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Posted on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan football over-under: Can the Wolverines win more than half their road games?

By Kyle Meinke

Thumbnail image for Cowboys_Stadium.jpg

Michigan will open its season, and six-game road slate, against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. | AP

There are only two Big Ten football teams that will play six of their games away from home next season, and one of them is Michigan.

That's the same Michigan team that, despite going 11-2 last season, struggled immensely on the road.

Further, four of the six teams Michigan will face away from Ann Arbor -- Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State -- could be among its five toughest opponents.

So, naturally, the Wolverines will have to solve their road woes if they are to have any shot at matching last year's success. They will have to be better than .500 to do so.

Can they do it? We debate...

Over/under: Michigan will win 3.5 games away from home

Kyle Meinke: Michigan has had some very good teams in the past decade. It has had some very bad ones, and a few in the middle. But one thing has remained nearly constant: It has struggled on the road.

The Wolverines are 54-18 in the past 10 seasons at home, but just 28-26 away from Ann Arbor. While they went undefeated at home four times in that span, only once did they lose fewer than two games on the road (they went 4-1 in 2007).

Even last year, during Michigan's resurgence under first-year under coach Brady Hoke, the team played its worst ball on the road. While it went undefeated in eight games at the Big House, it was just 3-2 away from Ann Arbor.

Michigan Football Over-Under

This is part of a 14-day series featuring 2012 Michigan football-related debate from sports writers Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner.

Wednesday: Can the Michigan offense maintain its production?

Thursday: Can the Michigan defense be as stout in 2012?

Today: How many wins will Michigan collect away from home?

Saturday: Can Denard Robinson reduce his interceptions into single digits?

Three of the Wolverines' worst games -- Michigan State, Iowa and Virginia Tech -- came on the road. That performance was directly tied to their most important player, quarterback Denard Robinson, whose production dropped off significantly away from home.

Arguably, Robinson's worst four games last year came at MSU, at Iowa, at Illinois and in New Orleans against Virginia Tech. He finished 58-of-118 passing (49.2 percent) for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions away from Ann Arbor.

And that came against a relatively weak road slate.

Prediction: Michigan will play two extra games away from home next year, and against better teams than last year. History, both long- and short-term, suggests the Wolverines will have to fight just to break even on the road. Take the under.

Nick Baumgardner: Michigan only had to play away from home four times last season (not counting the bowl game), and things were far from flawless.

But more than that, history just isn't on the team's side.

Michigan has won four regular-season games away from Michigan Stadium just once this century: In 2006, when the club started 11-0 and nearly played for the national title.

And that season, Michigan did score an impressive road win against a stout Notre Dame team and a slightly above average Penn State squad, but also benefited from playing bottom-feeding Indiana and marginal Minnesota.

This time around?

Michigan starts the year on a neutral field, but it's still against defending national champion Alabama. Notre Dame's been scorned by Michigan for three straight years, and is breaking out its lights for a payback.

Nebraska was humiliated by the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last year, and like Notre Dame, will attempt to pay Michigan back at night -- in front of a frenzied crowd.

Purdue and Minnesota are winnable road games, to be sure, but those come before the final tilt of the season -- in Columbus, against Urban Meyer for the first time.

Prediction: I'd love to disagree with Kyle here, but I just can't. Denard Robinson was putrid on the road a year ago, and history shows how difficult it's been to score more than three wins away from home. I have to take the under.


husker dennis

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

Please beat Alabama or any other SEC TEAM YOU can line uup on might have to wait for a bowl game on that last request.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

"Michigan has won four regular-season games away from Michigan Stadium just once this century: In 2006." Well they only play four or five away games per year during that span. So, you're basically saying they didn't go undefeated or 4-1 away from home. Big whoop.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

I disagree with cutty240 about a 6-6 record. Even RR could pull off that record. I believe the Alabama game will reveal much about this team. Realistically, Alabama should win, but stranger things have happened, i.e. App State. As stated in the article and by some posters, much will depend upon the development of DR. He should be improved in his game management and exectuion this year or he will be a big disappointment. Knowing his work ethic, I expect him to manage the game much better this year.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

This year will show Michiagn Fans what kind of Team YOU REALLY HAVE.You can't keep playing 8 home games all the time.Last years Games were set up perfect for Hoke.This year different story on all fronts.First game against Bama,get out of that game without any Major Injury's,or it could be a Very Long Year.8 and 4 would be awesome,but i think it will be 6 an 6.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Cutty, I don't think so. last year we could easily have lost to Notre Dame and ohio state at home. We did so well last year because we had darn good players that were getting coached up for the first time in their carreers. Cutty, if you combine a solid football player with an exceptional coach, you will get the results that Mich. showed last year.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

It's not unrealistic to think Denard will step up. He's all heart. The odds are against Will. He's too tall to get leverage without exceptional technique. Maybe a 5% chance he'll nearly the impact player Martin was. Even an average platoon guy with Quinton Washington would be good news.

