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|3 days 6 hours ago||I don't get Hackett's comments about the schedules . . .||
I don't understand Hackett's comments about the schedules making sense years ago, but not in the present day. Perhaps that statement goes to the fact U-M played at MSU two years in a row.
In his own way, he does acknowledge the Big Ten's thinking on Michigan's schedule rotation within the Eastern Division. The B1G clearly wanted to have U-M, MSU and PSU (along with Indiana) playing either at Rutgers or at Maryland every year. Once you acknowledge that, then you rank the remaining four Eastern Division teams Michigan plays and combine #1 and #3 in one schedule rotation and #2 and #4 in the second rotation.
Ever since the Leaders and Legends Divisions were created, the Big Ten has indicated that PSU > MSU. It appears that hasn't changed, so that now we have 1) Ohio State, 2) Penn State, 3) Michigan State and 4) Indiana. I have to imagine that's how OSU and MSU ended up on the same schedule rotation.
So for the next four years (2016-9), the teams on the schedule rotations will be Ohio State-Michigan State-Rutgers and Wisconsin-Penn State-Indiana-Maryland on the other. The B1G opted to match up the teams in the East and the West based on their relative strengths--that's why UM has the Badgers through this next four seasons.
Things may change, but the conference's published schedules are out through 2019. That means having an opener against a Big Ten team may not come any earlier than 2020. That said, U-M's currently schedule opening game for that season is at Washington (followed by home games with Ball State and Virginia Tech). The opening day slot for the 2021 season is open, with the two non-conference games the following two Saturdays being at Virginia Tech and Washington.
I do think he and Harbaugh may rethink having both Washington and Virginia Tech on the 2020/1 schedules. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those teams falls off (or perhaps both if an agreement can be made with Notre Dame).
I wouldn't touch the home-and-home contests with UCLA, Texas or Oklahoma. It looks like the 2023 opener is schedule at UCLA and the two games with the Longhorns are also going to open the 2024 and 2027 seasons--that is, if Hackett/Manual/Harbaugh opt to keep it that way.
|3 days 7 hours ago||I'm trying to reconcile the potential size of the next class . .||
I understand the 18 roster spots that are opening up because players are ending their eligibility at Michgan. 15 of those players are projected starters (16 if you include special teams) with the two non-special teams backups being RB Drake Johnson and WR Damario Jones (who quite frankly may not be with the team at the start of the 2016 season--the same also goes for OL Blake Bars).
Outside of attrition for grades and medical reasons, I don't know how much more fat is on the bone regarding players who might not be around for the 2017 season. CB Freddy Canteen looks like he'll be buried on the depth chart and is a possible transfer. DT Brady Pallante comes to mind as well, but there might be a defensive line depth problem after 2016 with the departures of Glasgow, Wormley, Charlton and Godin (it's a shame U-M coulfn't have gotten one more interior d-lineman in this class alone with a true offensive tackle). Maybe an offensive lineman, but because so many of them leave at the end of 2016 (Magnuson, Kalis, Braden and perhaps Bars if he sticks around), I don't know if you want to make cuts there.
I'm hard pressed to think that this next class will get to that maximum amount of 28/29 players mentioned in this post. Even 25 might be a bit of a stretch. Wouldn't it be more likely we'll see a class of around 22 or 23 recruits given the number of players leaving plus the rather large number of recruits over the last two classes.
We'll see what happens, but whatever takes place, this team will shift from one that's fairly veteran in 2016 to one that's much more inexperienced in 2017. That doesn't even include players who may leave for the NFL early, i.e., Jabrill Peppers.
|4 days 22 hours ago||UCLA and Texas are already on Michigan's future schedules . .||
Michigan has home and homes scheduled with UCLA (2022/3), Texas (2024/7) and Oklahoma (2025/6).
I could see Stanford and Tennessee both as possible candidates to add to the list. If Michigan is willing to play two Power 5 teams non-conference, then it might happen before 2027. If not, then the earliest we're looking at if nothing else changes is 2028 or beyond.
|4 days 22 hours ago||It takes two to tango . . .||
Notre Dame has three scheduling spots open for 2018, but only one for 2019. It also appears they may have no September dates open for 2019, so that may be problematic as well.
My guess is that UM will fill those two open non-conference slots with non-Power 5 opponents (Michigan has SMU in 2018 and Army in 2019). The Wolverines open with Arkansas both those seasons and have a home game with Nebraska in 2018. Adding ND to that lineup probably doesn't make sense if you're looking at putting a team in the national championship playoff.
Brandon had been moving U-M away from playing MAC teams and perhaps Hackett/Harbaugh will go the same way, i.e., play a program from the American or Mountain West Conferences.
I just think it lines up better for 2020/1 for the reasons I stated above. It also gives all the schools enough lead time so if games have to be cancelled or rescheduled, those program ADs can contact new opponents to fill the open schedule slot.
Of course, all this assumes Notre Dame is the opponent (and Hackett has made it plain he would like to see the series renewed). It could be another school like Stanford or Georgia or Texas A&M. We'll see in due course.
|5 days 18 min ago||If I had to hazard a guess . . .||
If I had to hazard a guess, Hackett is looking to drop one or both of Washington and Virginia Tech in the 2020/1 seasons and get Notre Dame in a home-and-home for those two years.
