Thursday, June 28, 2012

Breaking Down 2013/2014/2015/2016 Schedule

Future Michigan schedules have been released for the next several years to come, and it is now time to take a look at those schedules up through 2016. There are a lot of intiguing matchups outside of conference play that will be exciting to break down.

We are now getting first looks at non-conference games after 2013, and there are some very intriguing matchups set up for the next several years.


2013

         DATE                           OPPONENT                                              LOCATION
Aug. 31
Central Michigan
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 7
Notre Dame
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 14
Akron
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 21
@ Connecticut
East Hartford, CONNECTICUT
Oct. 5
Minnesota*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Oct.12
 @ Penn State
University Park, PENNSYLVANIA
Oct. 19
Indiana
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 2
@ Michigan State*
East Lansing, MICHIGAN
Nov. 9
Nebraska*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 16
@ Northwestern*
Evanston, ILLINOIS
Nov. 23
@ Iowa*
Iowa City, IOWA
Nov. 30
Ohio State
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN

 * indicates Legends Divion games
After a brutal non-conference schedule in 2012, Michigan goes back to the traditional style of one true test with Notre Dame, adding a road game against a quality Big East opponent in Connecticut. The bye week has been placed in between the final non-conference game against UCONN and the first Big Ten matchup against Minnesota. Although I think a lot of fans would prefer to see the break in the middle of Big Ten play, this isn't bad placement either. It gives an extra week to head into the Big Ten schedule as prepared as possible.
Conference play opens up at home against Minnesota, who is expected to be a much more worthy opponent by 2013. The first three conference games are all very winnable, but things really kick up after that.
A trip to Michigan State, followed by a home game against Nebraska, will probably prove to be the toughest back-to-back games of the season. Both are divional games, and it would be seemingly impossible to lose both and still be in the mix for a Big Ten Championship berth. It will be crucial to pick up at least one of those games.
The 2013 season wraps up with back-to-back trips to Northwestern and Iowa, before "The Game" against Ohio State at the Big House. Going on the road to play Northwestern is one of those games that will probably be easy to look over on the schedule. By that time, hype is being built up around an anticipated game with Ohio State, and the Wildcats could catch the Wolverines off guard.

 2014

              
        DATE                                 OPPONENT                                                LOCATION

Aug. 30
Appalachian State
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 6
@ Notre Dame
South Bend, INDIANA
Sept. 13
Miami (OH)
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 20
Utah
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 27
@ Indiana
Bloomington, INDIANA
Oct. 11
Michigan State*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Oct. 18
@ Minnesota*
Minneapolis, MINNESOTA
Oct. 25
Penn State
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 1
Iowa*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 8
@ Nebraska*
Lincoln, NEBRASKA
Nov. 22
Northwestern*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 29
@ Ohio State
Columbus, OHIO

* indicates Legends Division games
I'm sure the first thing that caught your eye was not the fact that November 29 is a trip to Columbus or that this isn't even a full, complete schedule. The first thing you probably saw was an August 30 matchup against Appalachian State. Obviously, we don't need to go into detail as to why this game stands out.
The best part about this 2014 schedule is getting Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa all at home. It's always hard to go play a team like Penn State on the road. Even when they aren't at their best, the atmosphere of Happy Valley is electric enough to alter a game. Having the advantage on the field and being at home is huge for these kinds of games.
The toughest part of this schedule is going on the road to play Nebraska and Ohio State. Both games are late in the season, so there is a lot of room to mix up standing, rankings, etc. in those final weeks. It will be nice to have Northwestern at home in between those two, but just as in 2013, I fear the Wolverines could possibly look over that game and find themselves in some trouble.

2015

 

        DATE                                   OPPONENT                                              LOCATION
Aug. 30
@ Utah
Salt Lake City, UTAH
Sept. 6
Notre Dame
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 13
Oregon State
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 20
UNLV
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 27
@ Michigan State*
East Lansing, MICHIGAN
Oct. 11
Wisconsin
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Oct. 18
Minnesota*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Oct. 25
@ Illinois
Champaign, ILLINOIS
Nov. 1
Nebraska*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 8
@ Northwestern*
Evanston, ILLINOIS
Nov. 22
@ Iowa*
Iowa City, IOWA
Nov. 29
Ohio State
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN

* indicates Legends Division games
The first thing that popped out to me was that the Wolverines don't have to leave the state of Michigan through a six-week span, starting early in the season. That will be huge for a couple of reasons: easy travel and fans. Michigan's fan base travels well, but it will be nice to stay in the state for that long.

The next thing I notice is two games away at Northwestern and Iowa before heading home for the finale against Ohio State. Both away games are very dangerous for any team. Plus, both are divisional games, which could have a huge impact on who represents the Legends division in the Big Ten Championship game.

2016

         DATE                                 OPPONENT                                            LOCATION
Sept. 10
@ Notre Dame
South Bend, INDIANA
Oct. 1
Michigan State*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Oct. 8
@ Minnesota*
Minneapolis, MINNESOTA
Sept. 15
Northwestern*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Sept. 29
@ Wisconsin
Madison, WISCONSIN
Nov. 5
Illinois
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 12
@ Nebraska*
Lincoln, NEBRASKA
Nov. 19
Iowa*
Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN
Nov. 26
@ Ohio State
Columbus, OHIO
* indicates Legends Division games
NOTE: There are still open dates for 2016 on Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Sept. 24, and Oct. 22.
Obviously, the only non-conference game slated so far is a trip to Notre Dame. Michigan has a chance to put two games in front of that and one in between that and the conference opener against Michigan State.
Once conference play hits, the Wolverines don't find themselves on the road or at home two games in a row, which can be viewed as a positive or a negative.

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