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Posted on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Michigan football season opener vs. Alabama rated as top non-conference game of '12

By Nick Baumgardner

In 59 days, the Michigan football team will open its 2012 season against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The countdown's been ongoing for months, it seems, and one national publication can't wait for kickoff. rated the five best non-conference college football games for the 2012 season, and the Wolverines' bout with the defending national champion Crimson Tide tops the list.


Fitz Toussaint and Michigan will battle Alabama on Sept. 1 from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan-Alabama -- which kicks off at 8 p.m. on Sept. 1 from Arlington, Texas -- sits in front of the rest of the top five: Miami at Kansas State, Clemson at Auburn, Boise State at Michigan State and Virginia Tech at Cincinnati.

In addition, SportingNews also rated Michigan's non-league schedule as the second-best in America for next season.

The Wolverines will play Alabama on a neutral field, Air Force at home, Massachusetts at home and Notre Dame on the road.

The top-rated schedule on SportingNews' list? That belongs to Syracuse.

The Orange host Northwestern, USC and Stony Brook, and travel to Minnesota and Missouri.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Michigan will have its work cut out what with the lack of depth on the lines. Hopefully Bama will not have come together defensively yet.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Disagree. Hopefully both teams will have perfected themselves by game day. I would love to beat Alabama, but I'd rather beat them at their best, than benefit from their lack of cohesion. Play the best. Beat the best. Be the best. Prove it on the field.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Well, among those five games there isn't much doubt.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

For the time being anyway. At the end of the game it may turn out to be a not. I'm with Forever27. Bad taste in my mouth that this game in not in the Big House or at Alabama.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

Michigan is going to destroy poor Alabama and their turn coat coach.........Go Blue !!!!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

that's cute ;-)


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Huh? How exactly does mighty Alabama tearing apart poor Michigan qualify as the top non-conference game of the year?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Michigan never uses an eraser when it does cross word puzzles cause they're never wrong. Well, they'll be wrong in 56 days.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

Really? Syracuse? Vs stony brook and Minnesota? Right. Must be an orange alum


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I think Michelle Tanner said it best "Duh"


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

This is the top 5 ?!! College football teams need to have 1 out of conference game after conference play to be determined at the conclusion of conference play. Match up the teams not playing in the playoff games....


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

I HATE when Michigan breaks away from tradition. Why aren't we playing a perfectly good MAC team or some low-level team from another conference to open up the season like usual? This is an outrage!


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

@Mick52, Michigan is GOING commercial? Michigan has BEEN commercial since I was a kid. Michigan is one of the MOST commercial sports brands in the history of college sports. As of 2011, the Michigan sports brand is the fifth hottest selling college apparel (#1 in the B1G), and it was even higher when the Fab Five was around in the early 90s. Michigan has had more games televised than any other team, all for the sake of the fans and not for the money made on commercials. Michigan has profited in the multi-millions for many years now, so, please, stop kidding yourself. This didn't suddenly happen the moment Michigan agreed to take part in the new tradition that is the Cowboy Classic. FBS football is a business as much as it is a sport, and Michigan is leading the way and has well before Dave Brandon took over as AD. Wake up and stop living in the past. Apparel rankings


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

The break from tradition is that it is not in a college stadium. Looks like Michigan is going commercial, something a long line of coaches and ADs fought.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

Remember opening against Appalachian State on 2007?


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

It's such an awesome game that season ticket holders at neither Alabama nor Michigan will be given the opportunity to see the game at their own stadium. Too bad Michigan Stadium isn't very big - if we could somehow hold 80,000 people, while entertaining them with two large, brand-new LED screens, we might have had a shot at this game. Oh well, maybe next time.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

First response to the headline: "Well, duh!!!" Two storied programs meeting with Heisman trophy candidates on both sides, add in the Saban angle, the 2000 Orange Bowl, high stakes--well, it is the biggest game of the year. (Until the second week LOL) But Forever27 has it right. These teams should not meet at "neutral sites" but should be playing on campus. I don't think Michigan has had a high profile game like that at home since the Florida State game in 1991. No disrespect to ND and MSU.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

"...the Michigan football team will open its 2012 season against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas." No matter how often I read this, I still get annoyed every time. These are two storied programs and the game(s) should be played on college campuses. If I wanted to go to a game at Jerryworld, I'd watch the Cowboys.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Your right Forever unfortunately, college football across the board has added a flavor of Disneyland and Walmart to it's menu. You might say where do I get the Disneyland flavor? That thought comes from the marketing scheme's and shear fantasy they try to create and the idea of Walmart is the cheapening of the game such as powerhouses taking on schools that have no business in the same arena's. Also these cheap gimmickry's such as the clownish uniforms that schools are experimenting with. I'm all for change but we can still do it with some dignity.