Michigan’s spring schedule has seemed on the immediate horizon for weeks, and it’s finally available. The gritty details:
|Feb. 1||Marquette (exh.)||Home (Oosterbaan)|
|Feb. 8||Penn State||Away (State College, Pa.)|
|Feb. 14||Mercer||Home (Oosterbaan)|
|Feb. 19||Detroit||Away (Pontiac, Mich.)|
|Feb. 22||Johns Hopkins||Away (Baltimore)|
|March 5||High Point||Away (High Point, N.C.)|
|March 8||Furman||Away (Greenville, S.C.)|
|March 15||Bellarmine||Away (Louisville, Ky.)*|
|March 22||St. Joseph’s||Home|
|March 29||Air Force||Away (Colorado Springs, Colo.)*|
|April 12||Ohio State||Away (Columbus, Ohio)*|
|April 26||Robert Morris||Home|
Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision
A few thoughts:
- This is the first year Michigan has put together a schedule where they can really win a few games. Of course, past games that looked like possible wins (namely High Point last year) didn’t pan out that way. This year there’s more than just one or two, however. You have a Mercer team that has struggled to reach any competency, a rematch against High Point, and a first-year program in Furman. Add in the St. Joseph’s team that U-M beat last year, and there are some real opportunities.
- Of course, the hope is to sweep that slate and take a couple more games here and there from the middle ranks. It remains to be seen how much U-M improves, but I think the growth they showed with the eyeball test last year will translate to the results this season.
- There’s also a ton of power at the top. As in… six of last year’s top nine teams nationally. That’s tough. Of course those teams aren’t all returning in full force (though Ohio State, for example, could be even better than last year), but Michigan is not really in a position to stand up to some of those teams.
- The overall average 54.44% was about equivalent to the No. 28 team in the country. Obviously with a couple of the worst programs and a few of the best on the docket, this is a high-variance group.
- A pretty good mix of home and away games. Of course the Detroit contest is more of a neutral-site deal in practice. Most of the winnable games are away from home (Mercer is the exception), making them both a little tougher to win and less likely to be seen by Michigan fans. Still, getting the likes of Maryland and Cornell into Michigan Stadium will be 1) awesome in general 2) good for the growth of the game, and 3) preparation for the Big Ten schedule in 2015.
This is a schedule that Michigan should finally turn into multiple wins after one in each of the previous two seasons. It should also show them a bit of humility and what sort of team they want to be in the future. For the season to be a success, it’s really taking care of business in the easy games, earning a win or two out of the middle, and building toward 2015 with the first fully-recruited (albeit not all recruited for D-1) roster in program history.