Despite nailing the one pick from opening week made here. And even though we added a winner on twitter Friday night. I'm here offering an early season mea culpa. I boldy predicted every B1G team's Over/Under on wins last week but with the upsets in the Wisconsin and Northwestern games two of them already look like dead meat. That's the problem with making a lot of bets and picks. You always end up making dumb ones. I wonder if there's an app for that? Let's look back and see what happened.
My take on Wisconsin was their offensive line was too young and not quite good enough yet, especially in light of last year's performance and the Voltz injury this summer, to stand up against the monster defensive fronts they were slated to face during the season's first half. So of course they go out and beat LSU in the opener as 13.5-point underdogs.
[Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images]
Starting an offensive front with four redshirt sophomores, a Division III transfer, and a combined 21 total collegiate starts--not to mention bringing in redshirt freshmen off the bench when needed--the Badgers outplayed the LSU defensive front in the trenches. The final numbers do not look great with just 3.2 yards per rush. But the tailback combo of Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries. There weren't any truck size holes. There weren't any vintage Wisconsin showstopping big runs either. But they held their blocks just long enough to give their tailbacks room to move forward for decent gains. Toss in seven critical catches by tight end Troy Fumagali, six for first downs and a seventh for the final chunk of yards before the game winning field goal, and the offense had enough gas to move the football against the Tigers.
Had they converted more than 3.2 points per scoring, a bugaboo from a year ago, they would have won going away. Ditto if QB Bart Houston doesn't throw a pair of killer interceptions resulting in a swing of 10-14 points. Luckily, LSU's Brandon Harris trumped those tosses with an even worse pick on the Tiger's potential game winning drive clinching the game for the Badgers.
That pick was also a big blow to last week's Under 7.5 wins pick. There are still plenty of challenges ahead, and Wisconsin still has four games they'll be an underdog in before the end of October. They will need to lose all of those for us to have any shot at this one.
Despite the LSU outcome, the lines have moved against the Badgers in three of those games. They're now catching more points in games against Michigan, +12.5 up from 11.5; Ohio State, +7.5 up from 6; and Iowa, +4, up from +3.5. Their first big game of that run is in Week 4 at Michigan State. While that game looks like a toss up now, especially in light of the Spartan's weak effort against Furman in their opener, the line hasn't budged and is still MSU -3.
[Hit THE JUMP for sense in a senseless world.]
SPONSOR NOTES: We have determined that if the Iowa game goes badly user Sauce Castillo is the person to blame. This because it is not our fault, and it certainly isn't our lovely sponsor Matt's fault. We are going thanks to Matt, you see, and last time we did a blog road trip it ended… unwell. But that won't happen this time. Unless Sauce Castillo screws it up again.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, he is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: There wasn't anything worth screenshotting as unusual. Here is a picture of how this game went.
PERSONNEL NOTES: Speight was your QB until the last three drives when things went O'Korn-Morris-Malzone. The RB depth chart looked to be Smith-Isaac-Evans-Higdon-Davis, with Isaac and Evans getting the bulk of the work once Smith's rib issue sent him to the bench. Poggi (15 snaps) and Hill (21) split things about down the middle at FB.
No surprises at WR, and the lack of passing cut into opportunities to see guys down the depth chart. McDoom may have passed Drake Harris? Way too early to tell. Nate Johnson was about the only guy who surprisingly didn't play, FWIW.
At TE it was all Butt and Bunting early. Wheatley and Asiasi didn't get snaps until the second half, I believe. Those two and McKeon all got around 15.
OL was Newsome-Bredeson/Kugler-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson, with Kugler getting the first and third quarters while Bredeson had the second and fourth. The second team line was JBB-Bredeson-Kugler-Onwenu-Ulizio. With Kugler on both lines he actually got 59 snaps, more than anyone else on either side of the ball. FWIW, Michigan left Newsome out for one drive after the established players left w JBB at RT and Ulizio on the bench.
[After THE JUMP: hair]
Opposing QB drops ball for no reason, UCF turns it into a FG. Why did I watch this?
This week's FFFF came with an added degree of difficulty, as UCF's opener against FCS squad South Carolina State was broadcast only on ESPN3, a terrible video service that might as well not have fast-forward/rewind capabilities. As you can imagine, that makes breaking down film a bit tougher. (EDIT: AAAAAARRRRGH.)
Also making it tougher: this was a terrible football game. SCSU is not good at all, but it took a while for UCF to put them away because they couldn't finish drives; kicker Matthew Wright tied the school single-game record for made field goals (4) with over ten minutes left in the second quarter.
So, yes, this FFFF is a day late and condensed into one post. Brian literally ordered me to stop taking notes once I got through the first half. This non-conference schedule sure is something.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread, spread, spread. Scott Frost's last job was as Oregon's offensive coordinator.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Mostly zone blocking; just about every run play involves a read/option of some sort.
