Who Replaces Notre Dame?

Submitted by Brian on September 25th, 2012 at 2:59 PM



Michigan now has a rather large Interesting Nonconference Game-shaped hole after Notre Dame decided it was really important to play Stanford for some reason and backed out of the Michigan series. Who fills that hole?

Well… probably someone not that interesting. A list of interesting teams follows, ordered by availability. I'm assuming that Michigan wants to go on the road in odd years and be at home in even years, that dates can be moved, and that they'll be looking for a home and home.


Virginia Tech (full schedule including OSU in 2015)
Texas (full schedule w/ ND, Cal)
Oklahoma (full, @ Tenn, ND, OSU in 2016)
Miami (not that they'd be any good anyway)
Stanford (playing ND for some reason)
UCLA (full)
Florida (full, annual FSU game)
West Virginia (full)
Arizona State (full, LSU and ND on the docket)


Cal. Open dates but already has a home and home with Texas and 9 game conference schedule. Would want a home game in 2015, so that's a positive.

USC. Already lined up with ND and A&M, plus a Texas series the couple years after that. Adding Michigan would be a bit much even for them.

Washington State. Probably does not want to bite off more tough games after putting Wisconsin and Boise State on the docket in the near future.

Tennessee. Already lined up with Oklahoma and a Nebraska series during the time in question.

Kansas State. I'll believe they schedule Michigan when I see it.

LSU. Award since Les Miles and their slate in 2016 is full. They have Arizona State both those years and NC State in 2017. Some chance it could work out but doubtful.

South Carolina. Full in 2015 and has an annual game with Clemson.

Clemson. Has annual game against South Carolina and will be playing a nine game conference schedule in 2015. They've got room, but I doubt they'll go for it. OTOH, they have played Georgia and Auburn in addition to the Gamecocks.

Georgia Tech. See Clemson, replace "South Carolina" with "Georgia," add in "Michigan just got reminded it's a bad idea to schedule an option team."

Florida State. See Clemson, replace "South Carolina" with "Florida," remove bit about how they have played a second interesting team in the past.


Oregon. At Michigan State in 2015, but has nothing for 2016 and just a game at Wyoming in 2017. If a double dip of Michigan in 2015 doesn't work you could still see something working for 2016 and 2017.

Washington. Full in 2015 but could probably cancel Sacramento State or something. Nothing but a Montana game the next couple years.

Alabama. Preferably on an aircraft carrier on the moon. Nothing 2015, just State in 2016 and 2017. May not want to keep beating up on Michigan teams.

Arkansas. Just TCU in 2015 and 2016.

Auburn. Nothing scheduled except Idaho.

Missouri. Nothing but Memphis and Wyoming.

Oklahoma State. Would have to cancel a game in 2015, but those are against Central Arkansas, UT-San Antonio, and at(!) Central Michigan, so I think they'd have little difficulty doing so. They're showing games at UTSA, CMU, and South Alabama the next few years as part of 2-for-1 deals… so this may be a KState/Wisconsin kind of thing where they refuse to schedule anyone credible in the nonconference.

NC State. I know this is the opposite of thrilling, but they've got openings.

Georgia. Annual game against Georgia Tech hurts things but they don't have another real nonconference opponent lined up in 2015 or 2016.

TCU. Normally I'd look at a team playing nine conference games with a real opponent lined up (Arkansas) and say no way but TCU may want to go for it to establish their bonafides, that sort of thing. They would want a home game in 2015, too.

This Guy's Vote

Georgia, as per usual. Oregon would be exciting as well, unless we just get obliterated again. Which we might.



September 25th, 2012 at 6:42 PM ^

Not sure why Georgia's dominance over Tech matters. Here's what does. It's played in Atlanta every year. Therefore Georgia has one less home date than usual, which means lower chance of Michigan road series.

If you asked me to list the teams likely to fit into this ND game, I would put Georgia at the very bottom. 


