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|1 week 6 days ago||The best teams in CFB have talent, depth, experience . . . .||
The best teams in college football have talent, depth, experience and on the field talent. Michigan is going to have some holes on both sides of the field coming into the 2017 season.
On the offense, it'll be the line (which is kind of thin this season). U-M loses three starters (Kalis, Magnuson and Branden) at the end of 2016. Cole, Newsome and Kugler will be the only players with any real starts (and we don't know how Kugler is going to be integrated into the line this upcoming season). Ideally, Dawson and Bushell-Beatty would also be in the starting ranks, but there's been no evidence of that to date. I don't think anyone will be surprised to see Michigan with two redshirt freshmen on the offensive line (or perhaps true sophomores) when the Wolverines open the 2017 season in Dallas against Florida.
The other question will be on the WR, i.e., who replaces Darboh and Chesson's production? Grant Perry is probably part of the equation, but the rest is a question mark at this point. Again, I don't think we'll be too surprised to see players from the current incoming class (and early enrollees) being depended upon heavily in 2017 (fingers crossed on Harris and Ways for 2016).
Hurst and Mone are going to be the two upperclassmen on the 2017 line and we all expect Gary to be a major contributor in 2016. But like the offensive line, we're looking at possible shortfalls in experienced depth. Marshall has to step it up and Winovich needs to turn into a pleasant surprise.
McCray should be back for 2017 and there are lots of players who have been recruited for the other LB positions. I think it's fair to assume this will be Pepper's last year, so there will be a need for a SLB down the line. Furbush is his backup, but his talent and skill sets are very different than Peppers.
The secondary is going to be very hard hit--no doubt about that. David Long and Lavert Hill are going to have to grow up fast at the CB position because they're the likely starters for the 2017 season.
Michigan will begin flipping the switch after the 2016 season. Most of the team's personnel will be Harbaugh recruits with a handful left from Hoke's tenure. This team will also be young, so there will be questions about the starters for 2017, lack of experience for some players and which players will provide the onfield leadership. There are position groups where U-M will actually be in good shape, such as QB, FB, TE and RB. But we can expect some uncertainty at a whole host of other places when that opening season game with the Gators takes place at Jerryworld in September 2017.
|4 weeks 3 days ago||2017 & 2018 could be real transition years . . . .||
Michigan loses three starting offensive linemen (Magnuson, Kalis, Braden) out of the six currently on the roster who could likely be considered sure starters (the other three are Cole, Newsome and Kugler). Dawson and Bushell-Beatty have to be considered question marks at this point IRT the 2017 season, so we may see a couple of redshirt freshmen in the o-line when U-M opens the season in Dallas against Florida.
The defensive line is in an even worse situation with three starters (Wormley, Charlton, Glasgow) and one key back up (Godin) leaving at the end of 2016. Hurst. Mone, Marshall and Winovich (converted from LB/FB) are going to be the upperclassmen in 2017. Gary is going to be a key to the d-line and we'll see how Kemp, the two Johnsons and Jones pan out at the DE positions. It would have been nice to get an additional interior d-lineman in the last class other than Dwumfour and I expect U-M is going to look at getting at least three in this recruiting class.
The secondary is going to take a big hit as well after this season. I think it's a pretty good assumption that Peppers leaves for the NFL. Add in Lewis, Stribling and Clark from the CB ranks plus Thomas and Hill as starting safeties and you're staring at a real shortage of experience in the secondary in 2017. Kinnel and Watson will both be back, but guys who have barely been on campus (or are not in Ann Arbor yet) are going to be expected to contribute in 2017.
You also have to ask yourself what the WR position will look like when Darboh and Chesson are gone. Perry looks like he's legit, but we're still waiting on Harris. A lot seems to be riding on Mitchell developing quickly, so that's a wait and see situation.
