Although this notion---scheduling a Georgia-Michigan home and home series, that is, not writing one- or two-sentence paragraphs---has garnered the support of Brian Cook at MGoBlog and gotten the attention of Paulwesterdawg at Georgia Sports Blog, objections to this proposal have been offered from other quarters, and to these critiques I have endeavored to respond.
In reply to this, the counterargument has been heard that those games were against the weak sisters of the S.E.C., as Michigan played at Vanderbilt in 1907, 1913, and 1922, and at South Carolina in 1985. Taking on the Commodores in Nashville or the Gamecocks in Columbia, it has been noted, is not the same thing as taking on the Bulldogs in Athens, where no Mark Richt-coached team has ever lost to an out-of-conference opponent.
Far be it from me to suggest that the Red and Black, who have won 44 games and two conference championships in the last four seasons, are anything less than the class of the league. Nevertheless, the fact that South Carolina and Vanderbilt have what are demonstrably the two weakest football traditions in the S.E.C. does not mean that the 'Cocks and the 'Dores are altogether without histories of winning football, however sporadic those programs' successes may have been.
Dan McGugin's 1907 Vanderbilt squad posted a 5-1-1 record; the Commodores' only loss was an 8-0 setback suffered at the hands of Fielding Yost's Wolverines. (Coach Yost's wife and Coach McGugin's wife were sisters; Coach Yost met his wife at Coach McGugin's wedding, in fact . . . which means that the familial relationship between Fielding Yost and Dan McGugin paralleled that between my former "Dawg Show" co-host, Travis Rice, and me, inasmuch as Travis's wife and my wife are sisters and Trav met his wife, Jeannie, at Susan's and my wedding rehearsal.) U.M.'s defeat of the 'Dores marked Vanderbilt's first loss in Nashville since the opening game of the 1903 campaign. Between October 10, 1903, and November 7, 1908, the Commodores posted a record of 41-4-2 and all four losses were to the Wolverines.
The 1913 Vanderbilt squad came into its home date with the Maize and Blue sporting a 3-0 record after outscoring its first trio of opponents by a combined margin of 140-0. Heading into that contest with U.M., the 'Dores had gone 27-2-2 in their previous 31 games. The Wolverines defeated Vandy, 33-2. It was the fewest points scored by the Commodores since the 1910 Yale game at New Haven and it was the most points allowed by them since a 1900 game against North Carolina. (In fact, Vanderbilt had given up 34 points combined in the 25 games preceding the 1913 loss to Michigan.)
In 1922, the Commodores went 8-0-1. The tie was a scoreless deadlock with the Wolverines, who were the first team to keep Vandy off of the scoreboard since Bill Alexander's first Georgia Tech squad in 1920. Between November 13, 1920, and October 6, 1923, the Commodores posted a record of 18-0-3.
When the Wolverines traveled to Williams-Brice Stadium in 1985, it was to take on a South Carolina team that had won 12 of its previous 14 games. The Palmetto State Poultry were 2-0, coming off of a 10-win season in 1984, and ranked higher than the Maize and Blue in both polls: South Carolina was rated 15th by the sportswriters and 11th by the coaches; Michigan was the A.P. No. 19 and the U.P.I. No. 15. The Wolverines won the contest in Columbia, 34-3. The three points surrendered by the U.M. defense were the fewest scored by the East Coast U.S.C. in Williams-Brice Stadium since Ole Miss pitched a shutout in the Palmetto State in 1972. The 34 points tallied by the Maize and Blue were the most scored on the Big Chickens at home since South Carolina hosted a Gator Bowl-bound Florida State squad in 1982.
The notion that Michigan cannot be competitive on the road against a good Southeastern Conference squad is, as demonstrated by the historical record, sheer nonsense. Even if that argument held water 99, 93, 84, or 21 years ago, though, it clearly does not withstand scrutiny today, as evidenced by a quick glance at the Wolverines' verbal commitments for their 2006 recruiting class.
Take a look at the home towns claimed by some of the high school seniors who will be enrolling in the University of Michigan next fall as scholarship football players. Carlos Brown . . . of Franklin, Georgia. David Cone . . . of Statesboro, Georgia. Jai Eugene . . . of Destrehan, Louisiana. Greg Mathews . . . of Orlando, Florida. Brandon Minor . . . of Richmond, Virginia. Of the Wolverines' 17 verbal commitments, five---or nearly one-third---are from Southern states.
Jim Tressel may be out-recruiting Lloyd Carr in Northeast Ohio, but the Maize and Blue are doing quite well in the Old Confederacy. Surely Michigan's players should not be fazed by the Southern climate when many of them are native Southerners who grew up accustomed to the heat and humidity of the region.
The major objection to a Georgia-Michigan home and home series having been answered and refuted utterly, I trust everyone who reads this weblog on a regular basis will take the time to write to Damon Evans and Bill Martin to urge them to arrange for this exchange of games to occur.