[ed-Seth: A short bump ago, in a board post not far away...]
OPENING CRAWL: It has been a dark era for the Michigan Wolverines. The EVIL BUCKEMPIRE has strengthened its grip in the unending galactic rivalry. Since 2003, the rebels from Ann Arbor have failed in their attempts to foil the evil that rages from the Ohio sector.
In the midst of chaos, a young man lives out his mundane life in south Florida, completely unaware that his destiny lies in a cold land far, far away...
Denard Robinson gazes at the twin suns setting on Deerfield Beach. He ponders his football future. Who will recruit him? Will he ever get the chance to play quarterback, or will he be forced to play slot receiver in the SEC? At the height of his confusion, an unlikely sage happens upon his humble Floridian hamlet...
Who was this strange man in the cloak? Was he here to sell snake oil? Perhaps another huckster hoping to sell Denard on the virtues of becoming the next Devin Hester? Denard regarded this strange man with suspicion; yet there was something mysterious about him.
Slowly, Denard learned that his powers may be of use to some greater cause. In fact, should he learn 'the ways of the spread', he could become a powerful agent for good in the Big Ten Sector, where the great Civil War had been raging. Regional governors like Grand Moff Tressel have taken control, seizing Rose Bowl bids while the Rebellion lay in ruins. Denard slowly warmed up to the notion, but what finally sold him were the immortal words of Jedi Master Rodriguez... "Denard," he said, his eyes pleading, "Our helmet's got wings." From that moment, Denard's fate was sealed.
Under Master Rod's tutelage, Denard learned the vagaries of the spread and the great power it wielded. He flourished - his technique and natural instincts were unsurpassed by any who came before him. However, in a chilling example of Jedi Council infighting, Master Brandon struck down Master Rod before Denard could finish his training. He felt lost, completely rudderless and out to sea. He was not ready to face his nemesis, yet he lacked any means of discovering his true powers. Disquieting weeks followed until a new master, a New Hoke, brought a staff to Ann Arbor capable of releasing Denard's true potential.
Denard immediately began training in earnest. "You must let go of the spread, Denard..." said Master Borges, riding atop his back in the sweltering heat of Al Glick Fieldhouse. Denard faced many temptations (possible transfers, interceptions, and the like), but it was the steadfast support of his biggest fan that kept him committed to excellence. At last, he felt prepared to fire the shot heard 'round the country...
Meanwhile in their Death Star hovering over metropolitan Columbus, Darth Fickell and Emporer Meyer plotted the young man's destruction. "Force him to pass, Lord Fickell..." said Urban. "His inaccuracy will be his undoing. I'm afraid he'll find our secondary quite.. OPERATIONAL when we arrive in Ann Arbor." Darth Fickell cackled knowingly and said "yes, yes...", for 'yes' was the only word he knew.
The night before the showdown, Lord Hoke briefed the Wolverine pilots on the attack plan. It would be complex, a mix of spread and pro-style elements combined. Shaking his head in disbelief, young Devin Gardner said, "There's no way we can fit it into throwing lanes that small. It's impossible, even for a computer." Denard just smiled his bright, knowing smile... "It's not impossible! I used to bullseye patterns like that back in Deerfield Beach, and they're not much bigger than two meters." Brady looked upon his quarterback with complete pride and confidence; he had become a master in his own right.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2011: It's go time. Denard leads the Wolverine convoy into battle over the skies of Ann Arbor. In the distance, he saw the hovering monolith that was the Buckeye-shaped Death Star. He kicked his engine into overdrive, employing the quasi-pro-style Borges techniques to a tee. The battle raged on, with many casualties on both sides.
"Lord Fickell," said Emporer Meyer, watching the proceedings from the comfort of a luxury box. "You must handle this young one yourself. TO YOUR SHIP, FICKELL!"
"Yes, yes!" came the reply, as Fickell trudged down the hall to his ship, occasionally bumping into walls/inanimate objects.
Fickell was hot on young Robinson's tail, breathing the fumes of his modified Buckeye Fighter's sublight engines. Ohio was ahead, with only two minutes until the Death Star would be in-range of Ann Arbor and her noble citizens. Things began to look bleak as Fickell peppered young Denard with laser blasts across his hull. "Yes, yes..." Fickell howled.
