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11/07/2012 - 11:29am Some things to keep in mind . . .

Michigan's current schedule rotation has UM playing Nebraska and Ohio State both at home during the odd number years and on the road in the even numbered years.

The scheduling agreement with Arkansas will even out the relative schedule strength because that game will be in Ann Arbor in 2018 when the UN-L and OSU games are on the road.  UM then plays in Fayetteville in 2019 when the Nebraska and Ohio State games being played at Michigan Stadium.

Keep that aspect of this in mind when you're critiquing the decision Brandon made for this home-and-home contest beause evening up the strength of schedule between home and road sites was a problem Michigan had dealing with Notre Dame.  Arkansas may have been the best option available and since their AD Jeff Long has ties to Michigan, he may also have been the best person to deal with on getting a ND replacement.

Also of interest is that the two games with Arkansas will be season openers played on Saturdays -- 1 September 2018 in Ann Arbor and 31 August 2019 in Fayetteville.  See…   

Given the stature of the two programs, that game will probably be one that is highlighted in the preseason and might also be one that is moved to a prime time viewing slot--"Under the Lights with the Arkansas Razorbacks" could be the 2018 season opener.

Assuming the scheduling rotation holds, the 2018 season will mean Michigan has home games with Arkansas, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa and road games at Minnesota, at Nebraska and at Ohio State (and vice versa in 2019).  Michigan plays Wisconsin and Illinois in the 2015/6 rotation, so it's likely we'll see some sort of combination of Penn State, Purdue and Indiana in the 2017/8 seasons.


09/14/2012 - 9:51pm In reply . . .

As you noted in your #1, the ACC is assigning the opponents to Notre Dame per this agreement.  How the conference will actually do this is to be determined, but we can be fairly certain that each of the soon to be 14 teams in the ACC will play ND at least twice in a six year period.

I saw twice in a six year period because I don't know if ND will play a series of home-and-home games one year after the next or there will be a two-year break in games.  For example, let's say ND played Maryland in South Bend in 2014.  Would ND then play at Maryland in 2015 (the year after) or 2017?  I imagine the former is more likely, but until details shake out, that could be a possibility.

You are correct on #2--that game in Dublin was technically a Navy home game.  Notre Dame currently plays the USNA and USC on the road and Stanford at home in even numbered years.  We'll see what happens with regard to scheduling the ACC games to see if ND will play two or three of them on the road in even numbered years.

If its's the former, then the five ACC games plus Navy, USC and Stanford will be four home/four road during the even numbered seasons.  If it's the latter then those games will be three home/five road, which means ND would be looking for four home opponents those even numbered years in order to get seven home games.

Quick Note:  ND doesn't play seven home games in South Bend until 2015 because they have neutral site home games with Arizona State (2013 in Dallas) and Syrause (2014 in Meadowlands).  

It's been awhile since Notre Dame has played a big time SEC team, which is exactly why it might be a move they would want to make (not to mention that that part of the country has the highest college football television ratings).  The last home-and-home with a major SEC team in the regular season was Tennessee in 2004/5.  ND played the Vols in 1999 and 2001 as well.  

Which SEC teams would be likely to play Notre Dame in the future?  Assuming the SEC goes to nine conference games, I would remove Florida, Georgia and South Carolina because of their annual interstate rivalry games with FSU, Georgia Tech and Clemson.  I also don't think the two MIssissippi school or Vanderbilt or Kentucky would be desirable to ND.  That leaves seven other teams that could be real possibilities--Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M and Missouri.  

Now why would ND want to play a SEC team?  Since strength of schedule is going to be a component of some measure for the national championship and since ND doesn't have a conference championship game, you could make the case for them wanting to strengthen the schedule.  Here's what the future ACC (full members) will look like on a north-south axis--ND will play four of them per year:

Boston College





Virginia Tech

North Carolina

North Carolina State


Wake Forest


Georgia Tech

Florida State


I assume ND will have one and maybe two marquee matchups from their ACC games per year.  USC will be a second one.  Depending on what happens with the Big Ten, Michigan would be the third.  If ND wants to get a fourth major matchup on its schedule, it may need to reach out to the SEC to get it.  Notre Dame already has a two game series with Oklahoma and a four-game series with Texas in place for the future (although they're playing OU this year and 2013), so they may not have to go the SEC route right away.  But I could see it as a possibility.

