Michigan softball released their schedule for the 2018 season today, and it looks like a favorable one in some ways, although perhaps a bit disappointing for the home fans in terms of big match-ups.
The non-conference schedule will be highlighted by an opening-weekend match-up with recent nemesis & perennial powerhouse Florida, followed by a trip to Tallahassee for 2 games apiece against Notre Dame & Florida State. After that, Michigan will take on some middle of the road teams in Virginia Tech & Texas before heading West for their annual trip to the Judi Garman Classic, where they'll see Baylor & UL Lafayette. As an aside, ULL just fired their highly-successful coach a couple weeks ago for intimidation, vulgarity, and verbal & physical assault directed at players. After that, Michigan should cruise through the back end of non-conference play, with no more marquee opponents slated.
The Big Ten schedule, meanwhile, shapes up either very favorably or very poorly, depending on your priorities. If it's another Big Ten crown you want, Michigan is in a good spot. They'll play the bottom 6 teams from last year's conference standings, and 7 of the bottom 8. If you were hoping for some big-time opponents at Alumni Field, though, you'll have to hope that Michigan hosts a regional/super-regional this year. A 3 game home-stand against Ohio State to close out the conference season is the only look Michigan will get at a Big Ten team that made the NCAA tournament.
Overall, I'm fairly pleased with this schedule. The non-conference isn't the total murderer's row it sometimes is, which might be good as Michigan looks to get some younger players to step up & become regular contributors. There are still enough marquee games in the non-conference, though, that this team won't be totally un-tested come tournament time. And while I never like sailing through the Big Ten unchallenged, as it doesn't prepare the team well for NCAAs, I am very eager to start a new Big Ten title streak, so hopefully the softer conference slate will set us up well for that.
Full schedule: http://mgoblue.com/schedule.aspx?path=softball&schedule=479