I have seen a few posts today pointing to the 2011 schedule as setting up favorably for UM next season prompting some of these posters to predict a strong season (10+ wins) for UM.
I would be interested to see the overall opinion of the board on this subject. Do you think the 2011 schedule is favorable or challenging next season?
I believe that the 2011 schedule is actually more difficult than this season. I will list the games played in 2010 vs. the games in 2011 as I see them matching up in terms of challenge starting with easiest to hardest (2011 schedule):
- UMass v. Eastern Michigan -- solid FCS team v. terrible MAC team == push (UM wins both)
- Bowling Green v. W. Michigan -- terrible MAC team v. bad MAC team == push (UM wins both easily)
- Indiana v. Minnesota -- bad Big 10 team v. terrible Big 10 team == Minnesota should be an easier game (UM wins both)
- UConn v. SDSU -- mediocre Big East team v. mediocre MWC team == SDSU should be a slightly easier game (UM wins both)
- Purdue 2010 v. Purdue 2011 -- mediocre PU v. mediocre PU == advantage 2011 because game will be in the Big House (UM wins 2011, 2010 ????)
- Notre Dame 2010 v. Notre Dame 2011 -- bad ND team v. mediocre ND team == more difficult in 2011 because ND will be in 2nd season under Kelly and, presumably, Christ will play the whole game (UM wins both...maybe)
- Illinois 2010 v. Illinois 2011 -- above average v. good(?) == advantage 2010 as we will be playing them at their place in 2011 (UM loses both IMO)
- PSU 2010 v. N'Western 2011 -- below average Big 10 v. average Big 10 == advantage 2010 (UM loses both IMO)
- Iowa 2010 v. Iowa 2011 -- good v. above average == push (Iowa will lose their starting QB, but the game will be in Iowa City; UM loses both IMO)
- MSU 2010 v. MSU 2011 -- good v. good == advantage 2010 because we got them in AA, next season will be in EL (UM loses both IMO)
- Wisconsin v. Nebraska -- good v. good == push (get both in AA, but it won't matter as they are both much better than UM; UM loses both IMO)
- OSU 2010 v. OSU 2011 -- good v. good == advantage 2011 (game will be in AA in 2011...it won't matter. UM loses both IMO)
In summary, for 2011 I see the schedule thusly:
Should win -- EMU, WMU, Minnesota, SDSU and Purdue (5 wins)
Toss ups -- ND, Illinois and N'Western (1 win, 2 losses)
Likely losses -- Iowa, MSU, Nebraska and OSU (4 losses)
That would mean a 6-6 record with an optimistic goal of say 8-4 if UM wins all of the toss ups.