I don't really see how you could say the Michigan-Alabama game from this year and the UM-ND UTL game from last year were in the vacuum you mention.  Both were highly publicized, heavily marketed games played on prime time on a Saturday night.  One was on ABC, the other on ESPN.  I would also add that this year's game was between two Top 10 teams, although it was clear pretty soon that UM wasn't Alabama's calibre (what's interesting about that game that despite being a blow out, it still had the 4.8 rating).

My larger point is this--there are other teams in the world of college football that Michigan can pair up with and get comparable ratings as would a game with Notre Dame.  It may not be a huge list, but it'd certainly include Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12, USC and Oregon from the Pac 12, a number of SEC teams (Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn) and probably Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami-FL from the ACC.

If you paired those teams up with Michigan on a Saturday night game in early September, I imagine you'd get the same 4.5 to 4.8 rating that we wrote about above.  

Now this is not to say that Michigan should run to the exits and drop Notre Dame unilaterally.  I think what the two schools will work out is some sort of setup where UM and ND play two years on and perhaps two or four years off.  What will be very important for David Brandon to do is to secure a major name to replace those teams.

I actually don't expect him to do this overnight.  He will ceratinly have been looking at who to play in 2018/9 when ND was supposed to fall off the schedule even before they joined the ACC, so that might provide us some clue as to what sort of major opponent he'll be able to get as a ND replacement (FWIW, Georgia has a hole in its schedule for those years, but they also play Ga Tech and who knows if the SEC will be playing nine conference games by then).  Where Brandon will be able to set a new course for Michigan on the scheduling front might actually be the next decade after the scheduled two-year hiatus ends with ND.  Brandon has said he'd like to continue the series (and having ND as a regular on the schedule makes his life easier), but this ball may be in Swarbrick's court right now.




09/14/2012 - 4:39pm On Notre Dame's schedule . . . .

Notre Dame will be playing five ACC games per year as assigned by the conference probably as early as 2014.  In Year A, three of those games will be in South Bend and two on the road. In the follow year, that flips with two games at Notre Dame Stadium and three on the road.

Couple that with the two games against California-based teams and Navy and you essentiallly have four home games and four away games already in place on the schedule.

Seeing that ND is planning on keeping its television deal with NBC, that means Notre Dame will be compelled to play seven home games per year in South Bend.  A neutral site game may be substituted for one of the home games (such as ND's season opener with Navy in Dublin, Ireland--although that game was on CBS), but it will likely stay at least seven.

That means among the four remaining games ND has to schedule each season, three will have to be home and one on the road.  That translates into two home-and-home series plus two buy-in games per year being the new normal.

If Notre Dame wants to play major teams outside the Big Ten in the month of September (from the SEC or Big XII, for example), that means they could very well be down to one Big Ten team on the schedule each year.  The new normal could be this:

Navy, USC, Stanford (Three total)

Five ACC teams (alternating between three and two home games per year)

One Big Ten team (home-and-home)

One SEC or Big XII team (home-and-home)

Two buy-in teams from MWC, Big East, C-USA, MAC

We'll see what happens between David Brandon and Jack Swarbrick, but one of the possibilities thay may also happen is for Michigan to play ND two years out of every six with Michigan State, Purdue or perhaps some other Big Ten team in the rotation.

Michigan and Notre Dame have a four-year rolling agreement that allows either party to cancel or modify the series.  If ND were to notify UM this year, then the Irish would fall off Michigan's schedule starting in 2017.  There is a break scheduled for the series in 2018/9.

Michigan fans also need to be mindful of the scheduling inbalance that is in place now and will go through at least 2016.  Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State are either all home games (in odd numbered years) or road games (in even numbered years) for the next five seasons.  Wisconsin joins that same rotation in 2015/6, so the schedule becomes even more unbalanced.

Now unless Notre Dame opts to change the years it plays Michigan at home or on the road or the Big Ten changes the conference schedule starting in 2017, this is going to continue to be a problem for UM.

One other note to consider is recent television ratings.  The opening game this season between Michigan and Alabama had a 4.8 rating on ABC.  Last season's Under the Lights Game on ESPN with Notre Dame scored a 4.5.

