The Question: Which big ten players are over/underperforming your preseason expectations?
Underperforming: While I didn't expect them to be world-beaters, I didn't see Michigan State's safeties being so inconsistent, like twice-benched Montae Nicholson, or inconsistent and injured, as is now the case with RJ Williamson. With Williamson now out for most of the season, that secondary is vulnerable, and there may only be so much their excellent defensive line can do to mask the weakness.
Overperforming: Ryan Glasgow, Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst, Matt Godin, and Taco Charlton. I'd include Willie Henry, as well, but I was expecting big things out of him this year. Remember when Bryan Mone's injury looked to be a huge hit to the defensive line? They've coped pretty well. You could also throw Jeremy Clark and Channing Stribling in here, as they've very much exceeded expectations, too. The defense was supposed to be good with a couple of weak points; at the moment, it's great, and thus far they haven't shown a glaring weakness.
[Jump for not draftageddon (until Seth goes)]
2017 Ann Arbor Pioneer OLB Antjuan Simmons is one of the hottest prospects on the recruting trail. In the last few weeks he's added offers from Arizona State, LSU, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, to name a few. While Michigan hasn't yet joined that group, they hosted Simmons for an unofficial visit during the UNLV game, and you can bet they're keeping a close eye on the local kid.
In a matchup of undefeated teams, Pioneer fell to Saline 37-21 on Friday in a game that frankly wasn't that close; it was 28-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Simmons made a big impact on both sides of the ball, however, making plays all over the field at outside linebacker while proving to be Pioneer's most effective means of moving the ball on offense. He finished with double-digit tackles, a sack, a fumble return for a touchdown, and a rushing touchdown (though he also fumbled a goal-line carry).
The fumble return, which occurred after we'd packed up (via The Saline Post):
[Hit THE JUMP for the scouting report.]
Alright, that hurt a bit, but I'm fine.
Wait, is that the ref?
I'm literally dead, ref.
/very convincing leg drop
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Maryland game in GIFs.]
1 hour 57 minutes
Also a big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes.
That went rather well.
Gimmicky Top Five List: Pet Peeves From Fellow Fans
That one guy I know who left Braylonfest early is never going to live it down with himself.
Basketball open practice chatter
Chatman's improve shooting form; Spike still a little gimpy; I defend Doyle's lateral mobility from accusations I can be surprisingly impressive.
Catch us Mondays 5-7 on 1050 WTKA.
THE USUAL LINKS
Ace: "I only want to note that I didn’t write the lyrics for this song"
He hid it pretty well. And impressively, Ace's friends and Facebook friends stayed loyal through the entire search. But there are deep corners of the internet. Deeper than the places even an internet wizard like Ace knows about. I'm talking about Russian servers that downloaded everything free music sites were putting out in 2002 before the DRM people got good at it. Even if the servers have been wiped, the information is still there. Information like the names of band members (excavated from Twitter by kevin holt):
@cjane87 Holy crap, Jonny has made some major moves since being the drummer in our high school ska band.
— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) May 29, 2015
Like a woolly mammoth from the 2000th century BCE, it takes only a small effort to bury things and a massive coordinated project to dig it back up. This could not have been unearthed without the help of a massive team of excavators. In particular user Knight followed the crumb above to get where JZ, Dave and I did last night (we were working through a list of local ska bands), then took it a step further by finding a recording in the Ann Arbor District Library. A2Photonut and Skurnie both got the track from the library and emailed it to me. The latter, whom you may remember as the guy who writes our M soccer posts, also offered a suggestion:
Now we need someone to mash up this song with a Happy Gilmore montage.
Done. If anyone else would like to lose their dignity in solidarity, here's the thread.
Event. The Alumni Associations big homecoming tailgate is this weekend. It features many things:
Five stations of delicious tailgate themed foods.
Cold beer brewed by U-M alumni-owned North Peak Brewing Company.
Performances by student groups.
Appearances by special guests including: University President Mark Schlissel, MGoBlog creator Brian Cook, and New York Times bestseller John U. Bacon.
A performance by the Michigan Marching Band.
The Exclusive Member Lounge - Alumni Association members can meet Sara Moulton between 12:30 - 1:30 and try out some of her favorite tailgating recipes.
One of them is somehow me. I have been tasked with emceeing the event, so send me all your John U Bacon short jokes. Tickets are available here. Teaser: I hear John U Bacon is not very tall, you guys! /rimshot
Whoops. Accidentally left this from LongLiveBo out of the game column:
Felt like this for a while
Ended up feeling like this.
You will agree that it is good I have repaired this mistake.
A man who knows his history. Michigan went way back in the annals of football and dug out the T-formation against Maryland. I'm charting it and trying to figure out what the accepted lingo for T-formations with receivers is and hit up the Wikipedia article, and bang:
That is from Fielding Yost's 1905 book "Football for Player and Spectator," which sounds amazing. Also, the section in which this image is found is headlined "Obsolescence," to which Jim Harbaugh would like to say not so fast, my friend.
Another tale in which Michigan is prepared. From Doug Karsch:
"I spoke with D.J. Durkin this week before the game, and he said, 'Look, Caleb Rowe is fine, until he gets pressured. That's where the turnovers have come from. So we're going to need to pressure him.'