I'm sure Harbaugh is going to do great as a recruiter, but it's pretty obvious 2017 and perhaps 2018 could be real transition years personnel wise. Top flight teams have depth, talent, experience and on the field leadership. Michigan is going to have great depth at some positions (tight end is insane) in 2017, but less so at others after the 2016 season. The overall talent is going to go up given Harbaugh's recruiting, but the experience is going down. The "bridge season" between Hoke and Harbaugh should be 2017.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||There's a strong gravitational pull . . .||
Whatever the rumors or sources may be, I think it's fair to acknowledge that there's a strong gravitational pull towards the Big Ten and the SEC these days. Both conferences have strong governance/membership, established and well-distributed conference networks and the greatest per school revenue potential. They both also have 14 teams, so there's "room" for two more teams and the establishment of two 8-team divisions for football as well.
In contrast, you have a Big XII Conference which has had major upheavels memberhip and leadership these last few years, little or no prospect of a conference-wide television network and no really good prospects to expand itself into other geographic areas with name programs that will increase the earnings each school gets from television and other sources. It's clear that there are restive members in the conference--just look at Oklahoma President David Boren's comments or Oklahoma State Head Football Coach Mike Gundy's discussion about how Texas's Longhorn Network has (1) been a failure and (2) needs to be dismantled for the Big XII to go forward.
The ACC is in somewhat better shape, but at this stage, it appears they'll be on outside looking in when it comes to establishing their own conference wide network and enjoying the same revenue streams that the Big Ten and SEC are looking at now and in the immediate future. It also has 14 full time members with Notre Dame being a de facto 15th with most of its sports in the ACC and with the agreement to play 5 ACC teams per year in football into the next decade.
The Pac 12 is also having problems with its television network in terms of distribution, revenue streams, etc. While it might be the best overall sports conference, that hasn't translated into the money needed for some of their schools to really operate on a high level. California, for example, had big budget issues. Of course, we all know how close the P10 came to becoming the P16 just a few years ago with the addition of Big XII schools from Texas and Oklahoma. Could something like that happen again?
The one major brake on all this has been the Grant of Rights agreements that all the conferences except the SEC have in place with its membership. Could those agreements be overturned in some way? If the Big XII evaporates, would their GOR still be in place?
As far as the Big Ten is concerned, it's obvious that the additions of Maryland and Rutgers were based less on athletics (although I'd say MD is a mid-range B10 program athletically), but academics, geography and television rights. So perhaps the better question is what two programs make the most sense to the conference's leadership (and fits the B1G's corporate culture) and is doable/realistic?
Would it be something like Oklahoma/Kansas? Admittedly, OU is a non-AAU school (as is Notre Dame), but as a football/men's basketball centric decision, it would make sense. Admittedly, you wouldn't be looking at adding many households in terms of television, but a B1G West Football Division that has those two teams plus Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern and Illinois would be attractive. Play seven games within the division and two outside means each team in the conference plays one another at least once in football over a four year time frame.
I suppose the other possibility would be in the ACC's geographic footprint. When Bluevod mentions the DC and Atlanta markets, then he's clearly indicating schools like Virginia and Georgia Tech. Again, admittedly, not usually high profile athletically, but major academic assets for the conference and in areas with higher household numbers. Add those two schools would mean putting Indiana in the Big Ten West for football and shitt the overall Big Ten Conference farther east. UM would be playing Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia and Georgia Tech in the Big Ten East's football division each year.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||The proposals that the SEC and ACC put forward in January . . .||
The article notes that the proposals put forth by the ACC and SEC to ban these camps and to forbid guest coaches at another school's camp are up for vote next month. If they do pass, what is Michigan and Harbaugh's next move?
The proposals may be post-dated, so that this year's Summer Swarm would still be within the rules, but any future attempts to do it next season would a violation of the NCAA regulations. If the rules are passed and put into place immediately, then what happens?
Does Harbaugh go through the with the camps and basically defy the NCAA? Or does he back down and live within the scope of the regulations?
