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Posted on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:14 p.m.

It's official: Michigan and Alabama football to play in 2012

By Michael Rothstein

It had been rumored for months. On Thursday, Michigan and Alabama made it official. The college football teams will open the 2012 season against each other at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The game will be played Sept. 1, 2012 on a prime time national telecast.

"This is a great way to kickoff the 2012 season with two of the nation's winningest college football programs," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement. "We are excited about playing a regular season game in the state of Texas, a region of the country where we have traditionally recruited.

"Our goal is to get as many Michigan fans to the game as possible to witness this matchup of traditional powers."

The game will be televised by either CBS or ESPN. Michigan will be the road team. Big 12 officials will be used.

The game is part of the stadium's five-year agreement to host the "Cowboys Stadium Classic." BYU upset Oklahoma there in 2009 and TCU beat Oregon State earlier this season. LSU and Oregon will meet in 2011.

Michigan and Alabama have played three times, but never in the regular season. The Wolverines beat Alabama, 28-24, in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl. 'Bama knocked off Michigan in the '97 Outback Bowl, 17-14.

Michigan, with Tom Brady at quarterback, beat Alabama in overtime in the 2000 Orange Bowl, 35-34.

Of course the Wolverines are also familiar with Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was the head coach at Michigan State from 1995-99. Saban was 2-3 against the Wolverines during his five years in East Lansing.

"It's exciting to announce that two of college football's most tradition-rich teams will be meeting in 2012," Alabama athletic director Mal Moore said in a statement.

"We have such tremendous respect for Michigan. Their school, their outstanding tradition and their following. It's a terrific opportunity for our student-athletes and our entire program."

It also means the Michigan schedule in 2012 has the potential to be brutal. In addition to Alabama, the Wolverines will travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 22, to Nebraska on Oct. 27 and to Ohio State in the regular season finale on Nov. 24.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.


David Briegel

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

Does a "bowl game" in Texas in August make up for no bowl game in January?

Brian Bundesen

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

I very much like the idea of better competition in the non-conference schedule, but I do wish it were a home and home series. Playing it in Texas definitely makes it more about the money than the average fan. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. My hat is off to UM for taking the risk, rather than scheduling another Delaware State. GO BLUE!


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:55 a.m.

@ lumberg48108 Ok so how does michigan opening the season with another Midwestern Directional state school, Or better yet a 1AA sleeper help YOU? "This is just an event-based spectacle not a football game" So you're saying the games should intentionally be boring and dull? how is a spectacle of a football game not a great thing? Arent bowl games spectacles? Pagents? I know its not an ideal situation, but its better than what weve had in the past, and the 1/4 Billion people watching around the world really dont care that you only get 7 home games in 2012. Call the main office, ask for a discount. "I am always amazed at how the average football fan justifies things" By the way, love the snobish tone of your comment, Love how you try to seperate yourself from "Average" fans and people. You truly are an old school michigan man.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:29 a.m.

Kudo's to Brandon. Man, he sure is making his mark, early and often and in more exciting ways than AD's of recent past. Keep the finances in line, run a clean violation free program, do as much for the other sports as football, and you'll have a job for life! Just wish the Bama game was here. We'll have no problems filling a stadium!!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 11:01 p.m.

@michboy40 as a season ticket holder or fan, hoe does it benefit YOU that Michigan is playing in Texas? This is just an event-based spectacle not a football game - if it was a real game it would be a home-at-home series that would benefit both schools and fans and alumni and season ticket holders! I am always amazed at how the average football fan justifies things because a school makes money - like they somehow benefit. Its as insane as an average movie goer caring how much money a movies makes - how does that benefit your moviegoing experience? me thinks U-M AD is planting comments again on the board - as usual!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:59 p.m.

Manna from Heaven folks! Former MSU coach Nick Saban coming back to destroy Michigan once again. Gotta love it! Go Green Go White


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

Do the research. Michigan is getting paid a lot of money to go to Texas, where they have a recruiting pipeline, and where they will be nationally televised on a THursday night to start the football season!! How can we NOT like this!

David Briegel

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

Jerry Jones is thrilled!! Mich-Ala line his pockets! This is the reason our fans pay so much in "donations" to the U.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:18 p.m.

Sounds like "All in for Michigan." What a embarrassment you fans are.

Jake Church

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

why do you want Harbough here after he trashes our school, makes no sense.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:29 p.m.

If we have a very strong "O-Line" and a super defense in 2012, this will be ok. We have a very exciting offense. Of course we are worried about the UM defense, but it has to be better in 24 months.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:03 p.m.

Can anyone spell blowout?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:02 p.m.

i will take the rebuilding process at this point. rich rod seems to have the same issues over and over again. jim harbaugh please come home


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6 p.m.

D rob will be a senior, the D should be better. I like the way this shapes up for the Big Blue!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:54 p.m.

That's not good...we will be rebuilding under a new coach and he won't have his players in place yet.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

what a great way to accommodate the most loyal fans of two of the most historic programs - have a non-conference game at a neautral site in another state to line the pockets of an NFL owner! I said it before - college football is getting close to jumping the shark with its short term planning!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:31 p.m.

If Denard is healthy, that'll be a hell of a game since he'll be a senior. rnich231, worst teams in the big ten? Last year, sure. This year, maybe not. Two seasons from now, doubtful. And state will be in Ann Arbor in 2012.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

This assures Ricky Rod a job through the 2012 season. No way unless Ricky commits a felony, is the target of a major NCAA violation, or dies, will Brandon switch coaches and thus program systems between now and then.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

I'm excited about the matchup, but I doubt the City of Ann Arbor is happy about losing the revenue generated by a weekend of football. Home-and-home would've been better.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:08 p.m.

Good, that is the kind of schedule that builds, or rebuilds great programs. A very experienced Michigan team with reasonable officiating and a neutral field, could be a great game!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:57 p.m.

What an embarrassment this is going to be for one of the worst teams in the Big Ten!! Macabre, don't forget UM has to go on the road to MSU after getting BLOWN OUT in Ann Arbor this year!!

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

I like those daunting schedules. We need a playoff system in college football so that these big games are encouraged early in the season.