We're back on the road again this week to face an Iowa team that
unexplainably chocked against B1G bottom-feeder Minnesota has been inconsistent this season. Since I already went the whole "animal eye" route with Northwestern's wallpaper and the corn thing has been done [well!] by monuMental, I wanted to do something different.
Now, as a former resident of north campus (go Bursley!) and a Computer Science major, it will come as little surprise that I'm a Marvel comic book fan. With the emergence of Marvel movies, I'm sure you're all familiar with X-Men's Wolverine. Those of you who know comic book heroes by movie only, however, probably aren't familiar with the Avengers' Hawkeye (although you will be, since he'll be in the upcoming Avengers movie). Generally, I think using Wolverine (X-Men) as a "mascot" for Michigan is a little lame, but seeing as how our opponent this weekend also has a Marvel alter-ego, I couldn't resist:
Now that we're within the sight line of the finish to the regular season, I thought tonight would be a good chance to post my inital (but still early in the process) BCS Outlook:
The main points:
- Barring unbelievable upset in the SEC championship, either Alabama or LSU will be in the BCS championship game.
- The SEC is getting two teams in the BCS.... again. The question is whether it will be either the Alabama-LSU loser, Arkansas, or the East Division winner (likely Georgia or South Carolina)
- Boise is in a BCS game unless they lose from here out. If Oregon beats Stanford and Ok St loses to Oklahoma, they might be playing the SEC champ for the title.
- The Big East and ACC are only getting one team each in the BCS. There will be significant competition for the at large slots
- The projections for the BCS are (based on Fiesta-Sugar-Orange order for this year):
BCS championship: Ala/LSU winner vs. Ok St.
Rose (B1G v Pac12): B1G champ vs. Stanford
Fiesta (Big 12 v at large): Oklahoma (2-loss, 1st choice at large) v. Boise St (3rd at-large)
Orange (ACC v. at large): Clemson v. B1G runner-up/Houston
Sugar (SEC v at large): Ala/LSU loser (2nd choice at-large) v. West Virginia (4th at-large)
- A 2 loss Oklahoma even if they lose to OkSt will still be ranked high enough to justify an at-large slot and will be attractive as a replacement pick for the Fiesta who loses OkSt to the NCG
- the Sugar will happily take LSU or Ala or even Arkansas as a replacement pick for the SEC champ in the NCG
- A Boise v Oklahoma rematch may be a good draw for the Fiesta.
- West Virginia as a Big East champ may be a better draw than a weakened Big ten 2nd team, especially in a Sugar Bowl.
- The last at-large for the Orange Bowl can't be an ACC team (sorry VaTech), SEC & Big12 already have their two teams, so that leaves either a 2nd Big ten team, a possibly undefeated Houston, or a damaged Oregon / Arizona St team. Pac12 teams don't travel well and a 2-loss Oregon isn't as sexy as a 1-loss Oregon. That basically means its either a 2nd B1G team (Mich St? Neb? Penn St? a Michigan that loses to Penn St or Wiscy in the B1G champ game?) or an undefeated Houston. My guess is a second B1G team.
Craziness in the NCG?
- How could the SEC winner not get inthe NCG? Well if it's not the SEC West winner ... a 1-loss LSU or 1-loss Ala who beats the SEC East winner is going to the NCG. But the only other craziness would be if the LSU/Ala winner loses to their rival (Ark for LSU or Aub for Ala) before the SEC championship allowing some weird tie-breaking formula to get Ark in the SEC championship game.
- Stanford is the next in line to take OkSt's place should OkSt slip up. If Stanford loses before the Pac12 champ game, good googily moogily.... Boise St is probably next in line given voter's likely backlash preventing an Ala / LSU rematch. We could have BCS armageddon if OkSt loses to Oklahoma, and Stanford loses to Oregon / Pac 12 champ game.
Could Michigan get in without winning the conference?
Yes, maybe in two situations:
1) Michigan wins out, but so does Michigan St including the B1G champ game meaning a 1-loss Michigan (who didn't get a chance in the B1G champ game) with wins against ND, Neb & OSU would be a mortal lock for at least the Orange if not Sugar Bowl.
2) Michigan wins out the regular season, Michigan St loses twice, and Michigan loses to Penn St / Wiscy in a B1G championship game closely. At that point, a "reborn" 2-loss Michigan team may be more attractive than even an undefeated Houston for a Sugar Bowl match against an SEC powerhouse or a Orange against Clemson to boost TV ratings.
More in weeks to come.....
