From Portage Northern.
Two minor changes: OU and Kentucky both down two; Kentucky to acknowledge SoCar's win over them.
Quick! To the time machine! Oh, the above picture would have been awesome four years ago. Now it's just like "hey, creepily tan Skeletor likes Michigan."
Jebus. WolverineHistorian is banging these out about as fast as I can link them. Here's 2002 Michigan State (the 49-3 game that was the deathblow to the Bobby Williams era):
...and 1977 Ohio State:
...and the most ridiculous catch of Jason Avant's career:
...and the immortal Buffalo Stampede game:
Obiiiiiiii. Little news from Carr's Monday press conference save the release of a depth chart that still features Obi Ezeh as the starting middle linebacker despite John Thompson's apparent return to health. Minor, rumored to be out for the year, is also on the depth chart.
What happened to Wisconsin? Hell if I know, but SMQB highlights one of the more bizarre occurrences in this year rife with them:
Whatever the circumstances, 438 yards and 38 points to Penn State is an embarrassment for a team that still considered itself a darkhorse mythical championship contender as late as two weeks ago. The Badgers' run defense over the last three weeks:
So the performance against Penn State was actually something of an improvement.
Great galloping Gilloolys. And this from a team that returned five of their excellent 2006 front seven, plus a defensive-minded coach with a terrific track record. There is no rational explanation for the crapfest that has been the Wisconsin run defense over the past few weeks.
One other item: Bret Bielema punted from the PSU 36 this weekend... with 18 seconds left in the half. What the hell is Penn State going to do with the ball at their own 36 and 12-15 seconds left? Other than kneel and flee to the locker room? Bielema, thy name is meathead.
Hart4Heisman, as advertised during the Purdue game, is up and going.
Elsewhere, the proprietor of the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, a displaced Auburn fan, took in the Purdue game. Relevant section of the JCCW's Arkansas review:
I spent the first part of last Saturday at the Big House watching Michigan blast hapless Purdue, and one of the things you can't help but notice is just how much Wolverine fans care about Mike Hart. Whether it's the endless stream of "20" jerseys, Hart t-shirts, the cries of joy when he spun off the back of a defender and scored on what appeared to be a lost play, the cries of anguish when he left the game with a limp and appeared on the JumboTron grimacing as his ankle got the once-over.
It occurred to me that perhaps not since the outpouring of admiration and respect Auburn fans offered Campbell, Cadillac and Ronnie, and Borges in 2004 have we cared about our players or coaches in anything approaching the kind of fashion you see here in Ann Arbor regarding Hart. I know as an SEC fan I'm supposed to never admit envying anything about a Big 10 program under any circumstances, but yeah, I was jealous.
I just bought a Hart jersey. I think football jerseys look ridiculous on non-football players, but... well... yeah.
Aftermath. Miles didn't get the opportunity to shake Rich Brooks' hand after the Kentucky loss, so he sought him out the next day:
"I thought out guys played their butts off," Miles said. "If I thought there were tired or showed lack of effort, or if in any way there was a hangover, I would have told you, O.K. I don't believe that. I believe that we played our tails off. Kentucky played awfully well. And we need to improve. There are pieces of our team that we need to get better at. If we can do that, we'll be right in the hunt. I like my team, I'm proud of my team. We finished second today."
Much more Michiga
n-y than those intemperate offseason comments.
(A note on that third OT strategy: yes, he called rock. Obviously the first down call was fine, as it gained six yards. Second down... eh. Third down I think it's acceptable in that situation because you know you have two downs for the first. Fourth down... well. Given Flynn's performance thus far in that game -- awful -- and the fact you were playing Kentucky and rolling over them, I think it's eminently defensible.
No one playcall is right or wrong. Things have a certain percentage chance of working; they work or they do not. It's like poker: only a long sequence of decisions can be critiqued. Some things are obviously unwise and can be criticized -- running stretch plays on third and short, attempting to bluff a bad player -- but it makes no sense to criticize borderline stuff in a vacuum. (Also, we don't know how much influence Miles actually had on that playcall. He's obviously content to let his coordinators coordinate; that may have been Crowton's decision.)
The thing that excited about the Florida game was the aggressiveness on fourth down that clearly demonstrated that Miles had an excellent grasp of game theory and won the Florida game. Calling a run or a pass on fourth and two is a nitpick, especially given the relative vectors of the LSU pass and run offenses. Noting that Miles understands something most coaches do not and that bodes well for his future school is not.
The way Miles coached against Florida was obviously right, but the end of the Kentucky game was not obviously wrong. Sometimes you lose. As long as coaching malpractice does not factor in it's best to look at the whole picture. The way the Kentucky game went down doesn't change my opinion except incrementally.)
Circle gets the square. Michigan put in an excellent performance in the Icebreaker, beating BC and losing narrowly to Minnesota. Western College Hockey has thoughts, as does Yost Built. Both are fairly sanguine about Bill Sauer's performance, which... like... what? His save percentage was awful both nights, he allowed guys to set up camp in the crease without so much as a pokecheck, and he foolishly strayed off the near post, screening himself and allowing an easy short-side goal to a Minnesota player. I spent most of the game between wincing and livid, cursing the gods of mono.
The rest of it? Highly encouraging. We're about to find out that Kevin Porter was almost entirely a creation of TJ Hensick but Michigan hasn't played as intelligently as this in a long time. Youth and enough depth to mak the threat of a benching very real will keep everyone on their toes, working hard.
