The argument for Michigan to stop scheduling tough OOC games

Submitted by Diagonal Blue on November 28th, 2018 at 3:05 PM

Raising this point again: if Michigan had scheduled a MAC team instead of Notre Dame, Michigan would still have an outside shot at making the CFP.

Until the committee changes its ways, don't schedule tough non-conference opponents. The risk of losing is not worth the reward.

— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) November 28, 2018



November 28th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Beat OSU and we'd be in the playoffs.

I don't want to see us bowl eligible by playing 6 winless teams a year. 5 of them being trash games at home.  Same sort of idea.

Diagonal Blue

November 28th, 2018 at 3:21 PM ^

We'd be in the playoff because it would be impossible to leave a team out of the CFP that just went 10-0 in the B1G. The margin for error is zero. Had Michigan lost to say Wisconsin but beat OSU and won the B1G they would still be on the outside looking in because of those two losses. That is what the conversation is about.


November 28th, 2018 at 4:54 PM ^

Exactly. You only should be making a case to drop "tough" OOC games if a win vs OSU is planned basically every year or wins vs all the other B1G opponents... Otherwise it is basically needed to ensure proper respect in good years. (No $EC bump to count on)  ND is lucky they played several overrated teams outside the opener this year. (Stanford, Syracuse, etc) 


November 28th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

While it would be great to have the bragging rights of a national championship,  I want to beat ND, MSU, Wisconsin, PSU and OSU every year.  If you can't beat those guys you don't deserve a national championship.   

Lose a game and everyone turns into a wimp.  

Diagonal Blue

November 28th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

Alabama has won two national titles in years it didn't even win it's own division. I think this line of thinking is not only antiquated but also arrogant. At this point UM should be doing everything in their power to guarantee the most number of wins on their schedule every year and best position itself for the CFP.


November 28th, 2018 at 3:20 PM ^

The pro-ification of college football. I want Michigan to win the Big 10. If we achieve this, then it's time to start thinking about the CFP. Antiquated and arrogant? Sure. But it has a lot more soul than trying to game your way into the CFP like a mid-tier team striving for bowl eligibility by playing less interesting games.

Reggie Dunlop

November 28th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

Then win more games. 

Everybody plays one quality out of conference foe. Alabama caught a break when Louisville turned into a pumpkin, but that's a lucky break. They've played USC, Florida St., Wisconsin, West Virginia, Va Tech, Michigan, etc. One each the past however many years.

Clemson played both Texas A&M and South Carolina this season. Two SEC teams. 

Notre Dame was terrified of their schedule this year before luckily all their opponents turned out to be crap. Us, USC, Stanford, Florida State, Va Tech, even spunky guys like Syracuse and Northwestern.

Nobody is scheduling their way to the playoff. They're winning games. 


November 28th, 2018 at 3:39 PM ^

The SEC really does schedule their way to the playoffs, with 8 conference games in a 14 team conference, plus November's cupcake week.  Even if you want to tip your cap to Alabama for playing a 9th game against a Power 5 conference, their other three games are all trash.

Reggie Dunlop

November 28th, 2018 at 3:50 PM ^

I didn't wanna dive too far down the hole, but yeah, that's the caveat. They need 9 conference games and drop the Week 12 patsy.  I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt - B1G just started this, what? last year? Two years ago? And I think this is the ACC's first year with 9. Could be wrong. But that's all the Power 5 conferences now. Time for the SEC to join the movement. 


November 28th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

They really need to drop the FCS schools.  Of the top 6 teams in discussion, [not] surprisingly only the two SEC teams and Clemson played an FCS school.   I wish the CFP powers that be would demand nine conference games and no FCS schools to be eligible for the CFP and bowl games in general but we'll never see that happen


November 28th, 2018 at 5:19 PM ^

J. This is why the national championship is a load of crap and is ruining college football just like many of us predicted.  Football is about beating your cross-town school or winning your conference/region.   I talk shit to people from MSU, OSU, ND, Wisconsin and PSU.   I don't know anyone in Alabama, South Carolina or Oklahoma.    If the SEC wasn't worried about the national championship they might play 9 or 10 conference games.  I get the tune up game idea, but I want to see good teams play good football.  

Which is better having to play a bunch of crap tune-up games so you can watch paid players from Alabama win a national championship, or having the best teams in your region play each other and being able to talk shit to your friends?   (I'm arguing against the scheduling practices that J. brought up, not against J.)


November 28th, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

Winning the Big Ten is not the same as it was historically.  There are now two divisions and a title game.  The best team doesn't even win due to the imbalances.  Ask any fan "how many division championships does your team have?" "Conference championships?" "National titles?".  They only know the last one.  Not sure what the fascinacion is with Big Ten titles.  This isn't the 1970s.



Diagonal Blue

November 28th, 2018 at 3:43 PM ^

Ok, and? 

No two loss team is going to sniff the CFP either. So the choices are you schedule a tough OOC game and if you lose you leave yourself no margin for error and have to win the rest of your games, or you win it and still have to win your conference. There is no upside. 

If Michigan had beaten a cream puff OOC and lost say Wisconsin but won the B1G it would more than likely get in the CFP. But if they lose to a tough OOC opponent, lose to Wisconsin, but still win the B1G they are going to be on the outside looking in. 

That is the crux of the argument 90% of people in this thread are missing.


November 28th, 2018 at 3:57 PM ^

What?  Now you're not even making sense.

For one thing, RichRod had games against luminaries like Delaware State.

