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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rumor Mill

As you probably know, Michigan still hasn't filled its 2007 season opener at the Big House. And this late in the game, choices are slim. How slim? Well...

MZone reader Seth dropped us an email saying he has potential inside info that Michigan's September 1st opponent with be...

Appalachian State, the back-to-back defending 1-AA - now Football Championship Subdivision - NCAA champs.

Now, while Seth was very excited about his alma mater facing off against Michigan as he's a Michigan fan as well, I have big problems with this match up which have nothing to do with anything against Appalachian State. It's about scheduling 1-AA teams in general.

What is the point of having a 12th game if we - and other perennial top 25 schools - are just going to schedule 1-AA gimmes? Yes, I know it's about the money of another home game but come on. I can understand one home game against an in-state school such as a CMU, EMU or WMU. At least they're 1-A schools and there's the regional factor. Ok, I'll give you that. Once per season.

And I don't expect another Top 25 team. In the current non-playoff BCS system where one loss severely hurts your team's title chances and a second loss kills it, it would be BCS suicide, at least in Michigan's case, to schedule another ranked team to go along with ND and Oregon this fall. If your team schedules a third powerhouse and you lose, today's fans won't give you credit for the schedule, they'll be buying up FireYourSorryAss.com domain names instead.

But why not schedule a mid to lower level Big 12, ACC, SEC or other major conference school? Something the fans can look forward to and which also helps recruiting (especially if it's a home-and-home series like Oregon). Even the Vandy game was good in that it was an SEC school.

Granted, no matter who we get isn't Michigan's fault entirely. Since the perma-12th game was just recently added, teams have to scramble.

Unfortunately, even beyond this year's scramble, it's all about the mighty dollar now. And if Michigan - as well as other traditional powers - start rounding out their schedules with 1-AA schools each season, it'll be a sad day for college football.

But hey, at least if we do play Appalachian State, their school is "Hot, Hot, Hot!"

22 comments:

Sean said...

From what I've heard, mind you, this is from a source close to the program, they are not even considering a I-AA school. Right now, it looks like BGSU could be coming back to the Big House to start the season as they did years ago.

Just what I heard.

Sean said...

Then again, I just checked and BGSU plays Minnesota in the opening week, so I'm not sure anymore.

Personally, I wish they would've kept the Eastern game where it was, and then move the OSU game to the final week of the year and fill the original weekend for OSU with another team or keep OSU there and add a game in the last week.

I blame this on Bill Martin though, he had plenty of time to get an opponent and failed to do so. Even Vandy rejected us.

Anonymous said...

It really pains me to see people belittle 1-AA teams. I am a fan of Georgia Southern who is undoubtedly the Notre Dame of 1-AA.

The inherent problem is that people see these teams as inferior and unworthy of being on the same field of play. However, there is a big difference in the level of competition you'll receive from a top tier 1-AA team and a lower tier 1-A team. There is actually a risk of losing to a team like App State. GSU being in the same conference, I've seen more of them than I'd like and if you want to use the "speed" argument, they have it in bucket loads. Look at what Montana State did to Colorado last year, or what North Dakota State did to I believe it was Ball State (not to mention they're a transition 1-AA). A higher level of competition can come from these schools than those in the basement of the 1-A conferences.

There is no reason to belittle these programs. App State has done what few teams in the division have done and gone back to back. They also had to play 15 games to get there, something that no one can exactly stick their nose up at.

Besides, no offense but as you have said yourselves, it sounds like a golf tournament in the Big House on Saturdays. I don't think scheduling a Big 12 bottom feeder would remedy that situation.

Dezzi13 said...

Hey! I hear that Ryan Mallett and all the other top recruits from all the big conferences are backing out of their letters of intent to attend Division 1-AA schools...

Jeremy said...

Anon, Michigan has the longest streak in the Nation of going without playing a non-Division-1A opponent (74 years). There is no good reason to stop that streak now. It would be like beating up a fifth grader, but saying, "hey, he was a really feisty fifth grader!"

Anonymous said...

Ohio State is playing Youngstown State, why not Michigan?

Appy State has a running QB ala Troy Smith, so you guys might be in trouble :)

Lichty said...

Why not add one of the big ten schools not on the rotating schedule? It seems like this is a problem for almost every big ten school, so lets at least minimize the effect of the rotating schedule if there has to be a 12th game.

mhentz said...

To Jeremy, There's no rule saying Michigan HAS to play that 12th game. They're allowed to schedule 11 games and keep that 74 year streak intact. But Michigan WILL play that 12th game even if they have to schedule the Merchant Marine Academy to do it, because they want the 3 million dollars or so that comes with that 12th game.

