[ED (Seth): By now you guys know Joe Pichey. You know about his recipes, and his blog, and why Stubb's sponsors them here, and why your doctor wants all this to stop. But I'm here to remind you anyway. Joe's blog is MMMGoBlueBBQ. Stubbs gives us some money to put his recipes here too because their CEO is a reader, and a nice guy, and he wants you to give his sauces a try next time you're in the supermarket.]
It's my favorite week of the year for several reasons. Turkey Day is my favorite day of the year (for obvious eating reasons) and THE GAME is here. We've waited all year for this one, so let's cook something truly special. It's not everyday we get to smoke a brisket, so let's enjoy this day to the fullest. The brisket is one of my favorites to cook, but also one of the trickiest. You can get overwhelmed watching videos on youtube or researching on google, so just search "Aaron Franklin Brisket" if you want. He has some fantastic videos if you want to do some more research or just want to watch some food porn. The biggest game deserves the biggest cut of beef, so grab your smoker, knife and beverages and let's get started.
- 10 - 15 lb Brisket (Packer)
- BBQ Rub
- Butcher paper (Non Waxed) or Foil
[After the jump, set your grill or smoker for indirect heat and prepare to melt]
Michigan (3-2) vs
Paradise Island, Bahamas
|WHEN||7 pm ET, Friday|
|LINE||Michigan -1 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kenny Rice
Analyst: Seth Davis
Right: Last time was fun.
HOW TO WATCH
One last time, here's how to find AXS TV, a channel you'll probably never watch again. For those in the area, here's a handy guide for A2/Detroit/GR provided by U-M Media Relations:
- AT&T U-verse Ch. 1106
- Charter Ch. 820 (also Ch. 770 in Detroit)
- Comcast Ch. 382
- DirecTV Ch. 340
- DISH Ch. 167
- Wyandotte Cable TV Ch. 179
For the rest of you, AXS TV has a channel finder on their site.
Fifth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Try to contain your excitement.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||1||Isaiah Taylor||Jr.||6'3, 185||72||28||Yes|
|Same high-volume, low-efficiency slasher he was in '14. Solid passer now.|
|G||3||Javan Felix||Sr.||5'11, 205||43||16||No|
|Career 35% 3P shooter is Texas' top outside shooting threat.|
|G||2||Demarcus Holland||Sr.||6'3, 190||64||12||Kinda?|
|Tiny usage. 0/7 on threes this year; was at 42% last year and 29% the year prior.|
|F||21||Connor Lammert||Sr.||6'10, 235||60||11||Kinda?|
|Tiny usage. Solid rebounder. Career 30% 3P shooter is 6/12 this season.|
|C||55||Cameron Ridley||Sr.||6'10. 290||57||27||Very|
|Post-up/rebounding/shot-blocking force limited by fouls, FT shooting, turnovers.|
|G||10||Eric Davis Jr.||Fr.||6'2, 185||55||22||Not really|
|Freshman provides scoring spark off bench; can hit three or get to the hoop.|
|G||12||Kerwin Roach Jr.||Fr.||6'4, 170||43||24||Yes|
|Posting woeful 66.7 ORtg due to 6/21 shooting, 11 turnovers.|
|F||0||Tevin Mack||Fr.||6'6, 210||38||26||Yes|
|0/14 2P, 2/14 3P, edges out Roach in ORtg b/c he turns it over less.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Jeff Holzhausen first walked through Forest Hill cemetery over twenty years ago. He wanted to honor two Michigan legends during The Week before The Game, and he decided the best way to do so was to visit their graves. Holzhausen led his first tour group on that same walk a few years later, and he’s been doing so ever since. I went on the grave walk last year, and afterwards I wrote a piece that was (thankfully) never published. The thesis was basically that Michigan fans had too tight a grip on the past and how that grip would need to slacken if the football program was ever going to become healthy again. It took one year, one speech, and one chance encounter with Jim Harbaugh to show me that I entirely missed the point of the grave walk.
“We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there's gonna be one team that's gonna play solely as a team.”
The University of Michigan is brutal. You will come in idealistic and looking down innumerable paths as realistic options and at some point you will be a confused shell of that self, drained and defenseless and lost, wondering not only what your next move is in the bigger sense but what you’re going to do just to get to the next break. Michigan is more than those who have downed a pot of coffee because how else are you supposed to prep for that orgo exam and an econ exam and finish this stupid worksheet for Spanish? That’s a college experience, but it’s not unique; you can find that at almost any campus across the country. At Michigan, there comes a point where you will look around and feel like everyone is better than you; Michigan’s seeping into your soul in that moment as much as it ever will.
“No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The team, the team, the team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my team?”
No one associated with Michigan takes the “Leaders and Best” line lightly. The power in that comes from a bunch of high strung, neurotic, obsessively achieving individuals working toward common goals. The goals aren’t the same; the endgame for a research team investigating the genetic causes of a certain mental health issue is different than it is for the football team, but the overarching theme is the same: use your collective talents to achieve something great.
“Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a team again.”
Michigan has a fortunate history of having the right person show up at the right time, a new captain to right the course of a ship just slightly off course. At the same time, Michigan has had leaders in place that have had an ability to spot a fine-drawn mistake in course; Yost was hired after the dissatisfaction born of four losses and a tie in the twenty games played in 1899 and 1900.
The expectations for on-field performance have been high for over a century; expectations for traditional football powers will always have death-and-taxes status. Somewhere along the way, though, a new component of those expectations was wrought. It’s not enough to win at Michigan. It has to be done with integrity, honesty, and through a ceaseless pursuit of perfection.
