Michigan heads off to Storrs, Connecticut this weekend to take on the UConn Huskies. As much as I enjoy Michigan football I have no real motivation to hop in the car and drive eight hours to Rentschler Field. If I am going to spend money to go to a Michigan away game it had better be a shorter car ride or an awesome place to visit. (Sorry Calabrese.)
With Michigan ending its series with Notre Dame next season they are now freed up to schedule some enticing non conference matchups that will entice people like myself to make a trip to watch the Maize and Blue. (Sorry, Sun.) AD Dave Brandon has already scheduled home and homes with Utah, Arkansas and Virginia Tech. All three of these are fun matchups but I figured I would write down some of my potential favorite places to visit.
So here is the list of top 5 non conference games I would like Michigan to schedule in the near future. I ranked these based upon the potential matchup plus cities and college towns I want to visit. Feel free to comment on any places you want Michigan to visit as well…
Reason: Ummmm, just look at that photo. (Click on it for the bigger version) Michigan doesn’t even have to be involved, I want to go there right now and hang out on a boat and pet a husky. They just recently finished renovations on the stadium and it looks fantastic. Plus Sarkisian finally has dug his way out of Ty Willingham’s hole and has the Huskies back on track.
This would give Michigan a good non conference opponent and give me a reason to check out Seattle. I have been looking for a reason to make a trip to the Northwest. (Its either that or a Pens/Canucks matchup. It would be good to see my old buddy Torts.)
Reason Not To: Michigan, along with most of the B1G, sucks when it heads west to play Pac 12 teams. In fact Michigan already made this trip in 2001 and came away with a loss. So this might be scheduling a loss but so could any Non con game. (See Akron. Too soon I feel like.)
Chances of it happening: 50%. With the B1G and Pac 12 canceling their scheduling agreement this goes down slightly but Washington does have an opening in 2016 and 2017 as does Michigan. This one totally works for both sides.
Reason: I would put Va Tech here but we already scheduled it so, hooray! For Clemson ESPN got me with this intro for the Georgia game. That just looks like too much fun not to get to see with my own eyes. Plus I know a Clemson alum and I know I would be pointed in the right direction of how best to experience Clemson. (Also I am sure there are some lovely looking ladies. Hi theoretical ladies.)
Reason Not To: I really don’t have one other than losing but again, you could say that for everyone on this list. The idea of somehow incorporating Charleston into this visit just makes it all the more enticing. Please do this Dave Brandon and I will stop making Scrooge McDuck jokes for one whole month.
Chances of this happening: 30%. I have heard no rumors of it but each has an oppening 2016-17 that could make it happen. I know they play South Carolina every year but that didn’t deter them from scheduling Georgia this year and next year. Make it happen
Reason: ATMOSPHERE. I have long watched LSU games from a distance and marveled at their home crowd. Especially for night games which seem to have the extra kick with the extra four hours to tailgate. Not to mention the food and the proximity to New Orleans. (I screwed up two years ago and didn’t go to the Sugar Bowl Michigan won. I regret this.)
Reason Not To: Almost certain defeat. All of these non conference games have a certain amount of risk for them but this one just seems like scheduling a loss. This may not be a bad idea with strength of schedule becoming more important in the playoff years but hopefully the LSU folk are friendly after they win.
Chances of this happening: 10%. To say there is a riff between Les Miles and Michigan is probably an understatement. Despite his close call to becoming the Michigan coach in 2007 he wasn’t seriously considered when the job came back open in 2011 due to a dispute with Dave Brandon. As much fun as this one would be I doubt it happens as long as Miles is at LSU.
2) University of Texas Darrell K Royal Stadium: Austin, Texas
Reason: I have been to Austin before but only for one night and it was not football season. Ever since my one night stand with Austin I have wanted to go back. I had a great time and I can only imagine a football weekend with Michigan in town would be a fantastic time.
Reason not to: After watching A&M Saturday I am wondering if that is the school to go visit. Just a great atmosphere.
Chances of this happening: 25%. Both of our rivals have beaten us to this one as both Notre Dame and Ohio State have future series with Texas scheduled. I see this happening but not for a decade or so. God only knows where I will be by then.
1) University of Georgia Sanford Stadium: Athens, Georgia
Reason: Full disclosure I have been to a game here before but Michigan wasn’t involved. In 2010 I visited a buddy who went to law school here for an early October game against Tennessee and I had a blast. Athens is a phenomenal college town and the bar scene is fantastic. All in all I would love to experience this with fellow Michigan people with me.
Reason Not To: Because last time I was down there I fell in love every ten minutes and I am not sure my heart can take it again. The women are lovely and it makes me want to tuck my shirt in, wear straps on my sunglasses, drive a huge truck and become a Southern man.
Chances of this happening: 40%. I am being optimistic but each school has the availability in the near future and each school is not afraid to schedule big name opponents. My only fear is they will do this at a neutral site which defeats the purpose. If I wanted to I wanted to go to Atlanta to watch sports I would go an have a “Bring Back the Thrashers” shirt on.
Other schools in consideration: Oklahoma, USC, Oregon (Although I don’t want to go until we are back with Nike. Looking at all their shiny new stuff would make me sad.), Stanford, Cal, Florida, FSU, Pitt (I am joking.) ASU, Arizona, Colorado, Rutgers and Maryland. (Also a joke.)
While I am not happy the ND series is ending hopefully Michigan schedules some of these home and homes and we get to experience other game day experiences. Feel free to let me know places you want to see your team go.