2014 Big Ten schedule released, two takes on the awfulness

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 conference schedule was released today, and it looks terrible. How terrible? Zach and Pete explain.

vs. Minnesota
at Rutgers
vs. Penn State
Bye
at Michigan State
vs. Indiana
at Northwestern
Bye
vs. Maryland
at Ohio State

Pete:

Starting things off against a team that shall remain nameless is like when your parents bring up embarrassing pictures or stories to your friends or a girlfriend. We get it, it was terrible, but let's not revisit. It isn't funny or endearing.

With the conference schedule coming out, there is only one game that is worth it for me to make the long drive from Madison, and that is Penn State. All of us who are fans of Michigan football must now pray that Penn State is a good team and that this isn't the year when their wheels start to fall off. Another reason to hope for a good Penn State team is the fact that Michigan won't have Michigan State (for the second straight year) OR Ohio State at home, so this needs to be the one good home game in even years. Please, Bill O'Brien, keep the Nittany Lions competitive! Although it isn't terrible that the Wolverines are kicking off the conference schedule against Minnesota, this home slate is probably the worst in history. Perhaps Jerry Kill will do what he has done with his other stops and will bring a competitive Gophers squad into Ann Arbor, but my money is on a typically lopsided score in Michigan's favor. What's the next most attractive match-up after Goldy and PSU? Maryland. Man, that sucks. Now, unlike 99% of everyone else, I'm not as pissed off about having to face the Terps every year, but I don't want to see them as a part of this home schedule. A schedule with ND, MSU, and OSU on the road is less than ideal, but at least we can have a good home slate in 2015, minus the Fighting Chickens, of course.

My one fear, and it may be groundless, is that 2014 could be the year that sees the attendance streak end. It wouldn't surprise me to see people stay home, and find it difficult to sell tickets to these games.

Zach:

The one thing that really gets me is that Michigan doesn't even travel to Maryland that first year, depriving me of one game that I could feasibly drive to. Add another line to the "why living in Virginia sucks" list.

But despite all the terribleness, you really have to look at this schedule and salivate. Michigan's non-conference is App State, Miami (OH), and Utah at home with the final trip to ND the second week of the season. If Michigan beats the Irish, it sets up for a pretty easy slate.

Granted, Michigan State and Northwestern aren't going to be pushovers, and the final game against Ohio State in the 'Shoe is always going to be a battle, but overall the apathy this schedule incites is good for one thing: it means Michigan should have a solid chance at running the table. No cross-division games with Wisconsin or Nebraska, no excuse not to finish undefeated at home, and just enough star power on the away schedule to give Michigan some trophies if the Wolverines do go undefeated.

And think about the team that is going to be playing this schedule. Devin Gardner will be a Sr., Jake Ryan will be recovered from injury, the offensive and defensive lines will be young but very highly touted, and the defense should be even stronger as Mattison will have a couple more years to mold his recruits into a ferocious, attacking unit capable of being a top-10 defense.

While the games don't jump off the page at you, this could be a good year for Michigan football if it can take care of business away from home.

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