I thought it was odd that Brandon contracted two pretty good Power 5 Conference teams on the non-conference schedule for those two years. It became doubly problematic when the Big Ten opted to go to a nine-team confernce schedule.
ND has nine games published to date on various website for the 2020/1 seasons. Five are with ACC teams and the four other opponents are USC, Stanford, Navy and Purdue. That means there are three open scheduling spots for each of those seasons.
There are problems though. If the Big Ten keeps its current schedule rotation, 2020 is a year when Michigan plays at Ohio State and at Michigan State. U-M would want ND in Ann Arbor that year, but that would be the sixth road game for the Irish that year (including one in Los Angeles with USC). In the past, ND has wanted to balance out their USC/UM rotation. That said, ND is playing at Ohio State in 2022 (and hosts the Buckeyes in 2023), so that may turn out to be a non-issue.
As far as the OSU/MSU "problem" is concerned, I don't think anything is going to change in the near term. The Big Ten has ranked PSU > MSU since they made up the Legends and Leaders Divisions when Nebraska joined the conference and it's obvious they still think that way.
So for the next four years, we'll see Wisconsin-Penn State-Indiana-Maryland all at home or on the road and Ohio State-Michigan State-Rutgers opposite them with two of the remaining six Big Ten teams cycling through the schedule each year. It might not serve the OSU/MSU v. Michigan rivalry very well, but it does balance out the overall schedule.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Have you taken a look at Michigan's future football schedules?||
The 2016 football schedule will have eight home games on it, but the non-conference portion was put in place prior to the Big Ten adopting a nine-game confernce schedule. It was supposed to include a road game at Notre Dame, but with that contest scheduled and with the B10 putting five conference games on UM's schedule, we now have the Wolverines playing in Ann Arbor against Hawaii, Colorado, Central Florida, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland and Indiana.
The 2017 schedule includes four home conference games (Michigan State, Rutgers, Minnesota, Ohio State) along with two home non-conference games (Cincinnati and Air Force). The neutral site game with Florida was announced in Decmeber 2013--about five months after the Big Ten announced its nine-game schedules. That means Brandon was willing to accept a six game home schedule plus the payout that UM would get from Jerry Jones to play UF in Dallas.
In 2018, Michigan again has five home conference games (Nebraska, Maryland, Wisconsin, Penn State, Indiana) and four conference games (at Northwestern, at Michigan State, at Rutgers, at Ohio State). The two non-conference games include the season home opener with Arkansas and SMU. Hackett and Harbaugh have to make a decision on that final non-conference opponent. Will it be a pay for play team or a home-and-home series for 2018 and probably 2019? If the former, Michigan will again be playing eight home games in 2018 and six for 2019. If the latter, then we could see seven home games in 2018 and six in 2019.
In 2020/21, Brandon scheduled two home-and-home series with Washington and Virginia Tech. If Hackett/Harbaugh don't change that, then Michigan will probably be playing seven home games in 2020 and just six in 2021.
The bottom line to all this is that Brandon was apparently willing to have just six home games on the schedule. Did he think that television revenue would offset the lost in ticket sales? Did he think giving UM an overall more difficult schedue was better in some way? We don't know. In 2017, admittedly, the neutral site game will pay essentially the same as a home game. But 2019 and 2021 could be different stories, especially since Hackett says he doesn't want to play neutral site games.
We'll see what happens,but my best assessment is that Michigan will have pay for play opponents in 2018 and 2019 to round out the non-conference schedule and ensure that UM has eight and six home games those two years. I'll be curious to see if he opts to keep both Washington and Virginia Tech on the 2020/1 schedules or not.
Finally, of course, we have Hackett's flirtation with Notre Dame. Between 2022 and 2027, Michigan has home-and-home series with UCLA, Oklahoma and Texas. Does he drop one of those teams for ND or does had add the Irish to the non-conference schedule in any of those years? Stay tuned.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Is Michigan's 2016 non-conference schedule "too weak"?||
Because the Big Ten opted to go to a nine-game conference schedule and Notre Dame cancelled its series with Michigan, the Wolverines will be playing Hawaii, Colorado and Central Florida all at home next season. To date, these three teams have win-loss records of 2-5, 3-4 and 0-7 respectively. I doubt they're going to be a Murderer's Row when 2016 rolls around.
The rest of Michigan's schedule includes five home games (Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Maryland, Indiana) and four on the road (at Rutgers, at Michigan State, at Iowa, at Ohio State). All this means that Michigan will have eight games in Ann Arbor next season.
So is Michigan's 2016 non-conference schedule "too weak"? If the team goes undefeated or has one regular season loss, but wins the conference title game, do the Wolverines get eliminated from the four team playoff with that line up of games? If the answer is no, then perhaps U-M shouldn't play any major Power 5 teams on its schedule and just have three "pay for play" opponents to ensure the maximum number of home games along with the attendant ticket revenue.
Analysts and some college football fans might think otherwise, but take a look at this year's Ohio State football schedule. Their four non-conference games were at Virginia Tech, Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. Those teams are 3-4, 2-5, 4-3 and 3-3 so far this season. OSU is the #1 ranked team in the country in most polls, but are they being penalized in any way because of their non-conference schedule. The CFB playoff committee will be making their rankings in a couple of weeks and we may know more than, but my guess is that the answer would be no.
