Michigan trying to cancel Washington series in 2020-21

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on April 25th, 2017 at 9:17 PM

Buzz going around on Twitter right now.

Michigan was set to travel to Husky Stadium to open the 2020 season with a return game in what would be the 3rd game of the 2021 season against the old Rose Bowl rival. 

Michigan is scheduled to play Virginia Tech at home on 9/19/2020 and on the road on 9/11/2021.

UM has been asking out for a while. Big $ penalty if they pull out. Nothing has changed at this point. Still on. https://t.co/G7znqTEbxD

— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) April 25, 2017



April 26th, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

with 9 B1G games and VTech already scheduled, it seems the powers that be don't want another losable non-conf game.  If Washinton was still looking more like Oregon State two years ago, this would still be fine for us.

Kind of a shame. Would have been fun.  But canceling certainly increases chances of making the playoffs.  Unfortunately, as we saw this year with Washington, winning easy games is better than playing a challenging schedule in the committee's eyes.

Leaders And Best

April 25th, 2017 at 9:41 PM ^

The nonconference schedule was set before the B1G moved to a 9-game conference schedule. Asking the team to play 9 B1G conference games plus Washington and VT in back-to-back years (2020 & 2021) is not ideal.

For comparison, Washington will play a 9-game P12 conference schedule, Michigan, an FCS school, and a TBD that will most likely not be Power 5.

M Ascending

April 26th, 2017 at 8:08 AM ^

Back in the day, Bo used to say that the only championship that mattered to him was the Big Ten championship, because the NC was a popularity contest over which the team had no control.  So, if the B1G title was the primary goal, it didn't hurt you to schedule a strong OOC slate.  Even if you lost a couple of those games, if you came back to win the B1G you would go to the Rose Bowl, which was the best bowl a B1G team could go to prior to the BCS.  And a strong OOC schedule could help better prepare for you B1G competition.

Now, things have changed.  The B1G title is virtually meaningless (OSU went to the playoffs last year and didn't even win its division, much less the B1G championship), and every team's goal is to get to the playoffs and compete for a NC.  So, the scheduling strategy has had to change.  I have no problem with Michigan wanting to play one quality Power 5 opponent every year, along with two less competitive games against D1 opponents.  The 9-game B1G schedule has become truly daunting (with games this year against OSU, PSU, Wisc. and other improving teams such as MD and Minn.), and it will likely only get tougher in the future.

While I would not mind seeing us play several strong OOC games, it just doesn't make sense in the current environment and, like others have said, dumping a game on the west coast in favor of one that exposes us to fertile recruiting territory makes the most sense.


April 26th, 2017 at 9:46 AM ^

Clearly you don't remember this year's game... a downtrodded Spartan team went toe to toe with the most talented Michigan team ever, losing by a single score (not couting the returned 2 pt conversion). They're going to upset Michigan in the Big House this year.

-Sparty Nation 

Leaders And Best

April 26th, 2017 at 11:00 AM ^

Back in the '90s, Michigan also only played 11 games, 8 B1G conference games, and had a huge advantage in players until the mid-1990s because the 85-scholarship rule didn't go into full effect until 1994 to 1995. The 85-scholarship rule brought more parity to college football. And the 1990s schedules were not that much better. Most years were ND plus low-level P5 teams like BC. And many of those nonconference games in the 1990s were as much a bodybag game as a game versus Cincinnati, SMU, UCF, or BYU today.


April 26th, 2017 at 4:35 PM ^

and the schedules have become worse thanks to the BCS and now the Playoff which punishes losses far more than it rewards good wins.  Before, the idea that there needed to be one true champ, it was for more important to just win your conference. There was pretty much no penalty for scheduling tough games.  Now there's a big one.  Just ask USC and Oklahoma last year who sat home while Washington played in the playoff.

So yeah, if another game was added, most big programs wouldn't use it as a chance to lose another game.  They'd schedule a home game and take the payday.  Although attendance shifts are pushing back on this trend.


