Unknown Pac-12 Opponent Probably Utah

Submitted by Brian on June 12th, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Utah-Utes[1]

According to Chris Balas the Pac-12 team Michigan wants to fill out its 2014 and 2015 schedules with is…

Pac-12 sources: U-M close to home/home deal w/Utah starting 2014. Thurs. night return visit to Salt Lake to open '15 CF season on table #fb

That ESPN article I linked made it clear that at this point options were limited, with Utah, Oregon State, and Colorado the most likely Pac-12 opponents. So… like, okay. It's a reasonable opponent, or at least should be reasonable in a couple years.

Still, it's a little unsatisfying. Michigan got one-off games with the Utes twice in the past decade; now they're giving them a full home and home. Yeah, they're in the Pac-12 but Colorado sucked it up to play a one-off with OSU last year. Meanwhile, non-Pac-12 nonconference options will be extremely limited starting in 2017. It would have been nice to get a series in with someone from another conference. Meh.

Comments

UMaD

June 12th, 2012 at 7:07 PM ^

Most big ticket sporting events start at 8 or 9 PM EST and often get scheduled for 'work nights'.  This is standard practice.  It's bad long-term business (since most younger kids can't/won't stay up that late) but the TV ratings are maximized in that time slot.

As for west-coast sports watching - it is fantastic.  If it's at 7 EST - find a way to show up early and then cut-out early.  Most likely, the game will be at 8 or 9 EST, so you'll be fine. 

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

This may be standard practice for other events, but it's not for Michigan football. 

I don't know what you do for a living, and you don't know what I do.  But I can't just show up early and leave early.  I might work until 8 or 9pm local time, and I might not know about it more than a few days in advance, if that.  And when I need to, my boss and my clients don't really care that my college is playing a football game.  I rarely get to watch MNF or other sports on during the week, which is why college football is great because luckily my clients don't work weekends, so I don't work weekends. 

So although you probably don't give a fuck if I miss the first half (which is evident), I actually care.  Especially if it's the first game of the year. 

UMaD

June 13th, 2012 at 2:02 AM ^

Obviously it's not good for you, but a lot of people work saturdays too.

This is just a pet pieve of mine.  Some people complain about noon starts (9 AM pacific) being too early.   Others complain about 10:30 eastern being too late.  Nothing is going to be convenient for everyone. Adults can prioritize and make decisions about what is important to them.  Take a freaking vacation day if it matters that much to you.  The only people I really have sympathy for in this regard are kids that don't have any say in the matter.

A Thursday game in Utah to kick of the season will give UofM great national exposure and a lot of new fans will get to watch.  It'll be exciting.  It'll be fun.  IMO, more so than a home game vs Utah.  It may be inconvenient for some people, especially on the west coast, but that's how it goes.

 

MichiganUte

June 12th, 2012 at 10:58 PM ^

Nice to hear from a Wolverine fan in the Intermountain West.  I am a University of Utah alum, Utah season ticket holder and SLC resident but I was raised as a Michigan fan by my UM alum father.  This will be, by far, the biggest non-conference home game in Utah history and one of the biggest games in Utah history. 

I have two neighbors from Ann Arbor, one who flies his "M" flag religiously outside of his home and the other who worked at Michigan Stadium as a youngster.  So, while SLC may not be the national hotbed of Wolverine fans, there is definitely a healthy group of Michigan fans here and in the Intermountain West.  

Go Utes and Go Blue!

PS Is there a way we can ensure that the Michigan marching band comes to SLC for this game?

Scott

June 12th, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

I'm just happy Brandon didn't schedule another game with Appalachian State.

Colorado agreed to a one-off with OSU because they are basically a laughingstock compared to what they used to be.

BigBlue02

June 12th, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

Living less than a mile from the stadium in downtown Salt Lake City, I can say I'm quite pleased with this scenario. We should have a good chance to see a competitive Utah team if any of their young QB's pan out. Anyone wanting to make the trip out, it is really a great college football atmosphere with great weather. For the poster wanting it later in the year to ski, I have definitely seen snow on the mountains at the end of August. Not saying that actual resorts will be open, but it will be very interesting to see a Michigan football game in August with snow in the background

g_reaper3

June 12th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

Games against other traditional powers are always more interesting.  A home and home with USC generates enormous excitement.  Utah, whatever, even if they are good.

Other than the two games against ND, our home nonconference schedule sucks the next four season unless the TBDs come through (unlikely as we need our two cupcakes).

2012- Air Force, UMass

2013- CMU, ND, Akron

2014- App St, Utah, TBD

2015 – ND, TBD, TBD

If anything, I would rather see our 5 neutral/away games (Bama, ND, UConn, ND, Utah) than the 11 games above.   

 

robpollard

June 12th, 2012 at 5:31 PM ^

Color me unexcited. The only worse option would have been Oregon State or Washington State.

Utah is a fine program, but its last three bowls have been the Poinsettia, Maaco, and Sun Bowl.  Plus, beyond their impressive performance in 2005-2009, there really isn't much history there (a la USC, UCLA or Colorado).

Glad for any Wolverines living out in Utah - I'm sure you'll enjoy going to see the away game.

 

jericho

June 12th, 2012 at 5:48 PM ^

I share your excitement level, but I would rather have Washington State (we can look back to the 97 Rose Bowl game) or Oregon State (they are the Beavers and there is sooooo many good jokes we could use that week) than Utah.  I don't know why, but the mere mention of Utah football puts me to sleep.