Now this isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it certainly goes to show that there are teams other than Notre Dame in the college football world that have as much brand value in terms of ratings vis-a-vis Michigan in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

David Brandon does have options plus an exceptionally strong brand here that the author of the article seems to underestimate.  He's mentioned that we'll be finding out shortly about some more games in the future, but obviously, he has to deal with the shakeout from the ND to the ACC deal. At the minimum, he will have an opportunity to put a quality opponent on the schedule for 2018/9 to replace ND.  While he may not have been able to get Oklahoma, let's see what he does do in the end.  









03/12/2012 - 9:08pm I was a freshman in 1978 . . .

I was a freshman at Michigan in 1978, and yes, the football pants were two-toned.  The front of the pant was brighter and the rear was a pale maize color.  It was pretty distinct and you could see the two different types of material along the seams on the side of the pant.

03/12/2012 - 9:00pm I live the numbers and the gray facemasks . . .

I think the numbers on the helmets with the gray facemasks are fine.  When Michigan had the numerals on the helmets in the mid-60s, the away uniforms had a block M on the shoulders rather than a number.  In that sense, having the numbers on the helmet with those particular jerseys made sense.  See the picture of Mel Anthony at:

02/29/2012 - 6:20pm Top Five Conference Champions plus Three At Large Teams . .

I'd recommend an eight-team playoff with the top five conference champions plus three at large teams.  If a conference champion isn't in the top 12 of the rating system utilized, it would get dropped and replaced by additional at large team.

The quarter- and semi-final games get played at the higher rated teams's home stadiums.  The final game is at a neutral site. 

This system works well because:

1.  It puts a very high value on the regular season PLUS the conference championship games.  CCGs not only help in post-game seeding, but it may eliminate teams from the playoffs.

2.  This system is inclusive enough so that most of the arguments about teams that should be in the playoff are minimized

3.  It leaves enough quality games available to play in the major bowl games (Rose, Sugar, etc.).

4.  It would increase fan interest in the same sense that the baseball wildcard lifted attention to the sport not only among the fans, but also later into the season for more teams.

The next question is seeding.  Do the conference champions get the highest seeds with the at large teams filling in the 6 thru 8 seeds?  Or do you put together another formula with the top three or four conference champions being the 1 thru 3 or 1 thru 4 seeds with the remaining conference champion(s) and at large teams filling in the remaining spots.

If we did this last year and gave the top four conference champions the highest seeds, then ACC champion Clemson would have been eliminated and Arkansas would have been the fourth at large team.  The playoff would have been as follows:

#8 Boise State at #1 LSU

#5 Alabama at #4 Wisconsin

#7 Arkansas at #2 Oklahoma State

#6 Stanford at #3 Oregon

If they opted to seed the top three conferences 1 thru 3 with the remaining teams being placed accordingly, then we would have seen the following:

#8 Wisconsin at #1 LSU

#5 Stanford at #4 Alabama

#7 Boise State at #2 Oklahoma State

#6 Arkansas at #3 Oregon

If they opted to have the top three conferences among the 1 thru 4 seeds, then it'd go like this:

#8 Wisconsin at #1 LSU

#5 Stanford at #4 Oregon

#7 Boise State at #2 Alabama

#6 Arkansas at #3 Oklahoma State 

Having three conference champions seeded among the top 4 teams ensures that at least one at large team with an exceptional record that didn't win a conference championship gets to host an opening game in the playoff. 

At large teams have to be included in the playoff because of the two major independents--Notre Dame and Brigham Young.  It also allows outstanding teams from the less highly rated conferences, i.e., Big East and C-USA/MWC, an opportunity to get into the playoff.

Teams that wouldn't have been in the playoff but would be available for the major bowls includes South Carolina, Kansas State, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia, Baylor, Clemson and West Virginia.  If USC was bowl eligible and has lost the Pac 12 championship game, they would have also been included in that list (if they had won, then Oregon would have been in this pool of teams).


10/24/2011 - 1:18pm Interesting times at Notre Dame . . . .

