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.
Wheeeeee for continued complete lack of coverage.
Michigan's game against Minnesota is scheduled for 3:30 on ESPN Classic. Awful. ESPN is showing the Breeder's Cup, which is a frickin' horse race that takes two minutes, for six hours that day, and ESPN2 is showing a Busch series race. Even when we're not on the BTN we're on an obscure channel few people get. Classic was moved to the digital expanded tier on Comcast recently.
Those complaining about the BTN should remember the Ball State game last year and this fiasco before leveling criticisms. (Not that there aren't criticisms to level, mind you, but the situation was rapidly heading towards this over the past couple years.)
10/13/2007 - Michigan 48, Purdue 21 - 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten.
Is it better if the opening two weeks of the season were a prelude to enormous disappointment or a soul-crushing aberration? After brief consideration the answer is obviously the latter, but the lingering effect of The Horror and the post-apocalyptic Oregon game has, unfortunately, put a damper on what should be a time to celebrate an emphatic win. We finally get what everyone envisioned when they put on their nightcaps August 31st and dreamed sugarplum dreams of the season ahead, and the result? Mostly "aaargh, this reinforces everything I already thought."
Hey, don't ask me, ask the MZone:
This team has had seven chances to look impressive this year. They're 1 for 7 so far. Even in baseball, that's a horrible average. Their best wins before Saturday - Penn State and Notre Dame - had as much to do with their opponents' incompetence than Michigan's superior ability. Games against patsies Northwestern and Eastern Michigan were struggles far longer than they should have been. And let's not forget the first two games as much as we would like to.
Well, that's... mostly depressing. And then there's this guy from the open thread:
Wow, this game makes me so pissed about the first two weeks of the season.
Well... yeah. There is no Michigan fan out there who saw the game or even just the score and didn't have a momentary what-if spasm about missed field goals and unspent timeouts and the whole Oregon fiasco.
The deranged are still there. Those deranged in the opposite direction -- not cited here, as said lifeforms tend to exist exclusively in the true believer zones of premium message boards -- have erased all memory of the systemic flaws this coaching staff exposed for the nth time and are not thinking about possible pratfalls hence. Both are annoying genres of person to interact with, as they typically resort to sarcasm instead of acknowledge that things are not perfectly bad nor perfectly good, deny that they think things are perfectly bad or good when challenged on their continual optimism or pessimism, and imply that anyone who thinks differently than they do is either an idiot or a greedy child.
But to be in the middle is to be bored, lazy, lackadaisical. Yay we beat Purdue by lots. Boo we fell out of the national championship picture before October for the ninth time in ten years. Yay we beat Penn State. Boo we were crushed by running quarterbacks. Yay we're probably going to play Ohio State for the Big Ten. Boo Tressel will eat our babies. It's hard to get excited either way once the immediate flush of "oh my God we don't suck" passes.
It's nice not to suck. It is. But we've seen this script before. It ends poorly. To get excited is to be vulnerable; caution and forced boredom is the order of the day. I am buying a beret and some urchins to smash upon my tummy. I will watch some reality television and complain about the weather. I may remark on the fact that the urchins these days don't taste as good as urchins used to. No quality in these urchins.
It's a front, but it's a useful one. Otter Lucy is holding the otterball for Otter Charlie Brown; get back to me in November to see whether we rush towards the cliff, hopes aloft, in 2007.
- Shawn Crable takes some great pictures:
- Attn Joe Tiller: escaping with a 27 point loss does not maintain your dignity.
- That said, can we please recover an onside kick? That's four straight we've failed at, which has to be approaching an NCAA record.
- More special teams hijinks: huge returns for Purdue followed by a kick out of bounds and then the failure to even pop the ball up to the 30. It's depressing that Michigan has to kick off like it's a high school team.
- KC Lopata, on the other hand, looks like a completely uninspiring but largely accurate kicker, which I will take.
- Does Carr hate Tiller or something? The starting offense was in for way longer than anyone expected and Michigan actually punched in a couple of late touchdowns to push the score out to a prodigious margin. Every year, the Sporting News quotes some anonymous Big Ten coach who trashes every other program, saving special venom for Carr and Michigan. This is always Tiller -- TSN caveman Tom Dienhart and Tiller are BFFs. Maybe Carr's just tired of it?
- Henne's PC had one interesting comment in it: early on, Purdue was doing a you-check-we-check thing on defense that confused some playcalls. This was probably the cause of the two ineffective Hart runs that led to Michigan's first punt.
- The parabolas that drop directly into the waiting arms of Mario Manningham returned. I missed them so.
- Until Carlos Brown's touchdown explosion, I was convinced we were going to suuuuuck at running back next year. Minor hasn't made a yard the offensive line didn't get for him all year save for his spectacular truck job on a Notre Dame safety; Brown had spent most of his time either fumbling or running directly into the backs of his offensive linemen. Both have been disadvantaged by the mop-up situations they find themselves in, but McGuffie will have a major opportunity, IMO.
- Ciulla saw the field late; is he healthy enough to play? Will he be healthy enough for Illinois? Is the Schilling-Ortmann right side a voluntary decision?