September 25th, 2012 at 8:19 PM ^

The game isn't in Atlanta every year, it's Atl or Athens, but I see your point. But the traveled already to mizzou, ok state. Atl to dtw is a short flight, same time zone and it will be sept so they have no reason to not come up.

Gatech usually is a meaningless game for UGA bc it hasn't been competitive the last 10 years.

I guess your point though is there is no incentive to play us. I just don't know if I agree.


September 25th, 2012 at 5:15 PM ^

Georgia schedules 1 moderate+ team every year.  

2012 - Missouri

2011 - Boise State

2010 - Colorado

2009 - Arizona State

2008 - Arizona State

2007 - Oklahoma State

2006 - Colorado


And so on...  So yes, I do think that slotting Michigan in there would fit their pattern of scheduling.


September 25th, 2012 at 6:35 PM ^

Here's a fact: Michigan has played one SEC team since 1969. Vandy. Pretty strong historical trend.

A couple other things. Look at those games / teams. Do they fit Michigan's profile? I would argue that all of those games were Georgia big fav / locks when they were scheduled.

Boise State was in the kickoff classic. No return date.

But whatevs. It is my opinion that Georgia is a pipe dream. Would be happy to be proven otherwise.


September 26th, 2012 at 1:39 AM ^

They've done a much better job of scheduling in their non-conference games.  Most of the Big Ten teams don't schedule anything but crap in their non-conference slate. 

OSU plays one good team and 3 cupcakes.  Wisky barely plays a team with a pulse.  Iowa's big non-conference game is Iowa St.  PSU just got done with an Alabama home and home but usually they're non-conference schedule isn't anything to write home about. 

This is what the SEC has done in recent years and have scheduled in upcoming years:

Georgia:  on top of GTech every year,  2013 - @ Clemson, 2014 - Clemson, 2008 - at Arizona St, 2009 - at Oklahoma St, Arizona St, 2010 - not much, Colorado, 2011 - Boise St

Alabama: 2013 - VaTech on neutral field, 2014 - WVU on neutral field, 2008 - Clemson on neutral field, 2009 - VaTech on neutral field, 2010 - PSU, 2011 - at PSU

Arkansas:  2008 - at Texas, 2009 - Texas A&M on neutral field, 2010 - Texas A&M on neutral field, tons of open dates in future schedules

Auburn:  2014 - at Kansas St, 2008 - at WVU, 2009 - WVU, 2010 - Clemson, 2011 - at Clemson

LSU:  2013 - TCU on neutral field, 2015 - Arizona St, 2009 - at Washington, 2010 - UNC on neutral field and WVU, 2011 - Oregon on a neutral field and at WVU

Tennessee: 2013 - at Oregon, 2014 - at Oklahoma, 2015 - Oklahoma, 2008 - UCLA, 2009 - UCLA, 2010 - Oregon, 2011 - Cincy

Florida: on top of FSU every year, 2013 - at Miami, FL, 2008 - Miami, FL

Miss St:  poop

Ol Miss:  2013 - at Texas, 2014 - Boise St on neutral field, 2011 - BYU

South Carolina:  on top of Clemson every year, 2013 - UNC,  2009 - at NC State






September 25th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

Not strange in the slightest. Notre Dame is going to the ACC for five games. They don't need the Big Ten any more. They have always had a "national" following. 

They really don't need this game. They've got their own network and now have better access to bowl bids. They live in their own universe.


September 25th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

I would assert that Minnesota was our biggest rival before Chicago dropped football, followed by Ohio State and then Chicago.

Chicago was not even on Michigan's schedule from 1921 to 1929, or in 1935 or 1936, and that is back when a Big Ten team could schedule any 5 or 6 conference games it wanted.  You might be able to make the argument that Chicago was Michigan's biggest rival from about 1900 to 1905, but even then the Minnesota and Ohio State games seemed to receive more attention from the local media.



