Besides a few minor individual rating changes, there's very little of note for the teams at the top of the Big Ten rankings this week. A lot of new commits for teams in the bottom half, however, including Illinois picking up four new commits to leap past Nebraska in the battle to stay out of last place. Action since last rankings:
11-6-11: Rivals just got around to posting this one, but Illinois picked up kicker Ryan Frian.
11-13-11: Minnesota picks up Jeremy Baltazar.
11-15-11: Iowa picks up Greg Mabin. Dominic Twitty decommits from Minnesota.
11-16-11: Northwestern picks up Eric Wilson. Indiana adds Shaine Boyle, David Cooper, and Tregg Waters. Iowa adds Daumantas Venckus. Illinois picks up Robbie Bain and Keith Brown.
11-17-11: Illinois picks up Lamar Atkins.
|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 they 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.
“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me down. It's gonna be a bright bright bright bright sun shiny day!”
Learn from yesterday...
First off I would like to give a shout-out to Nebraska fans everywhere, and sincerely say Welcome to the Big Ten. I had family members at the game yesterday, and between their accounts and what I have read in this space I would hope that Michigan Fans can hope to achieve the level of class that Nebraska fans epitomize.
This gravy is like a drug.
At some point in the third quarter I lost my mind and started calling every Michigan fan I know. It was like pinching myself repeatedly to make sure what I was experiencing was, in fact, real, and not just a defensive construct created by my brain to cope with the last few years. That game was epic and wonderful and tremendous even, but best of all it appeared to be part of a sustainable trend. This team is going to continue to rise, and it will be rising on the backs of the best coaching staff we have had in decades.
If Mattison can take this group of misfit athletes and create a fearsome defense, one can only imagine what he will do with the kind of talent Michigan is recruiting now. Michigan is 6th overall in scoring defense. They are showing sound fundamentals when tackling, wrapping up, forcing fumbles, all while shutting down one of the most potent rushing attacks in the country. Somebody, quick, pinch me again.
Borges deserves some praise here too. He still really, really wants this team to dominate from under center, this is clear. During yesterday's game though, whenever I watched Michigan get stuffed on first down from I-Form or Ace sets and muttered "Moar shotgun plz", the next play would be something from shotgun and would get Michigan's drive back on track more often than not. Borges probably could have gotten a win at Iowa, maybe even against Sparty, if he had gone with more shotgun earlier in the season. It is hard to blame the guy for going with what he knows though, and has the most faith in, when the chips are down. It appears that his faith is now in shotgun.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Brady Hoke. This guy has been the exact right fit from Day 1 on the job. Former players and coaches love him. His values are beyond reproach (seemingly at least, JoPa taught us all that you never can tell for sure). He is humble, doesn't pretend he knows it all, and surrounds himself with a staff that ensures success. He recruits astonishingly well. He has restored Michigan to the level fans are used to, and for that this fan at least is grateful.
Live for Today…
Several players/coaches should take particular pride in their accomplishments yesterday:
- Greg Mattison - The Michigan defense and coverage squads on special teams put on a tackling clinic. All three fumbles were the very definition of forced - putting a hat on the ball or punching it out. The containment was good all day, holding a potent Nebraska running game in check without having to dedicate safeties to do it. The zone blitzing is perhaps most impressive. I had fun trying to figure out who was going to rush and who was going to drop. I was always at least half-wrong.
- Fitz Toussaint - Fitz is making lateral moves that I just haven't seen from any Michigan back in recent memory. Mike Hart had the shiftiness, but lacked the size, acceleration and top-end speed that Toussaint has. Fitz is going to blow up the Big Ten next year - book it.
- Denard Robinson - The best game in a long time for our leader and best. Denard looked completely in control of the offense. He was patient, waiting for plays to develop before zinging a TD pass to Gallon or cutting behind his blockers for a TD on the ground. Best of all, Denard finally hit a receiver perfectly on an endzone bomb. He made some more questionable reads on the read option, but overall it was a great performance.
- Ryan Van Bergen - Only two tackles but one a sack and both were for a loss. RVB also recovered a fumble and was generally a disruptive force in the trenches. We are going to miss this guy.
- Brady Hoke - What I forgot to mention above it that Brady Hoke has huge brass balls. The difference between scoring 3 vs 7 points didn't seem like much to me at the time; either way it would be a 3 score lead. The deflating effect it had on Nebraska though, when that fake FG succeeded, I mean - to some extent that was where Michigan put the game away. Similarly though, if the play had not succeeded, it could have been a shot in the arm for Nebraska and the outcome might have been much different. I don't think I could have made that call in Hoke's shoes.
