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Posted on Tue, May 18, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

Michigan adds San Diego State to 2011 football schedule, neutral-site game a future possibility

By Dave Birkett

CHICAGO - Michigan’s plans to schedule future football games haven't been paralyzed by the possibility of expansion.

The Wolverines put the finishing touches on their 2011 football schedule Tuesday, adding San Diego State for a Sept. 24 game at Michigan Stadium, and athletic director Dave Brandon said he’s “having lots of conversations” about future years.

Brady Hoke 2.jpg

Former Michigan assistant coach Brady Hoke, shown in 2006 with Ball State, now coaches at San Diego State. (File photo)

“When you start looking out at 2012 and 2013, I think probably the best way to say it is we’re just not in a big hurry because the world’s changing,” Brandon said Monday from the Big Ten’s spring meetings. “And so we’re talking to people, we’re having conversations. If something really strikes us as being good and appropriate we’ll dive on it, but I just think we’re not maybe necessarily as interested in getting way out there just in the event that something does change.”

Michigan has been approached about playing a neutral-site game against a major-conference opponent, but so far there are no plans for that happen. One possibility could be defending national champion Alabama, perhaps in Atlanta around a future induction ceremony at the new College Football Hall of Fame.

“I like to look at all kinds of new, different stuff,” Brandon said. “Remember, I’m a change-is-good guy, so I’ll listen to whatever anybody wants to propose. But just because I’m listening doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Too early to tell.”

Along with San Diego State, Michigan plays non-conference games against Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan in 2011. Former Michigan assistant Brady Hoke coaches the Aztecs.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said the Wolverines will not return the trip to San Diego State.

"We had been looking for an FBS school really for the last couple of years," Rodriguez said. "We were able to get UConn (for 2010), but we have to return the date. We really needed one to come in and not return it and there was only a small handful of schools that we were able to fit in that and San Diego State was one of them. The Notre Dame non-conference games are tentatively scheduled, but beyond that in the future, let’s wait and see."

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Wed, May 19, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

"And the reason OSU does this is because they don't have a annual nonconference was said above." Yes yes and as said above no one cares about ND anymore. They aren't a powerhouse, they're a joke.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 6:23 a.m.

No argument with anything you said - yet Michigan has no problem using all of those cupcake victories (and there were many) to tout itself as the "winningest program in history".


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 2:50 a.m.

In response to some earlier comments about the formative years of Michigan football, Michigan played Penn every season from 1906 to 1917, despite the Quakers having won a national title in 1904. Michigan also took on Harvard in 1914 (Harvard won national titles in 1912 and 1913), maintained an on-and-off series with Cornell (including a game in 1915 when Cornell went undefeated and won a national title), and played then-powerhouse Navy every season from 1925 to 1929 (Navy won a national title in 1926). In response to playing the same opponent twice in a single season; Michigan and Minnesota played twice in 1926 since most of the Big Ten refused to play the Gophers so Michigan agreed to play a home-and-home that year (though Michigan had Benny Friedman at QB, so it was the very start of the forward passing era). And yes, Michigan played plenty of cupcakes back in their formative years...but so did every team in the country. The NCAA wasn't formed until 1906, so there was a free-for-all to find as many opponents as possible back then. If that meant playing a local high school or a team formed from a nearby military base or a tiny college, then it was done. People still paid to see those games and no one thought any less of the powerhouse team. Additionally, from year to year there were different numbers of games--in 1905 Michigan played 13 games, but only 5 the following year. The landscape of college football was far different back then. Plus, let's not forget that from 1907 through 1916 Michigan was not in the Big Ten conference owing to a conflict between Fielding Yost and the rest of the conference, particularly Chicago head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. In those years Michigan had to play whoever they could find in order to keep the football program, especially since the Big Ten barred conference members from playing Michigan. This period gave birth to both the OSU and MSU rivalries, as neither school was yet a Big Ten conference member. So while you're free to criticize the schedule as of late (I am of similar sentiment--though if ND was up to their historical standard we wouldn't need to complain about a soft non-conference schedule), I would caution against comparing the football of today to that of 1869-1930 in college football's formative years, and give Yost-era Michigan credit for scheduling tough eastern opponents such as Cornell, Penn and Navy on a regular basis.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:22 p.m.

Lokal, And the reason OSU does this is because they don't have a annual nonconference was said above.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

All because everyone else plays cupcakes doesn't mean we have to. And the money... right. I can already see the "SNUGGY" and "BUY GOLD TODAY" commercials standing in line for that prime TV time.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

promises promises

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

You'll see them in the future.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

"you wont see very many big time match ups early in the season on a regular basis as a loss really hurts that teams chances." Not at Michigan...but you will at OSU.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 4:05 p.m.

