Thoughts on the 2010 football schedule

Submitted by Rasmus on January 6th, 2010 at 4:46 PM
Last year, the Wolverines won their first four games and then proceeded to lose all of their remaining games (I'm not counting the practice they sold tickets to). Quite possibly the single most painful way for a season to unfold...

So what do we see for this year? Here's the schedule, home games in caps:

Sept. 11 ~ Notre Dame
Oct. 2 ~ Indiana
Oct. 16 ~ IOWA
Oct. 30 ~ Penn State
Nov. 13 ~ Purdue
Nov. 27 ~ Ohio State

This is the same conference schedule as last year, in the same order. Only the stadiums are changing. 

One key difference is all the non-conference games are on the front end. No baby seals on the menu in the midst of conference play. I see that as a good thing. It definitely didn't help last year -- the feast just seemed to leave the team lethargic the next week against Penn State.

Win or lose, UConn is a great way to prepare for ND the following week. The Huskies are probably about right in competitive terms for a hungry UM team coming off a disappointing season, so it should be a good, hard-fought game. Just what the doctor ordered. I give the Wolverines the edge at home.

Notre Dame is an unknown. New coaching staff, star quarterback and running back gone. Two very good seniors gone on the offensive line. Sound familiar? Nonetheless, they open against Purdue at home, so they will be primed and ready to go when UM comes in the next week. But I like having a tough early road game. Last year, the first road game was the first loss. There were no road wins. Four home games in a row is not a good way to start a season.

So even if Michigan goes 1-1 in the first two games, the team will at least know the drill when they go on the road to Indiana to start the Big Ten season. IU will be out for revenge, but let's say we score enough points to win going away, like 40 or something.

Thus, like last year, it's not inconceivable the team could have three wins going into Big Ten play, and four when they play State. The big difference being that this time Michigan will have the experience of a gut-check road game in South Bend under their belts, and after Indiana we are looking at back-to-back home games against State and Iowa. This is a much better outlook than last year, which was the opposite.

Iowa is homecoming, followed by a bye week and then a five-game grind beginning at Happy Valley and ending in the Horseshoe. This is a tougher way to finish the season than last year, but if we play Penn State at 5-2 again it will be a more seasoned, mature 5-2, with at least a few more wins to be expected. [That is, more than none!] Plus, there was no bye week last year. The team played every week. An extra week to heal at mid-season should help matters.

I doubt 9-3 is realistic, but 7-5 or even 8-4 seems possible. I expect a lot of carnage (i.e., parity) in the Big Ten this year, much like last year (UM's dismal results notwithstanding), so even 7-5 could mean a decent bowl berth.



January 6th, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

UCONN - M is jacked for the Grand Opening and gets the win with a very spirited effort.
ND - New QB and new coach means the more polished M team pulls out a tough road win.
UMASS - Functional DNP.
BGSU - M no longer looks past MAC teams and gets a win here.
Indiana - M scores all day on a depleted IN defense, wins.
MSU - Vengence Game. M ends the 2-year skid.
IOWA - M matches up well here. M barely lost to these guys in Iowa City last year and nips them in Ann Arbor.
PSU - PSU with a new QB, new RB, new LBs. If their new QB is shaky M has a chance in Happy Valley
Illinos - Juice is gone. Time to stomp the Zooker.
Purdue - New QB for the Boilers. Time to get payback against Danny Douchebag.
Wisky - Home field advantage? Okay, this might be a tough one.
OSU - The Bucks have had some attrition? Okay, never mind: I can't formulate a scenario where M wins this game.

But hey, that's 9-3ish right there.


January 6th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

UCONN-Big East-no D-last team with ball wins-type of game. M wins a close one.
@ND-Brian Kelly quickly shows why they fired Charlie. ND wins by two touchdowns. Irish faithful begin talking BCS title game.
UMASS-We win. By a lot.
BGSU-Another high scorer, M pulls it out with Tate throwing the winning TD late.
@IU-Tate passes for 300+yds, M gains 500yds to IU's 450yds(sound familiar?), we win another close one.
MSU-Our D finally takes shape, shuts down Sparty. M wins by 10.
IOWA-Hawkeyes still too much for us. Close loss.
@PSU-Lions have new players, but result is same. Their defense is better than our offense. Loss.
ILLINOIS-M runs Illinois out of stadium in rout. Zooker asks RR about possible asst coach position in 2011. Win.
@PURDUE-M appears on track to finally beat their "gentleman" coach, then turns ball over late, Purdue ends up winning.
WISCONSIN-Home team advantage continues, M wins close one.
@OSU-Better wait 'til 2011. Loss.