Also of note: Kovacs!!!, Martavious Odoms adds another TD, Will Campbell no longer looks lost, Linebackers - We Haz Them, Mike Martin is Mike Martin and is Awesome
Hope for Tomorrow
So now we have our 9 wins, a number that should serve to satisfy the expectations of all but the most insane Michigan fans. All of my recent experiences re: The Game force me to keep my feelings guarded. Putting too much emphasis on the outcome of the next tilt does the rest of this season a grave injustice. This is something I understand on a cognative level.
But in my heart I know that this is Michigan's time to shine. The point at which they turn the corner and never look back. The Ohio team Michigan faces is deeply flawed. This Michigan team is close to being among the best I have ever seen. Revenge, legitimacy, pride... so much is on the line that it is impossible to be satisfied. Michigan must protect their house - and show the world that good can indeed triumph over evil.
Let's finish this.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Go Blue and stay safe!
Every week, I like to have an intro paragraph to set the tone before linking to the boxscore. I have to admit, I was worried earlier this week that I wouldn’t have anything to write about due to this being the first time we’ve played Nebraska in a conference game. I was going to go with a story about my Grandma’s neighbor-boy, Nebras, until fate intervened.
During the week, the B1G coaches’ photo was shown and discussed on this here MGoBlog. I made a comment about not wanting to sit next to Brady Hoke on an airplane, because based on the way he was sitting in the photo, he’d take the armrest the whole flight. Wednesday, I took a flight to Colorado. It was a regional jet, with two seats on either side of the aisle. Sitting next to me was a nice lady, and her cat! Well, if there is one thing this blog is known for, it’s tremendous football analysis. If there are two things it’s known for, it’s tremendous football analysis and cat photos. Clearly, our feline overlords were trying to tell me something with this amazing coincidence. And that something, if I’m not mistaken, is that this diary NEEDS MOAR CAT PHOTOS!
Not the cat that sat next to me and took my armrest
Burst of Impetus
- We got out to a 10-0 lead, and I started thinking, maybe we can beat them like they beat MSU. I was thinking of a 17 to 21 point margin of victory. We were the favorites in the game. Sometimes the favorites actually win, that’s why they are called “favorites.” When Neb scored to make it 10-10, I thought, oh well, I guess it’s going to be a barn-burner. Then, Neb fumbled the opening kickoff of the 2ndhalf and we turned it into a woodshed game. It’s pretty great when the outcome exceeds your wildest imagination. 28 points? Are you freakin’ kidding me?
- In the first half, with us up 10-7, Denard threw an INT on a screen pass. I’m starting to think he’s too short to throw middle screens. Anyway, the defense responded with a Kovacs TFL, a Van Bergen pass deflection, and Demens and Martin tackling a WR on a screen for minimal yardage. It wasn’t quite the three-play sequence that bursted impetus against Illinois, but it reminded me of that. Neb had to settle for a 51 yard FG. Our defense basically said, we’ve got our O’s back.
- Denard maintained our momentum several times by scrambling. One such play caused Spielman to say, “We’re seeing burst,” which totally confused me. Does that statement go in this section, the Filthy section, or the Derpan Meyer section?
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
- Jake Ryan made yet another ankle tackle. Jake Ryan hates ankles like Taylor Lewan hates donkeys.
- Neb was 3 for 13 on 3rddown, and 0 for 2 on 4thdown.
- The D held Burkhead to 36 yards net rushing. I thought that guy got 100 on everybody.
- Kovacs lead us in tackles like Brian suggested, but he only got 7 because our defense was never on the field.
- 24 players showed up in the defensive stats. Floyd Simmons was tied for 5thin tackles with 3, because our defense was never on the field. Hollowell also had 3 tackles. If I’m not mistaken, those guys are primarily special teamers. When your special teams players are showing up in your top 7 tacklers, you know your defense was never on the field.
- Six TFLs were spread amongst six defenders, with Van Bergen leading the way with 2.
- Six passes were broken up, including one by J. Van Slyke, who has some wicked eye black.
- Denard was 11 for 18 passing for 180 yards and 2 TDs.
- He ran 23 times for 83 yards and 2 TDs.
- Touss gained 138 yards on 29 carries, and had 2 TDs.
- We scored a lot of TDs and ran a lot of plays.
