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Thursday, July 23, 2009
Michigan could look here for 2010 opener

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Boise State won't be coming to the renovated Big House in 2010, imploding my plan for Michigan's big-splash opener.

The Wolverines still want to re-open Michigan Stadium against a decent opponent from a BCS conference, but Michigan fans should probably dismiss any thoughts of a real blockbuster matchup. You won't see a Delaware State re-run on Sept. 4, 2010, but Michigan still wants to have a pretty decent shot at a win in Week 1. Athletic director Bill Martin likes to play schools with similar academic missions. Michigan also ideally wants a guarantee game (no return). 

Here are a few possibilities for the 2010 opener.

Virginia -- The Cavaliers have an opening on Sept. 4, setting up a matchup of arguably the nation's two best public schools (Cal is up there, too). Don't be surprised if Al Groh's team comes to Ann Arbor.

Duke -- Try not to laugh (I'm having a hard time holding it in), but Duke football is slowly improving. Colleague Heather Dinich really likes what David Cutcliffe is doing in Durham -- and HD knows her stuff -- so the Blue Devils might be a possible addition. Duke certainly fits the academics component, and it needs a game for 2011.

Oregon State -- Maybe a stretch here, but the Beavers don't currently have a game scheduled for Sept. 4. History shows Oregon State is most vulnerable early on, especially on the road, so this might be an appealing game for coach Rich Rodriguez. Oregon State could use the guarantee money.

Pitt -- Always mentioned as a possible addition to the Big Ten, the Panthers haven't scheduled a game for Sept. 4. Then again, Rodriguez might never want to see Pitt again after what happened in the Backyard Brawl in 2007.