Michigan to open Big Ten football schedule against MSU in 2015-16; adds Wisconsin
The Michigan football team opened Big Ten play against the league's last-place team in 2009 and 2010, and against the last-place team in the Legends Division in 2011.
Those teams went a combined 4-20 in conference games, and Michigan beat each of them.
Things are about to get a lot tougher -- and interesting.
AnnArbor.com file photo
Those games both occur on the first Saturday in October, which leaves open the possibility one -- or both -- could be played at night.
Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis said last week he has no hesitation in scheduling a prime-time game between the rivals. Michigan's Dave Brandon has been more reluctant, citing the possibility for rowdy fans.
The game's late spot on the schedule had also been a sticking point, because of the cold. That won't be in the equation for two consecutive years, it appears.
The Wolverines still will close the 2015 and 2016 seasons against Ohio State, meaning their Big Ten schedule is bookended by its two biggest rivals.
Michigan also add a third heavyweight to its schedule in Wisconsin, which it hasn't faced since falling 48-28 to the Badgers in 2010.
As they add Wisconsin, a perennial contender for the Big Ten title, the Wolverines lose Indiana, Purdue and Penn State from both seasons. That could stiffen their road to the league championship game, since the Hoosiers and Boilermakers have struggled in recent years.
Michigan’s 2015 Big Ten schedule:
Oct. 3 -- at Michigan State
Oct. 10 -- Wisconsin
Oct. 17 -- Minnesota
Oct. 24 -- at Illinois
Oct. 31 -- OFF
Nov. 7 -- Nebraska
Nov. 14 -- at Northwestern
Nov. 21 -- at Iowa
Nov. 28 -- Ohio State
Michigan’s 2016 Big Ten schedule
Oct. 1 -- Michigan State
Oct. 8 -- at Minnesota
Oct. 15 -- Northwestern
Oct. 22 -- OFF
Oct. 29 -- at Wisconsin
Nov. 5 -- Illinois
Nov. 12 -- at Nebraska
Nov. 19 -- Iowa
Nov. 26 -- at Ohio State