One brief analogy: 2006 Michigan State Spartan hockey :: 2006 St Louis Cardinals.
Editorial Opinion: Slow again.
Some notes on official visits: the header of the above-linked article on TX S Keanon Cooper says that, unsure of Michigan's interest in him, he canceled his scheduled official and went to Kansas State (which was "all right," the recruiting trip equivalent of "it reminded me Nanking during the Japanese occupation"); Michigan got back in touch and rescheduled the trip.
Meanwhile, TN CB/S JT Floyd did make a visit this week, but this one was unofficial. The article above is just a few stats and pictures; nothing of note.
And then: McGuffie. The Matrix got shelved with an ankle injury in a season-opening loss, came back gimpy and managed 78 yards on something like 16 carries in another loss, and then blew up. Over the past two weeks he has over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns playing behind a nearly all-new offensive line in Texas 5-A.
Result? Scout moves him up into the top 50 and gives him a fifth star. Rivals, updating a couple weeks earlier, shoves him down to #197. Go figure.
McGuffie was also in the news for an unusual reason, as he was directly mentioned in several of Dennis Franchione's super secret emails:
One entry begins: "TOTAL MUM ON THIS: A certain highly-regarded prospect who has committed to Michigan showed up at practice Saturday wearing a USC cap, for which he took a lot of 'guff.'
The prospect is Houston Cy-Fair running back Sam McGuffie, one of the state's top recruits. He is referenced three times in the released newsletters.
Said newsletters are here if anyone wants to peruse them. There are hundreds of pages... so not likely. Since Franchione is so, so fired after this year I don't think we have much to worry about from A&M.
That's pretty much it. One speculative note: Steve Pederson getting canned probably means Bill Callahan follows him out the door sometime soon. This will probably not net Michigan anything. Jonas Gray was kind of pissed at the way Michigan recruited him and apparently had an "athlete" offer only, whatever that means. I don't know where a 5'10", 210-pound guy plays other than running back, and Michigan has two. Anyway, even if Gray opens up his recruitment it's doubtful he looks at Michigan. NE OL Trevor Robinson, a onetime Nebraska commit, re-opened his recruitment to include Michigan and Notre Dame but the scuttlebutt is the family is Husker through-and-through and if anything the potential departure of Callahan only increases the chances Robinson will recommit.
Please take the previous paragraph for the speculation it is, by the way. No sources on this one.
New Returning feature! Who's dead! Who's almost dead! Who has a mysterious illness that mysteriously forces them to mysteriously not play! Updated regularly! If you have any tenuous speculation/corrections/updates email or leave a comment! Too many exclamation points(!)!
This week's changes: So fresh and so clean for 2007.
|RB||Hart||sprained ankle||Purdue||DTD||probable||Long, Jamo, Warren all guarantee he plays.|
|RB||Minor||sprained ankle(?)||Purdue||year(?)||doubtful||Prognosis much grimmer.|
|RB||Grady||torn ACL||preseason||year||out||small possibility he might return late if team really needs him|
|TE||Massey||knee||NW||year||out||probably torn ACL.|
|OL||Mitchell||knee||PSU||~1 week||doubtful||Carr: "may be another week."|
|OL||Ciulla||knee||PSU||DTD||probable||Saw some time late against Purdue.|
|LB||Thompson||undisclosed||pre-NW||DTD||probable||Carr says will play against Ill.|
Exited the list: --
Almost Off: --
Editorial Opinion: Michigan's in decent shape at this point in the season pending the healthy return of Hart. Most teams probably have it worse.
Obviously, LSU #1 is something that requires justification. This is it: I do not subscribe to the mentality that who you lose to and when should be most of the assemblage of a poll. A table:
|Wins Over Top 25||#10, #13, #14||#12, #16||None|
|Wins Over Other .500+ Teams||Mississippi State||FAU, UCF||Purdue, NW|
|Losses||@ UK, 3OT||None||None|
The first and most obvious conclusion: AP and Coaches #1 OSU has no claim to that spot. They have played no one. The second, debatable issue is USF or LSU. I value LSU's triplet of wins minus a loss to an apparent top-ten team more than USF's pair of ugly, grinding, turnover-filled and frankly ill-played victories over Auburn and WVU. I believe their resume is better even considering the loss, and they remain static.
- I'm actually pretty content with the top ten.
- Auburn jumps up after an ugly win against Arkansas because 1) Kansas State keeps proving itself a better win, 2) USF keeps proving itself a better loss, 3) I can't keep Auburn behind Florida when Auburn has the head-to-head without some powerful reason that I can't find in Florida's play.
- As the season moves on and WVU continues playing no one, teams steadily move ahead of them. With UL and Rutgers tanking, they have precious little opportunity to move up.
- Anyone who puts Hawaii in the top ten this week should be horsewhipped.
- Hey... Michigan. Weird.
- Question: what should I do with Arizona State? I haven't seen them much, just bits and pieces, and am completely in the dark about how good they are.
Mike Hart's teammates fully expect him to play this week.
Michigan defensive end Tim Jamison guaranteed that Hart, who appeared to hurt his right ankle in the first half Saturday against Purdue, would be on the field for the 24th-ranked Wolverines when they play Saturday night at Illinois.
Offensive tackle Jake Long agreed.
"There's no doubt in my mind he'll play," Long said Monday.
Carr, ever circumspect, declined to confirm that. Given statements from Jamison, Long, Warren, and Adams, plus the unconcerned visage above after the Purdue game, I think we are in the relative clear as long as he doesn't tweak it. Knock on wood.