It will be interesting to see how the other conferences and schools vote on the matter. They could say no to the proposals and Harbaugh can continue as before. But if they say yes, than what does Michigan and JH do?
WIll there be a p.r. pushback against the NCAA, etc.? I imagine yes, but I don't think they reall care, especially the ACC and SEC schools. As long as their recruting backyards are protected, I imagine they'd be willing to roll with the fallout.
It would be very ballsy if Harbaugh opted to defy the new regulations and go forward with the Summer Swarm tour either this year or next. I don't think the NCAA would be very happy with such open defiance to their governing bodies, so this could turn out to be one hell of a showdown.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||You do realize that the AD only schedules three of the games . .||
Since the AD only schedules three non-conference games a year, I think you need to share the blame around a little bit.
I hope you realize that the original slate of non-conference games for 2016 was put together when U-M thought it would have a fourth game at Notre Dame (and not a ninth conference game). It was also done at a time when the Big Ten and Pac 10 were talking about having a scheduling agreement, which accounts for Colorado. When Michigan added UCF in October 2013, that program had gone 10-4 in 2012 and would end up the 2013 season 12-1. Who could have predicted they would go 0-12 last year when the contract was signed? Do you want a good warmup game to open the season with a team not from the MAC? Hawaii certainly fits the bill there.
Stuff like this happens in scheduling because much of it is done years in advance. Rutgers and Maryland were announced in November 2012 as additions to the conference, and the niine conference game decision was announced in July 2013. Given the relatively short time frame, it made sense to just stick with what they had (now minus ND) and go from there.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Time will tell . . .||
Has Rutgers had problems on and off the field? Absolutely. Have RU's football and men's basketball teams been bad these last two years? On the whole, yes. Does Rutgers have a big financial hole in their athletic department they need to shore up? Yes. Is Rutgers the most embarassing program in the Big Ten? No, that honor is reserved for the conference's 11th member, Penn State. Are we in what is essentially Year 3 of the latest expansion decision? Yes. Is that too short a time frame to judge whether or not it was a good decision to have them join the Big Ten in terms of athletics (and not academics or CIC-related matters) alone? Yes.
Time will tell whether or not adding Rutgers along with Maryland were positives or negatives to the conference and to Michigan as a whole. As you point out, we're still waiting to see what sort of deal the Big Ten (and Jim Delany) will work out with the networks. I fully expect we'll continue to see a multi-network deal with ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS handling a mix of football and basketball games. If the initial projections are correct, then wer're looking at B1G schools getting someting in the low $40M mark in conference distributions. But if cord cutting and cost reductions at the networks become more important than what they're willing to pay for content, then it might go another way (including paying to watch games streamed online).
While there's a tendency to demonize Delany on this board, the decisions to add Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska and Penn State were all made in accordance with the wishes of the conference's university presidents. While I"m sure they rely upon his advice and direction, they're the ones who also vote yes or no on the matter.
On a final note, let me say that I have had the Big Ten Network at my home when I lived in Phoenix, AZ and now in suburban Washington, DC. Not only am I glad that Delany had the vision to set up the Big Ten Network (and compared to the Pac 12 and Longhorn Networks, it's a huge success), but to add teams on the east coast so U-M alums like myself don't get to see a whole host of Michigan teams (not just football or men's basketball) in person.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||I don't think the Notre Dame football scheduling situation . . .||
I don't think the Notre Dame football scheduling situation is as great as you seem to indicate. First off, I think it's fair to say that ND is a semi-independent or quasi-independent when it comes to football. As you point out, they're committed to play five ACC teams per year, have longstanding rivalries they honor with Navy and USC, and have a commitment to play one game on the West Coast each year, which means they also play Stanford for now. Those eight games are a de facto conference schedule.
Secondly, because Notre Dame doesn't have a conference championship game, it's in the same pickle as the Big XII schools and Brigham Young. When it comes to figuring out which teams are going into the four-game playoff, ND doesn't have that last data point to make its case. If the Irish go undefeated, then they should be in the playoff and I don't think anyone would complain. But as 2015 demonstrated, one loss teams without the benefit of a playoff (TCU and Baylor), can find themselves on the outside looking in.
