1 hour 10 minutes
having a séance with his ribs [Eric Upchurch]
Do not step to Rod Gilmore. Rod Gilmore's wikipedia page will own you. Offensive competence, defensive problems, and exit Bo Pelini.
Doyle vs Donnal; Chatman's progress. Spike is very sneaky. Schedule complainin' morphs into general complaining: having home games for basketball and hockey on the day of the OSU game is a lolwut experience.
TALKING BIG TEN WITH JAMIEMAC
More Pelini, Wisconsin vs OSU, Riley O'Toole ambling through the Northwestern defense repelling people with the rank odor of alcohol.
"Across 110th Street"
"Tuff Ghost," The Unicorns
"It Doesn't Matter Anymore," Buddy Holly
THE USUAL LINKS
Goodbye: Mike Weber
As for his visit plans, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt, we'll have to wait:
Since Detroit Cass Tech four-star running back Mike Weber de-committed from Michigan earlier this month, the question has been which schools will receive his official visits.
"Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan State is all I really know right now. I haven't decided on the other two," Weber said. "I haven't set them up yet. I still have to sit down with my parents and see which ones I should take and when. I think I will take at least two in December."
Michigan is still under consideration. Alabama, Georgia, and Notre Dame didn't wait long to offer Weber after his decommitment.
Tyree Kinnel Waits
["]So I’m not too worried about if it Hoke is fired, what I’ll have to do. I know I’ve got other scholarships to schools that said they would take me. At the end the day I know I’ll be fine, so I’m just focused on the state championship right now with my team.”
That isn’t meant to suggest that the longtime Wolverine pledge is definitely headed elsewhere if the current coaching staff is removed.
“They would still be a school I consider,” he said.
Kinnel has no visits planned, yet.
Cole and Clark Wait
From Webb's latest in the Detroit News:
"As [Brian Cole's] daddy I'm telling you we're still evaluating everything. We're looking around, but we're still committed to Michigan."
"I'm just trying to get some other options in case the coaches I have a really good relationship with at Michigan end up going," [Chris Clark] told Scout.com. "And then I'll just have other options.
"I want to see what new coach they get -- if they get a new coach. I just really like my tight end coach at Michigan, Coach (Dan) Ferrigno. He's been with Coach Hoke for a while. If Coach Hoke goes, then he's going to go too."
Grant Newsome, Andrew David, Jon Runyan Jr., and Alex Malzone are solid, at least.
John Kelly, Uncommitted, Waits
"I'm not really worried about that stuff," he said. "They will probably find a good replacement with whatever they do. I've heard about Jim Harbaugh. That would be a really big hire if they could get him. That would help a lot. Besides that, I'm just waiting and seeing. I'm in no hurry to make a decision right now and I'm not favoring any certain schools over another at this point."
Michigan State and Minnesota are also under serious consideration; Kelly has also fielded recent offers from Iowa and Tennessee.
Auden Tate, After A "Great" Visit, Waits
“I’m a solid commit to FSU still,” Tate insisted. “I’m just taking some visits… just making sure.”
That begs the question, did Michigan give him something to think about?
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Kind of.”
Tate also visited Florida last weekend. They're waiting, too, but in a much different way.
Not Waiting: KLS, Garrett Taylor
Happy trails to Keisean Lucier-South, who committed to UCLA, and former M commit Garrett Taylor, who committed to Penn State.
11/30/2014 – Michigan 28, OSU 42 – 5-7, 3-5 Big Ten
In one of last year's season preview posts I wondered if Michigan was going to end up on the wrong side of the war after Hoke's hire. I got piles of crap for this take from people waving Stanford anecdotes around. I think a lot of people read "pro style can't work" when what I'm saying is "it's clearly less likely to." I'm not going to turn my nose up at Jim Harbaugh no matter what he wants to run. Wing-T? Yes, sir.
Anyway: the crux of that argument was that if you think running a spread makes your defense soft when you have to play Wisconsin, the corollary to that is that if you're not preparing for spread elements daily you will struggle when you go up against them. For the most part this held true during the Hoke era (if I say "tempo" you will dive under a couch), and never more so than against OSU.
Statistically, Michigan has had a defense somewhere between good and terrific under Greg Mattison. Ohio State looks at that and says naw:
- 2011: 34 points, 376 yards, about two feet from another 70 yards and game-winning points.
- 2012: 26 points, 396 yards. A decent performance, year one of Meyer.
- 2013: 42 points, 526 yards. An obliteration.
- 2014: 42 points, 416 yards. Seven of those points are via a defensive TD.
These were all slow games featuring a lot of running and a lot of Michigan dawdling. This year's version of The Game had just nine OSU possessions, which is the practical minimum. Anything played at a Pac 12 pace would have been ugly.
Michigan had a vaguely acceptable performance once in four years, and two of those games featured freshman OSU quarterbacks who weren't even supposed to be the starter preseason. Hell, this game featured an eighty yard drive led by the third string QB.