My assessment is that any team that wins out from a major conference or has a one loss season but wins its conference championship game is very highly likely to be among the four teams chosen by that committee. A Big XII program or major independent with one loss is a different story because I imagine the committee will look a bit more closely at their overall and non-conference schedules.
|15 weeks 6 days ago||For Michigan starting in 2016, it's sort of a non-issue . . . .||
With the Big Ten going to a nine-game conference schedule with the plan that the top teams from each division will play one another, the non-conference schedule is sort of a non-issue. There's no real incentive to "schedule up".
More likely than not, Jim Hackett and Jim Harbaugh are going to opt to keep just one major Power 5 team on the schedule and have two pay for play games in the other non-conference schedule slots.
We'll know more once the 2018/9 schedules are firmed up. U-M opens with Arkansas (home in 2018, road in 2019) both seasons and has SMU in 2018 (scheduled by Brandon) and Army in 2019 (scheduled by Hackdett). Hackett and Harbaugh are going to be responsible for picking the third non-conference opponent for each of those seasons.
Also keep in mind that Wisconsin is on the schedule every year from 2016 to 2019. Here's the list of Western Division opponents for those years:
2016 - Wisconsin (Big Ten season opener after bye week), Illinois, at Iowa
2017 - at Wisconsin (the Saturday before hosting Ohio State), at Purdue, Minnesota
2018 - Wisconsin, Nebraska (Big Ten season opener), at Northwestern
2019 - at Wisconsin (Big Ten season opener), at Illinois, Iowa
Seeing that Wisconsin is the B1G season opener in 2018 and 2019, I have to imagine Hackett/Harbaugh are going to look for pay to play opponents those seasons--probably a team from the Mountain West or American Athletic Conference given recent history.
And yes, folks, the 2018 home schedule will include Arkansas, SMU, Nebraska, Maryland, Wisconsin, Penn State, Indiana and one TBD non-conference opponent. That's eight home games and only four on the road (at Northwestern, at Michigan State, at Rutgers and at Ohio State).
I will be curious to see if Hackett and Harbaugh keep Washington and Virginia Tech on the 2020/1 schedule. Given the nine-game Big Ten schedule and the plan to have the top teams in the two B1G divisions match up with one another, it might make sense to drop the UDub or VaTech home-and-home series and replace it with a couple of pay for play opponents from a non Power 5 conference.
|17 weeks 4 hours ago||How does Michigan get to 85 scholarships for next season?||
U-M currently has 82 players on scholarship with 13 leaving with no more eligibility left (or perhaps 12 if Michigan wins an appeal for Ojemudia to play one more year) and 22 already in this recruting class. That puts the projected number of scholarship players at 91 with no more changes, i.e., medical redshirts, transfers, additional recruits, etc.
I could certainly see Michigan getting a 28-man class for 2016 with a number of these players gray shirting and counting against the 2017 class. It's not something that Jim Delany approves of, but I have little doubt he'd turn a blind eye for a blue-chip program as he negotiates television rights with the major networks.
So let's say that three players get reclassified to the 2017 class (along with our Candian cornerback). Now what happens? Right now, Michigan has to winnow out six players currently on the roster who have eligibility. Add more players and that number gets larger.
Quarterback will have six players at that position in 2016 (that includes Victor Viramontes). That position looks to be above the norm in terms of numbers. The RB situation is going to be even more unwieldy. If Kareem Walker does flip to U-M, he'll be one of eleven running backs on the roster come next season. Shallman (or perhaps Winovich) may end up as a fullback, but that's still a lot of scholarships dedicated to one position.
It'll be interesting to see what happens. The 2017 class should be large (27 players end their eligibility at the end of 2016), so there's certainly room to gray shirt players. But some interesting decisions are going to have to be made in terms of roster management.
I'm looking at the roster to see how many players might not get that fifth year. TE Tom Strobel, LB Allen Gant (in a position that is going to lose a lot of depth) and DB Terry Richardson come to mind. Every other potential candidate (including K Kenny Allen) should be major contributors for the 2016 season.
I'm confident the coaches will do right by the recruits and the players, but roster management and the process of getting to that 85 scholarship limit are going to be interesting to watch.
|18 weeks 5 days ago||What organizational changes has Hackett made?||
You say there's been an organizational change, but outside of Hackett being more hands off than Brandon, what exactly has changed?
I ask because I noted that Chrissi Rawak is a Brandon hire and she appears to be doing the same job that she was bought on to do by the previous athletic director. Kurt Svoboda, OTOH, is the new communications director who came in from Stanford earlier this year. Elizabeth Heinrich, who is chief of compliance, was also a Brandon hire.
A lot of people were callling for some sort of Stalinist purge of Brandon's hires, but that hasn't happened yet to my knowledge. To his credit, Hackett has taken the people already in place and worked with them (to no one's surprise) differently than Brandon.
I think it's great that he meets with the students to give them some sense of empowerment. But when the rubber meets the road, Hackett still has to look to not only covering the athletic department's expenses (which may get greater if athletes are paid), but seeking new revenue to cover them.