Chad Williams

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9 p.m.

From a fan perspective it seems like a lot of people have confidence which is always key to winning. Reality is bama is gonna be beat us but that loss only looks bad if Michigan rolls over for a beating. Two years of work with big time losses on the lines will be a match for an Alabama system that's been in place for 5 years. They have built this team to take on early departures and graduation. Michigan hasnt had that type of system yet to replace guys like martin and molk. Michigan isnt 2 deep with impact players. They have a lot of hoping going on with there team. The phrases we hope campbell will step up, or we hope dennard will better or we hope we can replace molk. That sounds like a good team counting on the best scenarios work out for 12 games . The bad news is that thats very unrealistic to believe so what happens if all of what fans hoping for fails? What then?

Wally the Wolverine

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Kyle/Nick, you guys offer some pretty compelling arguments. ND will be the difference between a 2-win road record and a 3-win road record. Base on our road performance in E Lansing last year, It's hard to be optimistic playing in the backyard of our chief rival. There are simply too many question marks with our D-line to make Columbus a gimme. The only way we get 4 or more road W's is if we get every break and bounce going our way. The odds are long on that.

Kyle Meinke

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Wally, I got down losses to Alabama (they're so tough, every year), Notre Dame (you can get only so many breaks your way) and Ohio State (the 'Shoe is as difficult as it gets). Nebraska also could be an L (Lincoln at night is brutal). ... You nailed it, I think, when you said Michigan needs every bounce to go their way to even think about 4 wins.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Says who Wally, YOU ?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

We will win all of our away games, plus one each of ohio's and little brother's this year, running our record to 13-0, regular season. Hail!

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

I still find it hard to believe that there is even a slight bit of doubt in going undefeated on the road. People. We're talking about the greatest college football program in history coupled with the nations top three coaches and staff. That coaching staff, in their second year is now more familiar with the players and the program - it will be a shear miracle to lose a game. Like the trolls that visit our site, humoring us with their woeful sense of intelligence - the opposition has no chance against the mighty Wolverines. Leaders and Best. The answer is OVER. Only a disaster of epic proportions prevents this team from winning all eight (8) of their games on the road this year (B10, BCS Champ). MgoBlueForTiM......Who needs home cooking....


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

SEC, try to hold back the ill manners. You are a guest on a Mich. site and your opinions are respected with some humor thrown back at you as you throw it at us. Please conduct yourself as the lady or gentleman I'm sure you are and remember most people respond to this site out of love or at least respect for the great Michigan Wolverines. If you hate our Beloved Wolverines at least respond to our comments with the respect and dignity that our Mich. Wolves so deserve. This is not about the fans it's about the Michigan Wolverines a well respected team playing in representation of a great University.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

SEC Fan...go check your numbers again for BAMA wins since 1947...Your totals are incorrect and U did not take away the wins you said you did. When you do correct math U will see your error as well as where U really stand in your selective time period vs. Michigan. In addition Terry Star is a Sparty fan...they love to post as bombastic Michigan fans to feed their own deluded perception of the Michigan fanbase. Finally...the other guy was talking Michigan vs. SEC...not Big Ten vs. SEC.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

That should read 1947 to present (including the 1947 season).


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

@ Go Blue. you're so correct. you should let the adults talk football. Quit with blatantly lying! That's what children do when they can't argue with facts. Here is a FACT. 1949 to present. UM: 510 - 185 - 14 BAMA: 535 - 205 - 20 (not including the 26 wins that had to be vacated). Knowing that you flat-out lied about the BAMA and UM records during this time period, I won't bother checking your other LIES. Real Michigan man you are!!! fyi, here's some other FACTS for ya: 1. Bowl Game Records by Conference (thru 2011): SEC 201-157-9 (56% winning record. Big 10: 103 - 119-1 (46% winning record). this is historical affiliation as of 2011. 2. Bowl Game Records by Conference (thru 2011): SEC 200 - 172-12 (52% winning record). Big 10: 121-130-3 (47.6 % winning record). current affiliations as of 2011. 3. Bowl games played: SEC 384. Big 10: 254. 4. BCS Championships: SEC: 8. Big 10: 1 Of course we all know SEC has won the last 6. 5. Total National Championships (since Poll era - 1932): SEC = 19, Big 10 = 13 6. SEC versus Big 10 (Head to Head since creation of SEC in 1932): 73 - 50 - 2 (this is win/loss for teams that played while in their respective conferences). 7. Total BCS Bowl Games: Big 10 = 25 (12 wins, 13 losses 48%). SEC = 21 (15 wins, 6 losses - 71%). All data thru 2011 season.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

