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.