I have been in favor of one preseason game for college football for many years.
Every game is important, and back in the day, when Michigan opened its season against Notre Dame—yes, Notre Dame—it always seemed like the right thing to do.
Could you imagine a freshman QB starting his year against ND? I can't.
That's why I always thought Michigan should invite one of the state schools (like Eastern, Western, or Central, who were not on the regular schedule) to Michigan Stadium to play a preseason game.
It could be a Div. I-A team or even a Div. II team. You could charge $5 or $10 a ticket, and I bet the fans would flock to the stadium in mid to late August to get a peek at the new Wolverines.
What's strange is, I have never heard a coach mention the preseason until this year, when coach Rich Rodriguez said the following on Monday:
"If there was one rule to change in Division I college football, they would allow you to have an exhibition or preseason game against somebody else. There doesn’t have to be any crowd or fans there, just so you have an idea of what it’s like to go against somebody else so you can judge yourself a little better.
"We’re the only level (without it). The NFL has four preseason games, and they’re pros. Even in smaller college, when I was in Division II, you could have a scrimmage game. In high school, obviously you have them. In Division I, you can’t have them, and it’s kind of silly.
"All these (regular-season) games are so important, and I wish we could have a scrimmage so we could have a judge on where we’re at."
I really don't see the down side to having one preseason game. It would help the hosting athletic department's budget, it would help the smaller school's budget, and it would allow the team to practice "against" live bullets.
How about a Michigan vs. Grand Valley State game? Do you think that would get some interest? Do you think it would be good for Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson to run the offense against another team?
I'm sure the defectors would list a few issues:
* Injuries (you can get injured in practice).
* It would be like playing a 13th game, and they just added the 12th. (So? It's not like they're in school right now.)
* I guess it could be costly if the team had to travel. (Play only local teams, and I'm sure Michigan could pick up GVSU's T&E.)
* I can't think of any other negatives to doing it. Can you?
For U of M, Eastern would be a great candidate on years they are not on the schedule. What about Central, whose head coach used to work for RR?
Everyone loves college football because each game is so important. If that is the case, why not prepare your team the correct way and get your freshmen some live experience?