Michigan football gets scheduling break in 2013
The Wolverines faced three of the top-four teams in the country, according to the final Associated Press poll, and four of the top eight. They played both national title game qualifiers -- Alabama and Notre Dame -- as well as unbeaten Ohio State.
They also faced Legends Division champion Nebraska in the regular season, and No. 8 South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Those teams combined for a 58-8 record. And Michigan faced each of them away from Ann Arbor.
Coach Brady Hoke tried to put a positive spin on the gauntlet, noting “I think there’s always a benefit (to playing a tough schedule). When you play good football teams, whether you win or lose, you learn how you have to play."
Unfortunately for Michigan, it lost each of those games.
Fortunately for Michigan, its 2013 schedule won't be nearly as difficult.
It starts with the home/road splits. Michigan will have seven home games next year, compared to six in 2012. The road games also should be more manageable: At Connecticut, Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa.
Although not easy, it's certainly not No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 8 South Carolina and No. 25 Nebraska.
That's big for a Michigan team that is just 5-8 away from Ann Arbor in two years under Hoke, including 2-5 last season. It's 4-5 in true road games.
It's 13-0 at home under Hoke
The nonleague slate also should be more navigable, with Alabama dropping off and Notre Dame traveling to Ann Arbor. The other games -- Central Michigan, Akron and UConn -- should be victories.
Michigan's schedule won't be easy. But it gets three of its four toughest opponents -- Ohio State, Notre Dame and Nebraska -- at home. That's a far more manageable task than the murderer's row it faced in 2012.
Aug. 31 Central Michigan (7-6 in 2012)
Sept. 7 Notre Dame (12-1)
Sept. 14 Akron (1-11)
Sept. 21 at Connecticut (5-7)
Sept. 28 Bye
Oct. 5 Minnesota (6-7)
Oct. 12 at Penn State (8-4)
Oct. 19 Indiana (4-8)
Oct. 26 Bye
Nov. 2 at Michigan State (7-6)
Nov. 9 Nebraska (10-4)
Nov. 16 at Northwestern (10-3)
Nov. 23 at Iowa (4-8)
Nov. 30 Ohio State (12-0)
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