What would be very interesting--especially to the students--to find out is exactly how he plans to do that. The Big Ten has a new contract coming up for the television rights, but will that offset the current and future costs of running the Michigan AD? Brandon built up the outreach and donor programs for the athletic department to fund new buildings, etc.? Is Hackett going to keep that operation in place?
|19 weeks 6 days ago||No . . .||
North Dakota State is a FCS team and the Big Ten is looking to prohibit any B1G team from playing teams in that division (such as Iowa's annual game with Northern Iowa or Illinois playing one of the directional FCS teams in their state, etc.)
But yes, Army and Troy are "legit" in the eyes of the Big Ten and the USMA counts as a P5 equivalent.
I suspect one of the reasons this rule has been put in place is due to the television contract negotiations that are about to take place between the conference and the networks. Having an inventory of games that doesn't include any FCS programs is probably considered a value added proposition by the B1G (and hopefully, by the networks). The same goes with going to a nine-game conference schedule--it lowers the opportunity of putting tomato cans on the non-conference schedule.
The question that the UM Athletic Department may be dealing with is how many P5 teams (or equivalents) do they want to put on the non-conference schedule? Michigan has two in 2020/1 in VIrginia Tech and Washington. There are open scheduling slots in 2018/9 and Michigan already has a home-and-home with Arkansas those two seasons.
The same discussion goes with the year extending out to 2027 when Michigan has home-and-homes with UCLA, Oklahoma and Texas. Does U-M opt to play a second P5 team in the non-conference schedule in those seasons or not? If yes, what sort of opponent do you pair up with the Bruins, Sooners and Longhorns during the next decade? Do you go for some of the P5's lesser lights such as Vanderbilt, Wake Forest or Duke? Do you go for a middle of the road program like California or North Carolina or Texas Tech?
I doubt U-M would go for a second blue chip team on those schedules, so the idea of Notre Dame being on any of them until 2028 doesn't seem very likely (unless one of the home-and-home series I mentioned above is moved or postponed).
|19 weeks 6 days ago||Yes, Army is on the 2019 football schedule . . . .||
FBSchedules.com shows Michigan opening the 2019 season at Arkansas on August 31 with Army being the home opener on September 7. By the Big Ten's rule, Michigan has two acceptable Power 5 or Equivalent teams for that season.
The same goes for 2020 and 2021. Michigan has two home-and-home series with Virginia Tech and Washington those seasons. U-M opens the 2020 season at Washington and then plays Ball State and Virginia Tech at Michigan Stadium. The 2021 season opener hasn't been announced yet, but Week 2 is at Virginia Tech (9/11/21) and then Washington comes to Ann Arbor in Week 3 (9/18/21).
Michigan also has home-and-home series with UCLA (2022/3), Oklahoma (2024/7) and Texas (2025/6). The 2023 game at UCLA and the two games with Texas appear to be season openers.
IN 2016, Colorado fills the bill and the 2017 season opener with Florida in Dallas, Texas also fills out the Big Ten's requirement. All the games mentioned above were scheduled by former AD David Brandon (with the exception of Army).
According to http://www.fbschedules.com/2015/07/michigan-army-2019-football-schedule/, Michigan will pay the United States Military Academy $1.5M to play in Ann Arbor. Army currently leads the series 5-4. This game was announced back in July and is the first contest that interim AD Jim Hackett and HC Jim Harbaugh have put on the schedule.
|20 weeks 6 days ago||What money does ND smell?||
Notre Dame's contract with NBC is pretty much set, so they're not going to get any extra cash from the network because Michigan is on the schedule.
Perhaps they could make more on tickets by selling them at a premium, but they could probably do the same with the programs they have on the early season schedule in the coming years. The next two seasons include games in September with Michigan State and Georgia. I have a feeling ND would be able to sell out those games with little problem.
|20 weeks 6 days ago||Michigan already has seven home games in 2018 . . .||
Michigan already has seven home games in 2018: Arkansas, SMU, Nebraska, Maryland, Wisconsin, Penn State and Indiana. If U-M were to have a second home-and-home series in that season and in 2019, then it makes sense for that game to be on the road (seven home/five road). Unfortunately, the season opener is with Nebraska, so Michigan might want its third non-conference opponent to be in the "below middle of the road category".
In 2019, Michigan only has five home games on the schedule to date: Army, Iowa, Rutgers, Michgan State and Ohio State. That last unscheduled non-conference game will have to be played in Ann Arbor to get a six home/six away split. Since Michigan opens the Big Ten season at Wisconsin, it would again suggest U-M would want that third non-conference opponent to be in the "below middle of the row category".
The Big Ten hasn't published conference schedules beyond 2019, but assuming they keep up the current rotation of home/away conference games, then 2020 will have five Big Ten games, 2021 will have four, etc.
2020 Home Games (7): Ball State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Penn State, Indiana, 2 Western Division Teams TBD
2021 Home Games (6): One Non Conference TBD, Washington, Rutgers, Michigan State, Ohio State, 1 Western Division Team TBD
2022 Home Games (7 or 8): One or Two Non Conference TBD, UCLA, Maryland, Penn State, Indiana, 2 Western Divison Teams TBD
2023 Home Games (6): Two Non Conference TBD, Rutgers, Michigan State, Ohio State, 1 Western Division Team TBD
In 2024 (Five Big Ten home games?), Michigan opens the season with Texas (Aug 31). U-M plays in Austin on 4 September 2027 (Four Big Ten home games?).