- First downs were 24 for M, 11 for Neb.
- Total offensive plays were 80 for Michigan to 54 for Neb. This was a dominating performance. WE ARE GOOD!
Big John R. Studd Referee Section
- It was D. Lipski’s crew this week. He seemed a bit talkative, but otherwise they did a nice job.
- We got 4 first downs from penalties to Neb’s zero. Yeah, the refs did a fine job.
- We committed 5 penalties to Neb’s 8, costing us 45 yards and Neb 73.
- In a closer game, the roughing the punter penalty on Neb could give Big Red fans cause to complain, but I’m sure Hagerup’s big toe is going to have one nasty bruise on it tomorrow. Was that Oscar-worthy? It drew a flag, which is fine by me, because I root for Michigan.
- Gallon was again the leading receiver with 3 grabs for 34 yards and a TD.
- Odoms had 2 catches for 47 yards and a TD. For whatever reason, we are a better team with him in there.
- UofM had American flag patches on our jerseys. I don’t recall hearing what the reason for this was. I did miss the last 20 minutes of game commentary because Dad called. It’s nice when you have a 21 point lead and can turn the sound down and talk to Dad about the game and sitting next to a cat lady on a plane.
- It appeared that this was a pom-pom game like the UTL game. The pom-poms seemed much more ferocious at night.
- 7A Brandin Hawthorne had 2 tackles and 2H Matt Cavanaugh had 1.
- Derpan Meyer was asked about the Meyer to OSU rumors. He denied there was an offer, (wink, wink) and denied he had accepted it (wink, wink.) While that may be true, if Luke Fickell shows up next week wearing a black suit and a fedora, I will sh!t myself.
- Lee Corso would like to apologize for the profanity used in the previous bullet.
- While making his pre-game picks, Corso said, Ahhh, F%$* it. Herbie (and I) could only laugh. Midway through the first quarter, Corso interrupted our game to read a hastily written apology. I don’t think ESPN can (or should) get fined for spontaneous verbal gaffes like that, but what happened to the dump button?
- Dave Pasch, Urban Meyer, Chris Spielman and Quint Kessenich did the game for ESPN. At this point, shouldn’t Dave consider getting an apartment in Ann Arbor?
- Early in the game, Neb broke up a pass. One of the announcers said, “this is what Nebraska does best.” The thought that popped into my mind was, “get away with pass interference?” After two such plays (including yet another jersey pull), Roundtree caught a deep ball and Neb complained that he interfered. Can’t have it both ways, guys.
- After Denard threw an interception, Derpan Meyer said he would take him out. Spielman said he would leave him in because of his game-breaking abilities. Denard responded by leading a nice TD drive. Maybe osu should hire Spielman as their next coach instead of Urban.
- The announcers thought Kovacs was acting a little when injured to slow down Neb’s hurry up offense. For the record, he stayed out for the duration of that series, so I don’t think he was faking. Screw you Urban Paschman for suggesting such a thing.
We Haz Special Teams
- Net yards per kickoff were 44.5 for Neb and 44.8 for Michigan. Basically that’s a push, except we didn’t fumble two of our returns.
- Net yards per punt were slightly in Neb’s favor, 40.5 to 34, with 2 Neb punts inside the 20.
- Gibbons made his season long FG of 42 yards, and then missed one of 42 yards after the game had been decided. Needless to say, this is light years improved over last year.
- Dileo picked up a first down on a fake FG.
- Josh Furman blocked a punt. The Neb punter bobbled the snap, but Furman still had to get there and he did.
- Neb TE Jake Long was called for a holding penalty. ~110,000 Michigan fans thought, “TE Jake Long, we cheered for Jake Long, we knew Jake Long, Jake Long was a friend of ours. TE Jake Long, you’re no Jake Long.”
- Neb dropped several passes, just like Brian said they would. Thanks, Brian.
- Even though Neb KR Kenny Bell fumbled a kick return, you have to give him credit for having a tremendous afro.
- Lavonte David had 17 tackles. I could have sworn it was in the 30s. They have 1 special defensive player and 10 meh guys. It was clear they were missing Crick.
Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets
- The time of possession was 41:13 for Michigan, and 18:39 for Neb. I’m in the TOP is an effect of playing well, not a cause camp, but whichever camp you’re in, 41 minutes is awesome.
- There were several interesting matchups, including Denard vs. Dennard, Martin vs. Martinez, and Burkhead vs. VanBergenhead (a boy can dream, right?) Nebraska’s defense starts a “Steinkulher” which set up a great “Steinkuhler vs. Pooper Cooler” matchup when they played the buckeyes.