ThadMattasagoblin

June 12th, 2012 at 5:32 PM ^

It really isn't that bad.  It gives us an easier game when our past two recruiting classes should be upperclassmen.  I'm a little disappointed, but watching USC slaughter Ohio and Oregon slaughter MSU will be worth it.

trueblueintexas

June 12th, 2012 at 5:53 PM ^

At this point, given the rematch with App State and now Utah, Brandon believes if we beat all the teams who beat us during the down years, somehow those losses disappear? Next opponenet announcement: Toledo.

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 9:00 PM ^

Agreed.  It has the least appeal of almost any Pac-12 match up.

The other side of it is a lot of us west coasters were excited for this because we could go to the away game.  And there is no Pac-12 team that combines "distance from LA" and "cool place to visit" worse than Utah. 

robpollard

June 13th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

I haven't broken down Utah's roster and how it will play out in 2014, but based on the past decade, it seems likely they'll be a 7 to 8 win team, i.e., a team Michigan could easily lose to if we don't have play a good game.

It's just too bad we couldn't play someone with more history - that's one of the reasons I love Michigan, and really like about college football in general.  Even Boise State, because they have been consistently excellent for about a decade now would have been "sexier" (I'm not saying they were necc. an option, just pointing out we don't have to restrict ourselves to teams that we awesome in the 1960s.)

ScoutExile

June 12th, 2012 at 6:09 PM ^

Utah's poised to be one of the better teams in the PAC12 this year and they had a good year last season (they even hung in there against USC). They certainly have laid the foundation to be a dominant PAC12 team.

 

I may be in the minority, but I'm excited to see us play Utah.

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

I would not say Utah had a good year last year, unless by "good" you mean 6 out of 10 or so, but they played in a pretty weak conference (they didn't play Oregon or Stanford) and went 4-5 in Pac-12 play.  They lost to Colorado and ASU at home and needed OT to beat WSU.  Their most impressive win was...Pitt?  Oregon State?  They were not good.

Yeah, they hung with USC, which is surprising considering the rest of the season for each team, but it was the second game of the year before SC was rolling, and it stayed close because of SC's 3 turnovers. 

Look at Utah's recruiting - it hasn't improved with their move to the Pac-12.  We will be the far superior team when we play them, meaning we get no credit for winning, and devestation if we lose.

Chobee215

June 12th, 2012 at 6:19 PM ^

Sione Houma was promised a game in his home state during the recruiting process after Hoke used 50 minutes of call time on him. This satisfies Hoke's promise so more promise options open in the future.

DarkWolverine

June 12th, 2012 at 6:32 PM ^

Was hoping to get USC, so we could dump the ND series and move on to SEC/Big12 games. Utah does not give us an out to drop ND, as I was hoping. " The hell with Notre Dame."

uncleFred

June 12th, 2012 at 6:47 PM ^

I want no cupcakes on our schedule ever. Play the best. Beat the best. Be the best. So, knowing nothing about Utah's football program, my question is: will they be a quality opponent in 2014?

The reason I loved the idea of a cross conference schedule was that we'd lose a cupcake and add a quality opponent. I've read that Utah is a program that is on the upswing. There are many contributors here that, while much younger than I, have forgotten more about football than I will ever learn. What do you folks think. By 2014 will this be a quality game? 

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 7:15 PM ^

Well, I doubt it.  Utah is one of those teams who does more with less as well as any team in the country, but outside of picking up another Alex Smith, I doubt that happens on the regular.  Their 2012 recruiting class (guys who will be juniors in 2014) has as many 2 stars as 4 stars, and the 4 stars are barely there (2 are JUCOs and two are ranked nationally at 228 and 240).  Most of their 3 stars are the 5.5 and 5.6 "meh" variety.  Their 2011 class (guys who will be seniors) is worse than 2012, and their 2013 class has 4 low 3-stars so far and nothing else. 

What does this mean?  They'll be at a severe talent disadvantage to us, but their coaching is strong.  However, in 2014 and 2015 we'll be stacked, so I think we should crush them.

That said, many Pac-12 teams don't recruit very well, so if we beat up on Utah who then finished 3rd in the Pac-12, that would make us look pretty good.

WolverineHistorian

June 12th, 2012 at 6:50 PM ^

Considering how many awful programs are in the PAC 12, we could have gotten a much worse opponent so I don't see this as the end of the world.  Although when I think of Utah, all I can think of now is the first game of the RichRod era.  I went to that game and got to see Nick Sheridan's coming out party in person.  Oy. 

mgoaggie

June 12th, 2012 at 7:12 PM ^

has been an absolute drought of being able to see my hometown team. I know it's not a sexy opponent, but for all us westerners, this creates a great opportunity to see our favorite team. I support it!!

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 7:18 PM ^

The problem is, this is only close to people who live in Salt Lake City.  For the rest of us who live in the western half of the country, it's still a plane ticket, and I'd rather go to Ann Arbor.  If it were either Arizona team or any of the CA teams, I'd certainly go, and I may have gone to Eugene or Seattle, but it's a tough sell to get people to go to SLC, no offense.

WolvinLA2

June 12th, 2012 at 8:22 PM ^

You know, I really didn't jump on board with all of the Dave Brandon hate, but if we play a football game on a Thursday that will be it for me.