September 25th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

It was my understanding that the Ohio game only eclipsed the Chicago matchup in the late teens. From the formation of the Big Ten in the 90's to WWI the Michigan-Chicago matchup was a huge deal. Speaking as a Chicago alum and Michigan fan, I felt like I saw/read more stuff about the old Michigan games around Hyde Park than any other team. It would have been cool if Chicago and Northwestern had merged (as was talked about during WWII), and made the combined school into a real regional powerhouse.



September 25th, 2012 at 6:44 PM ^

Hey, with the new admissions strategy in Hyde Park and Stanford showing that you can be an elite academic and athletic powerhouse, maybe its time for U of C to get back on the D1 horse and ride!  Once upon a time U of C let the Bears use the midway for practices, I think its only fair they return the favor on Satudays now and UC still has strong ties to the Big Ten!


September 25th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

I was feeling a bit bummed and spurned when I heard the news earlier, but honestly just about all the possible teams above sound more exciting than playing ND. Georgia would be my preference as well.

To hell with Notre Dame.

EDIT: UFR, Oregon would actually be my top choice since there's a good chance I'll be moving there in the future


September 25th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

Let's reup with UConn only this time demand that the return date has to be played at Rucker Park with Funkmaster Flex providing color commentary through a megaphone.


September 25th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

Will try and leverage the position Michigan finds itself in to their advantage, I'm sure. I'm also not holding my breath on the SEC for a home and away although beating Auburn in their house would be sweet, sweet War Eagle tears.


September 25th, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

What leverage position is that? Michigan can do what every other school does when they have an open slot - buy a cupcake.

These arrangements are almost always mutually beneficial. With the exception of a up-and-comer like Boise who needs to take on teams to build it's rep.


September 25th, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

Auburn or Georgia please! My only wish (which I know won't happen) is that the game be in the middle of B1G season. Georgia at Michigan, 8:00pm kickoff Saturday Oct. 27th, 2015.




September 25th, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

As an ND Law alum I can tell you that the reason I have always heard for Stanford being important is that ND wants to have a game in California every year.  The USC/Stanford games are set up to alternate years (crazy idea, amirite?) so the Irish play in California every year.  This is important both for the big local alumni base out there, and for CA/west coast recruiting. 

There could certainly be other reasons, but that's the one I hear most frequently.


September 25th, 2012 at 6:06 PM ^

Makes sense.  Maybe we could rotate two teams from the Southeast or Southwest or even the West Coast ourselves.

Or better yet, have a regional round-robin where one year we play in the Southeast, the next in the Southwest, the next in the West Coast, then repeat.  Every year we play in one of the hot regions of the country recruiting-wise.  

That was a big disadvantage with Notre Dame.  Our away game with them did not expand our recruiting footprint, so to speak. 


September 25th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

A lot of wishful thinking here. Let's all consider historical context for a second. Outside of bowl games, Michigan has played exactly one SEC team since 1969. And it was Vandy.

Just don't see these Auburn / Georgia games happening.


September 25th, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

There's not a lot of correlation between who you play in bowls and who you play in out-of-conference. Like everything in the game it's about economics.

Most schools like to stay home and feast on cupcakes. They make money that way. They also don't like to travel great distances because it costs more and the farther they go, they less likely they will see their fans at the game.

Why travel to a tough game in Ann Arbor when you can bring Southern or LA Monroe to your house?

The SEC has long been into the cupcake thing. And when the NCAA changed the rule to allow two cupcakes per year, they pounced on it.

Bowl tie ins are mainly about fanbases. The bowls loved Big Ten teams because their fans generally travel and support their teams. Big Ten fans love to go down South for a bowl in a warm local. The bowls hedge their bets by grabbing local / close squads because that is guaranteed ticket sales. 

Believe me, if the ACC fanbase or Pac-12 travelled like the Big Ten fans there would be some different bowl setups.