The Notre Dame-Air Force game had the lowest television ratings every for a ND broadcast on NBC.  With the loss to USC plus a less than exciting schedule for the rest of the season (Navy, at Wake Forest, Maryland in Washington DC, Boston College, at Stanford), you can imagine the television executives at NBC and ABC/ESPN are less than excited with Notre Dame (4-3) as a draw on television for the rest of the season.

The bigger picture surrounds conference realignment.  With Missouri looking more and more likely to be SEC bound and with the Big XII apparently preferring to add West Virginia as their tenth team (with BYU, Louisville and Cincinnati as possibilities), then the Big East's position as a standalone football conference is looking more perilous--and that includes maintaining its BCS status.  Notre Dame may have some major decisions to make here and the future of Brian Kelly might be a bit down the priority list.

10/20/2011 - 10:28am Purdue's center does the same thing--and so does the NE Patriots

I watched the Penn State-Purdue game yesterday and watched the Boilermaker center on the shotgun snaps.

Purdue did the same thing that Michigan did against MSU. The PU center would put his head down, bring it back up, then one one count he'd snap the football.

He did this for every shotgun snap that Purdue had in the game against PSU, with one minor exception. Late in the second half (under a minute), he put his head down, brought it up, then put his head down a second time. After he brought his head up again, it was one second, then snap the ball.

PSU really didn't take advantage of the tip off until Purdue's last two offensive series of the game. Even then, they didn't blitz the A-gap--PSU brought its blitzes from the outside.

Penn State actually did a better job anticipating the snap when Purdue was in the I-formation. I counted three occasions where a PSU DT was able to beat a Purdue guard off the snap because he anticipated it correctly.

I couldn't find a highlight video of the game to support this, but if you have time to look at a BTN rebroadcast, you'll see the same thing.

I also decided to look at what the pros do, so I took a look at the offensive highlights from the season opening Patriots-Dolphins game. Here's the Pats' first half offensive series:

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You'll notice that the Patriots center also bobs his head and snaps the football immediately after it comes up again on most every play after Brady raises and lowers his foot.  Perhaps this really doesn't matter for a team like the Pats because they're so well coached and because Brady can make a team pay if they do blitz up the middle--something Michigan evidentally couldn't do against MSU last Saturday. 

In contrast, when you look at the Dolphins center (see highlights below--the audio and video don't synch up), there's no head bob--he snaps the ball based on the Henne's count.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>




10/05/2011 - 11:50am Brandon has publicly said . . .

Brandon has publicly said that having Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State all at home or all away on the football schedule is unacceptable.  That means one of two things will have to happen--the Big Ten's future conference schedules will have to split the locations of the UN-L and OSU games or the Notre Dame series will have to be altered or cancelled.

On the former, the 2013/4 conference schedules have already been published, so that's not going to happen until at least 2015.  Also keep in mind that the Big Ten will be going to nine conference games starting 2017 (provided there isn't a change in thinking with conference expansion, etc.), so we might see that split taking place even further down the line.

IRT Notre Dame, as one other poster wrote, ND doesn't want to change things because the Irish want to split the locations of the UM and USC games.  If the Big Ten doesn't change the conference schedule and ND is unwilling to alter theirs, then Brandon will be put in a position where he'll have to change things.  UM and ND have to give one another notice four years in advance to cancel or alter the current scheduling agreement, so the earliest that could possibly happen might be 2016 (unless notice has already been given and we don't know about it yet).

When the nine-conference game schedule goes into effect, expect to see Michigan topped off at seven home games per year.  There'll be alternating seasons of two and three non-conference games paired with five and four B1G games.  What that probably means is Michigan will play Wisconsin and Penn State on a more regular basis (probably swapping out every two years) with Illinois, Indiana and Purdue rotating in as well.

That arrangement should make for a better overall slate of home games for Michigan.  Assuming Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State stay on their current scedule rotation and Nebraska is flipped by 2017, the schedule could look at something like this:




9/23: at Minnesota (Leaders)

9/30:  NORTWESTERN (Leaders)

10/7: at Michigan State (Leaders)

10/14:  BYE WEEK

10/21:  IOWA (Leaders)

10/28:  at Penn State (Legends)

11/4:  ILLINOIS (Legends)

11/11:  at Nebraska (Leaders)

11/18:  at Purdue (Legends)

11/25:  OHIO STATE (Legends)

Within conference play, that's four home games with two in the Leaders Division (Northwestern, Iowa) and two from the Legends Division (protected rival Ohio State and Illinois).  The five road B1G games are Minesota, Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska and Purdue.  Indiana and Wisconsin aren't on the schedule. 

