Michigan Football has a more difficult schedule than people realize

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /

Michigan football gets mocked quite a bit for its schedule in the 2023 season but ESPN ranked the Wolverines slate as the 21st toughest. It’s more difficult than Ohio State’s. 

College football fans will debate about a lot of things but one hot topic in recent years has been non-conference scheduling, something Michigan football was widely criticized for during the 2022 season.

There are some legit points to make about the 2022 schedule. None of the teams were coming off bowl berths and Michigan football didn’t play a power-5 team in non-conference play, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

The Wolverines aren’t playing a power-5 team in the first three non-conference games to open the season in 2023 either. Texas is coming to the Big House in 2024, just to be fair, but Michigan football will host East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green this season.

Breaking down the 2023 Michigan football schedule

None of those teams are powerhouses. However, it’s hard to feel bad about that schedule when the SEC is playing eight league games and scheduling an FCS opponent in November. Michigan’s non-conference opponents also aren’t nearly as bad. East Carolina and Bowling Green both won bowl games last season. UNLV won five games.

Despite Michigan football getting mocked for its non-conference schedule again this offseason, ESPN has ranked the U-M schedule as the 21st toughest going into the 2023 season. Most of that has to do with Big Ten play but there are games looming against Penn State and Ohio State, as well as road games against Michigan State games, as well as a sneaky tough road game against Minnesota.

Outside of that, there is another road game at Maryland, so there are a few road trips against bowl-caliber teams, as well as the home game against Ohio State at the end of the season. For comparison, Michigan football’s schedule ranks as more difficult than Ohio State’s, so at least one rival can stay quiet about the schedule.

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Even though they won’t.