September 25th, 2012 at 6:13 PM ^

The landscape will change because of the 4-team playoff and the importance of strength of schedule to the selection committee.

However, the SEC will be the last to change.  They will believe that just playing an SEC conference schedule gives them enough strength of schedule.  The media will do nothing to dissuade this.

It will be interesting to see how independent-minded the selection committee will be.  Will they have the guts to punish Cupcake Septembers, even for an SEC team? 


September 25th, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

I want an SEC school that isn't Alabama or LSU.  When Michigan is at full strength scholarship and depth wise, we should want a piece of the SEC to stop the constant arrogance.  Auburn is going to struggle as long as Saban is sweeping up the Tier 1 Alabama kids. It's like getting Little Brother 2.


September 25th, 2012 at 4:19 PM ^

We really don't have anything to prove as far as beating the SEC goes. Historically, we've owned the SEC. We're 20-7-1 against the SEC all time. Even after the Alabama and Mississippi State debacles, we're 6-3 in our last 9 games against the SEC. It would be great to play an SEC school simply because it's the best conference in the country right now, but we need not have a chip on our shoulders about the SEC.


September 25th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

Brian, any reason why you did not evaluate Arizona and Pitt?  Arizona for the obvious reasons (though it would probably alienate a bunch of fans) and Pitt because Western PA has produced a ton of talented prospective recruits that often choose PSU (though that might be different now, obviously).

Going off your list, I would immediately exclude Alabama and Oregon.  Those are no good.  We know.  From recent experience.  (Alabama once, Oregon twice)


September 25th, 2012 at 5:07 PM ^

I hear you and am always up for an exciting game.  That said, Alabama and Oregon will never be a regular occurrence and I'd rather see them set up a new "rivalry" in the ND slot.  Arizona probably doesn't qualify as that but Pitt definitely could.  They could be a regular and playing them in Pittsburgh would be cool because they play at Heinz Field - lots of room for Michigan fans!


September 25th, 2012 at 4:24 PM ^

if some of these teams that Notre Dame considers to be in their "back pocket" (which is pretty much anybody on their schedule)  maybe get a little stand-offish because of the disrespect to the rivalry, and or tradition. I mean if they drop Michigan, who is safe? Stanford, USC, Navy, Purdue, these teams should just all give them the finger.

Also, I realize that the original partnership with the PAC-10 has since been called off, but maybe DB has developed some relationships with the AD's over there. Form an alliance to screw the Irish!


September 25th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

I'm a big believer in following Bo's philosophy of using the non-conference schedule to get ready for the Big Ten even if that means a loss or two.  Recruits would love those games too. 


September 25th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

utah--i'd love to play them again since they were our first loss in the rr era

boise state--since msu just played them

tennessee--revenge for that beatdown they put on us in the citrus in the fulmer era

virginia--last time we played, it was the greatest um comeback of all time (at the time) and lloyd's first game

kansas--beat charlie weiss, for old time's sake


Perkis-Size Me

September 25th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

Oregon isn't going to want to play us after already having to play MSU. I feel like they're going to want to be out of our footprint for at least a few years after that, but that would be a great series if our defense is where it needs to be by then. Otherwise, I'm hoping to never see them outside of the Rose Bowl.

I'd love to play Florida State. A game like that would be a great atmosphere, and I don't think we've played them since '91. If they've got an open spot, I think they could be convinced. By then, we should be built up to where we need to be.

Georgia would be great. Auburn right now sounds kind of meh. Sorry Chizik, but without Cam Newton, your program has accomplished next to nothing.

NC State: meh

Washington: could be intriguing. I feel like Sarkisian is very quietly putting a good team together, but it doesn't scream must-have.

TCU would be good, too.


If I had my preferences, I'd want FSU, then Georgia, Oregon 3rd, then everyone else I kind of fit together. I don't want to come near Alabama for at least another 3-4 years.