The final thing to look at is the "other" teams on Notre Dame's 2015 schedule. Yes, they did play Texas last season (in a year where UT was pretty bad), but there other two games outside their de facto conference schedule were Massachusetts and a surprisingly good Temple squad. Some of their ACC opponents weren't that great either--Virginia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College weren't exactly Murderer's Row by season's end (Pittsburgh was okay).
So how does 2016 stack up? There are some big names on their schedule---Texas (again), Michigan State, Miami (which is not what it used to be), Virginia Tech, USC (which also isn't what it used to be) and Stanford. But then you add Nevada, Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Navy and Army. It's about a half-and-half proposition for them.
Other future ND opponents include Miami (Ohio) in 2017, Ball State in 2018 and New Mexico in 2019. I can't imagine NBC is too cracked about those games. And FWIW, U-M doesn't even play MAC opponents anymore (Ball State is on a future schedule, but without Hoke around, I have to imagine that game may be on the blocks).
|5 weeks 6 days ago||What's ironic about Berenson's comments . . .||
What's ironic about Berenson's comments is that the old CCHA used to include Alaska-Fairbanks, which isn't exactly located in the Big Ten's georgraphic footprint and is also much farther away from Ann Arbor than Piscatawy, New Jersey (2,895 miles by air compared to 503 miles).
It's also ironic that Brian is taking a shot at Jim Delany (and by extension, all the Big Ten presidents) for admitting Rutgers into the Big Ten. We all realize one of the primary reasons was to enhance the distribution of Delany's creation, i.e., the Big Ten Network. That's the same network which those of us out of state and in Michigan get to watch more of UM's hockey games (and football games and basketball games, etc). It's also one of the vehicles which funds the athletic department--and whose contribution should increase with the new media contract that's being negotiated.
I do applaud the move to add Notre Dame to the conference, and if a program like North Dakota or Miami (Ohio) were to become the eighth member of the Big Ten Hockey family, then all the better. That said, anyone who thinks ND will add more of its teams to the B1G in lieu ot the ACC at this point is getting way ahead of themselves. Unless there's some major conference realignment taking place, it's not on the near horizon.
As far as Michigan and Notre Dame playing football again, I wouldn't like to see it on an annual basis. With the conference schedule expanding to nine games, there's really only room for one major non-conference home-and-home opponent. After attending the Rose Bowl game from about a dozen years ago against the Texas Longhorns, I came away with the thought that U-M should rotate its major non-conference opponents (like Ohio State was doing) rather than play Notre Dame every year. I was honestly glad that ND broke the scheduling agreement a few years ago.
I generally approve of the opponents David Brandon set up to take ND's spot--Texas (2024/7), Oklahoma (2025/6), UCLA (2022/3), Arkansas (2018/9), Florida (2017), and Washington/Virginia Tech (2020/1). Having UM play ND twice every six to eight years is fine, but Warde Manuel should get schools like Georgia or Louisiana State or Florida State into the mix as well. Under Coach Harbaugh, Michigan is recruiting nationally and really hitting the more fertile regions in the country--so why not play the name teams located there as well?
|9 weeks 1 day ago||I disagree on a couple of your points . . .||
When it comes to Eastern Division games, Michigan swaps out Michgan State for Purdue in terms of the overall competition from within the division. I'd say adding a team on par with the other lesser three already in it (Maryland, Rutgers, Indiana) helps U-M chances in winning the East (especially if Penn State is floundering around for awhile).
Does State's path get that much easier? Yes, they don't play Ohio State each year, but right now Penn State isn't holding up their end of the bargain right now. Swap those two our for Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa and I'd say it's still a basic wash for Michigan State.