In 2025 (Four Big Ten home games?), Michgan plays at Oklahoma on September 6, then hosts the Sooner on 12 September 2026 (Five Big Ten home games).
|20 weeks 6 days ago||Here's the more interesting scheduling question(s) . . . .||
Unless Michigan is thinking about scheduling Notre Dame as a second non-conference home-and-home series along with Arkansas (2018/9), UCLA (2022/3), Texas (2024/7) or Oklahoma (2025/6), then the ND discussion is a moot point because the next open scheduling slot would be in 2028.
That assumes that UM doesn't drop any of those series for Notre Dame. It also assumes that Michigan will keep the two home-and-home series with Virginia Tech and Washington for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Here's the more interesting scheduling questions that should be asked of Jim Hackett and Jim Harbaugh:
1. Will Michigan look to play two Power Five Conference teams on future non-conference schedules? As I wrote above, U-M has VaTech and UW in the 2020/1 seasons for a couple of home-and-home series. That means losing one potential home game over that two year period, so how much does that effect the budget?
2. If the answer is yes to (1), then what sort of teams will U-M pair up with Arkansas, UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma on the schedule? Will they look at having that second home-and-home with a team that is traditionally not very good within the Power 5 conferences, such as Vanderbilt or Wake Forest (I assume that game against WF would be played in Charlotte, NC)? Will that second team be a middle of the road program like California or Boston College or Virginia or Texas Tech? Will teams in major recruting areas be on the list, such as Baylor or TCU in Texas or maybe Miami-FL?
3. If Michigan does opt to have two home-and-home series with Power 5 teams, will the Big Ten cooperate and make the Big Ten Conference opening game against an "easier" opponent. From 2016 to 2019, Michigan's B1G opening games are with Wisconsin (2), Nebraska and Purdue. If U-M were to have two P5 teams on the schedule, then opneing the B1G season with the Purdues of the world would help.
4. When making up these non-conference schedules, how much is schedule strength a consideration when it comes to the playoffs? Is U-M assuming there will be a four-team playoff during the next decade or will we be at 8 teams by the 2020s?
As far as Notre Dame is concerned, I wouldn't mind having them back as a part of a rotation of major programs within Michigan's non-conference schedule. This blog and other boards have discussed the candidates--programs like Georgia and LSU from the SEC or Clemson and Florida State from the ACC would be four possibilities from the top of my head that aren't on the schedule between now and 2027 (and aren't from the Pac 12).
|21 weeks 5 days ago||I think money was a real issue . . .||
Notre Dame is going to be paid a fixed amount of money by NBC regardless of how their schedule shakes out, even with their ACC agreement. In fact, I believe the network recently renewed their arrangement with Notre Dame through 2025.
Both schools kept their home revenue and the visiting team didn't get a cut, so Notre Dame doesn't leave any money on the table there either. If they replace UM with another home-and-home series (Texas, Georgia, Ohio State, etc.), then there's probably not much change in the money either.
For whatever reason, Notre Dame opted to sever the ties with Michigan in a manner that wasn't going to promote future good relations between the two schools. Even Bacon confirms Brandon's account about getting the letter before the 2012 game and he also never states that Swarbrick talked to DB ahead of time. So now the narrative is supposed to be that since Brandon is gone and Hackett/Harbaugh are in, Swarbrick is thinking it's a good idea to restart the series. Or is he taking flack from the networks or the stakeholders in South Bend for being the person most responsible for ending the UM-ND series?
If I'm Jim Hackett, I talk to Lloyd Carr about his history concerning ND and "gentleman's agreements" when it comes to scheduling. And once I do that, I make sure to put together one hell of an ironclad contract to make sure there's no funny stuff like we last saw in 1999.
|21 weeks 5 days ago||So which do you prefer?||
In 2010, the year before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, Michigan had to play at Notre Dame, at Penn State and at Ohio State that year with Michigan State a home game. For the record, that was on Bill Martin's watch.
In 2011 with the Leaders and Legends Divisions in place, Michigan had Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State all at home with Michigan State on the road. Back then, the Big Ten opted to balance out the conferences based on recent history (back to 1993) and had the top four teams in the two divisions (Michigan/Nebraska and Ohio State/Penn State). Michigan State wasn't in the top four at that time. This arrangement lasted until 2013 and left us with the possibility of back-to-back season ending games with Ohio State (which happily didn't happen).
Add two more schools and flip to a nine team schedule so that by 2016, the Michigan State and Ohio State games are offset on the home-away rotation with Penn State and a major program from the West (for 2016-9, that will be Wisconsin). If you look at how the Big Ten put it together, they still don't consider MSU one of the top four programs in the conference.
So when it comes to conference scheduling, which one do you prefer? And BTW, since Bacon's book doesn't talk about how the Big Ten came up with any of its scheduling decisions, can you link a source that explains how they came up with the new set up and what exactly Brandon did and did not do?
|21 weeks 5 days ago||I'm with you on this . . .||
I wouldn't mind seeing Notre Dame being part of a rotation of blue chip programs and top teams coming into Ann Arbor. Perhaps ND and UM play a couple times every six to eight years, but that would be the limit for me.
