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Wednesday Night Dawg Bites: A Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get There

As MaconDawg has already noted, the month has arrived in which college football season will arrive. The long offseason is almost at an end, my friends, but, before we dive headlong into autumn, there are a few fine details that warrant our attention:

A quick glance at Michigan's schedule reveals a twelve week schedule with 8 conference games dating from late September through November. This leaves four open weekends. Generally, Michigan likes to schedule a MAC snacky cake in October just to keep the boys fresh. This leaves three open slots for additional competition outside the conference ranks. Now that Notre Dame has secured the second week in September as a (basically) permanent date, there are two slots for prime competition.

There is a lot of hand wringing that Notre Dame's presence precludes the scheduling of another top flight opponent. I don't get this. In 2007 Michigan will play Notre Dame AND Oregon. Last year, with the late addition of a 12th game, Michigan played a game Vanderbilt team on basically a moment's notice. Michigan has played Notre Dame and a good Colorado team in the same year (1994, Damn You Kordell Stewart!), and in a year where there were only 11 games. While I understand the concern about a killer schedule prior to Big Ten play, this isn't something that has troubled Michigan's scheduling in the past. . . .

Notre Dame's presence on the schedule simply means there is a good non-conference team on the schedule for the foreseeable future. Regardless of how the season turns out, no one can say "Well, they didn't play anyone." The tired refrain of "Notre Dame isn't that good," whether recently true or not will not be the case in two to three years. As much as it pains Michigan fans to hear it, Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame. They are one of the winningest programs in college football, have 12 titles, and are a team the rest of the country wants to play. Oklahoma now sits on their schedule alongside Michigan and USC. Conference or not, that's a tough schedule by itself. It should also serve as an example that you can schedule top programs every year.

Michigan has Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and to a lesser extent Iowa and Michigan State on its schedule for the foreseeable future. Should that preclude scheduling a home-at-home with Georgia, Texas, Bama, Florida State, Cal, Florida, Georgia Tech, or sharing some Cheetos with Fulmer and Tennessee? I don't think so. Michigan has a tradition of scheduling great opponents regardless of who's on the schedule. I can't believe for a second that Bill Martin, after the outstanding job he's done as Michigan's AD, would stop at Notre Dame.

Then whom shall we schedule?

Look above! There are plenty of teams in addition to the ones I just mentioned. I've got a preference for Georgia. I'd love to see a September game in Athens and to make the rounds in Atlanta to see where Smokey and The Bandit was filmed.

Rest assured, Dave, the offer is still good and, as someone who has made similar arguments before, I hope you're right.

Maybe the 20-year contract extension with Notre Dame was an attention-getter.

In another month, we'll be in Sanford Stadium to see the 'Dawgs take on Oklahoma State. We're almost there, people; hang on just a little bit longer.

Go 'Dawgs!