Paint It Blue?

Submitted by Brian on June 19th, 2009 at 1:00 PM

In 2010 Michigan has an open slot on its schedule September 4th and a spanking new set of luxury boxes and club seats to fill. Boise State has an open slot the same date and an athletic director who's looking for benjamins above all:

"Right now, I'd go where I can make the most money," Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier said. "If I can play at home and make that much money, then I'm going to play at home. But it's difficult to make that much money in our stadium size. ... I've tried to avoid those [guarantee games]. Now they're much more of a reality going forward."

Boise State isn't USC but neither are they Delaware State. If not Boise, that post above has a useful list of other teams with a free date, and has a compilation of future schedules.

Teams with open dates are in groups below, with existing opponents and teams that appear to have been listed erroneously in the Boise post (GT and Miami are full, for two) excised:


  • Alabama
  • LSU
  • Arkansas
  • Cal
  • Georgia
  • Oklahoma State


  • Baylor
  • Duke
  • Kansas State
  • Mississippi State
  • Washington State


  • Maryland (would have to move Navy game)
  • NC State
  • Pitt
  • Virginia
  • Oregon State
  • South Carolina (would have to move Troy game)
  • TCU (they'd have to move their Baylor game)

Would any of the teams in the last category go for a pure guarantee game? I kind of doubt it, especially the teams that would have to futz with their existing schedules to open up a slot. Would Michigan or any of those teams go for a 2-for-1? That I also doubt given Michigan's scheduling practices of late.

Boise State looks like the only program out there with the right open date who would accept a guarantee game and build any pregame hype.



June 19th, 2009 at 1:14 PM ^

too much sense for it to happen. and I'm not saying that to knock Bill Martin, but rather the lifetime season ticket holders who will no doubt find a reason to take a dump on this idea, as they do every other idea that makes sense for Michigan football.


June 19th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

I'd probably actually rather have any of the Why Bother games than Boise State - BSU might generate buzz, but aesthetically I tend to prefer BCS programs. Just a personal thing. Besides, why invite someone who might beat us? Baylor'd be perfect, if they don't turn awesome this year like they kind of threatened to last year.


June 19th, 2009 at 1:18 PM ^

what the hell? why not play a team that can beat us? why not play the best opponent we can REALISTICALLY get here and say fuck off to people who don't even follow cfb and assume that BCS Team X is better than Boise? Why not play a challenging game? I don't get this attitude, at all.


June 19th, 2009 at 1:33 PM ^

I honestly think the "why bother" games would be more likely. Especially if there is just the one slot to fill I would think the money would seal the deal. Although I would love to see you guys schedule Pitt, it would make psu fans mad that they can't seem to fit them into their ooc schedule


June 19th, 2009 at 1:57 PM ^

If we invite a "why bother" team and beat them, we get no recognition because we were supposed to beat them. If we lose (see Toledo), we're embarrassed. Lose-lose situation.

Inviting a real team and beating them gets us real recognition and "Michigan rebounding" articles everywhere, while losing changes nothing. Not quite win-win, but much closer than inviting a team of no account.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:05 PM ^

I guess nobody goes past the post that offends them before popping off a reply, just to see if there's any clarification.....

Look, the stadium opening isn't about the other team, it's like Homecoming: it's about Michigan, Michigan, Michigan, and how awesome we are. I don't really want Boise State (they'd be OK, I guess), I don't want Delaware State or UMass or Western Kentucky or something like that - for aesthetic purposes, I want a crappy, old-money team. Like anyone from the Why Bother column. Someone whose chances of beating us are not reasonable yet someone from a decent conference. I'm all for playing the USC's of the world, just not in Look At Us We're Awesome games.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:40 PM ^

I understand where you're coming from, but I think our assumptions on who is awesome is sometimes based on where we see them most - in bowl games at the end of the year. The perception endures into the next year and the year after.