I was at the Rose Bowl game a decade ago when Michigan and Texas played one another for the first time. The home-and-home series between the two teams is scheduled for 2024 and 2027.
The last and only time Michigan played Oklahoma was in a bowl game where UM was wearing white pants. That was four decades ago. The home-and-home series is scheduled for 2025/6.
You mentioned LSU--this is a team Michigan has never played. I think Michigan has only played Georgia two or three times and the last game was in the early 1960s. Another team I'd add to the list is Texas A&M, who I think Michigan has played twice (once in the 1970s and once in a bowl game). Kyle Stadium has been expanded to over 100,000, so why not have a game with them?
Speaking of SEC teams, what about Tennessee or Auburn in a home-and-home series? If you reach out to the ACC, there's Florida State, Miami FL and Clemson as possibilties as well. I think you'd have to go to the 1980s and early 1990s since UM played those first two teams either regular season or during a bowl.
Remember a couple other things. Jack Swarbrick put in the three year notice to option out of the contract, not Brandon. If Swarbrick wanted to reconfigure the series after ND joined the ACC, then all he had to do was pick up the phone. Seeing how successful UTL I turned out, I suspect that even DB would have worked with him to that end.
|21 weeks 5 days ago||Does Michigan really want to play Notre Dame . . . . ?||
Does Michigan really want to play Notre Dame along with another Power Five Conference team as part of its three-team non-conference schedule?
Next season is when the Big Ten starts the nine-game conference schedule with alternating years of five (even numbered years) and four (odd numbered years) B1G games going forward. The conference also wants to pair up the teams from the two divisions and have them play over a four-year time period. From 2016 to 2019, Michigan will play Wisconsin from the West Division. The Badgers are paired up with Penn State on the home (even years) and away (odd years) rotation while Michigan State and Ohio State are paired up in the other home (odd years) and away (even years) rotation. If this scheduling practice continues, expect the next four seasons (2020-3) to have another of the better teams from the West on the schedule each season (perhaps Nebraska?).
In 2018, Michigan opens the season with Arkansas in Ann Arbor, has an open week, then hosts Southern Methodist. Does it make sense to play Notre Dame (perhaps on the road because there are already seven home games on the schedule) the Saturday after playing the Razorbacks? Michigan's first conference game after SMU is Nebraska in Ann Arbor. Does it make sense to start that season with Arkansas-at Notre Dame-SMU-Nebraska?
In 2019, UM opens the season at Arkansas, then plays Army with week 3 open and only five home games currently on the schedule (including Ohio State and Michigan State). If UM were to play ND at home, the Wolverines would then go on the road at Wisconsin the next weekend. Does it make sense to start the 2019 season at Arkansas-Army-Notre Dame-at Wisconsin?
The 2020 and 2021 seasons already have two Power Five teams in the non-conference schedules--Virginia Tech and Washington. Assuming UM holds onto those games (and the Ball State contest on 9/12/2020), there's really no open slots to play ND in those two years (unless you want to play three P5/major independents in 2021).
UCLA (2022/3), Texas (2024/7) and Oklahoma (2025/6) are all on the non-conference schedules through the mid-section of the next decades? Does Michigan reallly want to play ND plus one of those schools as part of the non-conference schedule? Let's hope CFB has gone to an eight-team playoff system by then.
We'll see what happens. David Brandon was evidentally willing to have two Power 5 teams on the non-conference slate as evidenced by the Washington-Virginia Tech combination for the 2020/1 seasons. Will Jim Hackett and Jim Harbaugh (who per his contract does have input into non-conference scheduling) do the same for the upcoming seasons? Or will they bump one or two of the teams on the future schedule to make room for Notre Dame?
|21 weeks 5 days ago||If you've followed this blog . . . .||
If you've followed MGoBlog, read the published excerpts of the book and Bacon's blog, you'll have the gist and the general themes behind "Endzone" and you really won't need to buy the book. It does have some interesting details in it, but even the casual follower of Michigan football knows that Brandon mismanaged the AD, Hoke was not a good enough coach to replace Rodriguez and U-M and that a lot of people were involved in the effort to court Harbaugh.
While Bacon does a very good job in setting out the culture and traditiions surround the university and the football program, he begins losing course as early as Chapter 2 in his book with his definition of a "Michigan Man". According to Bacon, a "Michigan Man" has certain values--honor, sacrifice, pride in your school and humility in yourself. But literally paragraphs later, he talks about Fielding H. Yost as being "egotistical" and having "a passion for self-promotion". Per JUB, Yost would be lacking when it came to the qualities of a Michigan Man.
Of course, I don't think that's what Bacon wanted to do. Instead, what JUB will do is try to use that "Michigan Man" defintion to crucify Brandon throughout the book. He sets aside the donations Brandon gave to the university, the money he didn't make by taking the CEO job (say what you will about DB, but seeing that he got the Toys R Us gig, he is a valuable commodity to the right employer) and the obvious pride he had in the school and the football program as a wearer of an M ring should and does have. Was DB humble? Nope, but neither was FIelding H. Yost (and FWIW, Yost was also a hell of a businessman too).