As for the original post, if Michigan doesn't want to schedule 1AA powers like App. St. then they'll have to join the market and pony up 1 million dollars to get Troy St. into town like the SEC schools do. If Michigan insists on paying out $350,000 or so to visiting teams (and they will because they want to keep the other $650,000 or so that they aren't paying out) then you guys will just have to get used to seeing 1aa teams at least once, and perhaps even twice, a year for the forseeable future. Welcome to modern college football. You're choice is to either learn to like it or become a lacrosse fan.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what the graduation situation is at App. State, but if they're as good next year as they've been for the past two years, then they're better than the lower half of the MAC. They're plainly better than UNH, who beat Northwestern. They're also a hell of a lot better than SIU, who beat IU. Though it's unlikely that a 1-AA team would ever win a the Big House, it seems a bit holier than thou to say that scheduling EMU or somesuch would be "better" from a football perspective. It's not the end of the world, unless they dip way down for a VMI or Western Carolina.

SSB Charley said...

if Michigan doesn't want to schedule 1AA powers like App. St. then they'll have to join the market and pony up 1 million dollars to get Troy St. into town like the SEC schools do.

It seems like several SEC schools have used the 12th game to add a BCS opponent. Georgia has added Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Clemson and Louisville to its upcoming schedules. Georgia tried to schedule UM, but your athletic director was apparently not interested, as was the case with ND and tOSU. OTOH, several Big Ten schools, with Purdue coming to mind most notably, are using the 12th game to guarantee an additional home game. Which means more crappy scheduling against 1AA schools.

Kyle at DawgSports is addressing scheduling:

http://www.dawgsports.com/

Anonymous said...

Gay Gay Gay

Sean said...

I for one, will not spend the money to go to the game if it is against a I-AA school. I never miss the season opener, but with Oregon, ND, and PSU the next three weeks, I don't see the point in wasting my time driving to AA to watch Michigan play a I-AA team.

I really couldn't care less if they're "top-tier." They may actually have the talent that matches some of the worst I-A teams, but it doesn't change the fact that there's that label on them. There's no way I ever want Michigan to play a I-AA team and I've been glad that they haven't thus far. It is something to not necessarily brag about but more point out that we haven't had to do that yet. So, as someone else said, why start now?

Anonymous said...

They had a better power ranking then five big ten schools and all of the MAC last year. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt06.htm

Go Blue Gabe said...

Alright dangit! I want that 2 minutes of my life back.

Anonymous said...

You evil, evil man. You know about my obsession with embedded Youtube links, don't you? I will never forgive you for that monstrosity.

Out of Conference said...

LOL Anon and GoBlue Gabe!

TitleIX said...

I say bring on our favorite teacher's college from western Pennsylvania.....

SLIPPERY ROCK!

surrounded in columbus said...

if we do drop a division, why not pick up a local DII team- GVSU? WSU? these schools could use the money, and w/ due respect to "Champions" Div fans, once you drop out of DI, you might as well keep the money local.

Anonymous said...

North Dakota State fan here. Could you guys not schedule App State so that we could put them on our schedule for Sept. 1st???? :) We are in dire need of teams to go to the Fargo Dome and App State would have been a dream date. But I guess we cant compete with a $350,000 to $400,000 guarentee.

Anonymous said...

surrounded in columbus, you wouldn't(or won't) be dropping out of Division I. ASU plays football in Division I Football Championship Division(formerly I-AA). Michigan is in the Football Bowl Division(formerly I-A). The difference being and extra 22 scholarships for you guys. I understand the trepidation for fans of a team with national championship aspirations. However, with desperate times come desperate measures, and this late in the scheduling process I am sure it's hard to find opponents. We were in a similar situation last year. The good news for Michigan fans is the rule has been changed and now one game vs. Division I-AA per year still counts toward bowl eligibility. Previously you could only schedule one in every 4 years. So while not a problem for you guys obviously as ths would be the first time, just an FYI that you could see more scheduling of DI-AA schools in the future. Not necessarily for UM but it is more frequent across the nation.

Anonymous said...

Any MAC school would be an easier game.
I watched ASU play in the playoffs and they killed teams that were much bigger than them, as Michigan will be.

Anonymous said...

Are you that desperate for a win that you go slumming to pad your record? Leave that nonsense to the SEC and Notre Dame. Notice how ‘SC in the last few years has avoided the I-AA approach? Playing real teams helps you prepare—you have to at least play a WAC caliber team or any talk of being national quality is a joke. Again, look at what beating up on the service academies got Notre Dame when they had to play real opponents.