One last note on the ticket pricing and the extra stadium seating Brandon has discussed for the south end zone.  While we understand that the plan is to put the visiting teams fans is those higher seats, it also gives Michigan an opportunity to set aside a "family friendly" section of the stadium were seats can be purchased for a lower price.  Part of any good marketing strategy is broadening the base and getting more families on stricter budgets with youngsters in tow may be an action he might undertake. 








09/30/2011 - 11:28pm I was at the SDSU game last Saturday . . .

I was at the SDSU game last Saturday and last year, I attended the Bowling Green game.  A couple of observations:

1.  The volume and sound quality of the new speakers in the videoboards compared to last year is night and day.  Not only was it louder, it was also much clearer to my 50-year old ears.

2.  In terms of building up noise during the game, I actually thought the MMB percussion section was more effective than the rawk music.  If you were on the opposing team, that drumming has to be way more annoying than Seven Nation Army.

3.  I was seated in the section next to the students and was very impressed with their responses to the rawk music, including "In the Big House".  Now I'm not normally someone who likes this stuff, but it was obvious to me that they were really feeding off of this.

4.  This isn't high art we're talking about here--it's music that's used to pump up a stadium crowd.  If you're expecting a rock opera or the equivalent of the Beatles white album in terms of originality, then you're likely to be disappointed.

5.  For the venue that it's designed for, "In the Big House" does exactly what it's designed to do--no more and no less.  The MMB certainly contributed its fair share to the overall entertainment in the stadium, and as I mentioned in (2) above, that incessant drumming was noisier than hell.  Based on what I observed last Saturday, I think they have roughly the right balance between the band and the rawk music.

6.  The tune and the video is growing on me--I have to admit it.  Goodness knows it's way, way better than that "We are Notre Dame" song/video.

7.  All the marketing things (video introductions, etc.) that go into the game day experience are fine, but in the end, what gets the crowd really fired up is what happens on the field.  There was a great buzz in the stands thru much of the first half, but it got sucked right out of the crowd with the poor play in the third quarter and kind of picked up again in the fourth.  You can bring in all the rawk music and parachutists and fireworks you want, but it all falls short if the team doesn't win or isn't playing well. 

04/14/2011 - 4:50pm Michigan-Notre Dame series taking a break in 2018/19

From ESPN's Big Ten blog concerning the upcoming home-and-home series between Northwestern and Notre Dame:

Notre Dame still will face three Big Ten teams in both 2014 and 2018. The Irish take a break with Michigan State in 2014-15 and take a break with Michigan in 2018-19. They will face Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue in 2014 and Michigan State, Purdue and Northwestern in 2018.

Go to

David Brandon has an opportunity here to get a really good opponent to replace Notre Dame during those years.  If he wants to increase Michigan's recruiting exposure in the southeast and Texas, then there's a number of teams he could contact to play in a home-and-home series from the ACC, SEC and Big XII. 

On a related note, Notre Dame's current schedule for the 2015/6 series had them opening the season with Texas followed by Michigan.  That's not strategically smart scheduling for ND if they want to entertain any realistic chance of getting into the BCS championship game or a BCS bowl.  I'll be curious to see if there's not another hiatus in the Michigan-Notre Dame football series in that timeframe.

04/14/2011 - 2:51pm I understand that the Big 10 is already renegotiating

I don't have the link, but the Sports Business Journal had a blurb some months back that the Big Ten was renegotiating its contract with ABC/ESPN due to the addition of Nebraska and not waiting for the 2015/6 timeframe.  Obviously, all this ties into other issues, including the decision to be made on whether or not the Big Ten goes forward with a nine-game conference schedule.

We'll see how this finally shakes out, but per the Michigan Athletic Department's FY 2011 budget published last June, the university was expecting over $22M in conference distributions.  Those distributions include revenue from teleivsion for football and men's basketball, net bowl game revenue, the NCAA men's basketball tournament and other sources.