At the height of the madness, with only seconds remaining, Borges called a pass play in the red zone... Denard hesitated for a moment, knowing the play would not work. He simply wasn't a pocket passer... He needed to reach deeply into the force and discover its will. Suddenly, a voice from the past rang out to him. "Close your eyes, Denard," the familiar voice whispered in its southern twang. "Let go. Use the spread, Denard." Without thinking, Denard called up his last reserves of energy, using evasive maneuvers to deftly dodge Fickell's blasts. At last, he could see the Death Star's exhaust port.
VICTORY! VICTORY! VICTORY! The combined sounds of liberty and glory drowned out the sobs of the cursed state of Ohio. Denard had done it. From the desolate sands of Deerfield Beach, he had followed his destiny and finally realized his true purpose... To unseat the Buckeyes from their throne of power.
After the battle, Denard and Hoke were honored for their valor. And while Denard loved Coach Hoke and was certain of the Rebellion's bright future, he couldn't help but think back to the strange Master who brought him to Ann Arbor to begin with, who had opened his eyes to a new world.
Before Denard appeared a holy sight, the beautiful marriage of past, present, and future. The glory of the Force spread out before him like a brightly-spangled mosaic... He had become, once and for all, a Michigan Legend.
Thanks to clouds moving in overnight Friday, they act like a blanket keeping us a bit warmer for the early morning tailgaters! If you're out at 6am, don't expect to see too many stars with the sky still under a good amount of cloud cover. It'll be 47 degrees, but grab the extra jacket as the wind makes it feel like 42. Southerly winds are already at 10mph (leaves blow about, you feel the wind in your hair/on your skin). They'll pick up to 15mph by 9am (small twigs move) with the temp rising to 50 degrees.
High noon brings the temperature up to 54 degrees, and the wind up as well. Out of the SSW, you'll feel that steady 17mph breeze (small trees sway), and the gusts up to 25mph as well (you'll hear the wind "whistling"). Mostly cloudy skies for the kickoff.
Mostly cloudy skies for halftime, but you'll notice the cloud cover continually increasing as the game goes on. The temp goes up a couple degrees to 56, and the wind stays just as high as at kickoff.
We'll hit the high for the day of 58 around the end of the game with overcast skies. Chances for a light shower come around late afternoon, and expect the main rain event to begin while you're out celebrating the win- around 1am- so you'll end up running through some rain leaving when the bar closes! The wind gusts die down a bit to 20mph at dinner-time, and they disappear by midnight, with the steady breeze calming down to 15mph, staying out of the south. Temperatures drop to 53 by 8pm, then don't go below 50 degrees until 8am Sunday when the cold front moves through.Hail to the Victors!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
|Michigan Hockey: Weekend Preview|
|11-25-11 Northeastern (3-7-2) at #11 Michigan (7-5-2) 7:35pm|
|11-27-11 #12 Union (6-3-3) at #11 Michigan (7-5-2) 3:05pm|
I find it very amusing that they have more video footage available than almost every other CCHA team, but linking videos isn't even worth it because they don't score very much. They try to follow the typical Hockey East formula, score as many goals as possible and don't play defense. That doesn't really work when you cant score. They have very balanced scoring lines but still don't have the numbers to crack the NCAA top 40, but neither did Miami. The difference here is that Northeastern's powerplay is so bad (.078) that we should be able to avoid our WTF moments that have hurt us so much this season.
This is a what a Hockey East defense looks like (BC Excluded). This is the first time the entire season I have watched highlights of a team who makes the same mistakes as we do, and manages to do it worse. Our mistakes are usually one individual out of position or not paying attention, for them it's a team problem. I know it's a Friday but if we can't score enough on these guys to win, kiss the tournament streak goodbye because we won't win a Friday game for the rest of the year.
Chris Rawlings is the workhorse and since it's just one game we should see him anyways. There is skill here, this guy makes a ton of saves but amount of shots he is seeing is ridiculous. From watching the video he isn't getting any chance at all, bad turnovers and “He's behind you” moments just leave him out to dry.
Forward Overview: (Union's website does not record SOG or +/-)
This is a weird team, we will just start with that. Scoring is decent (20th), but they win games with great defense, special teams, and awesome goaltending. Not exactly what you expect from the conference but they also are unable to win at home (1-2-2) and are outstanding on the road (5-1-1) which isn't good for us.