"Sure enough, they did. All three of his interceptions came under heavy duress. Desmond Morgan said after the game about his interception, which came on a screen pass, before the ball was snapped, he knew in that down and distance that they liked to go screen. He told the defensive line to watch for the screen."
Michigan got Hurst in on Rowe so quickly he ended up hammering the ball at a running back about five feet from him. The deflection that followed was partially forced by the D.
So many ORs it sounds like a seal convention around here. Looking ahead a little bit to next week, Michigan State's depth chart on offense is certainly uncertain:
Jack Allen is a very good center. As a 6'2" left tackle he's gonna die. MSU really needs Conklin back posthaste. I imagine if there is any way either he or Kieler can play next Saturday they will do so.
It's fatal. Start over. The immediate aftermath of hiring Mike DeBord at Tennessee has exceeded even Michigan fans' extraordinarily jaded expectations:
6 teams have taken a 13+ point lead in every game this season: Temple (4-0) Navy (4-0) LSU (4-0) Baylor (4-0) FSU (4-0) Tennessee (2-3)
— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) October 5, 2015
The Vols are 108th in Bill Connelly's "explosiveness" metric. They've scored a total of 13 points in the second half of games against Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas.
The optics here are really bad. Tennessee essentially does not have a quarterbacks coach. That task has fallen to Nick Sheridan (yes, that Nick Sheridan), who is a grad assistant after a couple of years as Willie Taggart's QB coach at WKU and then USF. No offense to Sheridan, but that's an incredibly thin resume for the only guy a major college has with any claim to be a QB coach. Dobbs has seen his completion percentage drop six points and lost 0.6 YPA this year. You want those numbers to go the other way when your QB hits his upperclass years.
You really have to wonder what the hell Butch Jones was thinking.
The love is real. If Cracker Barrel's latest viral marketing campaign was based on kidnapping and hypnotizing Jim Harbaugh, someone needs a raise.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) October 6, 2015
BTW, there is now a hidden subplot in Harbaugh twitter:
@CoachJim4UM Good Lord how we miss you.
— 49ers Fancast (@49ersfancast) October 6, 2015
This happens a lot in his mentions now. A lot.
— Zed Eleven (@TheZed11) October 6, 2015
Possibly because Licensed Twitter Troll Tim Kawakami is retweeting him. Well done, Licensed Twitter Troll Tim Kawakami.
Cumong man. I am happy with the state of the team. I am getting a little punchy about the outside perception of it from both humans and numbers. Vegas moved Michigan from essentially infinity to 1 for the national title to 22 to 1, which is insane. S&P is not a person but a series of carefully selected numbers; now that Michigan bludgeoned Maryland and all preseason numbers have been dropped Michigan sits third(!) in it. FEI, at least, is more skeptical—Michigan is 22nd.
Pat Forde has a gimmicky column on when the undefeated teams lose in which he essentially says Michigan is goin' to the the playoff:
Expiration date: Oct. 10, at Michigan. Saturday the Wildcats play in the Big House, in front of roughly 75,000 more people than have seen them play at any point this season. First team to 10 may win this matchup of the best defenses in the conference – and that team will be the Wolverines.
Michigan State (8)
Expiration date: Oct. 17, at Michigan. If this comes to pass, the Mitten may lose its mind. But which team is playing better football at the moment? The Wolverines.
Ohio State (20)
Expiration date: Nov. 28, at Michigan. And if it comes to this, Lord have mercy on the scarlet and gray.
I think the Lord's already done plenty for Ohio State, thanks. We have to fire our coach for blatant cheating—oh look Urban Meyer is tanned, rested, and ready. Hooray.
Dadrock is everywhere. The HarPod dominates all sports.
As basketballs bounced on the hardwood, the arena filled with noise: "You get up every morning from your 'larm clock's warning, take the 8:15 into the city."
Yes, Michigan basketball's official opening practice of the 2015-16 season actually included Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care Of Business."
The Dads. They are rocking.
Quinn also has some useful takes from the open practice:
Speaking of Robinson, yes, he's as advertised. The redshirt sophomore can shoot — really shoot — from all over. It's effortless; more net than rim. As Derrick Walton Jr. told us before practice, "Like, it's weird when he misses."
Now all that Robinson has to prove is that he can get off his shot in live action, defend on the other end, and rebound his space. As for the athleticism question, Robinson rose up and tossed in an ally-oop with ease on Friday. He can jump. Quickness? I'm not sure yet.
I don't know where he got the impression Doyle had any baby fat; guy was as built as I've ever seen a freshman post at M. IIRC his tendency to become exhausted was more because he was constantly ill last year.
It's back! Jim Hackett has resumed wearing his I Got Harbaugh outfit.
— Kurt Svoboda (@ksvoboda) September 30, 2015
This is a welcome development.
Etc.: Russell Bellomy departs UTSA. "A retrospective on Tom Crean's mediocre sext game." A history of moved Michigan games. Aubrey Dawkins oh man oh man oh man. Official site stuff on the Yost renovations. Gary Danielson being himself. ESPN adopts a sensible strategy for game overlap.