The FY 2012 projections should be out in around two months, and that number should include revenue for the conference championship game with should bump up that $22M figure by at least $1M.  Also keep in mind that the ABC/ESPN contract signed back in 2006 has an accelerator clause, so it pays more each year as the contract progresses.  Add in whatever the Big Ten Network pays and no one should be surprised to see the conference distributions at least be in the vicinity of $25M.  Of course, that number could well be changed if any contract renegotiation is completed and put in place later this calendar year.

03/15/2011 - 2:58pm I'm behind a relatively simple eight-team playoff

I think the only way you can get the conferences to sign off on this is if the conference champions from the Big Six get autobids.  I would add one caveat to this--in order to get into the playoff, that conference champion must be in the Top 20 of the BCS standings or whatever evaluation standard is used to rank the programs and to select the two at-large teams.  In the case of last season, that would mean Connecticut wouldn't get into the playoff and that there'd be a third at-large team into the postseason setup.

I'd have all the playoff games at the home stadium of the highest ranked team with the final game at the Rose Bowl (I mean the stadium, not the Rose Bowl game).  Teams not in the playoffs would be available for the existing bowl games. 

Using the BCS rankings from last year (, here's how the playoff first round would look like:

#8 Virginia Tech (ACC Champion) at #1 Auburn (SEC Champion)

#5 Wisconsin (Big Ten Champion) at #4 Stanford (Pac 10 At Large)

#7 Oklahoma (Big XII Champion) at #2 Oregon (Pac 10 Champion)

#6 Ohio State (Big Ten At Large) at #3 Texas Christian (MWC Champion - At Large)

The first round is played in mid-December.  Using last year's calendar, the four games of the first round would be 11 December with the second and third rounds on the 18th and 25th (yes, there would be CFB on Xmas Day).  Bowl games get played during the usual time frame (perhaps 1 January could become a big bowl game day again) with the national championship game on 8 January.

Here's a list of teams from last year that could fill in the four major bowls (currently in the BCS):  Arkansas, Michigan State, Boise State, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Alabama.  Hypothetically, those major bowls could look like this (with actual bowl matchup from last year in brackens):

Rose - Michigan State v. Boise State (Wisconsin-TCU)

Sugar - Arkansas v. Oklahoma State (Arkansas-OSU)

Fiesta - LSU v. Missouri (Oklahoma-UConn)

Orange - West Virginia or Connecticut v. Alabama (Stanford-Va Tech)

With four of the Big Six Conferences now having conference championship games, you can pretty much rest assured that those contests will have even higher stakes to them because they're usually the difference between being in the playoff or going to a bowl game.  Teams will have motivation in place to play hard throughout the season because the higher seeded teams get the home field advantage in the playoff in each of the rounds prior to the final game. 

If the Big Six Conference all go to 12-team configurations in the future, then this system will be somewhat more uniform.  That's not to say that some conferences won't be stronger than others, but it would mean they'd all get through essentially the same process to get into the playoff, i.e., win conference championship game.

Programs outside the Big Six Conferences and the independents (ND, BYU, USNA, USMA) would get in solely as an at large team.  That'd give a program like Boise State a chance to participate in the playoffs if it went undefeated (like TCU would be in the playoff last season with its perfect record).    

02/22/2011 - 3:36pm Geographic Distribution of Offers

Here's the 71 offers by state with the numbers by position in parens.  This  includes the 67 names listed in the table plus the four listed by DG Destroys. 

Ohio - 16 (QB, RB, WR, TE, 3 OL, 6 DE, DT, LB, S)

Michigan - 9 (WR, 2 TE, DE, 2 DT, 2 LB, CB)

Florida - 8 (QB, RB, 2 WR, TE, 2 OL, S)

California - 7 (3 WR, TE, 2 OL, 1 OL/DL)

Illinois - 4 (2 OL, 2 DT)

N. Carolina - 4 (RB, WR, 2 OL)

New Jersey - 3 (WR, 2 S)

Washington - 3 (QB, 2 OL)

Texas - 2 (2 LB)

Maryland - 2 (2 WR) 

Arizona -  2 (QB, OL)

Indiana -  2 (QB, DT)