I think some of the conclusions that Bacon makes in the book require either leaps of faith by the reader or just don't make sense (or involve a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking). For example, Bacon tries to paint hs picture that if BIll Martin was still the AD, Notre Dame would not have cancelled the football series in 2012 when the Big East was imploding and ND needed a conference (which turned out to be the ACC) to house all its non-football teams. Anyone who is a student of Michigan football and knows the century-plus relationship between UM and ND (which Bacon should be) would know better and actually applaud Brandon's insistence on written contract rather than the vague 25-year scheduling agreement Martin had with Jack Swarbrick (FWIW, I would recommend John Kryk's "Natural Enemies" as a great source of information on the Michigan-Notre Dame relationship). Bacon would like to have you think that such an agreement would have been viable in what is a constantly changing competitive environment in college football. Does anyone at MGoBlog really believe that?
When Bacon discusses Harbaugh's comments in 2007 about the relationship between Michigan football and athletics, I can't but help think that JUB is coming off as an apologist for JH. There are no quotes in the book from Harbaugh about why he made those very public comments, so Bacon rushes in and tries to make a case for why JBC was a "Michigan Man" for doing so. In a spasm of honesty though, at least Bacon states and Harbaugh realizes what he said hurt him to various degrees within the university community and the athletic department. So at least the book has that going for itself.
The other question I have about the book is this--Is it really necessary? The problems within the UM AD and on the football field have been pretty well documented in the press, on blogs and in social media. David Brandon has resigned and the athletic department is under new leadership (although interestingly enough, a lot of DB's hires are still in place). The book sheds no light on the department's strategic vision or how it plans to deal with the changing environment of college athletics as student-athletes rights and demands clash with a financial model that doesn't work at the athletic departments of most universities. Fielding H. Yost coined the phrase "Athletics for All" when he expanded facilities 90 years ago not only for varsity sports, but for women as well. Is U-M still committed to that vision? You won't find the answer in this book.
|22 weeks 6 days ago||People around here do have short memories . . .||
It was less than ten months ago that President Schissel said the following:
"We admit students who aren't as qualified, and it's probably the kids that we admit that can't honestly, even with lots of help, do the amount of work and the quality of work it takes to make progression from year to year," he said, according to the Daily. "These past two years have gotten better, but before that, the graduation rates were terrible, with football somewhere in the 50s and 60s when our total six-year rate at the university is somewhere near 90%. So that's a challenge."
I'm sure President Schissel learned quite a bit from the blowback over those comments about how people--both alums and non-alums--view Michigan football. I rather enjoyed this quote from the article:
"I think we need good student-athletes," said Mark Williams, 32, of Livonia, whose family has had football season tickets since the 1970s. "But we're not the Ivy League. Football is important here."
I imagine President Schlissel had some very hard lessons about how football is integrated into the university, fund raising/development and its brand--I mean, image. I think it's great he got Jim Hackett as the interim AD and that Hackett was able to get Harbaugh. It also means he can devout his time to what I'm sure he feels is the more important roles of the university of the academic ledger without all the drama he faced in his first year as U-M's president.
|23 weeks 5 days ago||Thank you for keeping The Victors . . .||
Thank you for keeping The Victors, the winged helmet, the M GoBlue banner and all the other core traditions that your predecessor never changed.
Thank you, also, for bringing back the road uniforms the team wore for only two seasons nearly four decades ago. Except for the helmet, UM will have uniforms as generic as Penn State.
|23 weeks 5 days ago||Thank you for adding Army to the non-conference games . . . .||
Thank you for adding Army to Michigan's non-conference schedule. I'm sure it will be an exciting game.
Thank you for not putting two Power Five teams on the non-conference schedule like your predecessor did for this season (Utah, Oregon State and independent BYU) and in 2020/1 (Washington and Virginia Tech).
|23 weeks 5 days ago||I want to thank Mr. Hackett . . .||
I want to thank Mr. Hackett for continuing the recent tradition of playing night football games at Michigan Stadium.
I also want to thank him for the work he's done to stage major non-football athletic events at Michigan Stadium during his tenure.
|23 weeks 5 days ago||Wasn't Bill Martin on the US Olympic Committee?||
If I recall correctly, Bill Martin was on the U.S. Olympic Committee (sailing) and was the temporary leader of the USOC when it was having its internal trouble. To say Martin wasn't an athletics guy isn't exactly correct.
While Canham would be considered cutting edge, I think some of the things he did would have fans howling right now, such as selling tickets to the Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus or having planes fly over Tiger Stadium carrying signs promoting Michigan football (also in an effort to sell tickets).
Canham was also brought into the world of Title IX kicking and screaming, based on the accounts I've read. He did the bare minimum to support women's sports at Michigan in the 1970s and 1980s in large part because he knew what it would do to the bottom line. By the time Bo took over as AD, the department was running deficits and his successors were the ones who had to deal with it.
If anything, Bill Martin was the one who got the department's finances in order after Tom Goss was fired. It was during his tenure that things turned around on the bottom line and he was the one who initiated PSLs and the renovations to Michigan Stadium that brought luxury seating (and the money surrounding them).
|24 weeks 12 hours ago||Perhaps you need to talk to Jim Hackett and John Beilein . . .||
Perhaps you need to talk to Jim Hackett and John Beilein about using the words "Michigan" and "brand" in the same sentence because they have both recently uttered them in a manner that David Brandon wound certainly approve--and apparently Jim Harbaugh couldn't because it confuses him and he doesn't understand it (words Harbaugh used in the televised interview shown above).