For another thing, you need to be a good coach for it to matter.  You can't learn anything from a tough game if you don't look at the tape, find your flaws, and fix them.


November 28th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

I don't want UCF's Schedule.  Michigan got rolled in the game, and would be rolled in the playoff if they played the same way they did Saturday.  If Michigan was meant to be in the CFB, then they would have beat OSU this weekend, or beat Notre Dame and lost close to OSU.  They did neither and don't deserve a spot.

Some of my favorite games have been played against Notre Dame.  Non of my favorite games have been played against MAC teams. 

I agree, with your assessment.


November 28th, 2018 at 5:00 PM ^

Agree with this.  After last week does anyone actually think this team deserves a spot in the playoffs? 

If the plan is to snake our way to the CFP by playing a cream puff schedule, then we better put OSU in the other division and hope they have one of their losses to a crappy team so we don’t have to play them in the big ten championship game.  

The only way we make the CFP after a loss to OSU is if both teams are top 5 and we play them to the wire.


November 28th, 2018 at 3:09 PM ^

Two out of the last three years the only obstacle to Michigan making the playoffs was Ohio State

This year actually proves that scheduling and losing a tough OOC game early won’t hurt a thing.

Now next year ND is in the middle of the B1G season, that’s more of a problem IMO.  I want ND to be early every year


November 28th, 2018 at 3:29 PM ^

So what?  This line of thinking is cowardly.  If the playoff committee wants to reward terrible OOC schedules, like 2016 Washington's, that's their business.  I don't care about the playoff.  I want to win Big Ten titles, and I want interesting football.  I would rather see Michigan play Notre Dame, USC, and Texas than Central Michigan, Delaware State, and Army.

Even if they lose, they took their best shot instead of trying to schedule themselves an easier path.

Diagonal Blue

November 28th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

Good for you, lets see where that has gotten us in the last 15 years. Uh, nowhere

I'd rather see Michigan in the CFP and giving themselves the best shot to do so. The false bravado from this fan base is perplexing because it's the same people who bitch about Harbaugh not doing well enough for them.


November 28th, 2018 at 4:21 PM ^

I think you underestimate how painful and humiliating it is to get absolutely demolished by Alabama or Clemson in the playoffs.  I invite you to imagine being a ND fan when they get blown out in the first round this year.

Get good enough to make the playoffs with one tough OOC game, and then in some years the breaks will go your way and you'll make the playoffs, in other years they won't and you'll make a NY6 game.  In the years you make it, you at least look like you belong on the same field as your opponent, and maybe you even get hot and win one or both of your games.

Scheduling your way into the playoffs when you're really not one of the best teams is going to result in a curb stomping that, for the vast majority of fans, would more than negate any joy at being in the playoffs in the first place.

Also, don't discount the fun of looking forward to a regular season game like Notre Dame, watching it, and reveling when you win.

Finally, your entire premise seems centered around the idea that Michigan has a legitimate shot at winning the championship if they just get into the playoffs.  At this point in time, I don't believe that is true.  Michigan has a significant deficit of speed on both sides of the ball, and they're not going to be able to hide it on artificial turf inside a dome against Alabama or Clemson.  I am not saying this will always be true, but for UM circa 2018, I believe it is true.  Again, I invite you to watch what is about to happen to a plodding ND in the playoffs, because it's not going to be pretty.

Honestly, I wish the BCS and CFP never happened.  For too many fans, it's now all or nothing, national championship or bust.  A lot more people were a lot more happy when winning your conference and the bowl game was a great year, and the popularity contest of the AP or UPI poll was more of a "cherry on top" kind of bonus. 



November 28th, 2018 at 3:41 PM ^

Thing is they DIDN'T want to reward terrible OOC schedules like 2016 Washington. The committee said right out that they really struggled between Washington and Michigan despite Michigan's two losses that year and the extra game played by Washington because Michigan's OOC was so impressive.

At the end of the day they used their tiebreaker of conference champion to give Washington the nod and rightfully so. Michigan would have been in the playoff if they had beaten Iowa regardless of the result against Ohio State.


November 28th, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

Agreed.  The thing is, people are a lot less interested in games against lesser foes, and it shows in the attendance.  Even Alabama has a 76% attendance rate, and I can't help but think they're cupcake OOC schedule has something to do with this, maybe a lot.  You can certainly see it in Michigan Stadium attendance (82%).  Half the students don't show for these kinds of games.

Part of Michigan football tradition is playing a decent OOC schedule.  Besides, I think the OP's premise is putting the cart before the horse.  M has to get back to form first, and that's beating OSU.  And if we can't beat OSU, how is it any better to play Clemson or Alabama in a playoff game?  Would we want to be embarrassed twice?  No thanks.

Let's beat OSU and win a B1G title, THEN we can have conversations about tricking our schedule like the SEC does for an easier path to the CFP.

Newton Gimmick

November 28th, 2018 at 4:05 PM ^

We originally had Arkansas on the schedule at home, before replacing them with a road game at ND.  We'd likely have one loss right now, including a win over an "SEC team."  Playing in South Bend in addition to playing in East Lansing and Columbus gave us three tough road games.  There's a reason Alabama schedules the way they do, with three cupcakes + a "neutral site" game every year vs a P5 team.

I'm sick of playing Notre Dame.  We gain very little by playing that game and lose a lot.  The games in South Bend are usually weird losses with a lot of bad luck and unfavorable calls.  I hate that school and wish we'd be done with them.