[After THE JUMP: Schembechler, Yost, Ufer, and an unexpected guest]
|WHAT||Ohio State at Michigan|
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||Noon PM Eastern
November 28st, 2015
|THE LINE||Ohio State -1|
|WEATHER||mostly cloudy, around 40, 0% chance of rain|
They came for our families. They came for our principles. They saw our hapless generals and ordered a scorched-earth campaign. I ate tires for six months, and then I pined for the good old days when I had tires to eat. Then I pined for the good old days when I could remember the thing that was supposed to be bad that I ate.
I'm tired of it, and you're tired of it, and Jim Harbaugh just crested the ridge with the Rohirrim. Let's get it.
Run Offense vs Ohio State
Joey Bosa has made an effort to look like every Ohio State fan averaged together
It was bizarre to watch the much-maligned Michigan State offensive line get a grip on their opposition last week and drive the Buckeyes backwards. By the second half of that game OSU was getting blown off the ball on the regular.
In some ways that is reminiscent of Michigan's performance against Indiana—with the OSU offense unable to stay on the field and MSU sustaining 10+ play drives, the talented but thin Buckeye line ran out of gas. Can Michigan replicate that performance?I don't know. This is an improvement from my previous impressions.
OSU's rush defense has been bipolar this season. Minnesota and Illinois collected a total of 55 yards between them, but Big Ten games other than those two haven't gone nearly as well:
- Indiana (mostly) minus Jordan Howard: 55 carries, 176 yards, 3.2 YPC
- Maryland: 42 carries, 253 yards, 6 YPC
- PSU: 40 carries, 195 yards, 4.9 YPC
- Rutgers: 29 carries, 104 yards, 3.6 YPC
- MSU: 51 carries, 203 yards, 4 YPC
Michigan's mediocre rush offense (51st in S&P) doesn't project to blow up, especially since the main back, De'Veon Smith, is the opposite of a burner. Michigan also does not run the quarterback on purpose much, and both Indiana and Maryland's production was heavily dependent on QBs running a long way. MSU also featured a heavy dose of QB run. That's not an option for M.
OSU runs out one of those MSU-ish 4-3 over, quarters defenses with a LB/S hybrid over the slot. With Penn State running more or less the same defense, all three of Michigan's main division competitors are in the same boat. Michigan has not been able to run against this style of defense all year, but there were differences between PSU and MSU, specifically at safety. PSU is much more conservative with their safeties and gives their LBs pass responsibilities; MSU is in your face and lets their LBs go. OSU is much closer to Penn State.
You can do that when you have talent coming out your ears. Joey Bosa, of course, leads the way:
Nor is Bosa just a pass rusher — he’s equally destructive in run defense, and that’s reflected in his +58.2 overall grade, which leads all edge rushers. … Bosa’s season has been so impressive that we felt he should be seen as a Heisman contender, even though we know that the Heisman is rarely awarded to a defensive player.
Adolphus Washington is a high quality DT in the vein of Maurice Hurst—not huge but in your backfield a lot. The other two DL are fine but don't jump off the page; the linebacker corps is very good. Seth has more details in FFFF.
Expect Michigan to try out those wide receiver screens when OSU aligns so they might work; OSU may be able to shut those down anyway if Darron Lee and Vonn Bell are on point. On the interior they may be able to crease the weaker half of the OSU line and maybe Washington if he gets tired, but consistent production is difficult to see.
When it comes to the actual ground game, I don't know. I can see the left side of Michigan's line winning enough battles to put a tailback in a productive position, but barely, and Michigan's tailbacks have not done well with "barely" this year. Ohio State will try to win with their 7 up front before trying anything special, which should give Michigan some opportunities if they can just match OSU's ability.
The X factor is Jabrill Peppers, who's started lining up as a tailback the last couple weeks. Peppers has shown flashes of the kind of ability he demonstrated in high school…
…and may be able to break a couple things that swing this matchup to a draw. Tough sledding awaits either way.
KEY MATCHUP: JABRILL PEPPERS versus THE SPOOOOKY GHOST OF TOM HARMON.
[Hit THE JUMP for Butt vs Bell, rushing offense, 404 passing O not found, and WHAT ARE THOOOOSE kickers]
Behold the only preview of The Game you'll need until Brian posts his actual preview in an hour or so.
If you aren't familiar with Next Media Animation, yes, it's supposed to be that ridiculous.
We are forever indebted for this:
Either way ... GO BLUE!!
Moe Wagner may be the #2 center. [File photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Moe Wagner scored 19 points on 8/9 shooting. The German freshman hit all manner of up-and-under layups, fought through contact for and-ones, and even knocked down his only three-point attempt. His only miss came on, of all things, a botched dunk.
Yes, Michigan had a good night.
Eleven Wolverines tallied points against a hapless Charlotte squad, with Caris Levert, Zak Irvin, and Aubrey Dawkins joining Wagner in double figures. A day after Michigan couldn't find their range against UConn, they sniped 12/23 three-pointers, taking full advantage when the 49ers played a soft 2-3 zone.
By the time Mark Donnal found his way off the bench to score seven points, including a triple to get M to the century mark, Seth Davis was scolding viewers for still watching.
We'll learn much more from Michigan's consolation contest against Texas tomorrow (7 pm, AXS TV) than anything we saw tonight. The hope is Wagner's breakout is for real, Irvin continues to settle in, DJ Wilson's threes keep falling, and the Wolverines can come close to replicating this defensive performance against a team with a pulse.