Football Announces 2014-16 Non-Conference GamesThoughts? Thoughts.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Wednesday, June 27) updates to the non-conference schedules for the 2014-16 football seasons and the future schedule with Notre Dame. The Wolverines will play a nationally-competitive non-conference slate, facing teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American conferences as well as independent Notre Dame.
Michigan will play three of its four non-conference games at the Big House in 2014. The Wolverines will open the season against Appalachian State at the Big House on Aug. 30 before traveling to Notre Dame in the second week of the season (Sept. 6). U-M will host Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 13 before finishing the non-conference slate Sept. 20 with the front end of a home-and-home with Utah.
In 2015, the Wolverines will face the Utes on a Thursday night (Sept. 3) in Salt Lake City, Utah. This will be the first college football game of the 2015 season and will also be the first time that U-M has played a Thursday night football game in school history. Following the trip West, Michigan returns to Ann Arbor for three straight home games: Notre Dame (Sept. 12), Oregon State (Sept. 19) and UNLV (Sept. 26).
The 2016 season schedule is half complete with an agreement to face Colorado at the Big House on Sept. 17. This game will be played one week after a trip to Notre Dame (Sept. 10). The Wolverines have openings for home games on Sept. 3 and Sept. 24.
In addition, Michigan and Notre Dame will take a two-year hiatus in their long-standing rivalry during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Both schools intend to resume the rivalry in the years following.
Following are the current non-conference football schedules for the 2014-16 seasons:
Aug. 30 Appalachian State
Sept. 6 at Notre Dame
Sept. 13 Miami (Ohio)
Sept. 20 Utah
Sept. 3 at Utah
Sept. 12 Notre Dame
Sept. 19 Oregon State
Sept. 26 UNLV
Sept. 3 TBA
Sept. 10 at Notre Dame
Sept. 17 Colorado
Sept. 24 TBA
• The ND series going on haitus for two seasons in 2018-19 will be a welcome break. Odds that ND is still independent by the time the series 'intends to' resume in 2020, I would say are 50/50, at best. This matchup will continue to frustrate a certain faction of the Michigan fanbase.
• Utah. Utah is fine. I've accepted it. I have no issues with them other than they're just..."Meh". I am intrigued with the trip to SLC in 2015 for a Thursday night game. That's different.
• Filling in open dates with Oregon State and Colorado is, again, not sexy but okay. Are these going to be home and home? If they aren't, that would surprise me. Maybe a return trip will be acceptable for when we draw them once the B1G/Pac-12 series starts in 2017. Who really knows?
• These schedules seem adequately difficult – which is nice because starting in 2014, strength-of-schedule is an important factor in the new BCS model. The balance between scheduling win-able games and playing schools tough enough so no one can complain your schedule was too weak, is going to be the emphasis for any major CFB team going forward. These three non-conf schedules seem to be just that.
• It seems like the dream non-conf teams that everyone would love to see during the regular season are as far away as ever. I don't see any scenario where we play a team like Texas, LSU, USC, Florida State, Georgia, etc anytime soon. I guess that's what the newfangled BCS is for.