The whole "Big Boy Football" thing is all the more galling since OSU has consistently ground Michigan into paste without bothering to throw the ball much. OSU QBs have thrown an average of 20.5 passes against Michigan in the Hoke era, and I'd guess about a half of those were screens and easy stuff in the flat. With most of the rest downfield bombs, OSU's offense avoids turnovers while simultaneously being lethally efficient. If the spread does get your QBs hurt more often—something that's been hard to confirm with numbers—that's not something that has affected Ohio State. Cardale Jones came in and sealed the game.
OSU is running twice as much as they're passing against Michigan and averaging 6.1 yards a carry. These are Rodriguez-at-WVU type stats, the kind that blew me away when I was looking at his track record after his hire.
The funny thing about the Danielsons of the world is that they're old school RUN THE DANG BALL types, but they manage to sidestep the fact that forcing the defense to account for a running quarterback is the best way to run the ball. I can think of no better way to make this point than a chart from back in 2008 that compared Michigan's YPC in year one of Rodriguez to the previous seven years of Lloyd Carr:
Threet and Sheridan and no linemen and they still ended up above average. Michigan would easily top 2006 from 2009 to 2012. Lloyd Carr could talk about running the ball. His teams couldn't do it, at least not well.
I want to run the ball. I want to run an offense that doesn't ask the QB to make complicated reads, but rather asks him to make a decision about one guy. Hoke was a mistake for a thousand reasons, but prime amongst them was his "we're gonna run power" crap after he'd never been able to do that anywhere else.
Michigan spent the 2011 game running the inverted veer wrong and they still put up 40; that this had no impact on his approach speaks volumes about Hoke's lack of quality as a coach. Bo made the shift to a modern passing offense when he had to. Saban is grudgingly moving in that direction: I was watching the Iron Bowl on Saturday and Herbstreit made multiple references to how Alabama was now a no-huddle team. They found themselves down multiple scores in the second half and ripped off five straight TDs in short order.
The game moves; move with it or die. Michigan chose hidebound traditionalism on the field and whiz-bang idiot modernism in the pageantry. The former is a natural reaction after you get burned. The latter is a natural consequence of hiring a pizza marketer.
But can we learn? I would like to learn. Rich Rodriguez blew it here, and he learned. He dumped his defensive staff, got Jeff Casteel back, and is headed to the Pac-12 championship game with a freshman QB after having beaten Oregon in back-to-back years. This is our opportunity to do something right this time.
Unfortunately, Michigan's current coaching staff is going on recruiting visits today when they should be taking a day with a bottle of scotch before polishing up the old resume. I have no idea what they're supposed to say on these visits.
RECRUIT: Aren't you guys getting fired?
COACH: Almost certainly.
RECRUIT: So why are you here?
COACH: I'm like a corpse still twitching. Held in this hellish no-place, I pine for my soul's release and reincarnation as the offensive coordinator at a D-II school.
COACH: You said it.
Florida knows what's going on; Tulsa knows what's going on; Illinois knows what's going on. Michigan doesn't. Comparisons to Nebraska are invalid. Michigan's not 9-3, and no one is going to be blindsided by Hoke getting axed.
Poke the Russia Today outlet in the Michigan e-sphere and you'll hear that it's about Doing Right By The Staff and that it's about Keeping The Pressure Off Harbaugh; neither of these explanations make any sense. That coach doesn't want to be on that visit. He wants to be looking for another job. Harbaugh speculation does not start with, or even focus on, Michigan in NFL circles.
I can't see a reason to drag it out, but here we are, dragging it out. The guy in charge may be competent but he has no track record. We're stuck here hoping this guy is actually qualified and that things turn out for the best. Maybe it will. Forgive me if I have a tendency to look on everything this department does as a mistake.
That's' going to be a tough habit to break, but here's a suggestion: act like a collection of people instead of a committee for once and acknowledge that there's no good way for this to go down. The first major Brandon warning sign was when he infamously took two days of meetings to fire Rich Rodriguez when that was a fait accompli.
[After THE JUMP: offensive line ups and downs, clock lol, etc.]
Funchess - Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog
Canteen - Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog
For the second straight year, a plucky Michigan squad that had no business hanging with a powerful Ohio State outfit did just that.
Unlike last year, however, the Wolverines couldn't stay in it until the bitter end. Despite the best efforts of Devin Gardner, Devin Funchess, Drake Johnson, and the defense, Ohio State pulled away late. The backbreaker came on a fourth-and-one touchdown run from midfield by Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliott, who burst through the left side of the line and sprinted 44 yards untouched to the end zone, giving OSU a 35-21 lead. Any hopes beyond that were dashed when Joey Bosa stripped Gardner and Darron Lee returned the fumble 33 yards for the final Buckeye score.
The Wolverines played much better than expected, especially considering the disastrous start to this game, an ugly Gardner pick that led to a swift six-play touchdown drive for the home team. Michigan struck back; a long completion from Gardner to Funchess beget a touchdown pass to Jake Butt when the Buckeyes blew a coverage.
