Way early look at 2016 schedule

Submitted by Yo_Blue on November 4th, 2015 at 10:12 AM

Every year I put together a composite B1G schedule to hang on my office wall. I started the 2016 version this morning.  In doing so, I came up wiht a couple interesting notes.  Next season begins the 9-game in conference schedule.  Each team drops a non-confernece game to play another team out of their B1G Division.  This allows Michigan to finally play Wisconsin for the first time since (it seems like) the late '70s.

Speaking of Wisconsin, if they don't get off to a faster start next year they could be in a world of hurt.  They open with another SEC big boy then, after a couple cupcakes, play back-to-back games in the State of Michigan, followed by OSU and a trip to Iowa CIty.


Georgia State
@Michigan State
Ohio State

Michigan's schedule (again) features the big rivals on the road, but we get PSU and Wiscy at home early.


Penn State
@Michigan State
@Ohio State


There aren't many key out of conference games, but the key ones are:

Wisconsin vs LSU at Lambeau, Ohio State @Oklahoma, Penn State @Pitt, and Nebraska vs Oregon

I sure don't want this season to end, but on the other hand, I'm ready for the future to see how good we can be.



November 4th, 2015 at 10:27 AM ^

7 "guaranteed" wins next year as the base with the 3 really weak non conf + rutgers, indiana (sudfeld gone), maryland, and ill.

People will complain it's a "tough schedule" due to rival games on road but in big picture it's really manageable.  Also we open with a ton of home games to get momentum and let team build up for late road games.  Only 4 road games? 

  • PSU breaks in new QB and loses scary DL guys Zettel and Nassib.
  • MSU breaks in new QB and loses Burbridge, Calhoun, Allen, Burbridge, and 95% Conklin
  • OSU loses Bosa, Washington and risk Darron Lee and Elliott to draft.  Still will be the tougest game of course with JT and good skill.
  • At this point Wisconsin is Michigan with a better rb and slightly worse defense.
  • Don't know Iowa personnel that well because like Wisc we have not played them in a while but if not a senior laden team might be 2nd most difficult opponent.

If our QB is legit and Walker commits and is the truth and takes over the starting job like Barkley did at PSU as a freshman, PSU MSU and Wisc are all very manageable games and the season hinges on OSU and... Iowa??

But with all the depth on the lines next year we will have some of the oldest DL and OL in the country - thats how MSU is basically winning this year combined with a NFL QB.

Oh and we need to find a punter.

New QB will have 3 nice easy games to get feet wet.   Unless it is Taysom and by game 3 he will be hurt ;)

2017 I expect to be rougher - lose ton off DL OL, lose almost entire defense 2 deep from 2015 and open with FL.  So 2016 is year to make hay.

Moonlight Graham

November 4th, 2015 at 10:36 AM ^

some competitors' analysis. So MSU loses Burbridge twice eh? Sweet ;) 

2016 is DEFINITELY 100% a year to make hay. Hope some linebackers, fullbacks and a BUCK can step up big time. Hopefully move Taco to BUCK?? Where are you L. Marshall?!? 

I think we can at least see a NY6 bowl at minimum, which could mean a return to Pasadena if whoever we fall short to in the conference gets a playoff bid (Rose is not a semifinal next year). Or better yet, we're "In" the bracket. 

Moonlight Graham

November 4th, 2015 at 10:31 AM ^

That's kind of a bummer because when they were between @Rutgers and Illinois we had a nice easy game-tough game-easy game back-and-forth going in the conference schedule.

Easy-ish NC sked + bye week, then Wisconsin

Rutgers, then Penn State

Illinois, then Sparty

Maryland, then Iowa

Indiana, then OSU

The later bye week has its benefits too, though. Penn State-Wisconsin back to back will be challenging but they're at home and at least one of them will probably be a UTL. Would love to see some depth chart analysis of MSU, Iowa and OSU next year ... that final five week stretch is going to brutal even if it bookends MD and Indiana at home.  


Avon Barksdale

November 4th, 2015 at 10:36 AM ^

But I will say this schedule is extremely favorable IF we develop a mental toughness to win on the road. Michigan State without Cook and Ohio State without Zeke Elliott and Michael Thomas are a lot less daunting. Ohio State should still be a top 5 team. Penn State without Hackenburg should be a no brainer at home.

The @ Iowa game concerns me just because of what happened there in 2009 and 2011. Overall, I feel really good about the 2016 schedule. Just need a QB that won't throw games away for us.


November 4th, 2015 at 10:49 AM ^

Wow, Wisconsin could easily be 2-4 heading into that Iowa game. The 20-year aberration of Wisconsin being good might be coming to an end.