Teams gets kinks worked out of their programs as the year goes on. In recent times it feels like our players only get injured as the season goes on (Henne, the semi-competent one last year). If we're going to play a powerhouse, I want to play them as early in the year as possible while they're still ironing things out.

Granted, USC would probably flatten us even in September, but other "good" teams might not. I'd love to have the 1997 team open our new stadium, but we don't have the 1997 team, we only have the 2009 team. We're likely going to be a sloppy mess one way or another - I'd at least like the opportunity to take down someone good through flailing blind luck.

The perception when we went up against Wisconsin was that we were going to be steamrolled - it was one of my favorite games of last year (for obvious reasons). The ultimate truth was that they were hugely overrated. Number 10 in the country just because.


June 19th, 2009 at 7:51 PM ^

Obviously, USC is a powerhouse team right now, so excuse the bad example, but there are other teams that are perceived as "top tier" because of their history of excellence that we might stand a chance against and that wouldn't be as embarrassing as South Kentucky Baptist Girl's College.


June 19th, 2009 at 1:19 PM ^

I'd be happy to get a shot at Boise State. I'm probably alone in feeling this, but I'd rather be 3 - 9 against good teams than 6 - 6 against crap. Of course, both of those are far better than being 3 - 9 against crap.


June 19th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

sadly, all the awesome games are in the 'unlikely return game' category. though baylor might actually be pretty respectable in 2010 with griffin being a junior

Sgt. Wolverine

June 19th, 2009 at 1:34 PM ^

Oddly enough, I'm wearing a Boise State football shirt right now. It's a sign! (...that I've been to Boise. That turf is much brighter than it looks on tv.)

I'd love to see BSU come to Ann Arbor for a game. It would be nice not just to get a respectable opponent in town, but also to get a team other than the usual suspects.

I'd also be eager to see if anybody dressed up as a blue and yellow smurf for the occasion.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

The implication of this (probably obvious to everyone else except me) is that Michigan is not going to play a high profile non-conference road game for the foreseeable future (except against ND)? That's kind of sad. Don't high-profile road games help to promote the profile of Michigan outside of the state? That has to help with something (maybe recruiting?). Can't Martin schedule a home at home (like Oregon) where the second game is several years down the road. Just defer the road game until later.

I like the idea of seeing Michigan actually beat a quality opponent on the road at some point.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

The problem is that the tangible (i.e. money) benefits aren't realized. From a purely financial standpoint, when you're going to get 100,000+ to come see you no matter who you play, it's always going to be better to play seven of eight non-conference games in two years at home (the away game being Notre Dame every other year.) The ticket sales alone for one game are a cool $5 million or so - therefore $500,000 paid out to a patsy is a bargain.

What I wish is that we'd play three of four every year at home, and the year we don't visit Notre Dame, we pay out our end of a 2-for-1 against a medium-good opponent like TCU, Auburn, Georgia Tech, what-have-you, or a 1-for-1 with like Virginia Tech or Texas. I don't think that's too much to ask.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:24 PM ^

I agree, but just because we play one less home game, does the overall cost of a season ticket have to decrease? If the ticket is not broken into single game prices, then there's no change in revenue. Plus, there are substantial costs to hosting a game too that we're not factoring into the 5 million dollar ticket revenue stream, right?

I think that if the season ticket price stayed constant in a year with one less game, some people would complain, but most would not if they get to see more competitive games at the same overall price. If they want to not renew their tickets over one less game every year or few years, then I'm sure that they could find someone to take the tickets off their hands.


June 19th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

Good point about the season ticket price not decreasing; hadn't thought of that. Then again, I don't know the breakdown of season tickets vs. individual game tickets sold. Indeed there's a lot of costs that go into a game, but by the same token as season ticket prices not going down, I think a lot of those costs would be constant too. I'm talking salary for security and other various game workers - I don't know but I bet that's not on a game-by-game basis. Not only that, but things like concessions more than pay for themselves otherwise they wouldn't bother.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

I like Virginia or Pitt. Things worked out pretty well the last time we played Virgina and Pitt is one of the schools thrown around to join the Big Ten so it may be a nice little preview of things to come.

