Biggest Non-Conference Game in 2010

Last week we took a look at the 2010 schedule and discovered Michigan's biggest opponent this year will not be the Buckeyes, but rather the heretics from E. Lansing. [Link]

But that certainly doesn't mean we're done. The schedule has many ways to break it down. We play 12 games...all of which mean something. Today, we'll look at Michigan's non-conference opponents and discover which one will be the most important.

I consider it both a blessing and a curse that Michigan plays Notre Dame each year. A blessing that it provides a big-name opponent for the non-conf schedule year-in-and year-out. A curse in that it blocks us from getting a different big name non-conf opponent to play once in a while.

When I first started getting serious about Michigan football, I never realized how good we had it. We played the Irish most seasons, but we also played schools like Boston College, Colorado, Virginia, Syracuse, Washington, UCLA, and even recently with Oregon.

Those days are screamingly ending with the prevalence of FCS schools popping up on schedules more frequently. Even the directional Michigan schools are regulars on Michigan schedule now.

But every now and then Michigan can get a smaller, but still BCS level opponent that makes me hold out hope that they will continue tougher non-conference scheduling. For this year, that opponent is the Huskies from the University of Connecticut.

Yes, that's right. Our biggest non-conference opponent for 2010 is not Notre Dame, but rather UCONN.


Well, easy really. We beat Notre Dame last year. So the heat is off Rodriguez to win against the Irish. The heat IS on for Rodriguez to impress in the opener. Just like last year, the opener is a huge game for Michigan AND Rodriguez.

So in that respect, it doesn't really matter who the opener is. Whomever we play is the biggest non-conf opponent for 2010. But this opener is against UCONN. And that only makes this even bigger. Yes, UCONN is a BCS opponent. No, they're not a sexy BCS opponent. But that really doesn't matter. The 2010 opener is important for this program and this head coach, and any Michigan fan with his or her salt knows why. If we can set the tone like we did last year against Western Michigan, it can take the heat off of Rodriguez and allow he and his staff to focus on coaching this team, and not warding off the press who will already be calling for his head.

And this year's opener has added meaning. It will be dedication game for the newly renovated stadium. So not only will it go down in history, but it is the added flavor that makes this the most important game on Michigan's 2010 non-conference schedule.

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