August 10, 2010
Brandon: Exciting news is coming
Amid rumors Michigan and Alabama are in negotiations to play a neutral-site game in 2012, U-M head coach Rich Rodriguez would only say conversations "are ongoing" when pressed by the media Monday. On Tuesday, TheWolverine.com spoke Athletic Director David Brandon, who said exciting news is coming
Whether that news is related to these rumors or something else entirely, Brandon echoed his football coach.
"Rich is not wrong," Brandon said, when asked if he could expand on Rodriguez's comments. "We've had discussions, and as I said, something like that [a neutral-site, one-game contest] would be an anomaly, a special opportunity, were it to happen.
"But we are out there looking for those types of opportunities."
If Michigan and Alabama were to reach an agreement, the Maize and Blue would be locked into six games on the road - four in conference play, one at Notre Dame and this neutral-site contest (rumors have the game in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium, which would Brandon would not confirm or deny) for the 2012 season, which is not ideal.
"It is a guiding principle to have a minimum of seven games at home, unless a real unusual circumstance occurs," he said. "If there is a one-off, neutral-site opportunity, an anomaly, I could see a situation where you have only have six, but the guiding principle is seven."
While talks with the Crimson Tide - even if they do not come to fruition -- are exciting a fan base that has long desired two-year home-and-home contests against a marquee name in college football, similar to Ohio State's cycle of Texas (2005-06), Southern Cal (2008-09) and Miami (2010-11), Michigan is exploring other options.
"With the revamping of the conference and some of the changes in the other conferences, we have not been super aggressive in booking non-conference games into the future," Brandon said. "We've been cautious as we let a lot of this sort out.
"We want to give our fans terrific games to increase their desire to be at Michigan Stadium, and sometimes to do that you have to schedule home-and-homes that will lead to a higher caliber of opponent. So we're looking at putting together a strong schedule but also a competitive schedule for our team to give our coaches and athletes the best chance to realize their goals every year."
-- Brandon also addressed Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney's news last week at the conference's Football Kickoff the league will move to a nine-game conference schedule within the next three or four years.
"I believe the nine-game schedule will be good for the conference and good for all the schools in the conference," Brandon said. "As our league gets bigger and stronger, it's a good thing to go to nine conference games. I'm in favor of this decisions.
"The timetable will be a result of working through a transition period because a number of schools in our conference already have schedule commitments signed through the next few seasons. So I'm not sure it can happen in two or three years or even four, but I believe it will happen as quickly as it is feasible."
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