Chadillac Grillz

January 6th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

Notre Dame-W
Penn State-?
Ohio State-L

I think we defeat Connecticut in a close game. Big East defenses aren't generally that good, and I could easily Michigan coming into this game very prepared and ready to score a lot of points.

Notre Dame: We beat them last year, and at times looked like we could run away with it in the third quarter. I see Michigan making great strides in 2010 on offense. ND? IDK
BG and UMASS: These games aren't too scary. Denard Robinson could lead us to big wins here. BG no longer has Barnes at WR.

Indiana: Their defense was filled with 4th and 5th year guys this past season, they won't be next year. UM wins!
MSU: This will tough, but we know what they are going to do, and have the recipe for scoring on them. If our QBs can pick their seconday apart at home we will probably win.

Iowa-Toss Up. They have a really good defense, but have to play in Ann Arbor in 2010.
Penn State-they lose a lot of key players. Bowman, Lee, Royster, Clark among many others. This game at least be interesting, and we will finally have the advantage at QB under RR!

Illinois-Yay no more Juice Williams. Unless they can run the option to perfection we outscore them. Assuming we don't fumble 6 times.
Purdue-Man I don't know. Purdue should be a win for us, but they are going to be tough. Robert Marve is a good QB, Bolden is great, and Hope can coach pretty well.

WISCONSIN: They will still win most likely the same way. They don't really lose much. Anything is possible.
OSU: I wish this were a home game, but this may be their year to go back to the BCS title game. I'd love to spoil it, and I think we'll come close for sure.


January 6th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

Offensively Michigan is going to be better in 2010. Eight starters back (Ortmann, Moosmann, Minor gone). The quarterbacks, OL and receivers are going to have a lot more experience and depth than a year ago. The young new running backs are going to be at least equal or better than the perpetual triage unit UM had last year with Minor and Brown. There was a huge jump in performance in 2009 on offense (rushing yards, passing yards, points per game). Cox, Shaw and the true frosh RBs are going to do more than alright surrounded by these many veterans.

The big question for Michigan in 2010 is defense and special teams (punting and PAT kicks). 8 starters back (B. Graham, S. Brown and D. Warren gone). The DL should be better. The linebackers will probably continue to struggle, and the secondary is going to be starting a lot of young players at safety and corner, so stopping big plays and critical 3rd downs will be a 2009 redux, I'm afraid. However, it may not be the disaster that was 2009 as team speed should be better, but ironically for an offensive mastermind like Rodriguez, as the defense goes, so goes the 2010 season. The offense has to outscore people in 2010, because this defense will be unlikely to stop many body or anybody.

The 2010 schedule has the same number of bowl teams as 2008: 7.
Technically ND should have gone to a bowl this yearat 6-6, but didn't. So 8 of UMs 12 opponents in 2010 were bowl teams in 2009.

I haven't calculated opponent returning starters yet, but what's scary for UM in 2010 is this:

2009: 7 opponents went to a bowl. Only 2 won their bowl game.
Finish: 5-7.

2010: 7 opponents went to a bowl. 5 of 7 won their bowl game.

My prediction for '10:
UM loses it's opening 2 games. A media conflagration begins with people grabbing for their torches and pitchforks only to later witness frowns on the clowns at the Freep as Michigan finishes 8-4 on the year including big wins over Iowa, MSU (Sparty No!!!) and at Penn State.

Man, I hate it when I'm right all the time.


January 6th, 2010 at 7:46 PM ^

Or did our OOC games just get a lot easier?

