Michigan-Toledo game long overdue

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Big Ten and the Mid-American Conference have worked closely together on a number of issues, including instant replay, officiating and scheduling. This year's schedule features 11 matchups between Big Ten and MAC teams.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that when Michigan faces Toledo on Saturday at the Big House, it will mark the first time the teams have ever played.

OK, the two schools' 'B' teams met in 1928, but that doesn't really count.

Michigan Stadium and the Glass Bowl are only 50.6 miles apart, according to MapQuest.com. The two campuses are so close that The Toledo Blade covers Michigan football throughout the season.

Blade sports writers Joe Vardon and Maureen Fulton recently examined how Michigan and Toledo finally got a game scheduled. Athletic directors Bill Martin and Mike O'Brien met several years ago when Martin brought a group of Michigan officials to Toledo's campus.

The subject of football scheduling was brought up, and if the Wolverines were ever interested in playing the Rockets, O'Brien said, "I'd be interested in answering your phone call."

Last spring, the Wolverines called. Each team needed one more game for 2008 and the few open weeks they had left matched up. So for $500,000, UT agreed to play UM this Saturday at Michigan Stadium. The contract was signed in May of 2007.

"It's not every day where you have the opportunity to play the University of Michigan," O'Brien said. "It's an opponent that I know our fans have been talking about for some time as to why we weren't playing Michigan."