is a great one. However, we, and all big 10 teams are slowly scheduling other teams with the idea of removing ND from their schedules until they commit to joining the big 10. It's that simple.
UGA Looking to Schedule Michigan in the Future?
With the BCS in place, the vast majority of teams that have played in the national championship game had either zero or one loss. By playing two major non-conference opponents in any one season, you greatly reduce the likelihood of that happening. Any college football fan with just a cursory look at Michigan's 2012 schedule opening with Alabama and with road games against Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State would think the same thing.
This all may be a moot point in five years anyway. If the Big Ten does go to a nine-game conference schedule by 2015 and the BCS is still in place, then playing two major non-conference opponents makes even less sense. With Ohio State being a protected opponent from the Leaders Division, that means three other teams from that division (Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois) will be playing Michigan--and one of them is likely to be PSU or UW. Making two of the three non-conference opponent major programs in that instance isn't strategically smart scheduling.
If Georgia does appear on Michigan's schedule, it will be in the years when the Michigan-Notre Dame game is on hiatus. David Brandon has hinted this will happen in due course like it's happened in the past (most recently in the 2000 and 2001 seasons). My own opinion is that Michigan should play its annual home-and-home non-conference series with a variety of opponents from the SEC, ACC, and Big XII. There are nearly a dozen teams that I can think of, including Miami-FL, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Texas and Oklahoma. I'd add Notre Dame in the mix, but no more than two years out of every six or eight.
One more thing about the nine-game conference schedule is that with the different number of home/away conference games, Michigan will have to have two and three non-conference home games in alternating years in order to assure that UM has at least seven home games per year. If the Wolverines were to play two major non-conference opponents, that would not happen--there'd be alternating years of six and seven home games. Simply put, there's no way that's going to happen with the recent renovations to the stadium in place. There'll have to be seven home games miniimum each year to justify the costs for the suites, PSLs, etc.
The history of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry also indicates that each program can thrive quite well without the other in terms of active scheduling (I think we all know the two schools only played one another twice between 1910 and 1978). I'm sure the same would happen going forward as well.
Even if the Big Ten were to maintain its eight game conference schedule, it still doesn't change the basic fact that schedules need to be strategically "smart". There's no real payoff to Michigan to play Notre Dame and another major non-conference program in that scenario either. And don't forget that if Michigan were to win the Legends Division, the Wolverines would have to play the Leader Division winner for the conference title. That would be a 13th game on the schedule that you have to account for going forward.
like one team out of the deep south since the last time they came to Ann Arbor in they 60's and that was Arizona State.
Michigan is having a few "down" years, and suddenly a lot of major programs want to schedule them. What an amazing coincidence.
Any Big Ten vs. SEC matchup I'm game for.
Except perhaps Vandy. Mehh.
That matchup sounds nice but it's hard to imagine. SEC schools rarely leave the south for regular season non-conference games. I think it's only happened 7 or 8 times in the last 40 years.