|Last week's ballot|
- Boise shoots up the poll, and I didn't really intend for North Carolina to do the same, but it appears as though it has happened.
- Virginia Tech drops on the basis of "I was ranking them because I thought Tyrod Taylor would finally produce," and that assumption did not hold true.
- Oregon is still in the poll, though I think there's a possibility they really, really suck. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for one more week, on the basis that Boise might just be pretty good.
- Ohio State and Ole MIss drop for being unimpressive in wins (don't let the final of that Ole Miss game fool you: Nutt was just running up the score at the end. That was a close game well into the third quarter).
Editor's note: we're still trying to figure out how much real estate to give non-revenue sports during football season. We're leaning towards front-paging the stuff with a quick jump, as you see below.
Michigan had a pretty successful weekend in places other than football. Team sports went 6-1, with a potential win coming up with the men's soccer team still in progress. For a full recap of the weekend, take the jump.
Michigan's chances for a decent-to-good season increased radically over the weekend primarily because they came out and dominated a decent MAC opponent and proved that they're way less incoherent than they were last year. But the performances of future Michigan opponents also helped out considerably. Notre Dame did better than most expected, but the rest of the schedule:
Ohio State faced a potentially tying two-point conversion attempt with two minutes left against Navy, causing We Will Always Have Tempe to drag out the late-era Lloyd Carr comparisons:
I'm not saying Jim Tressel is Lloyd Carr, but... what separates Lloyd Carr in say, 2002 or 2003, from Jim Tressel right now? This is a line of thought I've been seriously following for the better part of a year now. I'd like some input from Michigan fans on this.
Here's my input: that's way hasty. Hasty or not, Ohio State scraping by Navy (they out gained the Middies by just 21 yards) makes The Game seem like way less of a longshot.
Iowa. DocSat on the bizarre Hawkeye opener:
• I-AA Northern Iowa slightly outgained Iowa overall and matched the Hawkeyes at 5.1 yards per play in a 17-16 loss that featured the weirdest ending of the day. Iowa finished with 87 yards rushing, 100 yards below its 2008 average on the ground; starting running back Paki O'Meara finished with 16 yards on nine carries (1.8 per) on a long gain of five yards.
UNI had two field goals blocked in the last minute, by the way, after recovering the first one. (Which I thought was an automatic turnover, BTW. Is it not? UPDATE: a helpful reader points out the relevant rule:
If a blocked field goal is in or behind the neutral zone, it is treated like a fumble and can be advanced by either team. Beyond the neutral zone, a blocked kick is treated like a punt or missed field goal and can be advanced only by the defense, unless a defensive player fumbles the ball, after which an offensive player can advance it.
Illinois was totally humiliated by a Missouri team debuting a freshman quarterback. Missouri outgained Illinois by over 100 yards and Juice Williams got yanked. Illinois did lose Benn and the starting tailback to injuries in the second half. None of that explains 37-9.
Three of Michigan's four expected wins did nothing to disprove those expectations. Indiana barely scraped by I-AA Eastern Kentucky 19-13. Eastern lost to Army by 13 and Delaware State lost to some random I-AA team.
Purdue, Michigan State, and Penn State all handled business against overmatched opponents. Wisconsin let Northern Illinois back in their game and, after failing to recover a NIU onside kick, let the Huskies down to their 36 before closing the door on 4th and 3. The Badgers did outgain NIU handily, so I'm not sure how much of a concern that is for UW.
Those teams saw their stock remain approximately constant—Purdue may have seen it increase. Three of the toughest games on Michigan's schedule now seem considerably more attainable. I'll take that and the Notre Dame box score any day.
- About 28 players played their first game in a Michigan uniform. A lot of them had meaningful (early-game) action on special teams. The QBs and Craig Roh (in a year, he'll be up around 250 pounds, and faster than he is now) were singled out as some of the young guys who played very well.
- The offense wasn't that bad in the second half. In the third quarter, they only had two drives, one of which had a touchdown called back for a penalty. In the fourth quarter, the offense went to chew-clock mode for much of the time.
- There were a few missed assignments both on offense and defense, but a lot of that can be attributed to first-game jitters. Rodriguez didn't want to call out his players on the long Western touchdown. It was typical first-game nerves.
- All three quarterbacks will continue to play for the next several weeks, but Tate will get the start again next week. It's not fair to compare the freshman QBs, both because they're a little different in terms of skill set, but also because Tate has had 9 extra months in the system - and has about 70% of the playbook at his disposal. Denard is not just a runner, but "He ran really fast."
- Hemingway should be good to go Saturday, Same with Moundros and Boubacar. Minor looked pretty good in pregame, but they still held him out and hope he'll be able to go Saturday. All of those injured players will be a little limited in contact drills this week. Rodriguez is going to implement a weekly injury report for the team, released on Thursdays. He would like to make this a league-wide policy.
- Carlos Brown will start Saturday unless he has a bad week of practice. "We thought he ran well, he caught the ball well, and he really protected well."
- Offensive player of the game: Junior Hemingway. Defensive player of the game: Obi Ezeh and Stevie Brown. Special Teams player of the game: Zoltan Mesko.
- The QBs carried more times (21) than Rodriguez would like in an average game. Some of that was getting Denard in there and getting him comfortable. However, Rodriguez doesn't mind his QB running if nothing's open downfield. The quarterback's 4th read on passing plays should usually be to run.
- Nevada was a top offense last year, so for Notre Dame to shut them out was impressive.
