-Penn State, and Ohio State-USC and counter with the seven mediocre opponents that PSU and OSU combine for OOC this year). Martin is reaching out to a very large alumni base out east and giving them a game in their vicinity for the first time in a long time, even if it is in a small stadium and a home-and-home (the largest athletic department in the country scheduled a home-and-home in Laramie, Texas plays at Wyoming this year). It's hard to call UConn a great, up-and-coming program, but the Huskies are improving and playing good football. Maybe it wasn't the Gameday game we were looking for, but it should still be a good game (which we will have a far greater chance of winning than if it was against Boise State or Georgia), the comparisons to the 2006 game against Vanderbilt are not fair. Kudos to Martin for scheduling the Huskies.
I was really skeptical when I first heard UConn was the team we had scheduled. Some of the things you said though made me feel a little better about them being the opener.Hopefully they have a good year this year so there will be hype for the game in 2010.
UConn will have to do for an opener in 2010. They don't look that bad.
Michigan should be at full strength, personnell wise by then. Another year of seasoning for the o-line and a really good game should ensue. Michigan will win in the end. Our crowd of 112,000 should make them melt in their shorts. The stadium should be so much more loud than in past years. Imagine an ear deafening Michigan Stadium. Can't wait to hear it.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" --Alfred Lord Tennyson/ John Sheridan B5
First off, here's what the full 2010 football schedule looks like with the addition of UConn:
9/4 - CONNECTICUT
9/11 - At Notre Dame
9/18 - MASSACHUSETTS
9/25 - BOWLING GREEN
10/2 - At Indiana
10/9 - MICHIGAN STATE
10/16 - IOWA
10/23 - Bye
10/30 - At Penn State
11/6 - ILLINOIS
11/13 - At Purdue
11/20 - WISCONSIN
11/27 - At Ohio State
I think Connecticut is a good team to schedule for the 2010 season opener. The Huskies should be the type of opponent that should be get Michigan's full effort and will be good preparation for the following week's game in South Bend against Notre Dame. If the offense comes around in 2009, it should be in pretty good shape by 2010. I think it'll take a bit longer for the defense. That said, I don't think it made sense to UM to start the season with a marquee opponent, especially prior to a road game at ND.
Prior to the 2005 season, Michigan played Penn State/Michigan State at home and Ohio State/Notre Dame on the road during the even numbered seasons. PSU was off UM's schedule in 2003/4, then came back on in 2005. In that season, Michigan played Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State in Ann Arbor and Michigan State in East Lansing. During the even numbered seasons, it goes vice versa--that's what Michigan will see in 2010.
In 2011/12, Penn State and Purdue fall off Michigan's schedule. I suspect Bill Martin has asked the Big Ten to rectify the schedule and put it back to what it was in 2002 and earlier by 2013 so that PSU/MSU are road games and ND/OSU are home games in the odd numbered seasons and vice versa. That should even things out.
Given the BCS format and the fact the Big Ten has no conference championship game, any team from the B10 pretty much has to go undefeated to get to the championship game. As a general rule, it makes sense to schedule "smart", i.e., with only one major non-conference opponent at the maximum. I don't think this schedule would do much to jeopardize Michigan's chances to get into the national championship game (although I think the team will have to wait until 2011 to really get to national championship/BCS bowl game calibre).
Is Notre Dame a major or marquee opponent? Despite being #2 in overall winning percentage and #3 in overall wins, the last two decades (since ND's 1989 national championship) have been kind of a mixed bag for the Irish. Their overall winning percentage is .65984. That's good for #17 overall in Division 1-A and #16 among BCS teams (Brigham Young is #16 overall). But there's been a marked drop off at ND since 1994--Notre Dame drops to #34 overall (.59615) and #26 among BCS programs.
The reason I bring this up is that Michigan has a scheduling agreement with Notre Dame going up to 2031. While the terms of the agreement haven't been made, it can be assumed that there will be some breaks in the schedule (this has happened three times since the series was renewed--the most recent was in 2000/1). It can also be assumed that the Michigan Athletic Department sees ND as a marquee opponent and shapes the football team's schedule with that in mind.
That means Michigan will not play a second major non-conference opponent as long as Notre Dame is on the schedule. The only time UM fans will see teams like Texas or LSU or Miami-Florida on the non-conference schedule will be when ND falls off of it. It makes no sense--its not smart scheduling--for any major BCS program to put two major non-confernece opponents on its schedule unless its conference is weak (the only one I think that hits that criteria is the Big East).
Why does the Michigan Athletic Department like having Notre Dame regularly on the schedule? Despite thier recent recent, ND still has the highest name recognition above any other program in college football. That means there are large fan segments who like the game, its easy to promote for the television networks, recruits like to visit during that game, each team keeps their home receipts, etc. In sum, the UM AD seens ND as a net asset to the schedule and isn't willing to change things up. You could argue--and I would agree--that there are a score of programs Michigan could play that would have essentially the same effect, but we aren't in the meetings making the decisions.
It will be interesting to see if this series with UConn marks a change in Michigan's overall scheduling strategy. In recent past, UM's had alternating seasons of seven and eight home games with an eye on revenue maximization.
But the landscape is changing and the amount of money programs have been asking for to playing games with no return dates has increased. Just recently, New Mexico State University received nearly $1 million to play at Georgia. UM paid Utah $800 K last year while the two MAC teams--Miami-Ohio and Toledo--received a total of $975K. Will the dollars and cents change the way UM does things so that the Wolverines will only play seven home games a year and annually have a second non-conference home and hom series?