There's also no guarantee that Michigan would have to beat MSU twice any given season to win the Big Ten championship, so you're arguing the exception and not the rule. Let's say that Michigan played Nebraska during some future season and then met them again in the Big Ten Championship game. What's the difference there? You can also think about it this way--it could give Michigan a chance to beat MSU not once, but twice in any single year when the stakes are the highest, i.e.., the B1G title game and a spot in the four-team national championship.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||The change would be fine with a couple of caveats . . .||
I think a division change with Michigan State and Purdue swapping and having an annual cross division game with MSU would be fine--but with a couple of caveats.
From 2016 to 2019, the Big Ten is pairing up teams on the schedule in the two divisions to playone one another each year based on their relative strengths. For Michigan, that team will be Wisconsin.
So let's say that MSU/Purdue swap out for the 2020 season. Okay, then let's waive the "pairing" between East and West teams for Michigan (and Michigan State) and build the schedule from there. You could have a rotation that had MSU every year with two other teams from the West, i.e., Nebraska/Illinois, Wisconsin/Minnesota and Iowa/Northwestern.
For those of you who have been outraged that Michigan State hosted two home games in a row in East Lansing, a second caveat could be that MSU would have to play in Ann Arbor in back-to-back seasons as part of the "scheduling adustment".
Michigan already plays Ohio State and Michigan State anyway, so there's little change there. Also, if you think about it,U-M is swapping Purdue for MSU when it comes to winning the Big Ten East. Heck, depending on how long it takes Penn State to get back to its traditional form, the B1G East could proably be called the Big Two (U-M, OSU), Medium One (PSU), Little Four Division (Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland).
If I were designing this, then Ohio State-Indiana-Rutgers would be on one schedule rotation and Michgian State-Penn State-Purdue-Maryland would be in the other. Since U-M hosts MSU in 2019, they should do it again in 2020. Here's what the conference schedules would look like in 2020 to 2022 (current non-conference games on schedule in brackens):
2020 Home (7): Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Maryland, Illinois, (Ball State, Virginia Tech)
2020 Road (5): @ Ohio State, @ Indiana, @ Rutgers, @ Nebraska, @ Washington
2021 Home (6): Ohio State, Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin, (Washington, TBD)
2021 Road (6): @ Michigan State, @ Penn State, @ Purdue, @ Maryland, @Minnesota (@ Virginia Tech)
2022 Home (7 or 8): Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, (UCLA, TBD X 2?)
2022 Road (4 or 5): @ Ohio State, @ Indiana, @ Rutgers, @ Iowa, (@ TBD?)
|9 weeks 3 days ago||If the SEC commissioner has his way . . .||
If the SEC commissioner has his way (and is consistent in his concerns about student athletes truly having spring break off from competitive sports), then the softball team's trip to California this upcoming week won't happen in the future.
In fact, the women's softball is one of twenty Michigan teams (that includes football) who will be competing starting tomorrow (when spring break officially starts) through Monday, March 7. Among the 20 teams is the football team and its trip to Bradenton, FL.
Some of the U-M teams are in Big Ten competitions. Others are travelling to Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona and California for tournaments, practices and games against individual teams.
Is this really what Greg Sankey wants? I rather doubt it since it's pretty clear that SEC teams in a whole host of sports are going to be competing during their respective spring breaks (not to mention Vanderbilt baseball's trip to the DC area last fall during their time off). All of which goes to illustrate not only the hypocrisy of his stance on this matter, but also shows that his focus is really just on football and maintaining whatever competitive advantage he feels he can get for his conference.
|12 weeks 4 days 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.
|12 weeks 4 days 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.
|12 weeks 5 days 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.
|12 weeks 5 days 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.
|12 weeks 5 days 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.
|25 weeks 6 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.
|27 weeks 6 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.
|27 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.
|29 weeks 1 day 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.
|30 weeks 6 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?
|31 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).
|31 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.
|32 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.
|32 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).
|32 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).
|33 weeks 6 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.
|33 weeks 6 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?
|33 weeks 6 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.
|33 weeks 6 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?