SEC, what financial scandal would that be? Ed Martin, nope, that was Ed Martin not the University. And I guess you have never heard of a little school named SMU either right? Not a moment, not one single moment in the history of NCAA football that Michigan has not been relevant. But the SEC has been relevant forever right? News flash for you, since 1947(that's the beginning of your 64 year period) Michigan has a higher winning percentage than every single SEC team present, past and future and only Alabama has more wins, by 1. And they have 3 titles since then. Only Florida and Bama have 3 or more from the SEC. So you think the BCS system isn't biased? Guess what, it's primarily based on the coaches poll. And that's only because the more respected poll, the AP, won't allow their poll to be a part of it. No such thing as a national title that isn't mythical in every conceivable way. What are going to do if USC wins the title this season, change your name to PAC-12 fan? Let the adults talk football.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

@Hailmary. You are correct. I am not sure I have figured it out. Frankly, I was giving ya'll the benefit of the doubt...but after your post I'm sure I am wrong. Ya'll are living in an age that past you by 64 years ago. you have no clue what year it is or what um has actually been doing all this time. or what the rest of the world has been doing. um has been non-relevant on the national scene for 64 years (yes, you had to share 1 championship in a biased poll era). But frankly you guys are all living off of wins that took place in a time when most of you weren't even born. Heck, you guys claim such a great record against MSU, yet fail to disclose that the majority of those wins came before they were in the Big 10 (which ya'll vehemently opposed) and since they entered the big 10, it's been almost even. University of Michigan. Home to the "largest financial scandal in the HISTORY of college sports".


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

If they win all their games with RR's recruits and a dual threat QB then what?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

sec, "aha, I think I've figured it out" so in reality you may or may not have figured it out. If I'm hearing you right sec your not really sure, you "think" you've figured it out. When I have figured something out I say, I figured it out very matter of factually. Your facts about Mich. not being nationally relevant in 64 years are a sad disappointment in relationship to your post and your ability to comprehend facts but then again you admittedly stated, that you Think you have it figured out so based on what you think you might know and your wrong facts about the Great Michigan Wolverine's tradition, I think your really a jilted Michigan fan that is just immaturely acting out. sec you must love the UM the way a child returns home when they've been bad or are lonesome. Is that it sec are you lonesome ?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Cliff, you have to whip somebodys butt to beat them. To almost whip their collective butts is a loss. Now last year Notre Dame was whipping our butts for 3 quarters but they, Notre Dame could not sustain the butt whipping and instead Mich turned it around in the 4th and whipped their butts and won the game. Two butt whipping such as that game displayed does not equal 2 wins therefore, Mich. gave the better of the two butt whippings and won the game. Cliff had you gone to Mich. you wouldn't need such simple details explained to you.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

aha. I think I've figured it out. You guys keep using that word "tradition" to describe how great um is. um hasn't been nationally relevant in 64 years. I now realize you actually mean "antiquated". fyi, those two aren't interchangeable.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Hailmary, I'm not quite sure why you think LSU gave Alabama a "butt whipping" last year... As I recall LSU won 9 to 6 in overtime.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Terry like Lyle Alzado once said to me when I asked him a football question. "I've seen stranger things when it comes to football". Yes Terry, we can win them all, it will take, good coaching, some kids like Wil to have an outstanding year, improved passing arm on Denard, darn good defense especially on the line, solid special teams and just like that Mich. Notre Dame game we need a bit of luck at certain times. Now I've described a tough climb but when it comes right down to it that's what every team needs to win. Last year LSU gave Alabama a butt whipping that first game and LSU wasn't ready for the second game. If we could win on tradition alone we'd be title contenders every year because we have the greatest tradition ever in college football.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5 p.m.

TERRY, i like your confidence and i hope you are right! if we can stay healthy and cut down on mistakes this team can compete with anybody. . . GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

I'm screen capturing this baby! you will be seeing it again :-) Curious, what's your methodology for naming your natural disasters? like we name our hurricanes? or after old coaches? RichRod I, RichRod II...