As you know, looking only at our B10 stats, the offense wasn't very good last year. Of course every game counts, so maybe we shouldn't exclude the OOC games. But on the flip side, we do play eight B10 games each year, so we really need to get our B10 offensive stats higher, ASAP.

Chadillac Grillz

January 6th, 2010 at 8:42 PM ^

Keep in mind though that you are coming at it from a foresight standpoint. Only 2 of our 2009 opponents won bowls in the 2008-09 season, however OSU, PSU, Iowa, Wisconsin won bowls in the 2009-10 season. We lost to two BCS game winners this past season and Penn State who also won 11 games. We also lost to a 10 win Wisconsin team at Camp Randall, and they dominated Miami for the most part. Our other losses were to MSU in OT and to Purdue by 2 points (they beat OSU). Those losses were tough to swallow but our only truly inexcusable loss was really Illinois. Point being..if we look back at 2009 based on the bowl performances we played some really good competition for such a young team. There is no guarantee that our schedule will get easier though, and will probably get a bit tougher next year assuming Penn State and Iowa are as good as they were in 2009. Purdue, MSU and Illinois SHOULD be wins IMO, but Purdue will be tough still. I DO agree with your final record assessment though. 8-9 wins.


January 7th, 2010 at 10:03 AM ^

you can't judge last year's squad from the win total. The offense will be better, quite possibly much better. This is the year we should see that 'year two' leap in wins because it's Tate's second year. The rest of the offense is mostly in it's third year; heck they are grizzled veterans! So offensively, I expect to see increased production. I think we all agree that the defense is the big question mark, performing as poorly as they did last year and now with the departures of Brandon, Stevie, and Donovan, but their are reasons to be optimistic. Most of the Big Ten loses more contributors this year than we do-I believe umhero has a diary on this- so combining that fact with the fact that most of our starters return from last year...well we should at least be good for 7 wins.
There are plenty of questionmarks, but I am really looking forward to next year.


January 7th, 2010 at 1:38 AM ^

am i missing something? while our defense "blew" quite a bit. our offense with a beat up tate and an ineffective DR who hasn't shown the ability to throw well. i just wonder how much can really be blamed on our defense. i mean as far as everything hinging on our defense. tate not banged up, DR a better passer and our defense hardly ever sees the field to suck at, right?

Hemlock Philosopher

January 6th, 2010 at 7:48 PM ^

RR has a very good track record against UConn, going 4-0 before moving on to Michigan:

2007: @WVa 66, UConn 21 - UConn was 9-2 at the time of the game.
2006: WVa 37, @UConn 11
2005: @WVa 45, UConn 13
2004: WVa 31, @UConn 19

I would not be surprised to see us score a lot of points in this game. M 45-24.


January 6th, 2010 at 8:57 PM ^

Statistically, yes:

2008 vs. 2009 Production

Yds/Game: 291 vs. 385
Pts/Game: 20.3 vs. 29.5
Passing Yrds: 1,718 vs. 2,380
Rushing Yrds: 1,771 vs. 2,234

UM's two best RBs last year (Minor and Brown) had less than 120 carries between them.

RR's best teams typically have the tailbacks with between 200-300 carries per year! Examples of this run-centricity include Jamaican Dartez (Tulane), Travis Zachery (Clemson), Avon Cobourne (WVU), Steve Slaton (WVU).

Michigan running back YPC is correct. The attempts are what's fubar.

In comparison to previous RR offenses, Michigan has been stuck in 2nd or 3rd gear the last two season. There is an overdrive on this offense, but UM fans up to now don't know anything about it.


January 6th, 2010 at 9:59 PM ^

CONNECTICUT-L, I think that UCONN is very good and will be next year.
Notre Dame-W, Brian Kelly doesn't quite yet have everything under control but he will soon after.
BOWLING GREEN-W, I sure hope Freddie Barnes is a Senior.
Indiana-W, Seriously?
MICHIGAN STATE-W, Game that shows were fer real. But in all seriousness they lose a few key contributors.
IOWA-L, Sorry their defense will be really good again next year.
Penn State-L, Royster coming back. Don't see this one happening.
ILLINOIS-W, Yay Juice and Benn are gone!
Purdue-W, RR gets his revenge on Danny boy.
WISCONSIN-L, They have a lot of talent returning.
Ohio State-L, See ya in 2011 Bucks

Puts us at 7-5 and a bowl berth. I would be very happy with that.