- The scoreboards weren’t working. This lead to a delay of game penalty on our offense that could have been an important momentum changer. Fortunately, we still ended up scoring, but I want to see more working scoreboards and less Dave Brandon on the sidelines. Dave, your job is getting the facilities right. Leave the sideline stuff to the coaches. The fans counted down the play clock several times to help out Denard and the offense.
- While we were beating Neb to hand the Legends Division to MSU, Sparty was playing Indiana for the Old Bronze Spittoon. I finally understand the bronze, green and black unis that sparty broke out as their throw-up jerseys. It’s an homage to their key cross-division rival, Indiana. Going forward, it’s really unfair that they get to beat up on Indiana, the worst team historically in the B1G, while we get to play osu every year.
- UofM and Neb are 1 and 4 in all-time wins, which makes this victory a little bit sweeter.
- Lloyd Brady was shown several times. On a couple occasions, I could swear he was dancing. Yes, it was that kind of day.
- When I think of NU, I think of Northwestern. Since they have B1G seniority over Nebraska, they should get the NU acronym. That leaves either UNL or Neb for Nebraska. UNL makes them sound like University of Michigan – Flint, i.e., not the flagship university of Nebraska. (How did flag ships get associated with universities?) That leaves Neb, which reminds me of the Yiddish word, Nebbish. Merriam-Webster’s definition of nebbish is: “a timid, meek, or ineffectual person.” After a 45-17 spanking at the hands of MEEECHIGAN, that seems appropriate.
- I wrote half of this before I even looked at the boxscore. This game just provided sooooo much material. I haz a happee.
Mostly sunny skies and there's a chill in the air- put the mittens on to hold that cold beer! Sitting in the mid and upper 30s until 10am, but thanks to the wind it will feel like the upper 20s and low 30s until then. Winds are out of the southwest between 10-15mph (leaves blowing about), with gusts really starting to pick up around 9am, reaching up to 22mph (small branches move).
Warming up to 45 degrees (wind chill 40 degrees) with partly sunny skies to start this great game! That SW wind is at a steady 17-18mph (small trees sway), with gusts possible up to 26mph (you can hear the wind "whistling", empty plastic garbage cans tip over).
We'll hit the high of the day at halftime, a balmy 49 degrees. Although the actual temperature is near 50, keep in mind the wind chill will keep it feeling like 44 degrees. The wind's still 17-18mph and gusts are still possible up to 24mph. Mostly cloudy skies for the time being, but you'll notice the cloud cover continually increasing.
A SW wind at 15mph and cloudy skies by the end of the game. It turns into a pretty cloudy afternoon/evening with a chance of showers coming in around dinner-time and lingering into Sunday. The wind stays up around 17mph with gusts in the low 20s - it'll calm down Sunday afternoon. With warm air streaming in and the clouds acting like a blanket, temps remain high also, staying at 48 degrees through last call, although wind chills will have you feeling a cool 40 degrees.Let's Go Blue!
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!!
[ED: Bump. Yesman's work has been underappreciated and I haven't the time to preview hockey just yet.]
|Michigan Hockey: Ohio State Preview|
|#14 Ohio State (8-3-1) at #7 Michigan (7-3-2)|
|11-18-11 7:35pm (Comcast)|
|11-19-11 7:35pm (Not Televised)|
At this point in the season I'm pretty sure no other CCHA team has quality video except for us. This might be different from what we are used to seeing, because so far the teams we have played have not had scoring outside the top line. While they don't have an offense on the level of ours, I really feel like the style they play is a match up nightmare. From what little highlights I did see the scoring was coming from 50/50 pucks in front of the net and putting back rebounds, which is what we can not stop but we will get to that later. Every once and a while they put together a fringe tournament team who gives us trouble during the regular season and this is that year. Hopefully they can't channel the same intense hatred NMU used to kick our ass with.
Another good defensive unit from the CCHA but this group can actually score, another first for us on the season. Defensively we seems to score on everyone, but the added pressure from an offensive standpoint could be a major factor in this game.
Very solid season coming into this game, statistically he comes in only a few percentage points higher then Hunwick. For some reason he always seems to play really well against us, maybe it's a rivalry thing.
[Michigan and WTF was last weekend after the jump.]
this weeks mini program. format changes on neb's depth chart, also some switching of UM's backup TEs.