Blog Entry

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

Posted on: August 26, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 3:10 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

First, the facts: Michigan has agreed to play Appalachian State as the Wolverines' opening opponent of the 2014 season. Yes, this is the same Appalachian State that became the first-ever FCS team to beat a ranked opponent when they beat, yes, Michigan the opening week of the 2007 season.

You knew that. Which is why after the facts comes the opinion: this is the single dumbest scheduling decision we can remember, and the most craven one since Indiana sold out one of their own Big Ten home games to play at a "neutral site" full of Penn State fans.

Why is Michigan hosting the Mountaineers such a colossally horrid idea? Let us count the ways:

1. For weeks upon weeks leading up to the game, the talk surrounding Michigan won't be about the team's expectations for the new season or the Wolverines' star players or Michigan's Big Ten chances; it'll be about that time Michigan was ranked No. 5 in the country and lost to Appalachian State.

2. Viewers tuning in will no doubt hear much about the game they're watching, but they will hear just as much about the time the two teams played before and No. 5 Michigan lost to Appalachian State.

3. Even if Michigan wins, the story following the game will be "Michigan beats Appalachian State, not like that other time where they were No. 5 and lost to them." And if the game is close? "Michigan narrowly avoids losing to Appalachian State, like they already did that other time. Remember that?"

4. If lightning does indeed strike twice and the Wolverines lose, forget all the All-Americans and national titles and conference championships and tradition and everything; for any college football fan under the age of, say, 27, Michigan is now The Team That Loses to Appalachian State.

5. It's not possible for Michigan to earn "revenge" against the Mountaineers. The former is one of the most storied programs in college football history. The latter is an FCS program (a good one, mind) that, if they're lucky, might land in Conference USA the next few seasons. 30 Michigan wins can't equal the impact of one of Appalachian State's in the "series," much less the single one Michigan will likely earn in 2012. To suggest the Wolverines can "even the score" with Appalachian State is to also suggest the two programs are somehow equals, peers.

So why on earth would Michigan agree to a game that by its very existence -- "Michigan! Appalachian State! Round 2!" -- can't help but make that suggestion? Because people will watch. Because people will talk about Michigan. Because people already are talking about Michigan, and the game's just been scheduled. (You're reading this post right now, aren't you?)

Nevermind that the talk is about arguably the ugliest, lowest point in Michigan football history. Nevermind that viewers will be tuning in to watch Michigan play in the designated role of dumb overrated Goliath to the Mountainerrs' band of merry Davids. Nevermind that the rewards for winning are minimal, the cost of losing incalculable.

Nevermind all of that; it's free publicity, tons of it, and from what we can tell Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon truly believes there's no such thing as a bad version of it. He doesn't mind if you haul out all of those old 2007 tomatoes all over again, really--just so long as it's Michigan you're throwing them at, he's happy.

A postscript just to prove our point: doesn't this post feel incomplete without video of the Mountaineers' victory in the Big House? Yes, yes it does. So here you go:


Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:24 am

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

it will be so gratifying to watch all the wooferine fans filing out of there own so -called big house at half time against the awesome buckeye nation

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: August 28, 2011 9:25 am

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

This game will be a cross between an execution and an exorcism.  The coaching staff at Michigan will be in their prime instead of being stale, tired, and obsolete like Lloyd Carr and his playcalling were in 2007.  The players will have to hear the taunts referred to in the article for a month going into this game.  Appy State will be playing a Michigan team that has rivalry game intensity instead of a team looking forward to an easy victory.  
This could be one of "those" games where Michigan is up 62-0 and decides to go for a two-point conversion.  Appy State is the school that made the bad decision to schedule this game: not Michigan

If the UM players go into the game with the same attitude as the arrogant fans of the team up North, then Appy will have a fighting chance, after all, it was arrogance on the part of UM that allowed Appy to win in 2007.

As to scheduling the games against 1AA teams, APPY and several other 1AA teams would walk through the Sun Belt, and would do pretty well in the MAC, so just being in the lower division does NOT mean you can't play ball.

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: August 28, 2011 9:10 am

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

My daughter still has the game on tape.  Good for a good laugh.  That was the year Hart and company ran their mouth how they came back to beat OSU and win the National Championship.  It was over before it started.
I was at the OSU game that day and 50,000 stayed and watched the ending on the big screen.  Bad day for Michigan but a worse day for the Big 10. 

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: August 28, 2011 8:19 am

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

What goes unspoken is who actually made the decision and what was the reasoning behind it.

Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 6:58 pm

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

You guys forgot to mention Toledo.

Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2011 4:38 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2011 3:30 pm

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

I agree with Hinnon. It's such a ridiculous idea, that its probably a stroke of genius. If the focus is on Michigan and App. St., (and it will be) then its good for both programs, even though the focus is embarrassing to Michigan.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:34 pm

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

I guess I'm in the minority, but I like this. Why not? It's a football game.  Should Virginia refuse to play Chaminade ever again? Should the Russians refuse to play the U.S. in hockey ever again?  It's a game, and in the spirit of competition Michigan was adult enough and secure enough with itself to say, "Sure, it was a great story the last time we played, let's do it again and see what happens."

The irony of course is that the ONLY reason this was such a big story is precisely because Michigan has a football tradition of success unlike any other program ever.  If they had beat Georgia or Florida State or Nebraska or Oregon, we probably would have all forgotten about it by now.  But it was Michigan, and the only reason this was a historically noteworthy win for App St is because it was Michigan.

Michigan State lost to Univrsity of Detroit in basketball the last three times they played each other.  Izzo has been ducking the Titans ever since, under this silly childish argument that we hear all the time in sports that there's simply nothing to be gained from playing a lesser opponent that you might possibly lose to again.  How about the spirit of competition?  How about, "Why the hell not?"

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 27, 2011 12:25 pm

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

Is Coastal Carolina, Georgia's game 3 opponent this season, a Division 1 program?  Thre are plenty of FCS teams that are better than plenty of D-1 teams.

You hate Michigan because they are the Yankees and Red Wings of college football - unmatched tradition of winning, 100+ year history.  Slavery had barely been abolished in your home state when the Wolverines started playing football.

Get over it.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:20 am

Michigan to play Appalachian State in 2014

Just as a reminder, Michigan is the ONLY top 10 ranked team (No. 5 at the time) to EVER be beaten by a FBS (I-AA) team in all of the long and storied history of college football. Quite an achievement, actually.  

Kinda proves that pre-season polls are completely worthless, huh?

At least Carr rallied the troops enough by seasons end to give Urban Meyer and the Chosen One Heisman winner Timmy T their only career Bowl game losses. Quite an achievement, actuallyTongue out


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