Without video or a +/- rating it's harder to see who stands out on defense but overall it's a solid group, with a pretty good scorer in Mat Bodie. On paper Union has the #4 ranked defense and Michigan has the #3 ranked offense, so it should be a great match up to watch on sunday.
Troy Grosenick: GP 10, MIN 519:52, GA 14, SV 201, SV% .935, GAA 1.62, W-L 5-2-2
Colin Stevens: GP-4, MIN 212:33, GA 7, SV 81, SV% .920, GAA 1.98, W-L 1-1-1
Like the defense it's hard to tell how good the goalie is without seeing how the blueliners play, but the numbers are solid. Again it is a match up game, as Michigan is outscoring opponents 40-20 in games that are not on Friday.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||6-5-11||35||+10||10|
Scoring like crazy, but at times wildly inconsistent. It seems like whenever the offense gets cold the defense plays good enough to keep them in the game, but when they're hot they have big problems keeping the other team off the board. Phil Di Giuseppe has really cooled down, only recording two points since the Miami series. At the same time other freshmen have stepped in to contribute, Travis Lynch has been outstanding this season and Big Gup has given us a presence in front of the net.
For real this time, what is going on? I don't put as much of the blame on them for game 1 as game 2. I've watched the highlights of OSUs second goal so many times and I still can't figure out how it went in. The season is on the shoulders of this group right now, and if they can't step up soon the season is over.
Hunwicks heroics can only take us so far and we are getting to that point. His numbers are still solid but we can't expect him to play at the level he was at last year every game. The defense has to help him out or else.
We are getting into dangerous territory here. I hoped at the beginning of the year we would not get to this point but here we are. I am going to say sweep, because it is the only option that we have. The schedule only gets tougher the rest of the way and if we can't get points here it's an uphill battle to the NCAA tournament.
I come not to question Urban Meyer's credentials as a football coach. At any other university I think he'd take the team right back to the top. But not at Ohio, and here's why.
Meyer has been followed by professional and ethical controversies (33 players arrested at Florida, quitting-coming back-and-quitting again, rampant rumors of an affair with a 23 year-old grad student, suspending Brandon Spikes one half for an eye gouge, etc.). Do you think Ohio will stand for that? Not a chance.
If we know one thing about that university and its fans, it's that winning is nice, but it's meaningless if you don't win the right way. Jim Tressel won games, but remember how hard the fans came down on him after they learned Maurice Clarrett was given illegal benefits? Tressel was lucky to keep his job, and Ohio fans are still reluctant to talk about the 2002 championship, ashamed that they won by cheating.
Who can forget Gordon Gee's response when Tressel's latest scandal broke? When asked if Tressel could be fired, Gee famously responded, "It's definitely possible. Winning football games will always come second to integrity at Ohio State." A maxim that administrators and fans have lived by for years, and one that will not be welcoming to Meyer.
Ohio further solidified their commitment to winning the right way in their complete and total cooperation with the resulting NCAA investigation. "If we did anything wrong, we will suffer the consequences that are justly coming to us," Gee said, and fans agreed. At no point did they try to coverup transgressions or skirt their responsibilites. And while it's true they lead the NCAA in infractions, that just means they have a great compliance program, somehow.
Ohio fans have long been known as the most humble, classiest fans in sports and I think we can all agree the title is well-deserved. We've all heard stories of Michigan fans being greeted with a warm welcome in Columbus, Ohio fans offering their finest microbrews to their guests from the north. These fans are in no way dead-eyed, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing sub-morons, equally proud of their GEDs and Truck Nutz. But I don't have to tell you that.
Woody Hayes once punched a kid in the throat, but it's not like they continue to deify the guy.
In conclusion, Meyer's shady tactics would play well at a lot of schools over the country, but not Ohio, my friends... not Ohio. With an athletic department that stresses honesty, integrity, and accountability, and a fanbase who would rather lose every game than sell out their principles, Meyer will not last long.
Eh... Maybe he'll be fine.
The standings live here as always. BlueBarron gave the proper sacrifices to the Ctrl+F deities and has returned to the top 20.