From a July 8 article in the Detroit News about the Michigan-Nike deal:
"One of the very notable athletic directors in the country said, 'I just want to set your mind in the right context – this is one of the most valuable brands,' and he paused, 'in sports,'" Hackett said. "And I waited, and he said, 'I'm talking about auto racing, golf, baseball, NFL, NBA -- the Michigan brand, Jim, is one of the most valuable assets in sports.' I had a lot of pride in hearing that, but it really got me to think in terms of what does the most valuable brand in sport deserve in a partnership?"
Here's an excerpt from a Scout article on 7 July:
"Michigan and Nike have a long and storied history together,” Beilein said in a statement issued by the athletic department. “The traditions and reputations of both brands make this relationship one of the best in college athletics. I am thankful to be working with them again as we represent Michigan, Nike and the Jordan Brand for many years to come."
As far as Harbaugh is concerned, this is the second time he's said that he doesn't understand the "Michigan brand". See that he conducted this interview in front of a wall that the block M and a picture of Michigan Stadium with the words "The Big House" on it, it indicates--at best--a real lack of awareness of his immediate surroundings.
But seriously, Fox Sports has a bus (the "Harbus") going from Ann Arbor to Salt Lake City between now and the opening season game with all the trademarks of his "brand" painted all over it. Is he having trouble figuring that out?
I think we all know that Michigan does have a brand and the university uses it on college football Saturdays (and Thursdays) and during men's basketball games to promote itself on television to the alums, to the donors and to potential students who will consider applying to U-M (and their parents). The winged helmet, "The Victors", Crisler Center, Michigan Stadium, the Fab Five, etc. are all part of the Michigan brand--for better or worse. If Habaugh want to play the rube about the Michigan brand, then that's fine. But it's hardly a reason to celebrate.
|24 weeks 3 days ago||I have the book preordered . . .||
I have the book preordered and I'm looking forward to reading it, but this excerpt leaves open more question than it answers. I hope those questions get answered when the book finally becomes available. Here's some of the questions that come to mind:
1. Why didn't anyone in the huddle call a timeout or get the attention of the ref or someone on the bench about Morris's condition?
2. What did the coaching staff both on the sideline and in the booth do in reaction to the hit on Morris?
3. Did anyone on the medical staff see Morris get hit? If yes, why didn't they intervene with the coaching staff? If not, why weren't they watching the game?
4. What was the actual diagnosis surrounding Morris that the medical and training staff came to when he was examined? Secondly, when exactly was he examined? Did they follow the concussion protocol?
5. When was that diagnosis first communicated to Hoke and Brandon? If it was later Saturday or Sunday, why didn't Brandon call everybody in that day in order to craft a statement/press response to what had happened? They had to be aware of what was said on the television that day. DIdn't they anticipate the potential media storm?
6. What was the exact nature of the meeting between Brandon, the lawyers and Morris? I ask this question because if my recollection is correct, Morris was interviewed about it and seemed okay with letting his medical information out after the fact.
The ying and yang about this event is that while it was a PR nightmare, Brandon also established a new medical protocol in the course of a few days that has now largely been adopted by most of college football. A phyrric victor, at best, given what happened.
I guess I'm pretty cynical about college football after reading about how the bowls are run, about how breaking the rules have been rampant since the 1880s, etc. I guess I'm hard pressed to call the Kraft noodle, the sale of seat cushions and the white lies about the skywriting "disasters". Disasters are what happened at Penn State or the academic cheating at North Carolina or even what's happening now at Baylor with a player on their squad who was convicted of sexual assault still being on the squad.
|24 weeks 6 days ago||I have a Slingbox on my television . . . .||
I have a Slingbox on my television and was able to watch it from my hotel in Singapore about six months ago using the Slingbox app on my tablet.
So if you have a good internet connection where you're staying in Brazil, a Slingbox might be the best route to take to watch the game.
|25 weeks 7 hours ago||Given Jim Harbaugh's football psyche . . .||
Given Jim Harbaugh's football psyche, I'm not surprised the Michigan is on a "run silent, run deep" course when it comes to fall practice. I imagine he and the rest of the coaching staff and support personnel are going to do their best to keep a lid on any news about the team until they're ready to talk about starters, etc. in the days prior to the season opener.
I do have to wonder what the BTN crew is going to saw and show on video when they come to Ann Arbor. It'd be pretty funny to see another "Colin Cowherd" interview with Harbaugh on BTN with JH trying to say as little as possible about the team. It'd be funnier still if Harbaugh didn't let the BTN guys watch the team's practice, although I doubt that would happen.
|25 weeks 2 days ago||In the two seasons . . .||
In the two seasons that Michigan wore the white pants, the Wolverines went 10-1 (lost to Ohio State) and 8-2-2 with ties against Stanford and Baylor and losses to Ohio State (again) and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
18-3-2 isn't a bad two year record, but I don't know if you'd call team completely dominant then. They did beat two ranked squads in 1975 (Missouri and Michigan State) but came up short against the Buckeyes and the Sooners in the biggest games of those two seasons.