One of the biggest knocks on Lloyd Carr’s program has been its inability to win the first road game of the year. Critics of Carr say the trend unmistakenly points to a lack of preparedness which falls on the coaching staff. Since the ’98 season the Blue have won only 2 road openers: 1999 at Syracuse and last year’s beat down in South Bend. That left a 6 year stretch from 2000-2005 where Michigan dropped the opener. Here’s the dismal record:

Michigan Road Openers since 1998
1998 @ Notre Dame Loss – 36-20
1999 @ Syracuse Win – 18-13
2000 @ UCLA Loss – 23-20
2001 @ Washington Loss – 23-18
2002 @ Notre Dame Loss – 25-23
2003 @ Oregon Loss – 31-27
2004 @ Notre Dame Loss – 28-20
2005 @ Wisconsin – Loss – 23-20
2006 @ Notre Dame – Win – 47-21
2007 @ Northwestern

In the past decade the first roadie has been a non-Notre Dame, non-conference opponent but it looks like that won’t happen again for quite awhile. Like it or not, Michigan will pretty much fill the pre-conference schedule with home games leaving the opener for either Notre Dame or, when the Irish game is home, the first conference opponent.

A few other takes heading into the weekend:

Pumping the Records Two major career records are set to fall with Hart closing in on the rushing record and Chad Henne on touchdowns. Mgoblue.com put together a little graphic to keep all this straight:

On BTN game Saturday’s game will be on the Big Ten Network. Sucks to be you if you don’t have the BTN. Sucks worse if you’re a Michigan or Northwestern fan, have BTN, live outside MI or Ohio & your dish provider doesn’t take the overflow channel option and this week. Check out the coverage map: the state of Illinois gets the Illini game. Bollocks! Well, I’m sure they’ll make it work.

More on BTN Adding fuel to the ridiculous Comcast/BTN media fire…. Part of the deal with the Big Ten and ESPN/ABC defined who got the second choice of games to air (ABC with the first choice of course). The Big Ten Network gets the second pick on games to televise 3 weeks this season. If the November 3 weekend is one of those weeks where the BTN gets #2, we’ve got an issue. There’s a good chance the Michigan State vs. Michigan game is covered on the Big Ten Network. Dave Dye raised this scenario a couple weeks ago.

Still boggles the mind That wild Northwestern run of a few years ago still lingers and it is pretty amazing. In today’s Ann Arbor News Antoine Pitts put this factoid in there:

The Wildcats have won more Big Ten championships (three) than anyone in the last 12 years except for Michigan and Ohio State. Fitzgerald played on the team that won the title outright in 1995 and again in 1996 when the Wildcats tied Ohio State for the crown. In 2000, Northwestern shared the title with Michigan and Purdue.

4 Comments

  1. I have contacted Comcast—everyday for the past 2 weeks asking them when I would get BTN. Almost everytime I got a different answer. The whole thing is ridiculous if the UM-MSU game will be on BTN. I will be even more angry at the whole system.

  2. As a fan of Big 10 sports and academics, I’ve changed my tune on this whole Big Ten Networks thing. My initial reaction was that it should just be part of the sports package and anyone wanting it should have the option to pay an extra $5 per month to get it, rather than being forced to pay an extra $1.10 or so per month by having it included in the expanded basic package even if you don’t want it. After all, I’m a proponent of free markets.

    But then I realized how unique it would be if Big Ten football, basketball and other sports and campus programming were pumped into every Comcast subscriber’s home around the country. That’s unprecedented and it would significantly increase the conference’s exposure, which would benefit recruiting for athletics (“Mom, don’t worry Indiana is thousands of miles away from Miami, you’ll be able to watch all of my games on TV – that SEC school can’t offer that”) and academics (academic programming is available on the network, but the boon would more likely be due to increased athletic exposure – the Fab 5 had a huge impact on the number of applicants for admission to UofM). No other conference can offer this and it would put the Big 10 way ahead of the curve.

    If you’re a fan of the Big 10, you really should want BTN
    to be included in Comcast’s expanded basic cable package because the long-term upside to the Big 10 is huge. And what’s the downside if BTN fails? We go back to basically the same level of programming we had before. Kudos to the Big 10 for creating this network and for sticking to your guns.

    (In case you’re wondering, no, I’m not in any way affiliated with the Big 10 or the BTN or any lobbyists on their behalf. I graduated from two Big 10 schools and I really think this will give us a unique recruiting advantage over other conferences.)

  3. I am a fan of Lew……good takes.

  4. I am also a fan…well said.