September 1 - Friday
It’s Christmas eve; football is almost here.
Unverified Voracity: Creepy Baby. Should be titled Links that Don’t Work. I would especially like to see the first one about Brian Kelly being crazy. What did that look like 10 years ago?
September 3 - Sunday
Game notes from the game 1 victory over Vanderbilt. Defense was very impressive, run game looked good, but the passing game was iffy.
September 4 - Monday
Somehow a game open thread two days after the game. Also included is a ‘M’ version of the Night Before Christmas.
Unverified Voracity: By S I Mean Herrmann with quotes about how much more simple and understandable the defense is this season for the players.
September 5 - Tuesday
UFR: Defense vs. Vanderbilt. English is better than Hermann.
English coaches like he's got a talent advantage. He swarmed Vandy instead of sitting back, waiting for them to make an error. Bend-but-don't-break is a rube's game suited for weaklings.
Woodley came in for a +12; Crable and Biggs each got +6s.
Blogpoll update. Tennessee is #1. Michigan is #9.
September 6 - Wednesday
Maxwell Pundit Week 1. Apparently, MGoBlog used to participate in a blogpoll equivalent of the Heisman. Brian’s top three are: Calvin Johnson, Garrett Wolfe, and Buster Davis.
UFR: Offense vs. Vanderbilt. Things looked pretty good, except for maybe the right side of the line (Mitchell/Riley).
What did you like about the dawn of DeBord Era II?
Internet malcontents will be malcontents, but they did get a few of their wishes granted. Michigan's base formation was a three-wide set, something long desired by crabby message-boarders. The zone running game vastly reduced the prevalance of the fullback shuffle. The waggle re-emerged as a weapon.
Side note, it seems weird to me that Brandon Minor was in this game. I associate him with the Rodriguez years so much and forget that he was contributing two years before that.
September 7 - Thursday
Update on Brian’s work at AOL Fanhouse.
An interview with CMU alum Brian Seymour about the upcoming game. It’s an interesting read with thoughts about the legacy of DeBord, Brian Kelly’s crazy play calling, and how a spread offense works.
A collection of links that Brian was not able to post during the last few days.
September 8 - Friday
I have a LeFevour and the only prescription is the most obvious reference available.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Jamison debuts and gets a sack.
Morgan Trent emerges as the starter opposite Hall.
27-14; panic spreads like wildfire.
September 9 - Saturday
September 11 - Monday
Blogpoll Ballot Week 2. OSU is #1. ‘M’ is #8.
Somebody submitted a ballot to the blogpoll with San Jose State on it. Brian believed this was done just to get attention and tossed the ballot. They weren’t happy.
September 12 - Tuesday
Brian reviews film of Notre Dame’s game against Georgia Tech. His conclusions include: Brady Quinn isn’t that good, and ND played a very 2005 version of Lloydball.
Brian discusses the upcoming ND game with the House Rock Built blog. Lots of discussion on their mood for this game each year and about the history of the last few games.
Maxwell Pundit Week 2. Troy Smith #1 and Calvin Johnson #2.
September 13 - Wednesday
Brian reviews film of Notre Dame’s game against Penn St. His conclusions include: PSU’s coaching staff is dumb, Quinn is better but still not that good, and Victor Abiamiri is going to give Rueben Riley more problems.
UFR: Defense vs. Central. Good, but not as great as against Vanderbilt. Woodley got a +8, Branch +5, but Englemon -3.
September 14 - Thursday
UFR: Offense vs. Central. This is the first offensive UFR to use number grades. Kraus and Oluigbo both get +3, but Riley gets a -5. Brian admits it’s still a work in process.
September 15 - Friday
Brian does a podcast with House Rock Built. Apparently, he talked about when he puts on pants, which is ironic that he discussed this topic on the recent WTKA podcast (9/1/16).
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Woodley is neutralized.
Hart goes for 150.
A link to “voracity-type substance” on Brian’s AOL site.
September 17 - Sunday
Notre Dame game thread with gleeful update.
Brady Quinn spent the day attempting to remember where he was, then quickly attempting to pretend he was anywhere else. Sorry, kid: there's no happy place on this field. There are only angry places filled with men named Crable, Woodley, Branch, and Burgess.
September 18 - Monday
Some great ND schadenfreude.
As disappointing as this loss is/was/will be, do not forget how Pete Carroll struggled in years 1, 2 and 3.
In year two, Carroll struggled to an 11-2 record and Orange Bowl victory over Iowa. In year three, Carroll struggled his way to national championship.
Unverified Voracity: Victory. With lots of perspectives on the victory, including victory sandwiches and how MGoBlog shirts can make you prophetic.