January 6th, 2010 at 11:38 PM ^

Even with my great dislike of RichRod, I'm too much of a homer to see anything other than 9-3/8-4. Then again, maybe a better to look at that is 9-3/8-4 is what I expect RR to deliver in order to keep the job.

ND - win (only b/c ND is replacing essential talent)
BGSU - win
IND - win
MSU - win (we better...oh we better win this one)
IOWA- loss
PSU - loss
ILL - win
Pur - win
WIS - toss-up
OSU - loss


January 7th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

Okay, Homer, I despise DickFraud,too. But his next Big Ten road win will be his second in three years. The only reason Nick Sheridan beat Minnesota two years ago in the dome is that Minnehaha was devastated by their last minute loss to Northwestern the week before. Indiana will be playing at home and wanting payback for getting jobbed on the interception by Warren last year. ND will also be playing at home, and weird shit happens to Michigan in ND Stadium. UConn beat ND in South Bend last year, and ND was a better team than Michigan. Randy Edsall will have his team jacked up to beat Michigan in the Big House. I think each of these games will be losses. Michigan's D will not be improved by losing their best players. Yes, our offense will improve, but they were second to last in the B10 in conference offensive stats. Eastern and Western are weaker than Uconn and Umass and those games, along with Baby Seal U gave M the gaudy offensive averages. I see 5 - 7 or 4 - 8.


January 7th, 2010 at 12:34 AM ^

Obviously all speculation and things can change throughout the year.

-RR will have so much invested into beating the Big lEast, that our attack is going to suprise even UConn. The D will have it's FIRST time with the same D-coord in the last 3 years. SO I expect them to come out a lot like the WMU game and shut down UConn's Run game.
9/11 @ Notre Dame:W
-Kelly loses too much talent at ND to even blow this one up. UM wins another CLOSE game.
[Needs no explanation]
[Needs no explanation]
10/2 @ Indiana:W
-Indiana loses a lot of good Talent and UM finally has a CORE together that aren't Fresh and Soph. They will be confidant and end this "upset bid" early.
-First time Michigan re-hits the rankings of the AP 25. State comes home to play. Michigan is going to be able to beat them- all the same kids who pulled a comeback in their house, yet our top offensive performers were the QB and young WRs.. IF OT happens... we have the crowd to OUR back this time.
10/16 ~ IOWA:W
-By this point we learn our Defense and our offense is able to shift the field position in our favor. Low Scoring. 16-12
10/30 @ Penn State:L
- Even though PSU loses a lot of linebackers and their QB... I think being in HV it makes this game out of reach and we take our first loss of '10.
- We get back on track taking advantage of Illinois like a Drunk College Chick.
11/13 @ Purdue:L
-Purdue hits us in the mouth again. I don't get WHY we can't beat them.
2008 B10 Opener... We can play with them... we did in 09...we just lost the grasp in between the 3rd + 4th quarter.
11/27 @ Ohio State:W
UPSET... Finally enough Experience to keep their bad offense off the field and maybe score a bit more this time? I mean they won 21-10 with 5+ turnovers. In 2009, there are no 5 tunrovers the game is 14-10 and we don't turn it over in the red zone. VERY winable game.


January 7th, 2010 at 10:30 AM ^

Notre Dame-W
Penn State-L
Ohio State-L

That's today's prediction, a safe prediction. I really think we will gain a lot of momentum heading into the Big Ten; the row we had to 'hoe' last year will be there to be taken care of again. MSU I believe we will be prepared for, we almost beat Iowa last year at there place; the season has potential to keep on building from one game to the next. The experience of going through last year will prepare us to contend with those same issues this year; as a team we will be mentally more prepared to have a successful season. I think it's going to be an exciting year.


January 8th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

I'm almost scared for us to go 6-0 and get too overly confident again, I agree on what some people are saying with Uconn being better than expected.

