CHICAGO – In college football, the road schedule can make or break a season sometimes, one key road loss can separate a good team from winning a conference championship or possibly more.
But those are the risks you take when playing on the road, and Michigan's imbalanced road schedule doesn’t give them many breaks in 2018, with road contests against its three main rivals -- Notre Dame (Sept. 1), Michigan State (Oct. 20) and Ohio State (Nov. 24) – three places the Wolverines have struggled to win throughout the past decade.
But if you’re looking for coach Jim Harbaugh to get his imbalanced schedule adjusted moving forward, don’t bet on it, as he insists there is no problem with playing his three rivals on the road in one season.
“I don’t think there is any reason to work on that,” Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago on Monday.
“The schedule is the schedule and you play them as they fall. That’s an opportunity to go to another mans stadium and beat their team and beat their crowd, and maybe have a chance to beat the elements. That’s football players, competitors, that really makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”
In Harbaugh fashion, he continued by comparing winning on the road as a righteous passage to manhood.
“So we wouldn’t want to deprive our guys of having all home games, we wouldn’t want that,” Harbaugh said. “If we had all home games we would be depriving them a chance to go on the road and play in a hostile environment against another team, they want to prove that, they want to prove their man hood.
“Maybe that’s the way you say it, nothing will make you feel like a man more than going into another mans stadium, beating them, beating their crowd, beating the elements. That’s what I meant when I said it was the best thing in life, nothing will make you feel like a man more than that would.”
This season Michigan will have its tough road opportunities too, with key road games at Michigan State (Oct. 29), Iowa (Nov. 12) and Ohio State (Nov. 26.). In the meantime, however, Michigan opens its season with Hawaii on Sept. 3.