Notre Dame's Replacement on Michigan's 2018-19 Schedules

Submitted by oakapple on August 30th, 2012 at 1:17 PM

The Notre Dame series takes a hiatus on Michigan's 2018 and 2019 schedules. I am assuming that Michigan would seek to replace with the Irish with an opponent of comparable stature.

(Feel free to insert your favorite joke about how Notre Dame really doesn't have the stature everyone assumes. The fact is, the media treats Notre Dame as if they were an elite team, whether they are or not.)

I checked the future schedules on, of every opponent that could be considered a plausible replacement for Notre Dame. I even checked a few that are marginal, like Syracuse and Pitt. But I didn't check teams like Duke or Louisville that no rational person would consider a like-for-like trade with Notre Dame.

I assumed that no school would agree to schedule Michigan if they already had a tough out-of-conference game scheduled in either or both of those years. For instance, Oklahoma and LSU have a home-and-home scheduled in 2018-19. Scratch both of them off the list. (One of the premium message boards reported this week that Dave Brandon had approached Oklahoma, and was told no thanks, though it didn't say for what years.)

These are the findings:

I. Definitely Unavailable

Oklahoma and LSU (home & home vs. each other)
Texas A&M and Oregon (home & home vs. each other)
Texas (USC, @Maryland in 2018; Notre Dame in 2019)
USC (@Texas in 2018, in addition to the usual Notre Dame h/h)

II. Probably Unavailable

Alabama (hosting Georgia Tech in 2019)
Georgia Tech (hosting Ole Miss in 2018; @Alabama in 2019; plus Georgia h/h)
Stanford (Virginia in 2018; @Northwestern in 2019; plus Notre Dame h/h)

III. Possibly Available

Florida and Florida State (home & home assumed; nothing else scheduled)
Miami (only thing scheduled is Rutgers home & home)
Georgia (only thing scheduled is recurring home & home vs. Ga. Tech)
Syracuse (only thing scheduled is Northwestern in 2019)

IV. No Known Conflicts

Virginia Tech
West Virginia

The open question is whether Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke want to play a September game in an outdoor stadium in the south, where the weather conditions would be in the opponents' favor. If you take the southern teams out of the picture, you're left with teams like Pitt and Syracuse, which many fans would view as being less interesting opponents than Notre Dame.

It is a myth that the SEC schools never play tough out-of-conference opponents. Besides Alabama and LSU (already mentioned above), Tennessee has future home & homes vs. Oklahoma and Nebraska; and Arkansas has both TCU and Texas scheduled.

On the other hand, Georgia never seems to schedule a tough out-of-conference opponent, other than their annual tilt with Georgia Tech. Likewise, Florida seems only to schedule Florida State and occasionally Miami. Auburn is rather timid: a trip to Kansas State is the toughest future game they've scheduled.

Bear in mind that many of these schools could have conflicts due to ongoing negotiations that have not yet become public. And some of them just might not want to play Michigan. So there might be only one or two real options that would strike the average fan as an upgrade over just playing Notre Dame those two years.



August 30th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Georgia had a home and home scheduled with OSU for approximately those years, but OSU pulled out when the Pac 12 scheduling agreement got made. So Georgia is amenable to playing outside the south.


August 30th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Georgia had a home and home scheduled with OSU for approximately those years, but OSU pulled out when the Pac 12 scheduling agreement got made. So Georgia is amenable to playing outside the south.


August 30th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

Really does suck.  Other than the legit #5 Boise St. game last year they have not exactly set out to schedule a challenging NC schedule going all the way back to the mid 00's.  Georgia fiends would argue that the SEC is so hard that they shouldn't have to scedule badass NC opponents, but at least we expect Notre Dame to get better at some point with all of their recruiting success and their Touchdown Jesus and their Mike Golic and whatnot.

Ali G Bomaye

August 31st, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

Nobody from Georgia better be complaining about their hard schedule.  This year, for the second straight year, they won't play Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas.  Take those three teams out and the quality of the remaining SEC opponents looks suspiciously like the ACC - some good teams and some awful teams, and certainly no MNC contenders.


August 30th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

Oklahoma State has no known conflicts for 2018-19, but based on their known future opponents, it does not appear that they schedule tough games. For instance, this year's OOC slate is Savannah State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and at Arizona. Next year is @Texas-San Antonio and Lamar, with an open date. In 2015, they face the gauntlet of Central Arkansas, Texas-San Antonio, and @Central Michigan.