It will be interesing to see if UM sets up a second home-and-home series as part of the non-conference scheduling (along with the Notre Dame game). If so, I suspect Michigan will be playing teams in the Top 25 to Top 50 of college football--that would be programs like Clemson or Texas A&M or Arizona State. It would certainly be a step up for Michigan if the Wolverines regularly scheduled Notre Dame, a Top 25-50 program, and two lesser/MAC opponents. We'll see what transpires for 2011/12 when Penn State rolls off the schedule.
I'm probably being a nitpicky douche here, but it was in 1995 that we beat BC on the road. In 1994 we played them at home.
This was a great post though. Very informative and well-researched. My only beef with playing UConn is that with only 40k stadium capacity, it might make it tougher for me to get a ticket -- but I'll still plan on being there.
Sometimes I think it's a sin
When I feel like I'm winnin when I'm losin again
I'm not sure why this 40,000 seat meme has been allowed to continue. By the time we get to East Hartford, it will have been expanded to 50k, the norm for Big East schools (and bigger than, say, Syracuse)
When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing. -- Bo Schembechler
But, seriously, I'm on board for this. I don't know that we could have asked for BM to find a much better team with only a one year notice. Granted, I'm not sure why attempts to schedule this opener hadn't started much earlier (unless they were kept private). It's a solid opponent and should be a good game, with little prosepct of Michigan being blown out for the opening of the new stadium.
Could be worse. Could have scheduled MINNESOTA.
Ann Arbor: now the permanent home of the Little Brown Jug
This whole discussion is similar to the closing-time monologues that go on in people's heads. 'She's not great, but she'll do.' 'He's not Mr. Right, but he is Mr. Right Here.'
Coach Rodriguez should have talked some junk to Florida and tried to get them to bite on a home-and-home. With the loss to Coach Carr in recent memory, I bet Urban Cryer would bite on that. They only play 4 away games, and have home games scheduled against OOC powerhouses Miami of Ohio, South Florida, Kentucky (not SEC, right?), and - wait for it - App State. They play Furman the following year. Talk a little shit about how they scheduled the wrong Miami, or how you didn't know the National Championship went through Appalachian State, and I bet you'd have that arrogant douchenozzle chomping at the bit. More importantly, you'd have a REAL opener, one that matters intensely and would have significant impact on the BCS standings right out of the box. Hey, even I would cheer for Michigan in that case. But I guess Michigan would rather play a team it should beat rather than challenge itself...
What's State's OOC Schedule this year and next year?
Oh, and "talking shit" to Florida is not very smart, just watch Kiffin in the fourth quarter against UF. Rodriguez would never do it anyways, U of M has too much class. I thought that MSu did too... oh right. Dantonio. Never mind.
And I'd be willing to bet that they wouldn't want to schedule us anyways, they don't need to.
Red herring goes like this: your team isn't doing 'X', so don't blame my team for not doing 'X'. It's a false equivalence, one that really grates because the posters on this thread seem to be talking themselves into settling. I thought the 'Leaders and Best' didn't settle, right?
And, just for the record, I'd be THRILLED if Dantonio did what I'm suggesting UM does. Just for the record, it would work a lot better for UM because of the recent history. When Florida dodges MSU, they can say 'They aren't worth our time.' And it would be true. When Florida dodges UM, that same rationale obviously wouldn't apply- they would look gutless. I think it's wrong for a program not to challenge itself with its OOC schedule. I can't believe I'm the only one who thinks this way.
State's OOC games, this year and next? This year, they play Montana State (ugh), Western, Central, and ND. Next year, their schedule isn't completely set. They have an away game against Florida Atlantic and a TBA game against Western, along with ND. Michigan plays Western, Eastern, ND, and Delaware State this year, and next year plays UConn, UMass, ND, and Bowling Green. Yeah, that BG game is sure to be a barn-burner.
You never did address the substance of my argument- why do UM fans seem to be afraid of scheduling a real opponent? Why wouldn't you want to prove your ability to play BCS games? I would love for MSU to play Florida, Alabama, Texas, or USC; they would have a focus point for their team, and I'm sure they'd get better as a result of the experience, win or lose. I'd put up with the very strong likelihood of a loss if I had even a small chance of having a program-making win. Michigan's fans, OTOH, don't seem too keen to want to measure their team in this way, judging by the comments. That's why I posted.
We do want to play good teams but as I noted in my OP, it's harder to schedule and beat a real team than it is in a video game. Just because we want to doesn't mean it's gonna happen. We aren't afraid...
We aren't going to pick fights and insult other teams. That reeks of amateurism, and frankly it's best left to MSU.
We obviously tried to schedule a few bigger programs first, if you'd been paying attention you'd know that already. For whatever reason(s) it didn't happen, but the AD had talks w/ Georgia, UVA, OSU, and probably some others I'm not aware of.
Having said that, I don't like UConn for the dedication game; unless there is some significance that I don't know about yet.
not just "douchey" MGoBlog user, but now TRUSTED MGoBlog user
It's just that old debate that many high school teams have. Do we schedule "puppies" to get to six wins and get into the playoffs or do we schedule tough opponents and when we make the playoffs we are better for it.
I would love to see big blue play some tough opponents like Texas/USC/Florida, how fun would that be! It would create a ton of hype around the program and I would think be better for recruiting.
Hopefully U of M learns from this and gets on the ball a little quicker next time.