I still like the idea of 2nd tier teams from recruiting hot beds. Play USF, Stanford, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, etc.

Or big name teams that have been down as of late and are rebuilding. UCLA, Tennessee, Auburn, Washington, Miami, etc.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:10 PM ^

Not sure how attractive it is but they might be willing given that their stadium only fits 45K. Then again, they got burnt by losing to Penn State on the road this season and they play a future home-and-home with Wisconsin. Still, that 2010 schedule is unfilled and they are trying to keep their in-state profile high with Oregon getting very aggressive. They might see Michigan on the rebuild and a national TV game as a pretty big chance to make a splash.


June 19th, 2009 at 2:57 PM ^

1. The 2010 schedule includes road games at Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State. With only seven home games, its likely Michigan will open with a more beatable opponent than Boise State.

2. The game in South Bend is the second week of the season. Highly unlikely you'd see the first two games against Boise State followed by at Notre Dame. Opening games are generally against lighter opponents so that you can prep for the rest of the schedule. Clearly that didn't work in 2007 (Appalachian State) or 2008 (Utah) though--Michigan opened those seasons against two teams that ended up undefeated.

3. How much will it cost? Michigan paid Utah $800K last season, but only $975K for the two MAC teams combined. Does Bill Martin want to pay relatively top dollar for an opponent or will he go with a less expensive option, i.e., another MAC team? He did try to get Minnesota in as the opener, so maybe he's willing to throw some money around.

4. OTOH, this is the opening game in the newly renovated stadium and Martin has said they were looking at something special. Boise State would be one of those programs that fit the bill.

In the end, though, I just don't see Michigan pulling the trigger. When everything is balanced out, I wouldn't be surprised to see a second MAC opponent on the schedule as the opening opponent.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:04 PM ^

1. We used to play them regularly.

2. They fit as an opponent since like Michigan it emphasizes academics and plays in a BCS conference. Plus we play them regularly in basketball.

3. As noted, with a new coach, they could be on the upswing.

4. This might be slightly redundant, but I suspect we'll get as much credit in the media by playing and beating a BCS school, albeit currently a second division school, as playing and beating Boise State.

Tha Stunna

June 19th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

Boise State and Utah are teams that have picked up a lot of credibility for their BCS wins, even though that hasn't carried over to their conference. Duke has a storied tradition of being a terrible football program. While in most cases I'd agree with you, the very best teams from the WAC/mountain west are now considered to be in the same league as the better BCS teams. I even see them high up in the preseason polls, which are the best measure of hype.

Duke would be quite good as a second tier choice due to the upswing factor and the academics, or maybe various other academically strong schools, but it would be nowhere near the top.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:09 PM ^

can enthusiastically mouth the words "leaders and the best."

We need a new version of The Victors to reflect our new scheduling philosophy.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

I think Virginia would be cool since it would be the 15th Anniversary of the Pigskin Classic, which at the time, was the greatest comeback in Michigan Stadium history.

Martin has said he wants something special, but he's either going to have to dole out big money or go in on a 2 for 1 or 1 for 1.

Just for old school football historians, it would be cool to either bring in Army, Navy or Harvard, Yale, since they were all the rage back in the day, so if it's really a celebration of Michigan Stadium, the historical aspect of football could be played up...maybe both teams could even wear throwback jerseys.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

I, for one, find it embarrassing and disheartening that most college football programs schedule ooc games like "baylor, emu, wmu" one year and "coastal carolina, san diego state, youngstown college for the deaf and blind" the next.

College football was more fun when you had AT LEAST one marquee game on our schedule ooc.

If I were a religious fanatic I'd say app state was the godsmack for pussifying scheduling.


June 19th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

"Right now, I'd go where I can make the most money," Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier said.

I've got to admit, I find that honesty refreshing.