I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
About last week:
The road ahead:
Wait, we haven’t gotten there yet. We go in chronological order around here.
Oh, c’mon. Let me just talk about State first, then I’ll talk about the other dreck that comes between here and there.
DID YOU EVEN SEE THE STATE GAME? We need a real lede here. Throw some red meat up front. No one come here for my take on Akron
This isn’t Columbus. There are rules.
I hate you so much, disembodied bolded alter-ego. FINE, we’ll talk about…
Akron (1-1, 0-0 MAC)
Last game: Akron 35, James Madison 33 (W)
Recap: Michigan’s next opponent is, shall we say, not coming into the game riding a high. Despite not actually fielding a football team, James Madison took Akron to the absolute wire. The Fightin’ Dolleys scored with five minutes left, but missed the two point conversion. They then got the ball back with 1:19 left, and went on a 12 play drive to the Akron 27 before time expired. James Madison outgained Akron 498-356. Again, this was James Madison. Confirmed: Akron remains not good at football.
This team is as frightening as: I refuse to be That Guy who jinxes the upcoming game by labeling it a fear level = 1. Therefore, fear level = 1.07.
Michigan should worry about: Third-world hunger is a problem still, right?
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Akron football.
When they play Michigan: This game is a bit of a palate cleanser following the Notre Dame game. Which is fitting, because Akron has the defensive cohesiveness and overall consistency of a fine sorbet. PREPARE THE FRESHMEN.
Next game: vs. #11 Michigan
[AFTER THE JUMP: more dreck, then Sparty]
Rubber capital of the world, this.
"Akron" is Greek for "pinnacle" or "high place" (I'll take the latter definition for $500, Alex). It is home to about 200,000 people who live there either for the cheap rubber or because Cleveland was just too nice. It is one of many mid-major schools—Bowling Green, Toledo, Miami (NNTM), Cincinnati, Kent State, and of course OHIO!—which make up the fabric of this nation's worst state.
How this works again:
- I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
- You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments like so:
[Michigan Score]-[Opponent Score]. First person to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
- The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
- Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.
This Week's Game:
Akron Zips versus the Michigan Wol's
And on the Line…
Model: Steve Everitt
Your AMERICAN APPAREL version of the Worst State Ever shirt. If you are Brady Hoke it comes with a Pet Viking. Don't fall for the knockoff versions that we're too lazy to sue; this is the original, on a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend to make it really soft.
At the Marlin & Friends event last week local realtor Tammi Ebenhoeh gave me tickets for six couples (one a little bent out of shape from being in my pocket) to tomorrow night's MEECHIGAN FOOTBALL PARTY in German Park.
For those who haven't been, it's a private combination tailgate/pep rally that gets up to about 2,000 people, with food and beer served out of the kitchen, and a band. Jon Falk is almost always there as well as several former players, and some of the guys from current teams might show up. A couple of years ago they had the Heisman trophy.
To win one, put your best rivalry joke in the comments below with your answer by 7pm tonight, at which time I'll judge my favorites based on my particular (not quite normal) sense of humor. Sample:
Q: Why did O.J. Simpson drive his White Bronco in the direction of East Lansing?
A: He knew it was the last place they'd look for a Heisman winner.
Winners will can pick their tickets tomorrow afternoon at the UGP store on 2248 S. Main Street (next to Buschs). Each ticket is good for 2 people. Don't bring the kids.
UPDATE: After much deliberation (I read them all then asked my dog which were his favorites) I have picked my five winners. Mostly they were the ones you couldn't just go down to Austin and hear about A&M etc.
- What do you call a Buckeye with low self esteem? A Spartan.
- What do you say to an Ohio State football player dressed in a three piece suit? Will the defendant please rise.
- Why did the chicken cross the Tobacco Road? To get to Duke.
- Why did the chicken commit suicide? To get to the other side.
- What's the difference between a plastic flamingo and the MSU offense? One is ugly, stands in the grass, and is utterly useless. The other is a lawn ornament.
-Feat of Clay
Winners should have emails in the account you used to sign up for MGoBlog.
If you can read this you don’t need glasses:
One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). If nobody gets the score, this week's prize carries over to the following week's. Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game (since I won't have time to pull them on gamedays). MGoEmployees and Moderators--anyone else with moderator privileges--are exempt from winning because you could change your timestamp. If you choose the score that Brian published in the official preview and it actually ends up the final score, well, that would be pretty amazing because Brian picks scores like 29-11 all the time. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is just a regional rivalry. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus. This is not the algorithm. This is close.