Brady Quinn for Heisman highlight video! But sadly it no longer works.
September 19 - Tuesday
Maxwell Pundit: Week 3 complete with Brian talking in pirate lingo. One through three is Troy Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, and Lamarr Woodley.
Quinn lets it rip on the first play from scrimmage. Weis is such a genius. It catches us so off guard that Morgan Trent(+2) is in better position than Samarwhatever and can slow up a bit to impede his progress.
This was a dominating performance and 1997 comparisons are beginning to be mentioned. No negatives were given. Crable was +9, Hall +8, and Branch +7.
September 20 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Victory Edition the Sequel is just what it says, lots more takes on Michigan’s recent win.
UFR: Offense vs. Notre Dame. A few concerns about the run game, but with putting up 47 points, there are obviously few concerns. Manningham with +9 and Hart with +7. Long and Eckert both had -3.
September 21 - Thursday
Brian interviews two Wisconsin bloggers about the upcoming game. Nothing earth-shattering in hindsight, but it’s still an interesting read.
Blogpoll Roundtable looks at the beginning of the season and predicts where things will go from here.
Brian takes up the fight against bad journalism by shredding a piece from Matt Hayes.
September 22 - Friday
Nobody Expects Unverified Voracity. A backup Wisconsin LB will miss the game because he stole a moped. Also, ‘M’ hockey gets a commit from Chris Brown.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
PJ Hill averages 2.5 YPC.
September 25 - Monday
make no mistake: this was nearly as beat-down-errific as the Notre Dame game, except in this game Michigan won going away with a -2 in the turnover margin column* instead of a +4.
Also, this is very prescient to the 2016 season; not unlike “The Story: 2016”.
And thus severe cognitive dissonance in the Michigan fanbase. Stung by the Year of Infinite Pain and previous Years of Unnecessary But Thankfully Finite Pain, there is a hestiancy to predict anything better than 10-2, to envision horrible losses to teams with no business on the same field as Michigan (I'm looking at you, Penn State), to prepare for the inevitable hammer blow to the chest courtesy a wacky punt formation or foolish confidence in a slim lead or the plain bloody-mindedness of the universe. We hesitate. We don't want to go through that again.
And yet... this team is not last year's team.
(i.e. any team from the last eight years)
Analysis of recent MSU and OSU games. Drew Stanton is running more, and Troy Smith looked fairly pedestrian against Penn State.
Blogpoll ballot week 4: Brian. Auburn is #1, followed by Michigan and Ohio State.
September 26 - Tuesday
UFR: Defense vs. Wisconsin. Another stellar outing by the defense. The line was strong, led by +12 from Branch, +7 from Woodley, +6 for Taylor, and +5 from Will Johnson.
Brian interviews Jay Mariotti. Really.
Maxwell Pundit Ballot. Calvin Johnson is back to top, followed by Alan Branch, and Troy Smith.
September 27 - Wednesday
Blogpoll ballot week 4: official. Top three OSU, Michigan, and Auburn.
And a closer look at individual blogpoll ballots.
Brian has gotten a couple reports that Morgan Trent’s hand is broken.
Unverified Voracity Has No Catchy Title. The defense is starting to get some national hype, and Mike Valenti rants.
September 28 - Thursday
UFR: Offense vs. Wisconsin. Another strong performance by Manningham, but there are concerns about DeBord’s playcalling, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Brian decided to ditch the +/- system on offense for now until he can perfect it.
September 29 - Friday
Morgan Trent rumors are now determined to be false.
Brian takes a look at the Minnesota vs. Purdue game. Their passing game looks terrible, running game is ok, and the defense is solidly meh.
Brian backs off his Morgan Trent rumor back off, so no one is quite sure what’s going on. You think Counter-Strike rumors are bad, this one involved someone passing along Trent’s IM away message.
Minnesota preview. Doesn’t look like they are going to pose much of a threat.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Still many first-down runs into stacked fronts.
Recently my new BFF It's Harambe took on the thankless task of asking his fellow MgoBloggers to rank the top 25 Michigan athletes of all time. As the list was revealed it was clear to this reader that some of the most notable players who competed during the athletic stone age (pre-internet) had been forgotten about. This weekly diary will take a look at the more notable players from our past to remind everyone of what they did and why they deserve to be honored and remembered.
Notre Dame’s legendary coach Knute Rockne named Heston “the greatest back of all time.” He told a reporter:“Willie Heston gets my vote as the greatest back of all time. Since those days many wonderful backs have flashed on the gridiron, including Red Grange and my own Four Horsemen of 1924, and my choice is still Heston.”
