Michigan Mailbag Question: Football Scheduling
I have read a few of your articles here and in The Bleacher Report, so I thought I would ask you a question that I have asked a few others previously:
Many major universities seem to have a great deal of thought put into their scheduling.
Some go weak to build themselves up. Others schedule cross sectionals to highlight or promote a national prominence. But Michigan, since athletic Director Bill Martin has been around, seems to always be scrambling to just fill in slot at the last minute.
I realize, considering last year, it is not the best time to be addressing upgrading our competition, but we are Michigan and we should, in regards to our football competition, present ourselves as we do when we talk about our university. Outside of the long term contract with that school from Indiana (Notre Dame), AD Martin seems to be only concerned to play MAC schools or pick up a I-AA school at the last minute.
Other schools have high profile games planned out for more than a decade prior, yet we just stay local. Some will point to the home, and away, with Oregon, but that has been the exception rather than the rule.
Is there any indication we will once again compete with other contenders? Is there any chance AD Martin might remember that to be the best, you must play the best?
Thanks for the question.
We doubt Michigan will start to schedule tougher games.
Most top schools demand home-and-home series. Michigan already has one power team with a home-and-home series with Notre Dame on the schedule, so it is less likely to schedule another tough road game.
The economic reality is that Michigan, with its 110,000 seats, needs as many home games as possible to help fund the entire athletic program.
We would love to see Michigan schedule some home-and-home series with Texas or other top 10 programs, but the reality is that it's not happening any time soon.
Most teams in a tough conference usually never add more than one tough out-of-conference team on the schedule.
In this day and age of the BCS, it does not make any sense to have a tough schedule. It makes more sense to have a decent schedule, especially if you are one of the BCS schools and get the wins.
Right now, the way rankings are determined, wins count more than the level of competition. As long as you have a decent schedule (top 40 or higher) you will not have a problem and Michigan has been near or in the top 10 the last decade on strength of schedule.
Coach Rod also stated that he believed several of the following years' non-conference schedules would be wrapped up soon.
Many people have gotten on Bill Martin for how he handles the athletic department, but people need to give him credit as well.
He took over the program when it was losing money and having to borrow from the university to pay for things. The athletics department and the university are two separate entities. The athletic department has to pay its own bills without any university help.
Martin has gotten the athletic program making money, with a surplus, in addition to upgrading all the sports facilities without going back into debt. On many of the projects, he's managed this by getting donors to step up and get the ball rolling to keep the Michigan athletic campus competitive with the rest of the country.
Michigan had many facilities in disrepair, many of them not being upgraded in 30 to 40 years.
Since taking over, Martin has delivered a new baseball/softball complex—with indoor practice hitting/pitching buildings for both—along with new stadiums for both programs and upgraded locker rooms.
The football team is benefiting from the upgrades of Michigan Stadium. Previous locker room upgrades, new turf inside the old fieldhouse, a new fieldhouse, new turf for the outdoor practice field, along with a new grass practice field, plus the new S&C equipment with an expanded staff, totaling over a million dollars.
The basketball program has added bench seating for the students, locker room upgrades, S&C upgrades, new lights, new speakers, floor refurbishing—a couple of times, new baskets, and plans to upgrade Crisler Arena and also adding a new practice facility soon.
The hockey program has added suites, improved the locker rooms and the inside of Yost ice arena.
Martin has gotten money for a new soccer stadium and practice fields near the tennis center. The wrestling team will also be getting a new practice facility near that location. Women’s gymnastics have their new training center there as well.
There are probably several other projects we haven't mentioned, but those are the major ones at this point. The guy deserves some slack!
Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine
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