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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Michigan Adds UMass To Its 2012 Football Schedule

After waiting a significant amount of time to solidify its 2012 schedule, Michigan has announced that it officially added UMass as the final game of the season (September 15, 2012).

Though this is probably not an exciting game for most fans, it completes what could be the most difficult schedule for Michigan in recent memory. Here's a glimpse at the 2012 schedule:

Sept 1 - Alabama (Dallas, TX)
Sept 8 - Air Force
Sept 15 - UMass
Sept 22 - @ Notre Dame
Oct 6 - @ Purdue
Oct 13 - Illinois
Oct 20 - Michigan State
Oct 27 - @ Nebraska
Nov 3 - @ Minnesota
Nov 10 - Northwestern
Nov 17 - Iowa
Nov 24 - @ Ohio State

Frankly, with away trips to Norte Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State accompanied by a neutral site game against Alabama, one can't help but thinking that 2012 will be an uphill battle. Along with this, the home schedule presents challenges of its own. Air Force has risen to prominence and has been ranked for significant stretches over the last several years, UMass nearly beat Michigan in 2010 and has moved into the MAC, and teams like Michigan State, Illinois, and Iowa can always be challenging.

Although scheduling tough non-conference opponents in 2012 may not have been the best idea with Michigan's road schedule, most speculate it was simply a move to spur ticket sales. Before Air Force and UMass were added to the schedule (assuming 2 random MAC or FCS teams would have filled their slots), Michigan probably only had 1 truly exciting game on the home schedule (Michigan State) and 3 relatively interesting games depending on the circumstances (Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern).

The move may have been revenue-based, but Michigan should be able to 'avenge' its near loss in 2012 to UMass and give fans the chance to enjoy one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation in 2012.