Michigan took the lead on a Drake Johnson scoring plunge, but OSU returned the favor mere seconds before the half on a JT Barrett scramble; the rivals headed into the half knotted at 14, to the surprise of all but the most paranoid (and, for the second straight year, prescient) Buckeye backers.
The teams traded rushing touchdowns early in the second half before the game's most lasting and terrible moment occurred. Barrett was folded back by a couple M defenders and suffered what appeared to be a severe ankle injury; he exited on a cart after receiving words and gestures of support from both sides, including a touching moment between him and Gardner.
Cardale Jones replaced Barrett, and while he wasn't as effective, he didn't have to be after Elliott's scoring dash. Michigan added a final, highlight-worthy score on a pass from Gardner to a toe-tapping Freddy Canteen, but it was too little, too late.
That sums up today for Brady Hoke, as well. Even if Michigan had managed to pull this out, it's hard to imagine he would've been retained for making a late-December bowl game; with the loss, his fate appears sealed. His final season goes into the record books at 5-7, with M going 3-5 in the Big Ten for the second straight year.
Fire up FlightTracker. The Harbaugh vigil now begins in earnest.
By Heiko "4 AD" Yang
FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN BETWEEN NOON AND 3:30 TODAY:
1. Michigan has a negative play that results in positive yardage. Sometimes you have to go back in order to actually move forw–
/punches own dong.
Ow. Ohio State has this guy named Joey Bosa. He’s really good, we all know this. Probably at some point in the game he’s going to blow by Michigan’s freshman left tackle and cause someone in the Michigan backfield to explode into a million pieces. The play will be flagged for unnecessary roughness, and Michigan will gain 15 yards on the penalty and double their total offensive output for the half. It will be a pyrrhic victory.
2. Urban Meyer outsmarts himself. Calls time-out during Michigan’s two-minute drill; instructs punt returners to signal fair catch; double-covers Funchess in the red zone; huddles.
3. Ohio State’s efforts to enhance their CoFoPoff considerations are in vain. There are no style points to be gained when you end your regular season against a team that got blanked by the team that lost at home in overtime to the team that got torched 48-7 by the team that lost to the team that gave up 581 rush yards to the team that lost to the team that lost the M00N game. I have no idea where I ended up going with this. Did Michigan and Northwestern each appear in this twice? Yes. Yes they did.
4. One unsportsmanlike penalty is awarded. Mike Slive, for taunting.
5. Brady Hoke wears a headset. It’s plugged into his phone, and it’s playing Hall and Oates.
- “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” – While releasing depth chart.
- “I Can’t Go For that” – 4th-and-1 on the OSU 30.
- “Did It In A Minute” – Getting the offense to the line of scrimmage.
- “Possession Obsession” – See previous.
- “Maneater” – Joey Bosa sack/TFL.
- “So Close” – 21-point deficit.
- “I’ll Be Around” – December.
Michigan 13 Ohio State 21
by Nick RoUMel
One competitor comes into this contest with a 5-6 record, especially struggling as the season has worn on. The other, after a rocky start, has turned it up a notch – really getting into the groove in the last month.
On paper it seems no contest. But as the cliché goes, where there is a fierce rivalry, anything can happen.
We are not talking about Michigan-Ohio State. This is about Punt-Counterpunt.
The heart of this column, in the decades it has run, has been about the accuracy of prediction. Whether Dave “Original Punt” DeVarti, Jeff “Original Counterpunt” Gourdji, Ken “Sky/Punt Classic” Walker, Heiko “4 AD/New Punt,” or yours truly, we do strive to nail the outcome and final score.
For 2014, the upstart at the top of this column has failed miserably. After cruising through the early season with four straight outcome predictions, Heiko barely managed to call the winner of the Indiana game correctly. Perhaps it was the concussion he suffered playing softball that affected him, but despite his incredible brains, winning personality, and medical school success, Heiko would be lucky to pick the winner in a game of solitaire.
Enter Counterpunt, the reincarnation of Nostradamus. Yes, I started 2-3; and both of us failed to see the cluster**** that was Minnesota. But where Heiko has since reeled, I have picked four straight, almost nailing each score. Season records:
|Rutgers||24-26||34-10||*no prediction||*Brandon protest|
|MSU||11-35||21-17||*17-31||*Punt Classic’s guest column; Heiko smoking crack|
|RECORD||5-6||5-6||*6-3||*C-Punt not taking credit for guest column|
On one point both Punt and I will agree: this has been a very difficult season to entertain our readers. A perfect storm of calamities has made this perhaps the most awful season in Michigan football history –not necessarily by record, but for reasons well known to our readers that need not be recounted. Suffice to say it’s hard to be funny when your loved one is lying in a hospital bed, in critical condition, writhing in painful agony, with only the faint hope of a miracle cure.
No miracles today, I’m afraid. But we’ll see you next year, with sharpened pencils and renewed optimism. May the best prognosticator win, and one more thing:
Forever and always, Go Blue.
Ohio State 35, Michigan 6