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Varsity Blue

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Potential Rutgers series in the future

As I have stated in this space before, I am a huge proponent of scheduling teams with a pulse, regardless of whether they even stand a chance of beating Michigan. In the past, I had mentioned Rutgers among the teams that I would like to see Michigan home-and-home with in the future. According to this article in the San Antonio Express-News, Bill Martin is on the same wavelength (it's buried down there).

Michigan has a hole in its 2008 football schedule, preferring an opponent for the first or fourth weeks of the season. The Wolverines likely won’t play a Mid-American Conference school after already booking two games with teams from that conference.

Wonder if a Big 12 team would be willing to accept the challenge of playing at the so-called “Big House?”

The most likely team would be KSU, particularly as OSU already has a tough home game assured with Georgia as the return from their game this season.

But Michigan athletic director Bill Martin told the Detroit News that his preferred opponent would be Rutgers, particularly if a return game could be arranged to play the Scarlet Knights at the Meadowlands in a later season.

I haven't yet had the opportunity (desire) to search for Rutgers's 2008 schedule to determine if they have either the first or the fourth week open. This would be a good thing for Michigan. First, it's playing against a team that's on the rise, though not yet among the nation's elite. Plus, it affords the ability to technically schedule a home-and-home with some added benefits.

The home leg would function as any other part of a home-and-home series, with the home team (in this case Michigan) taking all the gate money, and the teams splitting TV money. The away leg, however, is where things get interesting. Bill Martin has long desired to play a game in the Meadowlands, which is conveniently located in New Jersey (as is Rutgers(!)). This is to bring the UM football product near New York City, where a large number of alums live. Martin would likely refuse to play at Rutgers unless the game was moved to this venue. Since Rutgers would be unable to fill the stadium without one of the biggest draws in collegiate athletics (this is pretty much speculation, but I'm guessing second to Notre Dame football), Michigan would take some of the gate money, in addition to the even split for TV money. A large proportion (certainly not half, but much much greater than for any other away game) of the fans would also be Michigan supporters, easing the challenge of playing on the road for the Maize-and-Blue, as well.

In conclusion: YAY!


“Potential Rutgers series in the future”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Once upon a time, RU needed a Michigan to help improve its college football exposure. Now RU (ranked #12 in the final BCS ranking) doesn't need Michigan (#8)to help and should never agree to part with any of its gate now the an RU ticket is as hot a commodity as a Jet or Giant ticket. RU plays in Piscataway and no longer will go off campus for its home games, not got Notre Dame and certainly not for Michigan.

  2. Anonymous Katherine Says:

    And why not anon? Their home stadium doesn't hold very many seats regardless of how popular Rutgers has become in the NY/NJ area. At least not the type of seats Michigan fans would want. This is true even if they add temporary seats. Their record attendance is at 44,100. Even if they add 10,000 like Schiano hopes for by the 2008 season, that'll still be nearly half of what could be done at UM Stadium and about 2/3 of Giants Stadium. Way more revenue for both schools if it's done at the Meadowlands.

    I believe Rutgers could definitely help fill Giants Stadium combined with some local NY/NJ and traveling Michigan fans. It'd be a major plus in exposure for both schools, but Rutgers would benefit in this aspect much more. One good year is decent exposure, but if they don't do something big or fall off even the slightest bit for one or two seasons, they'll need a game like this to continue the exposure and expand it.

    I don't care what they were ranked at the end of the season, they're still a small school and one year of success doesn't make you worldwide. CFB is still not big in NY/NJ. Look at what happened to Syracuse once they started to suck again and the bandwagon NY/NJ fans left. RU has bandwagon fans right now, not many diehards. One falloff will hurt. Anything to keep them in the mouths of cfb fans across the nation will help. A game like this and continued success is the key. Don't be too proud to underestimate that.

  3. Anonymous Katherine Says:

    Not to mention, if both of these teams meet and are sucesssful up until this potential matchup, it'll probably be primetime (either 3:30 or 7 kickoff time) and for sure a College Gameday location. Absolutely huge if both teams are doing well.

  4. Anonymous Katherine Says:

    Oh yeah...P.S. they don't have the 20th of Sept open in 2008, but they don't have August 30th date taken. It's either the Aug 30th or not at all in 2008. They're @ Navy on 9/20. Bummer, I was hoping it wouldn't be the opener if it does happen cuz it'd be cool to see how each school's 2008 squad would possibly match up beforehand. That should be Mallett's first start.

  5. Blogger Tim Says:

    Anon, Rutgers would make more money by agreeing to move to the Meadowlands and giving Michigan part of the gate than they ever could by having the game at their home stadium.

    Also, if you think RU is on the same level as UM in terms of exposure, get your head out of the clouds and back to reality.

  6. Anonymous Jon Says:

    Rutgers fan here. I'm definitely in favor of this, as it least it's not PSU arrogant offering the Temple 2-1 package.

    A few corrections though. RU is not a small school, it's one of the largest schools in the country.

    The team drew 42,000 a game in 2006 and is expected to sell out 8 games this year at 44,000 per. I don't know how many Michigan fans live in the NYC area, but Rutgers would easily bring 50,000 to the game if it keeps up its momentum. So any gate should not be an even split.

  7. Blogger Paul Says:

    Jon: What I believe Tim was saying is that Rutgers is still relatively small on the college football landscape.

    I agree they're heading in the right direction and could become a major power in the near future.

    As far as a split at the gates, Michigan will want a share, but the bigger reason will be fund raising with the affluent, NY/NJ alumni as well as using the game as a recruiting tool out on the East coast.

    What was kind of missed in the indignation of Michigan scheduling Appalachian St, was Bill Martin saying he was looking into higher profile home and homes or neutral site games in denser alumni areas.

  8. Blogger Schavey ES Says:

    Did you guys here about the new tax they are planning to put on all tickets? Check out this Detroit free press article about it http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...50358/1001/ NEWS
    All I know is that as a poor college student I don't want to be paying more money for the football, basketball and hockey tickets I'm already purchasing.
    For more info or to voice your malcontent i suggest going to www.notickettax.com

  9. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Rutgers has previously said that they are not opposed to playing in Giants Stadium, but only for the right matchup. However, since Rutgers is hoping to upgrade the stadium soon, they may have over 60,000 seats by 2009.

    As far as 2008 is concerned, word is that Rutgers has possibly two open OOC slots to fill. One was being held for a Div. 1-AA match, and the other is currently for a match with Buffalo, but Buffalo is considering reneging for the second time in 3 seasons.

    I think a Michigan game would be interesting and would easily be a prime time contest, but Rutgers would require a Home-and-Home commitment. That might be more difficult since Rutgers has already committed to a 4 game H-a-H series with Notre Dame starting in 2010.

  10. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Rutgers wants no part of a MAJOR program. Schiano has alot of people fooled that Rutgers is actually a big time program. Rutgers has exeatly ONE bowl win and they beat a team that was 7-6. They continue to play one of the weakest schedules in football and Bob Mulchahy, the crooked athletic director, has already stated that "Rutgers will continue to play 1-AA opponents through the 2011 season". Rutgers a BIG TIME program? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!

  11. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Make it happen!