Yogi is almost dead on. It really is alot about money, we want big schools to come to our house and they want the same thing. But at the same time, since all of the powerhouse schools are hunting for a championship each year, you wont see very many big time match ups early in the season on a regular basis as a loss really hurts that teams chances. This is not Michigan's case however, as they have tried to get teams like Georgia, Florida, etc in recent years. It's mostly about money.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

Michigan has exactly one non conference game that is a home at home format and that is Notre Dame. Michigan does not want to schedule more home at home games because they make much more money playing at home. The better schools insist that if they come to Michigan then Michigan has to come to their stadium and play. That died with Oregon maybe some day they will play a more marquee non conference schedule but I wouldn't hold my breath. Its not about trying to go 12-0 you can lose early and still redeem yourself and make to the BCS championship game. Follow the $$$$$


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

Blue Marker, I don't see the ND game being an issue. Why can't UM play two high profile games? You still get the two cupcakes. If you play two high profile games, you know you are going to get the ABC prime slot in two of the four first weeks. Let's assume... that in a year or two, UM will be in a position to win both of them. I would anticipate that helps UM recruting all that much more. Look... we get to be on major TV each week, and we win those games.

Blue Marker

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 3:01 p.m.

IMO the real problem is the 25 year deal with ND. If Mr. Martin hadn't signed that deal Michigan would be free to schedule other top teams. I hate to admit it but OSU is doing a much better job scheduling than Michigan. They still play 3 dogs but have a marquee match up every year.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 1:25 p.m.

SPARKY - your comments were "all teams...instead of giving fans marquee match ups that will peak their interest, win or lose." I named several BIG GAMES across the country - which includes "all teams" Besides, U-M versus anyone (right now) is just not a big game. Folks - when they added the 12th game did anyone really think that meant another showdown game or another patsy game? U-M historically, has played two decent to good non-con games and two patsys. Oregon, Washinton, UCLA, Syracuse, Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia, Colorado - over the years were HUGE games. Now they play three patsys (and cant beat them, but that is another story.)


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:45 p.m.

How come everyone is saying that they "know for a fact" that UM has tried to schedule Alabama, but Alababama won't agree to it... or travel to the big house. MSU is scheduled to go to Alabama in 2016, with Alabama in East Lansing in 2017. MSU is scheduled to go to West Virginia in 2014, with WVU coming to East Lansing in 2015. As soon as MSU had Hollis on board as AD, he made these games happen. The previous AD's and coaches didn't want it to happen. Hopefully with UM's new AD, these things will happen at UM. Big games like these, and a few wins will improve everyone's opinion of the Big Ten.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

"for better or worse, our Major OOC game is ND." Can we at least get real about the definition of "Major OCC game?" ND is a joke, and have been for over a decade. I also don't think they count becasue it's an annual game.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:27 p.m.

And one more thing - as far as the BCS influencing who plays whom - if the ratings/rankings really worked, the power rankings and strength of schedule would mean a lot more in the final results. Schools would try to schedule tough teams to get that boost in their own ratings, even if they lose. One case in point, Va Tech opened against Alabama last year and lost. Due to the fact that Alabama did as well as it did, the loss didn't hurt Va Tech too much. If, on the other hand, VT had lost to say, Morgan State, it wouldn't have had a chance at recovering. Another flaw in the year-long BCS ranking, strength of schedule can't be determined until all games have been played through the entire season. I guess that's why the BCS rankings start a little way into the season. A long time ago, East Carolina was a patsy school, at least as far as the BE was concerned. Within a year, they turned it around and became one of those Cinderella teams by the end of the year. Any strength of schedule rating for teams playing them at the beginning of the year was sort of nullified by year's end. That, my friends, is what make college football so exciting. In the end, you only get better when you play tough schools. If you play the easy ones, you only get good enough to continue winning those games since it's good enough to go undefeated.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

Let's get real here. I too would like to see us play some of the other major powers, but no one, and I mean NO ONE, plays more than one major OOC game a year. Right now, for better or worse, our Major OOC game is ND. PSU and AL? You think either of those schools has anything but cupcakes on their NC schedule after that game? Sure OSU played USC and TX over the last 4 years, but look at what else was on their NC schedule. They played the dregs from the rest of that miserable state. I will give USC credit, they play ND and a big time OOC opponent just about every year, but they are the exception. You won't find anything but cupcakes on just about anyone else's schedule.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

They lost to Cornell that year, where they also had Albion, Adrian, and Olivet on their impressive schedule. Point is, in the years in which they built their legacy, they did so by scheduling weak teams. They never played Princeton, Yale, or Harvard, which were the real powers of college football in that era.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

I'm still not buying it, IMO Michigan still won't play a big school outside of the conference. OSU doesn't seem to mind playing @ USC, @ Texas, but as soon as those ideas come up with regards to Michigan it's "hard to work out" and yada yada. I mean seriously...playing EMU again? I love me some EMU and it's great for the kids there to play on the big stage and all, but give me a break.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

detroitrocks, When speaking about The Fulmer Cup, how could you possibly overlook the school 60 miles NW of Ann Arbor?