- Both teams being good increases the national tone of this week's contest: "I would hope. Michigan-Notre Dame is always going to have a national tone. It's one of the greatest rivalries there are."
- To beat Notre Dame, Michigan will have to pressure Clausen. He's too good to give him a lot of time, and has some really good targets in Tate and Floyd. Brandon Graham will be double-teamed a lot, because Notre Dame likes to max-protect.
- Adrian Witty will not attend Michigan this semester. The coaches will continue to re-recruit him for the winter or next fall.
- Schilling watched film yesterday on his day off from practice. The offensive line played a lot more physical than last year (which is something Frey emphasizes). There were many more knockdowns than in any game last year. It was nice to move the ball for first downs and touchdowns, which was hard last year.
- Craig Roh is one of the quickest D-Ends Steve has ever seen. When he gets bigger and stronger, he'll be a really good player.
- All 3 QBs are different, which forces opposing defenses to prepare for more things. Tate's a leader, and acts like he's not a freshman although he's been here only 0 months. Denard's a little quieter, but he's still just learning.
- The team has to be grounded after the win. Notre Dame is ranked, and although Western will contend for the Mac title, the Irish present a bigger opportunity to make a statement.
- Tate is young, but he's going to be a great leader. Even if the seniors disagree with him in the huddle, they'll get something worked out.
- It's good to start the year injury free, and he hopes to stay that way.
- If the offense is clicking, Carlos doesn't care whether he gets 1 carry or 20 carries. One of the great things about the college game is that there are multiple capable backs that can step in for each other.
- "We're going to be prepared for Notre Dame."
- The defense made a statement against Western by playing hard, fast, and aggressive. In the first game, it's nice to be able to be aggressive with open field tackles.
- The Notre Dame game will set the tone for the whole season. The team owes the Irish after what happened last year.
- Notre Dame likes to use play action to go deep. Donovan's looking forward to the challenge, and like the opportunity to prove himself against the best. The defense needs top be aggressive on every snap to make Notre Dame's day harder. They'll disguise coverages, but that depends on everybody knowing where the help is coming from and where the defense's weaknesses are.
- He'll get in guy's faces on the other team and play tough coverage on every snap. He didn't think the pass interference calls against him on Saturday were legit - but every defensive back usually feels the same.
- Tate's enrolling early helped get him the experience he needed to start fast. "He knows that we have his back, and we know that he has ours."
- The ankle that's injured is the same one that he hurt last year. He's glad he ended up getting a medical redshirt, because otherwise it would have been a lost year. It was tough not being on the travel squad, and having to text his teammates before the game, and watch on TV.
- "I'll be ready to go on Saturday."
- The receivers have the mindset that they can win every battle on the perimeter. The offense has to make sure they know their assignments on every play.
- "Got to be out there ready to play when we play Notre Dame."
Mustache update. Dang:
You know it's good photoshop when you're futilely scanning for the LSUFreek watermark. Mustaches for Michigan provides, and explains:
My ally is the Mustache, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Mustache around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, the football, everywhere, yes.
The power of the mustache was powerful enough to offset the long-established MGoLiveblog curse, mmm.
On the 'Downfall' thing. There were a few complaints about the Downfall parody posted last week, all of which cited Rosenberg's (presumed) Jewishness vis a vis Adolf Hitler's… well, you know. His opinions, man. I'm not trying to be an insensitive clod here but Youtube is filled with videos of Hitler being enraged at the Dallas Cowboys, XBox Live, Windows Vista, World of Warcraft, the failure of Michael Jackson to perform at his birthday party because he is dead, and everyone on the internet screwing with his subtitles. Oh and yes Hitler is also pissed off because Rich Rodriguez is evil. At this point the comic trope is so well-established that the whole Hitler bit is… well… maybe not secondary, since it's the reason it's always funny, but tangential. If the thing had mentioned the word "Jew" at all, it would have been in bad taste. It didn't.
I think this was on "Automatic For The People." Terrelle Pryor on Michael Vick, who Pryor paid tribute to on his eyeblack—hey, it's either that or John 3:16:
That's right: "everybody murders.":
Not everybody is a perfect person in the world. Everyone kills people, murder people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.
Who loves the fact that this blog's already got a "terrelle pryor has emotional problems" tag? This guy.
Excellent. The New York bowl game I've been advocating is a possibility, albeit a down-the-line one:
The Tribune has learned Big Ten officials have met with Yankee Stadium representatives to discuss a bowl game that would be played at the so-called "House that George Built."
"It's an interesting concept," Big Ten Associate Commissioner Mark Rudner said. "It's compelling."
Hypothetical New York Bowl is not an immediate possibility, but if it gets established it sounds like the Big Ten will give it a serious look in 2014, the next time contracts come up for renewal. By that time Florida fatigue may have set in and an attractive, if cold, destination like New York should be appealing.
SON OF A. The music was piped in, and I cringed, and then Bill Martin jumped aboard and oh God:
Fans saw a winning product again and were entertained before the game and during breaks in it with piped in music such as AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
“We need to liven this place up,” Martin said. “When the band is taking a break, I think the music helps the atmosphere. There were about 25 songs on the playlist, I listened to every one and cut about five.”
Ugh. Band members: do you need breaks? Could you have played Sweet Caroline, thus transforming banal minor-league hockey atmosphere into authentic college football atmosphere? Are you happy or irate at the piped in music?
Etc.: Vijay isn't blogging again but he has put up a post with some clips and analysis from the last game. A blast from the past for blogosphere old hands.