Massachusetts - 2 (LB, CB)

Kentucky - 1 (QB)

Missouri - 1 (WR)

Pennsylvania - 1 (LB)

Colorado - 1 (OL)

Georgia - 1 (DE)

District of Columbia - 1 (DT)

Wisconsin - 1 (LB)

Using the four additional names, here's the position breakdown for the 71 offers:

  • 6 QBs
  • 3 RBs
  • 12 WRs
  • 5 TEs
  • 15 OL
  • 1 OL/DL
  • 8 DEs
  • 7 DTs
  • 8 LBs
  • 2 CBs
  • 4 Ss 

It's  interesting to note that there are no offers to offensive linemen in the state of Michigan, despite it being the state with the second largest number of offers.

It's also intriguing to note that the states number 3 and 4 on the list are Florida and California.  The latter makes sense given the ties Hoke and  his staff had while they were at San Diego State (the same probably applies to the youngsters from Arizona and Washington state).  Florida is filled with so much talent that it makes sense for U-M to make offers down there (although during Rodiguez's era, the newspapers would say he wasn't paying to attention to recruiting the state of Michigan).

Pennsylvania used to provide Michigan with a number of recruits, but there's only one to date on the list.  That said, there are offers out to players from a number of states on the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Georgia. 

Here's how I see the recruiting numbers by region:

Midwest (Big Ten footprint, including PA):  33 (46.4%)

Southeast (incl Florida):  14 (19.7%)

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic (not including PA):  8 (11.3%)

West Coast (incl CA, AZ, WA): 12 (17.0%)

Plains (incl TX):  4 (5.6%)

Although Coach Hoke has talked about concentrating recruitng in the Midwest, the numbers show he's looking beyond the surrounding Big Ten area to find players--over 53% are from areas outside that area.   It'll be interesting to see how those percentages hold up once LOI signing day comes round next year. 




12/20/2010 - 12:02am I disagree with you on this one . . .

With the BCS in place, the vast majority of teams that have played in the national championship game had either zero or one loss.  By playing two major non-conference opponents in any one season, you greatly reduce the likelihood of that happening.  Any college football fan with just a cursory look at Michigan's 2012 schedule opening with Alabama and with road games against Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State would think the same thing.

This all may be a moot point in five years anyway.  If the Big Ten does go to a nine-game conference schedule by 2015 and the BCS is still in place, then playing two major non-conference opponents makes even less sense.  With Ohio State being a protected opponent from the Leaders Division, that means three other teams from that division (Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois) will be playing Michigan--and one of them is likely to be PSU or UW.  Making two of the three non-conference opponent major programs in that instance isn't strategically smart scheduling.

If Georgia does appear on Michigan's schedule, it will be in the years when the Michigan-Notre Dame game is on hiatus.  David Brandon has hinted this will happen in due course like it's happened in the past (most recently in the 2000 and 2001 seasons).  My own opinion is that Michigan should play its annual home-and-home non-conference series with a variety of opponents from the SEC, ACC, and Big XII.  There are nearly a dozen teams that I can think of, including Miami-FL, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Texas and Oklahoma.  I'd add Notre Dame in the mix, but no more than two years out of every six or eight.

One more thing about the nine-game conference schedule is that with the different number of home/away conference games, Michigan will have to have two and three non-conference home games in alternating years in order to assure that UM has at least seven home games per year.  If the Wolverines were to play two major non-conference opponents, that would not happen--there'd be alternating years of six and seven home games.  Simply put, there's no way that's going to happen with the recent renovations to the stadium in place.  There'll have to be seven home games miniimum each year to justify the costs for the suites, PSLs, etc.

The history of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry also indicates that each program can thrive quite well without the other in terms of active scheduling (I think we all know the two schools only played one another twice between 1910 and 1978).  I'm sure the same would happen going forward as well. 

Even if the Big Ten were to maintain its eight game conference schedule, it still doesn't change the basic fact that schedules need to be strategically "smart".  There's no real payoff to Michigan to play Notre Dame and another major non-conference program in that scenario either.  And don't forget that if Michigan were to win the Legends Division, the Wolverines would have to play the Leader Division winner for the conference title.  That would be a 13th game on the schedule that you have to account for going forward.