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.

Sparky is dead on right. But scheduling real competition would go against the tradition of Michigan football, which built its record in the pre-forward pass days by scheduling patsies (sometimes twice a season) and avoiding the real powers in the Ivy League. Why change tradition now? I think tater is right - Michigan is heading for the Fulmer cup.

Terry Star21

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 12:02 p.m.

@ Robbie and Sparky... you are both right, Michigan doesn't shy away from scheduling anyone and yes - I too would like to see Alabama, Texas, LSU etc... but there is a reason. I know for a fact they have tried, but most bigger schools want the game at their field and of course UM wants it home. The games have to come early, as the B10 season fills the later schedule - also a problem with Big Schools. Scheduling those schools and them us, is much more difficult then anyone can imagine, but I guarantee you it is not (too much) about one school being afraid of the other! If you have every played ball, you know from a players perspective you cherish preparing and playing the best teams -sometimes the schools administration doesn't always agree, but I know Michigan doesn't shy away, and I'm feeling Mr. Brandon does not either.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

I think I get mich231's tongue-in-cheek reference to Appy State and Toledo. One of the things that WVU did while RR was coach there was constantly schedule those easy games at the beginning of the season. It's great for the team to see how they'll play under game conditions. But the WVU fans never quite understood how that affects rankings, and why they were never in the top 5 all the time after beating Wolford and the likes. I don't know whether the coach has much say in who decides their schedule, but it sure doesn't help the power ratings to clobber one of these teams, and you always risk getting beat, along with a very serious drop in those ratings if you do get beat. A loss to a powerhouse, if it's a respectable loss, does much more than a win against the weenies.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

Sparky, From the article, it seems like Dave Brandon is taking a "wait and see" approach with Big Ten expansion before deciding future schedules. Given that San Diego State is coached by former Michigan assistant Brady Hoke, I like the idea that we are helping former coaches with national exposure.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

Yeah, lumberg...there are plenty of big non-conference games every year involving TEAMS NOT NAMED MICHIGAN. Give me a home-and-home with Alabama, Texas, Florida, USC, Georgia, Tennessee, know, traditional power house teams. But no, we get the never ending match up with Notre Dame followed by three small name opponents every freakin' year. Okay, this year we get UConn... a decent/good team, but still the name doesn't hold a candle and produce the buzz any of the aforementioned teams would. I'd much rather go 7-5 with non-conference losses to say Texas and Alabama than go 12-0 with half our wins over the Delaware States and Eastern Michigans of the college football world. The excitement around town the big name teams would bring with them is worth it. Unfortunately, with the current system, potentially losing $$$ from the BC$ system isn't worth it to the schools.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

rnich231, It's funny how people claiming to "bring sanity to a conversation" always go on to make outlandish predictions. Michigan will be able to compete with top teams long before the year 2030. I know opponents are worried about Michigan's impending successes, but this still should not get in the way of rational thought.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

rnich231, I think you got Michigan confused with some other school.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 10:14 a.m.

Ok, let me bring some sanity into this conversation. UM is the worst team in the Big Ten and would never play a team like Alabama and certainly not at a neutral site. Not even several years ago when UM had a winning record would they play a school like that. I would first try to consistently defeat MAC schools and top ranked Division 2 schools and in the year 2030 revisit this absurd topic.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

Sparky, I agree about teams wanting to go 12-0. Michigan has tried to get teams like Georgia, USC, and Florida to come to Ann Arbor, but refuse to make the trip. Personally, I don't like playing teams like Western Michigan, Delware State, Bowling Green and I would like to play more big schools in the beginning.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

SPARKY - do your homework There are plenty of huge non-conference games each year from across the country... in 2010 Alabama plays Penn State - that is a great matchup with history. Oklahoma plays Florida State. LSU plays West Virginia and plenty of other big games. In recent history, USC played Ohio State for the past two years and OSU played home and home against Texas prior to that. There are plenty of non-conference rival games too. Notre Dame/U-M. Miami/Florida State, USC/Notre Dame etc...


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 8:55 a.m.

San Diego State? (sigh) Brandon's right, change is good. Unfortunately, it can't come soon enough for the quality of our non-conference opponents. But I don't ever seen that happening until the BCS dies because under the current system all teams are concerned about is going 12-0 against the easiest schedule possible--which all but assures them a big BCS bowl pay day)--instead of giving fans marquee match ups that will peak their interest, win or lose.