The Michigan Wolverines.
The LSU Tigers.
Two historic college football programs.
Two teams that have never faced each other.
But that could change in the near future.
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward wants a Michigan-LSU matchup to happen.
Scott Woodward also says #LSU has talked with Michigan about playing in the future, and he wants it to happen.— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) June 4, 2020
It’s currently unknown how far along the two programs are in the talks, but the fact they’ve had conversations and Woodward wants to make it happen are positive developments.
It’s hard to believe Michigan and LSU have never squared off, and seeing as it’s 2020, it would be exciting if it did happen.
If they did agree to play one another, it would become one of, if not the most anticipated non-conference game in college football. It would be nice to see both programs play each other more than once, perhaps a home-and-home or two games at neutral sites. People are going to want to see Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron go head-to-head multiple times.
Woodward mentioned that LSU would like to play a neutral-site game in an NFL stadium that’s currently being built (which would mean the Las Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Rams stadiums), and Michigan would be a worthy foe for a tilt in a new venue. A matchup in either place would provide a bowl-like atmosphere both there and on television.
Scheduling non-conference games against tough opponents is something that is an inexact science, with some favoring to schedule them all against cupcake opponents for easy wins. However, there’s a reward to playing in a big game against a program like LSU. If Michigan wins on a big stage, it’s only going to help their brand, help their recruiting in some way. The opportunities for Michigan to face SEC teams are limited, and if they’re able to receive more chances to knock off teams in the south, it’ll be a risk worth taking to receive a sizable reward.
It may be enjoyable for fans to see Michigan kick the teeth out of inferior non-conference opponents and win by 50-plus, but that’s not what the players live for, nor the fans. Excitement ensues fully when iron sharpens iron, the talent is even, and the result is far from certain.
Michigan is 47-18 and LSU is 51-14 since 2015, there isn’t a talent gap on both sides on a year-to-year basis. As Jim Harbaugh has said before, “if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best”, and LSU is among the best programs of all time. Both teams nearly always rank in the top five or ten in recruiting, both are beloved and draw incredible crowds. There are far too many reasons for these teams to go at it than not. The only reason not to is based in fear because it’s a tough matchup. What fun is that?
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel will surely be asked about Michigan and LSU playing in the days ahead and it’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say. Jim Harbaugh has a track record of wanting to play the top competition in college football however he can, whenever he can, and he’d likely be all-in on facing the Tigers if the parameters are all in Michigan’s best interest.