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was split close to evenly between shotgun/pistol/under center. Notre Dame, meanwhile, was in a ton of four-man fronts until late, when they went back to more of a 4-3 look. Here you can see Shembo with his hand down and a 1-3-5 technique split to the strongside of M's formation:
I know I've mentioned in the past that Notre Dame's defense is not really all that different from Michigan's, and this game was a good demonstration of that. ND prefers over fronts when they go to a four-man line since their SAM equivalent is Jaylon Smith, a fast light bugger. I guess that's kind of a big difference. The point is: ND runs a lot of four man fronts.
Here's ND's 3-4:
The DL are head up on the Michigan OL, with the SAM over the TEs and Smith is over the slot.
This is the pistol. Pew pew:
Another 4-3 over from ND.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: QB Gardner, RB Toussaint on almost every play. Derrick Green got in for two, I think, and M lined up Norfleet as a back once. The line was the starters the whole game, but when Lewan got poked in the eye, Michigan sent in Magnuson, not Braden. Lewan returned, so Magnuson didn't get a snap. He's your #3 tackle it appears.
Williams, Funchess, and Butt all played plenty; Williams went out with an injury, came back for a few plays, and then left permanently. At WR, Gallon (obvious) with Chesson and Jackson rotating more heavily than Reynolds, who may still be dinged. Excepting the Norfleet package early, the slot was always Dileo. Michigan never had more than two outside WRs in the game. On passing downs they filled out with Funchess and Dileo.
[After THE JUMP: slicing and dicing goes both ways.]
Akron has played one FBS opponent this season: UCF, a decent AAC (aka remnants of the Big East) team. They lost 38-7 and did not score until 42 seconds remained in the game, when Akron's backups were playing. The above happened in an actual Division I football game. Last week the Zips had to come back from a 13-0 hole to beat FCS James Madison, which was a two-point conversion away from tying the game late in the fourth.
Yeah, let's get this over with.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. In the plays I charted, Akron didn't go under center once.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. Lots of inside zone, especially on first down.
- Boo boo watch: AJ Williams is questionable, Courtney Avery is getting better, but still probably limited.
- It's Akron week. Yawn.
"Practice was pretty good on Tuesday. We've talked about it before, we're putting some wrinkles in, both offensively and defensively, for what you want to do and what you want to try and work on for the future. Some of it always is for that opponent. It was a pretty good practice. A lot of heat, which was good, because we were relatively, during fall camp, it really never got hot. So we got to play in the heat a little bit, and Akron is going to be a high tempo team. They like to get on the ball as quickly as they can. They like to throw the ball around, get on the perimeter of the defense some. From a defensive perspective for them, they're very aggressive. You know, they like to blitz, they like to play zero coverage, they like to play man free. So they'll stack the line of scrimmage a little bit and you have to take advantage of the shots you get."
This week’s factor favorite (Upchurch)
1. The Six Factors
|Field Pos||Early Conv||Bonus Yds||Avg 3rd Dist||Adj 3rd Conv||Red Zone|
|Offense||15.3 (42)||55% (40)||211 (36)||7.0 (81)||+14% (13)||7.0 (1)|
|Defense||23.4 (80)||41% (30)||145 (35)||5.1 (34)||+8% (75)||3.4 (26)|
*Game score first, season long national rank in ()
Notre Dame had a field position score advantage, mostly thanks to The Worst Pass Ever. Michigan dominated early conversions while more manageable third downs. Brian Kelly teams have traditionally been geared this way, strongly managing third down distance at the expense of facing more of them. Gallon’s big catch a run providing most of the gap in bonus yards as Mattison’s defensive plan limited yards beyond the sticks.
While Michigan continued to be a very good 3rd down team on offense, Notre Dame did well on third down when they had the ball, even beyond the more manageable distances that they faced. The story of the game though was the red zone. Notre Dame made 5 trips into the red zone and came away with 17 points, Michigan made four trips and scored 28. Michigan won by 11.
Two games into the season the national rankings don’t mean much with cupcakes galore and outliers, everywhere. Still, 18 teams have made at least seven trips to the red zone in competitive situations this season, only Michigan and Oklahoma State have scored on every trip. It’s not going to hold up all season, but the evidence is mounting that Gardner is a red zone genius.