With Heston in the backfield, the Michigan Wolverines had four of the most successful seasons in the history of college football. The 1901 to 1904 teams became known as the "Point-a-Minute" teams because they averaged more than a point for every minute played. The 1901 team was 11-0 and outscored its opponents 555 to 0. The 1902 team was 11-0 and outscored its opponents 644 to 12. The 1903 team was 11-0-1 and outscored opponents 565 to 6. And the 1904 team was 10-0 and outscored its opponents 577 to 22. In Heston's four years as the starting left halfback, Michigan compiled an overall record of 43-0-1 and outscored its opponents 2,326 to 40.
During his four years at Michigan, Heston was known as a work-horse of the Wolverines' offense. In a 1903 game against the Chicago Maroons, the Michigan team gained 267 yards rushing, and Heston accounted for 237 of them. Noting the frequency with which Heston carried the ball, Ring Lardner wrote, "Michigan called Heston's signal. Maybe it was the only one they had."
Heston later wrote that his first touchdown at Michigan was his greatest thrill in football. His first game for Michigan was a September 1901 match against Albion College. Heston was put into the game in the second half. While sitting on the bench, he noticed that Albion's quarterback made long lateral passes to the backs. Heston snuck through the line, grabbed the ball as the quarterback was trying to throw it to a back, and ran the ball back 30 yards for his first Michigan touchdown.
In the inaugural Rose Bowl game played on January 1, 1902, Heston rushed for 170 yards on 18 carries, as Michigan defeated Stanford 49 to 0. Heston held the record for most rushing yards in a Rose Bowl game for 59 years.
Historic accounts differ on the number of touchdowns scored by Heston. In a letter to Grantland Rice in 1925, Fielding H. Yost claimed that Heston had scored 106 touchdowns at Michigan.The University of Michigan gives the total as 72 touchdowns, which it reports is still the school record. Other sources have variously reported that Heston scored 92 touchdowns, 93 touchdowns, and "more than 100 touchdowns." In 2013 Heston was voted one of the best 25 Michigan football players of all time by the Victors Club and The Football Writers Association of America named Heston as the halfback for its all-time team for the first 50 years of college football.
[Ed-S: Probably going to bump this feature all year unless I forget to.]
Well, that’s one way to start a season.
Best: Roman Reign’d In
In my preseason preview, I cautioned that this column’s length is going to be much more dependent on the quality of the game compared to earlier seasons; life finds a way of limiting the number of hours you can dedicate matching animated gifs to a sporting event involving kids dangerously close to half your age or more.
While the acquitted themselves admirably against Cal to start the year, the Rainbow Warriors were basically what everyone thought they were. Hawaii has a senior QB with a career completion percentage a shade under 50%, a 19:24 TD:INT ratio, and no real mobility. They don’t really have much of a running game if the defense has any ability to hold up even momentarily at the point of attack, and if the guy throwing the ball doesn’t have good numbers, you gotta believe the guys trying to catch those balls aren’t particularly good either. Their defense last year was nestled between North Texas and Oregon St. in FEI, and that was with a couple of guys on the defensive line who were either injured or kicked off the team for this game. I balked at the 44-point spread for the sole reason that I assumed Hawaii would pick up a couple of meaningless points at the end of a blowout to “only” lose by 40.
That’s what would have happened under Carr. It’s what would have happened under Hoke. It wouldn’t have happened under RR simply because the defense would have given up some points along the way. It was about winning with “class”, about beating an inferior opponent soundly but not excessively. You showed up for the body bag games because you had to be part of the equation, the vengeful god smiting the peasants giving you tribute. That’s how Michigan did it for years, and it seemed to work out pretty well.
But Harbaugh ain’t wired like that. Now, he’s not a Steve Spurrier at Florida or an Urban Meyer at OSU, who took any opportunity to run the score up even if it meant going for 2 on your first two scores of the game. But as was his mantra at Stanford, he wants his teams with win with character, but also with cruelty. Harbaugh will put in his backups when appropriate and won’t necessarily “pick” on an opponent, but as we saw in the Citrus Bowl in which Jake Rudock was throwing bombs well into the 4th quarter of that game, he isn’t going to shrink his playbook or go on “cruise control”. He isn’t wired that way, to relent or show mercy in the patronizing way some other coaches do, and he (rightly) assumes that as long as there is time on the clock you play football.
[hit THE JUMP for complaining that a 98-yard touchdown drive should have gone better and stuff]
[MOD EDIT - Bumped to Diary Section for nice breakdown. Also because sometimes getting excited to face a team that was worse than Hawaii last year needs help sometimes.]