April 26th, 2017 at 9:06 AM ^

Who schedules two p5 non-conference games. Did someone from osu make this schedule. Who ever made and agreed to it are morons. I'm sorry but who in the hell schedules two p5 games. Had to look up who Washington's non-conference games are against those years. Two cupcakes and two community colleges. Portland State ..... really!. Does anyone know who is in charge of the scheduling for those years. Is it the A.D.?. Is it the one we just fired or was it before him, because I looked at this schedule a couple days ago and thought it was just not right. Looking up osu's non-conference schedule for those years next. One p5 school has always been the norm.


April 26th, 2017 at 10:02 AM ^

it's the fact they have 2 p5 games on the non-conference schedule.  It's more the probability that both VaTech and Washington are going to be pretty solid opponents.  

If the p5 teams on the schedule that year were Washington and Iowa St, I don't think they'd be looking to cancel the Washington series.


April 25th, 2017 at 10:44 PM ^

behind the move. Although I did enjoy these regular season games with WA prior to the BCS, it makes little sense to play a possible CFP foe in the first game of the regular season. It's actually dangerous for WA, as well as USC appears to be getting back on track, Stanford always being tough and OR, under Taggert, likely to resemble the Ducks under Kelly. Both conferences are getting stronger and whoever survives the conference(s) race would probably be a lock for the CFP if they have no more than one loss.

With the recruiting PSU, and of even greater importance, MD, under Durkin, getting through the BIG unscathed will be about as difficult as getting through the PAC 12 without a blemish. One thing that is obvious though is as much good as the victory will do the winner in the eyes of the committee the loser, coupled with another in conference play, will be hoping for the best bowl invite possible. Hell, it should be easy for anyone to recall the controversy surrounding putting OSU in the year they stomped Bama due to just one ooc loss, Va Tech in the first game of the season. There was not talk about rewards then for having your freshman qb being tested in the first game of his career. I got the impression it would not have been real difficult to keep the best team in the nation out of the playoff if those that didn't want them in - and there were more than a few - could have pointed out a few more legit reasons. 


April 26th, 2017 at 4:38 PM ^

they get the marquee name on the schedule.  Much more appealing to their fans and recruits to have a game against us than it is for us and our recruits to have them on the schedule. Plus, they don't already have another potentially good top 25ish team on the non-conf schedule like we do in VT.   In 2020 they have Sacramento State (!?!?) and Utah State.  In 2021 they have Montana so far.  That's a joke.  So them wanting to keep this makes all the sense in the world.  Worth the risk for them.

But totally agree that the logic behind this is that you just don't want to schedule two losable non-conf games when you have 9 conf games and the CFP kills you for losses.

Gucci Mane

April 26th, 2017 at 12:34 AM ^

If it was up to me I would set up the OOC schedule like this

1. team around 15-25 in country. Quality reseume builder and likely win (Florida, Texas, Tennesse)

2. team around 50-75. Easy win but still don't get critisized for bad schedule (Vanderbilt, Western Michigan, Oregon State)

3. same as 2

I believe a schedule liek this is the best path to the national championship. Which is the only goal anyone should have for this team. I would also try not to schedule more than 3-4 years in advance in order to prevent a team making a big step forward or backward in that time.

I understand if someone thinks a different route to the playoffs is best, but the idea that we should schedule a bunch of hard games to prove something is dumb. 


Gucci Mane

April 26th, 2017 at 2:18 AM ^

I throughly enjoy going to the stadium and knowing that Michigan will win that day. A game where we win 52-10 and there are positive signs for continued success is beautiful. I do not need another big name to enjoy Michigan football. 

The only motive should be what Jim Harbaugh deems the best path to a national title.

rob f

April 26th, 2017 at 3:16 AM ^

every other year vs. Rutgers, IU, Maryland, and likely MSU, besides one yearly home game vs a non-Power Five tomato can, if you're​ looking for home "guaranteed" wins.