Army would not be a suitable replacement for Notre Dame. David Brandon can schedule a service academy whenever he wants. Michigan is playing Air Force this year despite having Notre Dame and Alabama on the schedule. It would be good to see Army (whom Michigan hasn't played in years), but it doesn't answer the question of who would be available to replace Notre Dame.


August 30th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I figured after what happened to us in 2000 (lost @ UCLA when Henson was injured and a game-changing pick by Jeremy Le Suer was overturned by a bad call), 2001 (lost @ Washington after Henson went pro early and we had a flukey FG blocked), and 2003 (lost @ Oregon due to weird shenanigans with our punt team and the Ducks playing ninja football in the first half) that Michigan would pretty not consider H&Hs with Pac-10 (now Pac-12) schools again.  But hopefully the new regime will reconsider.  Lots of Wolverines out here, yo!


August 30th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

playing us in the south in September? the temps in September for the south aren't much different than they are here, furthermore, it's not like every kid who plays for Michigan is from Michigan. If you were talking about a game in Alabama in July, I could understand, but come on.

Perkis-Size Me

August 30th, 2012 at 2:47 PM ^

They'll never agree to it, since they refuse to leave their southeastern bubble of comfort, but if we could get Florida up for a game in Ann Arbor, that would be amazing.

I could see Florida State agreeing to a home and home. They've scheduled some good games over the last few years, and have come up to Ann Arbor in the past.

Georgia would be great, too.


August 30th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

...Virginia Tech in a home-and-home series since I live in VA. Since my son will be a VT alumnus at that point, he can buy my ticket for the first time ever.

Moonlight Graham

August 30th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

A home-and-home involving the two biggest college stadiums in the country (assuming Bryant-Denny, Royal-Texas Memorial or Beaver haven't passed Neyland ... I don't think they have). Texas would also be epic, as would Oklahoma. I think you kind of want the return-away game to be in a setting and capacity on par with the Big House (don't know exactly why, but just seems right) ... but other options could be those schools we've discussed poaching from the ACC into the B1G: North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech. 

Really too bad about the Pac 12 agreement getting nixed. Would have liked to see Michigan-Stanford, too. And of course Arizona. 


August 30th, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

We've stolen coaches from them, it'd be nice to beat them twice on the field too.

Arkansas or Auburn would be pretty sweet too, or Georgia.  Any SEC team really.

And not as a home and home but as an extra game in one of those years I'd love to see us host Army.  My father-in-law went to West Point, it'd be awesome to get the family tix and go to that one.


September 1st, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

We could definitely play Arizona(supposedly they promised Rich Rod a game against Michigan in the near future when they hired him), but that's not a replacement for Notre Dame, and it'd probably be a one time game in Ann Arbor instead of a home and home.

If they're going to add Arizona, I'd rather it be sooner than 2018 to increase the likelihood that Rich Rod is still there. (My guess is he's either fired or leaves for a better job by then.)

M Fanfare

August 30th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

I don't think playing in the South in September is neccessarily much of an advantage for the home team weather-wise. Michigan is usually pretty hot and humid through August as well. However, I would LOVE to see us play a southern team at home in November. It will never happen, but a man can dream.


August 31st, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

usc has to be number 1 since i'm sick of playing them in california.

tennessee, georgia, and florida are also right up there, but i don't think the worst of the oversigners should be rewarded.

stanford, georgia tech, cal, and ucla are probably the next cut for me, as they're all actually good schools.

then arkansas and arizona for the coaches.


September 1st, 2012 at 1:58 AM ^

I wouldn't be suprised if it were Tennessee.  2013 they play @Oregon(return trip from their home game in 2010), 2014/15 they have a H/H with Oklahoma, in 2016/17 H/H with Nebraska, and have a H/H with USC in 2021/22.  Nobody for 18/19 right now as they had a H/H agreement with Ohio, but Gene Smith pulled out since we were supposed to have a 9 game conference schedule by then.  We have only faced them once and they destroyed us, and DB likes revenge games for the "wow factor".

Mississippi St doesn't appear to have any conflicts yet if he is looking to avenge the Gator Bowl loss.  Other SEC teams not mentioned above include: Missouri only has @Wyoming for 2018, and is open is 2019; South Carolina open for both '18/'19

Although not SEC, I wouldn't mind seeing Syracuse, in place of a MAC or FCS team.  Not gonna lie, that's more for personal reasons since that was my first loss that I saw live at the Big House.  They also schedule big name opponents(USC &Missouri this year; Notre Dame from '14-'17) and its been 14 years since this loss, even though we beat them the following year on the road.  Also, they gave us Greg Robinson...