November 4th, 2015 at 11:02 AM ^

Yes I will always be a Michigan optimist and carry expectations that are higher than the media's and most of our fanbase - but, anything under 11 wins in 2016 will disappoint me. If Willie Henry stays we will retain 95% of our production, improve at QB, and most likely pull in a few elite, early contributors ala Gary, Walker, Nauta, Crawford, LB du jour.

We will be flat out better than 11 teams on our schedule. We will have a combination of talent and coaching that we haven't had in Ann Arbor since 2006. I really don't see a home game that will challenge us. Michigan State is absolutely decimated by attrition this offseason and, while they are always well coached and fight against us, we should win that game somewhat comfortably. If Iowa returns most of this current team (they will definitely lose Desmond King)they will be our 2nd toughest game, but when you have the advantage in talent AND coaching it's hard to predict a loss. If OSU beats Oklahoma I can honestly see an undefeated, top-5 matchup in the Shoe.


November 4th, 2015 at 11:56 AM ^

This IS a "way too early" thread, but I see some very big questions:
 - How will the DBs look if J. Lewis goes early?
 - Will the new QB (first year starter, maybe) really be much better than Rudock?
 - What is our LB play going to look like?
And some smaller questions:
 - How well will O'Neills replacement play?
 - Where are fullbacks going to come from (Harbaugh loves fullbacks)?
 - Are we finally going to get a top 25 running back?
Finally, OSU and MSU (and UM) lose players every year, but OSU always reloads and MSU had done pretty well the last 5 years.  I wouldn't count on them being much weaker than this year.


November 4th, 2015 at 11:17 AM ^


Tough way to start the 9-game conference schedule for Wisconsin. Weird that all 3 cross-over games are first and bad luck that it's the top 3 in the division, maybe even the conference.


November 4th, 2015 at 11:23 AM ^

By key out of conference games, I'm assuming you meant just the Big Ten.  There's a laundry list of high-profile non-conference matchups across college football in 2016.


November 4th, 2015 at 12:42 PM ^

The only games I would be worried about would be on the road at IA and OSU. I think we will win kind of easy in East Lansing!  Having a good QB will open up the run game and overall the offense should be much more dynamic and will score more points. On defense our only weak spot will continue to be LB. Overall we should have 9 to 11 wins if we have a good QB?


November 4th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

No, it's right.  The 3 non-conf games are all at home.  There are 9 B1G games and teams will swap 5 home game seasons with 4 home game seasons.  

Next year Michigan will play 5 B1G road games and the Florida game in Arlington.  That will leave 6 home games.  The six will include MSU and OSU, but still... thanks Dave.


November 5th, 2015 at 3:01 AM ^

I still haven't heard the story about why MSU and OSU games are no longer split, and they have to be both at home and both away in the same year. (And why two in a row had to be played at EL). Obviously the B1G determines schedules, but surely the schools have some input.  Has Bacon or anyone reported or investigated those arrangements/negotiations and how and why Brandon gave that much away?  Did M get anything in return for that?

Would gladly have traded Indiana and/or Penn State home games to even up the numbers, (I can understand they want to alternate Rutgers and Maryland).

Wonder if the Athletic Department will sell me a package of season tickets only for Odd numbered years.


November 5th, 2015 at 3:22 AM ^

Truth be told, I think the SEC is smarter with their scheduling scheme: mixture of conference (inter and cross-divisional) and non-conference games every week throughout the season. I realize much of this is TV's doing, but I think it makes sense.  I find the B1Gs determination to always play the same teams every October and November, frankly boring (not talking about MSU and OSU, here).

While early season conference games can be good and bad, some out of conference games later in the season (including the cupcake games and bigger series) can surely help the conference and exposire.  They can arguably help some teams in the polls by making others look at teams as they develop, and more likely to forgive an early season loss.

Imagine if Ohio State had lost to Alabama in the semi-finals last year. After their somewhat shaky September and early October  this year, the rest of the nation might easily have written off the entire B1G already. Interesting out of conference games, even blowouts to pads the resume, would keep B1G teams more relevant nationally. 

It would be also a lot more fun to watch. Non conference games with the SEC or ACC make more sense in November or October than in September, especially if we are talking about home-and-home series.

Eye of the Tiger

November 5th, 2015 at 9:38 AM ^

3 on the road (Iowa, MSU, OSU); 2 at home (PSU, Wisconsin). 

If no one jumps early to the NFL, and O'Korn or one of the other QBs represents at least a moderate upgrade over Rudock 2015, then we are in pretty good shape even with those. The problem, of course, is that we don't actually know if our QB in 2016 is likely to produce that upgrade. 

(And there are questions at LB and safety, but I think those are managable.)