Thursday, July 30, 2009

Procrastination Reaps It's Reward

Michigan's September 4th, 2010 stadium dedication football game has finally been scheduled. The opponent will be Connecticut. The Huskies and Wolverines have agreed to a home-home arrangement whereby UConn comes to Michigan Stadium in 2010 and Michigan agrees to travel east to Hartford, CT area in 2013 to play the Huskies at Rentschler Field. Rentschler Field has the stadium capacity of a whopping 40,000 seasts.

Folks, this is what happens when you don't do your homework and you cram for final exams.

Sure, sometimes you get lucky and you totally slam dunk it. You don't know how, but you get away with a B+ or better. Other times you can tell you're so screwed before the test is even handed out and you proceed to fail in embarrassing fashion. And yet other times you just make it by a butt hair. You pass the test, but you feel like crap the rest of the week.

UConn under head coach Randy Edsall has been doing fairly well with 9-4 and 8-5 seasons in 2007 and 2008 respectively operating out of the make-over prone Big East Conference. No offense to the Husky football program when I say this, but Michigan's athletic department missed a golden opportunity here.

The new stadium inauguration game was an important opportunity to bring in a quality BCS opponent with some historical tie-ins and strong football traditions. And the time to start searching for this Michigan opponent was not April 2009, but rather 2 years ago when the Michigan stadium reconstruction first commenced.

In general, Michigan's lack of creativity and decisive policy in terms of non-conference game scheduling is starting to hurt the program in my view. I simply refuse to buy into the "Michigan must play only home games"-schtick. That's just ridiculousness to the thousandth power. Let's pretend for one moment that such arrogant thinking holds water, somebody explain why it's financially feasible for USC and Texas to do home-home arrangements with Ohio State and Virginia? Or for Georgia and OK State to schedule a home-home? Or for Nebraska and Virginia Tech? What makes Michigan so special in this regard? Don't say "cash", because in terms of the bottom line EBITA number, the Wolverine athletic program is absolutely rolling in it to such a sickening degree while other Division 1 schools struggle to survive. I'm sure I'm missing something.

For now Michigan's athletic department leadership appears to be content to go through the motions and wait until the last freaking moment to sort out the non-conference slate. This can and must change.


MGoDan said...

"somebody explain why it's financially feasible for USC and Texas to do home-home arrangements with Ohio State and Virginia? Or for Georgia and OK State to schedule a home-home? Or for Nebraska and Virginia Tech"

or for Michigan to schedule Notre Dame? given the quality of your blog, i'm shocked you can't seem to remember that M is already playing ND as it's marquee OOC match up.

Rasmus said...

FYI, UConn plays football in Hartford, not Storrs. Equidistant between Boston and New York, a couple of hours' drive at most. The huge numbers of alumni in this area will only need a ticket and a ride -- no hotel necessary. The stadium is new. It's nice. I know it was designed to be expanded when it was built, but I don't know if there are any plans to do so before 2013. It wouldn't surprise me.

Markusr2007 said...

I haven't forgotten about Notre Dame. As for Michigan's decision contract to schedule the Irish as a "marquee"(?)OOC opponent until the end of the world, I've already filed that decision under the "lack of creativity" I mentioned in my post.

So Notre Dame is now a constant in the Michigan schedule equation. My question is what is the strategy going forward? So far it has been MAC+ MAC + NDame +FCS. That could be OK by itself, but there's really no excuse for the we're-going-to-wait-until-the-last-minute-and-hope-Richmond-or-Indiana-State-accepts-our-last-second-phone-call-approach. If Michigan's Ath. Dept were "keeping its options open", I'd understand. But that's not what we're witnessing here. We're seeing a lack of priority being placed on non-conference game scheduling in general, and a lack of interest in filling open slots with high quality, marquee opponents.

My view may be completely wrong, but I believe Michigan needs to drop the facade and say yes to home-home games vs. LSU, Florida, Texas and USC.

Markusr2007 said...

Thanks for the post. I know the New Haven area somewhat. You guys probably have the best pizza+beer joints and Italian restaurants in the country! :)

I will correct my post about the location of UConn's stadium. Thank you.

It would be great if more game visitors could be accounted for than just 40K come 2013.

Rasmus said...

I'd be quite pleased with MAC + MAC + ND + BCS. I'm less pleased with FCS + MAC + ND + BCS, but I can live with it since everybody else is doing it (playing the FCS). But this season's FCS + MAC + MAC + ND is not acceptable. Don't forget Southern Cal also plays ND every year, yet they always manage to play another significant BCS opponent, on top of a 9-game conference schedule.

The problem with purposely weak schedules is they don't produce attitude. You beat good teams, you feel good. Even if you lose, you still hold your head up. You beat the MAC or the FCS, what do you get?

TrueBlueMan said...

How about MAC + ND + B10(11) + B10 (11) (round robin Big Ten schedule)?