As I sat down to write this week’s Inside the Box Score diary, I had to ask how long I could keep doing this, week after week, without suffering a letdown. The answer is, apparently, one week longer than Michigan State. Had sparty displayed an ounce of class in our last meeting, I would have responded in kind. They didn’t, so I won’t. You know what they say, karma’s a biatch*, unless she’s your 7thgrade math teacher. True story, my 7thgrade teacher was named Karma Storm. Speaking of karma storms, Dantonio and Bielema got hit with category 5s on Saturday. But I, unlike Beth Mowins, have put the state game behind me, so on to the link.
Burst of Impetus
- I’m sure most folks expected me to go with the safety here. And while that was a big play, it was only worth 2 points and a change of possession. Scratch that, the safety was a big play.
- The main burst of impetus in my opinion was the Avery interception. Purdue had the ball at our 16, down only 12-7. A TD there gives them the lead. A FG makes it uncomfortable. Instead, we get the ball, march down the field (thanks to a big back foot throw from Denard to Gallon) and score making it 19-7. Purdue was never really in it after that. If a guy is shockingly wide open, I don’t care how you get him the ball, you just get him the ball. Braxton Miller and Luke Fickell would agree with me. (That’s Bert Bielema you hear crying in the background.)
- We lost the turnover battle, 2-1, but one of our turnovers was effectively a punt to the five yard line and resulted in the safety, so yeah, not all turnovers are created equal.
- Both teams were 1 of 2 on 4thdown. Purdue, however, made questionable decisions to punt on 4thdown twice in our territory when down 3 scores in the 3rdquarter, but go for it down 4 scores in the 4thquarter. When going for it might have actually affected the outcome of the game, Danny Hope swallowed his mustache.
- Speaking of Danny Hope, I had to enjoy the offensive wizardry he exhibited by having two RBs run into each other on 4thdown. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
- According to the Purdue blog’s preview that Brian linked to, our starting middle linebacker is Mike Jones. (Can someone explain the MIKE JONES meme to me? I try to read every single comment on this blog, but I’ve got a job so some things slip past me.) I thought it was very tricky of Mattison to keep our starting MLB on the bench until the 4thquarter. That Mattison has always got something up his sleeve. Jones tallied 2 tackles.
- One time they showed Mattison on the sidelines, he kept making this scratching move with his finger over his mouth. This is either an interesting audible call, or Mike Martin still had spinach on his teeth from Angelo’s Eggs Benedict. Mmmm, Angelo’s.
- The leading tackler was Desmond Morgan, with 9. Gordon and Martin had 7 each. I like that balance, a lineman, an LB, and a DB were the top 3 tacklers.
- How fitting was it that just after Beth Mowins told us about Kovacs being injured, Purdue broke off their long touchdown run. That really highlighted how important Kovacs has been to the defense this year. We’ve only given up two 40+ yard gains this season, and both were sans Kovacs.
- We had 7 TFLs that included 4 sacks. Mike Martin, our original trash can full of dirt, picked up 2 TFLs and 2 points. Martin also inspired this quote from Craig Roh, “I know he’s going to beast his guy, so I have to beast my guy.”
- J.T. Floyd had 2 pass break-ups.
- Purdue was held to 311 yards. I love watching good defense.
- 21 players show up in the defensive stats section. Lots of guys got valuable experience in the 4thquarter.
- With apologies to Denard, this section belongs to Fitzgerald Toussaint this week. In fact, I will refer to him as Filthgerald. Filthgerald gained 170 yards on 20 carries, scored 2 TDs, had a long of 59 yards, and averaged 8.5 YPC. Can someone explain to me again why he only got two carries against staee? Forget that last comment, I’ve moved on.
- Denard did have a nice 28 yard run and gained 63 yards on 15 carries.
- To my untrained eye, it sure seemed like Purdue had a spy on Denard for the whole game, that helped open things up for Filthgerald. Sometimes you’ve got to take what the defense gives you.
- Denard was 9 of 14 (nice completion percentage) for 170 yards.
Big John R. Studd Referee Section
- A. Kemp was our referee. He was a new face to me. It's nice to see some youngerish guys running around out there, one's you know, that might actually still be able to see.
- Purdue had 8 penalties to our 5, so I think the refs did a fine job. They missed a face mask or two, but there was nothing outrageous. ESPN did fail to show replays of a couple personal fouls, including the one on Lewan. Anyone know what he did to draw that flag?
- Denard drew an offsides penalty from Purdue with a hard count. That’s two weeks late, but whatever.
Roundtree and Gallon each caught a 40+ yard pass, but I think I was just as excited to see Brandon Moore catch one. TE depth, we haz it? (Someone insert an adorable kitten picture here.)
[ED:BISB: Needs moar kitty]
- On one of the Denard-as-WR-plays, it looked like the CB was playing tight coverage and was expecting the run. Just once, wouldn’t it be cool to see Denard run a fly pattern right past the CB? Again, probably saving this for ohio. I hope Fickell doesn’t read this, but that assumes he knows how.