And while there's risk involved in playing a tough non- conference schedule, a potential loss to another top national contender early is a lot more survivable than a November loss to anyone, as far as playoff hopes are concerned. That much has been shown again and again in CFB.

Gucci Mane

April 26th, 2017 at 3:29 AM ^

A 12-1 big ten champ Michigan will get in every time. I would hate to be big ten champs and 11-2 with a loss to a top 10 team because that might keep us out.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a blow out means back ups get playing time which helps for later in the year and the next year. Plus less plays for the starters lowers injury risk.


April 26th, 2017 at 8:24 PM ^

one loss is nothing if we win the big ten, but if you lose that game against UW, you have win out.  You have lost all your margin for error.  Look at OU this year.  They won the B12 but lost two games.  Out.  

If they had only scheduled one tough non-conf opponent instead of two, they would have been in ahead of, ironically, Washington, which actually benefitted from playing a joke of a nonconf schedule.


April 26th, 2017 at 5:46 AM ^

I will gladly watch us beat Bowling Green 63-3 if it means we finish 12-1 rather than 11-2 because that could be the difference between a CFP appearance and a NY6 appearance. Like was said above, I want to win national titles. Not build impossible schedules just so we can puff our chest about how 'good' our 11-2 finish was


April 25th, 2017 at 9:22 PM ^

Gotta say, this is a headscratcher.  Washington should be at least somewhat good as long as Petersen is there and it's a big game between two revitalized traditional powers that sounded great when it was announced.  I can't imagine it's because we're chickening out now that U-Dub is also good.


April 25th, 2017 at 9:23 PM ^

Was actually looking forward to going to Seattle for this one. I love their stadium. Oh well, probably not bad for our record to cancel a game in Seattle, against Chris Peterson, probably at night.


April 25th, 2017 at 9:25 PM ^

Michigan almost certainly is trying to avoid having 11 games in one season against Power 5 schools.  9 against the Big Ten, plus 1 other P5 school, and 2 non-P5 schools seems to be their target.

That's what they are doing this year, and that's what they are headed toward for the next several years.  I don't like it, but I see what they are doing and kind of understand why.

Frank Chuck

April 25th, 2017 at 9:53 PM ^

I liked it better when our OOC schedules in the 70s and 80s were filled with other Power conference teams. Yeah, we played fewer games back then but the match-ups were good.

This is a bad look. You can definitely expect folks to take a few shots at us for trying to cancel this series.

I always liked The U's mantra of "Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime." Twice Miami came up to the Big House to play us in the 80s but we never visited the Orange Bowl. Similarly, Florida State came to Ann Arbor twice but we've never played in Doak Campbell.

Random fact: Jim Harbaugh's first game as Michigan's starter was against #1 Miami in the Big House. We won because Bernie Kosar was a turnover machine that day.

Ghost of Fritz…

April 25th, 2017 at 9:59 PM ^

back then an early non-conference loss did not matter much.  It was all about winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl.

Does not work that way anymore.  It is now about making the playoff. 

Risking an early loss three times zones away in a night game in Seattle does not make sense when the schedule will be hard enough anyway, 

Frank Chuck

April 26th, 2017 at 12:28 AM ^

... a team was in contention for a National Championship late in the season.

Schembechler's lack of unrelenting interest in the National Championship bothered me tremendously. (And it still bothers me because it set a bad precedent.)

And yes, I realize that playing revitalized Washington in Husky Stadium as the season-opener of a loaded schedule stacks the deck against us (re: puts us at a competitve disadvantage relative to other contenders).


April 26th, 2017 at 1:29 AM ^

Don't see the glory in making the playoff if it's some cheap path like Bama facing 3 cupcakes + Vandy

I'm assuming that year we'll have 2 cupcakes + Rutgers + Indiana so it's damn pathetic

This is also about $ i'm sure. More home games = more PSL, even though people should be willing to pay a lot more for a top 5 matchup than two blowouts against directionals