This week Southern Miss and Florida State drop out of the polls. Georgia Tech returns as one replacement and Virginia enters the poll for the first time since 2007. It will come as no surprise to you that Virginia was not a very popular pick this year. Only 2 people selected Virginia as their unranked team. What may come as a surprise is that MaizeAndBlueWahoo was not one of the two. Instead he chose Boston College. I wonder if he’s regretting his decision to choose all of his most hated teams.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Brooklyn Blue is on a 3-week stay at the top of the leaderboard. This week he has 105 points. The perfect ballot has changed slightly with the losses by Oklahoma State and Clemson. With 119 points this week, the perfect ballot is LSU, Stanford, Arkansas, Michigan State, Southern Cal and Houston.
There are four people tied for last place who all have the worst possible score. They’re only getting points from Oklahoma and TCU for a score of 21 points.
Judging Your Picks
It has been a long time since MGoBlog has been able to claim that it’s readers had better than average skill at predicting the outcome of this college football season. This week a completely random ballot and the average MGoBlog ballot are both earning 54 points.
Games To Watch
There are a ton of good games to watch this weekend. It might just be the best weekend in college football. The top team from every group is playing in a game that is at least somewhat tough.
- #1 LSU (leader of Group A) vs. #3 Arkansas (leader of Group C)
- #4 Stanford vs. #22 Notre Dame
- #8 Houston (leader of Unranked) vs. Tulsa
- #11 Michigan St (leader of Group D) vs. Northwestern
- #10 Southern Cal (leader of Group E) vs. UCLA
While the last two games may not sound that tough, Northwestern picked off Nebraska earlier this season and they’re playing at home. Teams don’t just walk into the vaunted Ryan Field and expect an easy victory.
USC is far and away the best team in the Pac-12 South but they’re ineligible to go to the title game. Right now UCLA is a game ahead of Utah but Utah has an almost guaranteed victory over Colorado on Friday. That means Saturday night UCLA will know they are playing for their spot in the Pac-12 title game.
Since it’s Thanksgiving I’d like to share what I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful for Georgia and Virginia Tech quietly putting together good seasons. I’m also thankful for Stanford getting back into the top 5.
I am not thankful for Arizona State. They have forever disappointed me with their losses to UCLA, Washington State and Arizona the last three weeks. That is about as far from a murder’s row as you can get in the BCS.
What are your non-Michigan thanks?
I managed to catch up with 2013 four-star receiver Laquon Treadwell on Tuesday, and he gave me a quick update on his recruitment, including a potential decision date. He'll be in Ann Arbor this weekend with his teammate and 2012 commit Anthony Standifer to watch the Ohio State game. [Note: This week's recruiting roundup will go up on Friday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.]
ACE: First of all, your season finished a couple weeks ago, and you guys finished up 10-1. How did you feel about the team's performance and your own performance this season?
LAQUON: I think our team was great, and I had a good performance this year. I improved a lot, in a lot of cases—my route-running improved, and my catching, and my ability to break tackles improved a lot.
ACE: Do you know your stats off the top of your head?
LAQUON: I think they were 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns.
ACE: Not bad at all. You're coming in this weekend for the Ohio State game. Are you excited about the visit?
LAQUON: I'm very excited. I keep trying to go every time I get a chance to go down there, but my ride never comes through, there's always something [Treadwell tried to visit last weekend as well].
ACE: I know last time we talked you said it was important that you had your mom with you on some visits before you made your decision. [Laquon: Yeah!] Is she coming up with you for this one?
LAQUON: I'm not sure. I think she is—she said she doesn't have to work, so we [both] should be able to make it up there.
ACE: Is there anything specific that you're looking for on this trip, or are you just looking to come up and enjoy the game?
LAQUON: Enjoy the game, listen to the fans and everything, and enjoy the atmosphere of Michigan.
ACE: I know you're obviously in contact with Anthony [Standifer], but are you in contact with any other recruits?
LAQUON: I've talked to Shane. I talked to him last week about last weekend, but I haven't talked to him lately.
ACE: I'm guessing Shane is trying to sell you on the program?
LAQUON: [Laughs] Yeah.
ACE: You've got offers from Michigan and Notre Dame right now. Are there any other schools that have been showing more interest in you since your season ended?
LAQUON: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Auburn, and Vanderbilt.
ACE: Do you have any leaders at the time?
ACE: Is there any sort of timeline for when you make a decision?
LAQUON: Either on my birthday, June 14th, or the day of our first game or something like that.