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Whenever I see stats like this: "Michigan has won four regular-season games away from Michigan Stadium just once this century: " , I love it. Because that means we are one year closer to Michigan winning four regular season games away from Michigan Stadium.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Last year, Michigan lost twice to the two quality teams on the road; IA and MSU. One can argue that IA was not that good to begin with. That is as far as I'd go concerning history. It is the quality road oppenents this year that is concerning (AL, NE and OSU) I think ND is overrated.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

After about 150 voters, it's a close call and I agree. I went under because of superstition. If I go over, Michigan will under achieve, so if I go under, they can surprise me and many other fans. Both Nick and Kyle have valids points and all we can do is hope for the best. GO BLUE!!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

I've never quite understood the 'historical' aspect of these types of discussions, especially in this scenario. If they don't win more than three on the road, it'll have a lot more to do with the teams they play on the road this season, than it will the results of road games during seasons 2002-2011. This is a team that is drastically different than the teams that played during 2008-2010 and making predictions based on seasons beyond that is even sillier, considering there are essentially zero common denominators. DR was going through a transition in coaching and offensive styles and his performance in those road games was understandable. I think we'll see that DR has matured in this offense and will be much improved. I'm going to take the over. Maybe it's with my heart: Alabama - W Notre Dame - W Purdue - W Nebraska - W Minnesota - W Ohio - W Obviously, the heart picks are Alabama and Ohio, but Michigan should win the middle four.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Despite Meyer having all season to familiarize his players with his system and their talent, Michigan "should" beat Ohio again this year. That said it's THE rivalry game in college football and either team can win. So you can pick Michigan with either your heart or your head.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

i admire the tenacity!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

...Except for the summers of 2009 and 2010.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I think Michigan will go undefeated every summer until proven otherwise.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

so you're thinking um will be undefeated this year? Bold prediction.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

I am with you guys. What has happened in the past makes no difference in what happens in the future. Michigan lost a couple great players but I expect a lot of improvement from returning players as a group that should make that up and if any particular player rises above expectations, that is icing on the cake, and usually does happen. I suppose that is the key, who improves the most. With the end of the game come from behind wins like with ND, to me that shows a strong, never give up winning attitude.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

I agree. The comparison to the 2008-2010 era made no sense.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Veracity, Bear Bryant lost 85 games; 2 at home. Crowd noise is huge in big stadiums with evenly matched teams. 80 or 100 thousands people screaming when your trying to make a call and hear the snap in tough. It's also nice to sleep in your own bed the night before. That being said, I take the over. My biggest doubt isn't Alabama or OSU. Can we beat Notre Dame again? At home? With Brian Kelly? After three ridiculous come from behind wins in three years. Last years game was insane. ND will be on steroids.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

"sleep in your own bed"........................ doesn't the team sleep in a hotel before home games?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

interesting. I didn't know that about bear's record. very telling.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

"It's also nice to sleep in your own bed the night before." I actually think this general idea may be a bigger factor than the crowd.It probably can't be emphasized enough that sports is largely psychology. Same bed, same path to the stadium, same locker, etc. can be very comforting, and it's harder for the equipment manager to lose your favorite jock.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

I have always wondered why a team would play differently on an opponent's field than at home. The size of the field of play is the same, the rules are the same, and the personnel are the same. If the home team is more motivated then we have a coaching problem. The team needs to put out a 100% effort for every game and not just for home games. The fact that almost every year at least four NCAA teams flirt with no loss seasons means that teams can do well in away games. It should always be the case that an opponent who beats you on their own field should be the better team and would win on your field also.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

is this really the first time you've thought of this issue?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Veracity, it's as simple as homemade pie. The home crowd gives the home team an adrenalin rush. Adrenalin is a powerful drug that folks have been able to perform incredible feats of strength such as lifting cars off of trapped people.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Veracity, everyone knows that home field advantage is more important in football than in any other sport, pro or college. It's not about the coaches, or the effort, it's about the atmosphere created by the home team, and the comfort level of the players playing in their own stadium.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

WIKIPEDIA! "Other research have found that crowd support, travel fatigue, geographical distance, pitch familiarity, and referee bias do not have a strong effect when each factor is considered alone suggesting that it is the combination of several different factors that creates the overall home advantage effect. An evolutionary psychology explanation for the home advantage effect refers to observed behavioral and physiological responses in animals when they are defending their home territory against intruders. This causes a rise in aggression and testosterone levels in the defenders. A similar effects has been observed in football with testosterone levels being significantly higher in home games than in away games. Goalkeepers, the last line of defense, have particularly strong testosterone changes when playing against a bitter rival as compared to a training season. How testosterone may influence results is unclear but may include but cognitive effects such as motivation and physiological effects such as reaction time.[1]"