- For just one week I’d like to not have something to report here. This was our pink game. Most guys had some combination of pink wrist bands and pink gloves.
- I have one question for Denard, Y U no wear pink?
- Our regular two hexadecimalists, Hawthorne and Cavanaugh, are now the 2ndstring LB and a special team player. This section was in danger of going away until…
- Thank goodness for 5G, Frank Clark. It’s nothin’ but a G thang, Frank. Clark tallied an assisted tackle, but he was around the ball a lot and showed promise.
- I’m pretty sure Chris Spielman still hates us, but I thought this section heading was more in keeping with the overall feel of the blog.
- Our announcers for the game were the aforementioned Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti, and Shelley Smith. Can someone put a mirror under Mike’s nose to see if he’s still alive? Actually, I thought he did a good job limiting his comments. I wouldn’t be upset if we got more Bellotti.
- What happened to Shelley Smith? Wasn’t she a lead anchor on the worldwide leader? Now, she’s doing three or four sideline pieces on ESPN2. I had to feel sorry for her when it started raining. (Ladies reading nod knowingly.)
- I tried really hard to find something wrong with the announcing crew. I came up with these two things. Beth may have called Odoms, “Mar-TOE-vious,” and she sounds too much like Pam Ward for my liking. Oh yeah, she brought up the state game every five minutes.
- Beth did mention that Brady Hoke was showing “Michigan Man Toughness” for wearing short sleeves in 40 degree weather. Can we give Beth 10 MGoPoints for combining memes? Tremendous job, Beth.
Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets
- The previously mentioned Purdue blog also gave the edge to Purdue’s punters, Wiggs and Webster. They are in a fierce battle to be the space emperor of West Lafayette. Space Emperor of Space? Not so much. Since our punter didn’t punt until the 4thquarter, that comparison was basically moot.
- I didn’t remember it was homecoming until I saw all the different looking tubas. Some were bronze, some were silver, some had M covers on them. Strange, what jogs the memory. I hope everyone had a happy homecoming. 36-14 helps in that regard.
- Gibbons was 2 for 2, one from 37 yards and one from 22. Wile put one through the uprights from the 45 on a kickoff. I can haz 65 yard field goals? (More kitten photos…)
- We had 294 yards in the first half, and it was a balanced attack overall. Some Denard running, lots of Fitz running, some Denard passing, contributions from Smith, Shaw, and Devin. 535 yards total.
- Will Jet Pack Guy inspire an MGoBlog photoshop thread a la Lloyd Brady and Face Palm Guy? Add in the guy in the backwards hat (who I refer to as Michigan Turtle) in this Mitch McGary photo and you have the makings of an MGoEntourage.
* I did a site search on “biatch” and “bee-yotch” and got 57 and 0 hits, respectively, so biatch it is.
Very little in terms of commitments this week, but there's some movement in the middle of the rankings as the recruiting services get around to rating more players—Indiana's comeuppance for losing Gunner Kiel ends up coming one week later as a result. Action since last rankings:
10-21-11: Minnesota picks up James Gillum.
10-23-11: Purdue picks up Greg Latta.
That's it. Two JuCo recruits. Thanks for making my job easy this week, B1G.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so Isaac Fruechte and James Gillum (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), Steffon Martin, Devin Smith, and Greg Latta (Purdue), and Zaire Anderson (Nebraska) are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
Depending on how early you were up, with temps around freezing you were out scraping your car to get to the game! Might see some light, spotty showers, but mostly just a light mist for the morning, and some sun also. Hitting near 40 degrees by 10am, with a calm south wind.
Looking at 45 degrees for the kickoff, feeling just a few degress colder with a wind chill. Winds still out of the south at about 3mph, with partly cloudy skies by noon. I think we'll still be dry for the kickoff.
Clouds continue to build in a little more, but should still see some sun too! There's a slight chance of a shower, but I don't think it will be anything heavy, just a few sprinkles, and shouldn't last long. 47 degrees by halftime, and those southerly winds still calm-just a light breeze.
Should just make 50 degrees by 4pm, with all the clouds hanging around I don't think we'll get any warmer. There's still a chance of a spotty shower and a possible rumble or two of thunder throughout the later afternoon/early evening hours. Temps drop quickly into the low 40s by dinnertime, and will continue to drop into the later evening hours. If you're out celebrating late tonight, you'll feel temperatures down around the freezing point by last call. Winds staying out of the south around 3-5mph (but expect a blustery day tomorrow). Clouds do start to diminish, so even though it will be chilly, you won't have any rain to deal with and may see some stars!
Have a great time at the game, and celebrating a win afterwards! Hail!
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!!
as always, comments are appreciated. i know that the LB spots have been shifting around, but i think all the major players are here. also, there have been some departures so there are new blank spots on the roster.