Hate to say it but we might lose the new stadium opener...either way I think we drop one of the first 4...then lose to Iowa, PSU, Wisco, OSU. All those teams are laden with upperclassmen with talent...At 7-5 and a bowl game, I would be happy and then we can enter 2011 with some lofty expectations...


January 7th, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

You have got to be kidding me. These are some SERIOUSLY rosy predictions above! I bleed maize and blue and my degree has the Block M, but, COME ON! :)

1) UM under RR has NOT shown the ability to win on the road.
2) This is a team that is LAST place in the Big Ten (or close to it). For 2 years.
3) They have the WORST defense I have EVER seen and they are losing their 2-3 best players.
4) They will be led by a soph best. Possibly a true frosh.
5) The top returning RB is already hurt (knee) out for Spring and questionable for the Fall.

2010's non-conference sched is more difficult. UCONN, UMASS and BGSU are all better than WMU, EMU and *cringe* Del. State. UM will be lucky to win 2 out of those 3. ND? See below.

Road games at OSU, PSU are definite losses. Bank it.

IU and ND: '10 ND will be just as bad as '09 UM (except with slightly better defense) and IU is on the road. Coin flip those. At best they win 1 of 2.

MSU at home? UM might have an edge. Still, Dantonio gets the rivalry. MSU is on a roll (2 in a row counts as a ROLL for them). Their QB situation is better and it's a big pressure game for UM to win. Especially if UM's record so far in 2010 is...less than stellar.

I liken UM's chances in the other games to what they were in 2009. Yikes.
I don't mean to be negative, but, realistically it doesn't look good. Remember those years when UM used to just dominate other teams? When it was either UM or OSU (possibly PSU or the occasional Illinois crashing the party) in the hunt for the Big Ten title? UM + OSU and the rest? Those days are OVER. Hopefully, temporarily.

UM is a team that is abhorrent at the moment. Other teams look FORWARD to playing them. I'm just saying we might want to temper the expectations a little. Expecting 9 wins? Get ready for disappointment.

They win 4-5 games. 6 at the most. If they win 6, RR comes back. 5 wins including one over MSU he comes back. Falling short of that - buh-bye to the spread guru.


January 7th, 2010 at 3:10 PM ^

That means that Dantonio shares the passion that comes with playing your hated, in-state rival. Unlike DickFraud who intellectually understands that the fans are emotionally involved in the rivalry, but is genetically and pathologically unable to share in that passion. To him it's, "Uh, yeah, I get it - it's a big game." To Dantonio, it's more like, "I loathe those assholes in blue, and want to rip off their heads and shit down their necks and if we don't beat them I will want to eat my own children for dinner!"
Understand now, moron?


January 7th, 2010 at 8:14 PM ^

RR's passion for playing Michigan's #3 rival does not equal MD's passion for playing MSU's #1 rival? You must be joking!!!!

RR's and MD's intensity in regards to this game is no different than recent coaches for the respective schools. To Michigan, this is usually just another game they are supposed to win. To MSU, it is the Superbowl.

I will patiently await your response, including the inevitable name calling.


January 8th, 2010 at 10:29 AM ^

Normally, I would agree with you. However, recent history dictates that MSU is an important game for RR. In fact, it may be his most important game next season.

I see 5-6 wins for the team. If they win 6 and they go to a bowl, he doesn't need to beat MSU. If they only win 5 (no bow), 1 of the 5 wins must be over MSU in order to keep his job.

While in the grand scheme of history of the rivalry I would agree with you, the last 2 years make the MSU game the most important game on the schedule. It's the most important, winnable rivalry game.


January 8th, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

RR needs to understand the OSU rivalry first and foremost. I don't think it's possible for him not to. The ND rivalry had lost some of it's luster when we were on a 2yrs on-2 yrs off schedule but it's certainly back now, especially after Weis' "To Hell w/ Michigan" booster speech before the 2008 season. Since we are going to see ND on every sked for likely longer than RR is at Michigan, they are the #2 rival IMO. I think RR understands the MSU rivalry, but there is no way that he is going to view it the same way as MD views it. The level of hatred in that rivalry is not equal from both sides. RR doesn't need to pretend that it is.