This has been mentioned numerous times in other posts, so it's probably worthy of its own thread. Many of you might be too young to know the story, and others may have forgotten it, so you're wondering: Why is there so much animosity among the Michigan fan base toward UCF head coach Scott Frost?
Here's the short version: Because he cost us a unanimous national championship in 1997, and he did it by denigrating Michigan.
Here's the longer story, and exactly what Frost said. The 1997 season was the last one before the BCS came in, so national champions were determined solely by the AP (media) and USA Today (coaches) polls. Michigan finished the season on Jan. 1, 1998, by beating Washington State in the Rose Bowl, 21-16, to finish 12-0.
Nebraska finished the season on Jan. 2, 1998, by beating Tennessee and Peyton Manning in the Orange Bowl, 42-17, to finish 13-0.
In both the AP and USA Today polls, Michigan was a clear No. 1 heading into the bowl games. This was primarily because Nebraska had to cheat to beat a very mediocre Missouri team late in the season. A Nebraska player admittedly kicked the ball in the end zone to keep it alive for a TD, and the refs didn't call him for it. (That's illegal.) The play became known as the "Flea Kicker," and it's very famous. Look it up.
In any case, Michigan's season-long body of work was better, which is why following the Missouri game, pollsters vaulted Michigan ahead of Nebraska. It should have stayed that way following the bowl games, but then Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost stepped in.
He knew that the AP was never going to sway from Michigan, but following the Orange Bowl, he made an impassioned plea to the coaches to give Tom Osborne (who was retiring) a national championship as a going-away present.
And this is the important part - and why we hate Scott Frost: He did it by denigrating Michigan. This is exactly what he said on the night of Jan. 2, 1998 (emphasis mine):
"So, it's up to the coaches. I'm so proud of this team and Coach Osborne, I don't want to see him go out without a championship. I basically have two points for the coaches:
"One, if you can look yourself in the mirror and say if your job depended on playing either Michigan or Nebraska to keep your job, who would you rather play? You watched the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl. Michigan won with a controversial play at the end. We took apart the third-ranked team in the country.
"The second point I have is: I can't see how any coach outside the Big Ten or the Pac-10 would vote for Michigan. Because if somebody from North Carolina, Florida State, West Virginia, Notre Dame--wherever it might--if they were undefeated and won the Alliance bowl game, they would expect to share the national title.
"I don't know who would win the game if we played Michigan. I think I know. I think all you guys know. The thing I'd like to say is: Who would be favored?
"I'd like to see the line on that game, because I think it would be seven, 10, 14 points (in Nebraska's favor). Any time that it's that way and you vote the other way, you've got to be crazy."
So, that's why we don't like Scott Frost, and that's why we want to see Harbaugh hang 70 on him on Saturday. Scott Frost whizzed a fastball at our head 19 years ago, and now he's finally coming up to the plate. It's time for payback.
Elephants and Wolverines never forget.
Finally, football is here!! Who's ready for an amazing start to the season?! Weather-wise, we can't ask for much better, and no doubt we'll be saying that about our team after the game too! Expect a little fog early on before plenty of sun - all thanks to high pressure right over the Great Lakes region. If you traveled for the weekend, the weather will be great through the holiday.
We'll have patchy fog across the area in the morning, so if you'll be out and about early you may want to give yourself a couple of extra minutes on the road. It will also be chilly! If you're starting early expect it to be around 50 degrees with a light NE wind. Woot grab that hot coffee! It won't take long for the sun to burn off the fog, and by mid-morning we'll be up around 60. Maybe just take a light layer into the game since you'll have the sun to help warm you up!
A picture perfect open to the game! Lots of sunshine with temps at 74 degrees. Winds will be on the lighter side at around 5-7mph, so just a light breeze. They'll have shifted a bit to come out of the east.
Still lots of blue sky by the time we're halfway done with the game. UV levels can still reach the mid and upper levels on days like today, so hopefully you slapped on some sunscreen before heading through the gates! The temperature will have gone up a couple degrees by now, so if you haven't been already, you'll be using that extra layer you wore in as something to sit on. Winds will still be easterly around 7mph.
Great night to head out on the town and celebrate a win! Sunshine to end the game with light easterly winds and temps hitting 78. We'll stay mild into the evening, so if you're headed back to the tailgate you can grill out all over again! Temps will remain in the 70s through the dinner-time hours, then drop into the 60s. Winds will turn very light and we'll keep clear skies around. If you're pulling an all-day celebration and going to be out until last call, that's when you'll really want that extra layer you sat on at the game - temps will fall into the mid 50s by then. It'll be a beautiful day for football, let's go blue!!
Christina Burkhart is the morning meteorologist for ABC in Flint, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
a little rushed this week, so expecting a bunch of errors to be found