Hurry it up or grind it out? UCF isn't quite up to Oregon speed yet, but they still move at a brisk pace. They caught SCSU unprepared on a couple quick snaps on third-and-short situations to get easy first downs.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
What did you think of the secondary and how they played?
“I was happy with the group as a whole with the way they played. I thought Delano Hill had a good game. Obviously had an interception returned for a touchdown, but he was solid in his coverage. He did a nice job. Didn’t make any mental mistakes, and I was happy with the way he played.
“Dymonte Thomas, he did a good job. He’s been a steady player for us all camp, and it was good to see it come to fruition at game time. I was happy with those two guys and then Tyree Kinnel. He came in and did a nice job. Young guy, hasn’t had much experience, but I thought he did a pretty good job coming in. And he was confident, and he helps me be confident to put him in the game when he plays the way he does. I was happy with the way they played.”
What did you have Jourdan doing on a day where he wasn’t going to play just to keep him involved? Can he pick things up from the game on the sideline?
“Well, I work more with the safeties, so I’m kind of more focused on them. I think Jourdan’s done a good job working trying to get back and he’s done a nice job with the younger guys pitching in. Him not being in there, he can give them lessons from the sideline. Having him around has been good?”
What are things that you saw during camp with Dymonte and Delano, because they’ve been essentially backups—they’ve had spot starts, but for them to take those leadership roles. Did you see a flash where they were prepared for that? It’s a different role, a different mentality, right?
“Yeah, I mean, being a starter, a lot of times you’ve got to lead by example. I thought they’ve done an excellent job coming to work every day, bringing their lunch box, and just having a workman’s mentality. Delano, all camp he was one of the leaders as far as reps in practice. And just leading by example, I think, sets the tone for the young guys. We’ve got a lot of young guys in the secondary and they’re learning from them and the example they provide on a day-to-day basis.”
Khaleke’s [Hudson] still a safety, correct?
Jim had spoken highly of Khaleke, I remember, on national signing day and since then. What have you seen out of him? How is he adjusting and keeping up with the older guys?
“Yeah, Khaleke came in as a freshman, didn’t know much. Played running back in high school, kind of an option running back, and you could see the maturity that he has for a young guy coming in. He’s really learned a lot over the last couple weeks. I’ve been happy with his progression from where he started to where he is now. Just got to keep going every day, getting better, and just learning the game, the safety position. But he’s done a nice job so far. I’ve been happy with his progression.”
[After THE JUMP: on Hudson, Metellus, tempo, and mechanics]
Have you seen this at Busch's or Kroger or Meijer or the Kroger that was Hiller's yet (map)? Also also they are the Official Hummus of your favorite sports blog. And they're paying Joe to write recipes.]
I’ll go ahead and throw this out there right now. This recipe will not win any awards in the food photography category. Some of these pics are uglier than the first pass of the 2016 Michigan football season, but in the end, the results are the same. This one is flat out FUN and will make for a memorable tailgate. We get to cook CAVEMAN STYLE, which means directly on the coals. Just like the Caveman Style Flank steaks we did in October of 2014, everything cooked here will be done over LUMP charcoal without a grate. People also refer to this as a “DIRTY STEAK” because of the charred exterior on the meat. Either way, I had a BLAST making it.
- Eat Well Embrace Life Hummus - Black Bean
- Flat Iron Steak
- Peppers - I like bell and jalapeños
- Queso Fresco
- [Hit THE JUMP; you might get a lump.]
I hope Rutgers is investing heavily in its material sciences department, because the fence around New Jersey failed once again. Paramus Catholic made a trip to Ann Arbor last Friday night to play under the lights (technically it was under the blinding setting sun, then the lights) at the Big House, taking on St. Frances Academy.
Paramus jumped out to an early lead before two quick St. Frances touchdowns turned what seemed as though it might be a Paramus blowout into a 14-13 Paladin deficit at halftime. Paramus then took control in the second half and cruised to a 38-20 win.
The stands were about as full as a 2014 home game without the ticket giveaways (not that you can blame high schools from New Jersey and Maryland for not packing the place), but there were some notable faces in the crowd. Jim Harbaugh, Don Brown and Chris Partridge were on hand, as well as Paramus Catholic alums Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary. It just so happens that two Michigan targets, linebacker Drew Singleton and defensive tackle Corey Bolds, were on the field for Paramus on Friday night. Both impressed; four-star LB Drew Singleton, a top-100 player per the 247 composite, looked every bit his ranking, while three-star DT Corey Bolds was a bit more up-and-down but still impressed on the whole.
[After THE JUMP: Singleton and Bolds scouting reports and highlights]