Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Michigan Football Schedules Arkansas, BYU & Hawaii

It's November, and it's Election Day, but there's still interesting news that has come out of Ann Arbor. Now we all know that Notre Dame has elected to drop Michigan from their schedule starting in 2015. What Michigan has done now, and for a couple other schools, is quite head scratching, and here's what is going on:

1. Michigan has added BYU to the 2015 schedule. Before anyone asks, yes it is a home game. It's not a home-and-home series, but Michigan doesn't have to worry about traveling west to Utah. These two schools have only played each other one time in the past... BYU won in the 1984 Holiday Bowl on their way to an undefeated season and the national championship. Now, I'm ok with this setup. BYU is not the national media darling that Notre Dame is, but they aren't slouches either.

2. Michigan will play Arkansas in a few years. Michigan announced more of its post-Notre Dame plans on Tuesday, with three home games for 2016 and a home-and-home series with Arkansas of the SEC in 2018 and 2019. Michigan and Arkansas have met only once, in the CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 1998. Michigan  won 45-31. Here's what I don't like about this prospect--I don't care for Arkansas as a top quality non-conference school to play against. Take out the seasons that Bobby Petrino has coached there, and Arkansas is the equivalent of Illinois in the SEC. I want tougher competition...and I don't mean Alabama every season. I have no idea what Michigan will look like come 2018, and that's the season the Razorbacks come to Ann Arbor. It just seems like they could do better.

3. Other schools on slate for 2016. In 2016, Michigan adds Hawaii, Ball State and Miami (Ohio) to its previously scheduled game against Colorado. All four will be played in Ann Arbor. I'm intrigued by the Hawaii situation and that's just a matter of playing the Rainbow Warriors. They do make stateside trips for games of course but not usually this far north.

4. So what about Notre Dame? Well it was initially decided that after all the hullabaloo went on, that Michigan and Notre Dame could revisit the rivalry after 2020. Michigan State is locked up with the Irish until 2031, so with Notre Dame football having to play 5 ACC games a year, it is doubtful it would occur on a year-to-year basis as it has been for the past couple of decades. Notre Dame has had a resurgent season in 2012 so far and is still undefeated as of early November...but that never seems to last long in South Bend. Only time will tell

5. Other scheduling of note. Michigan will leave Ann Arbor just once for its non-Big Ten games in 2015 and '16 -- a previously announced season-opening game against Utah on Sept. 3, 2015. After that game, Michigan plays Pac-12  Oregon State, UNLV and BYU at home. We'll have to wait and see what kind of Michigan team we have at that point, and other Big Ten teams for that matter, to be able to figure out if it's a national championship worthy schedule.

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