Since last January, I have advocated a home and home series between Georgia and Michigan. While arguing in favor of scheduling such an exchange of games, I have confronted the legitimate difficulties that make such a series problematic by pointing to the examples of Auburn (yes, Auburn), Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas.
(Image from The M Zone.)
L.S.U. may now be added to the list, as well. As pointed out over at And the Valley Shook, L.S.U. is working to schedule home and home series with other B.C.S. schools. As reported by The Advocate, L.S.U.'s senior associate athletic director, Verge Ausberry, has a plan:
Ausberry said LSU is also looking at a neutral site game or two. The school was approached earlier this year about the possibility of playing a nonconference game in Dallas' Cotton Bowl.
In short, a traditional S.E.C. power that has won two of the last five conference crowns and played for one more believes it can accommodate regular home and home series with B.C.S. league opponents while also playing regular-season neutral site contests and maintaining its in-state rivalry with an out-of-conference opponent, since the 12-game schedule still leaves room for two guaranteed home games against lower-tier competition.
Does that scenario sound familiar to anyone?
Oh, yeah, right . . . that's just like us, isn't it?
While performing at the highest level, the Bayou Bengals have played non-conference games against opponents from B.C.S. leagues during each of the last four regular seasons, tangling with Virginia Tech in 2002, Arizona in 2003, Oregon State in 2004, and Arizona State in 2005. The Pac-10 Wildcats are on the Tigers' schedule again this year and the Hokies are slated to visit Baton Rouge in 2007.
The Advocate's Scott Rabalais continues:
Michigan, coach Les Miles' alma mater, is focusing on re-upping with the Irish before it even considers playing a Southeastern Conference school, Ausberry said. As for Notre Dame, he said there is some interest, but not until after 2015.
"That door isn't shut," Ausberry said.
Naturally, I don't want another S.E.C. school getting to the Wolverines first and I wouldn't want Coach Miles's ties to Ann Arbor to allow L.S.U. to get its foot in the door ahead of Georgia. However, it sounds like the problem is chiefly from the Maize and Blue's end.
When I contacted the athletic directors at each school, both Damon Evans and Bill Martin provided cordial and receptive responses. While I believe Michigan can fit in Georgia and Notre Dame, too, prominent members of the Wolverine family want to jettison the Fighting Irish in favor of more cross-sectional showdowns. Some Michigan fans agree and some others do not.
He may be a grumpy curmudgeon, but he's on my side.
Where does this leave us? While the Wolverines have no reason to fear a trip to the South, it appears that the folks in Ann Arbor will need some convincing. I have provided Michigan A.D. Bill Martin's postal address and e-mail before, but this may be a good opportunity to do so again:
Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
University of Michigan
1000 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2201
Remind Bill Martin that we're still interested in getting the Maize and Blue on the Red and Black's slate. Patience is required, but so is persistence. Drop him a line to keep this possibility on the front burner . . . if not now, then in the future.