Michigan Football: Adding Series with Arkansas Bodes Well for Wolverines' Future

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 7, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 27: Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint #28 of the Michigan Wolverineslooks for an opening i the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska beat Michigan 23-9. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

After announcing a future series with the Arkansas Razorbacks, it's obvious that the Michigan Wolverines football program is headed in the right direction.

Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday afternoon on Twitter that the Wolverines and Razorbacks agreed to play a home-and-home series in the 2018 and 2019 seasons:

UM announces football home and home with Arkansas in 2018-19 plus home games with BYU in 2015, Miami (Ohio), Hawaii and Ball State in 2016

— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) November 6, 2012

Even though there's no telling where these programs will stand come 2018, this is a great move by Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. 

As much as the Michigan faithful may believe in its conference, there's no denying that the Big Ten can't compare right now to the Southeastern Conference in terms of overall competitiveness and elite-level talent. 

The SEC's six straight national championships speak volumes. If that isn't enough, just look at the conference's depth—there are always three or four SEC teams in the nation's Top 10. 

Additionally, the fact that the first game of the series will be played in Ann Arbor means the Wolverines will be able to ease in to the game in front of their home fans. 

If Michigan truly wants to know where it stands in college football, there's no better scheduling choice than an SEC team, especially if it's one that isn't assured to be elite. 

The Wolverines were playing with fire by scheduling Alabama this season, and it backfired. They were outplayed in every way imaginable. But against Arkansas, it's likely to be a different story.

While the Razorbacks have proven recently to be capable of national championship-caliber football, they're much more likely to be a middle-of-the-pack SEC team.

There's no predicting if the 2018 and 2019 Arkansas teams will be more like the 2011 one that finished in the Top Five or the 2012 one that currently sits below .500.

But that isn't important at this point. All that matters is the Michigan Wolverines will be beefing up their strength of schedule and will have a chance to see how their program would fare in the SEC.

After canceling the annual Notre Dame game earlier this season, it was important that the Wolverines made a statement to prove that their schedule strength wouldn't diminish too much down the road.

The decision to schedule a formidable SEC opponent is the first step, and a big one at that.


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