so much for that
Two games down. Now it's a trip to South Bend to take on the Irish, where Notre Dame does it's talking on the field, without excuses of course.
@ Notre Dame -- Sept. 13, 3:30 PM
Utah is a quality opponent, I don't think many people would say otherwise. Notre Dame, however, is UM's first "big" game. In my opinion, Utah is better, but this is Notre Dame - Michigan, at South Bend, when the Irish should be 1-0. You have the winning percentage battle, Notre Dame trying to bounce back from its horrible season, Michigan trying to avoid a similar fall from grace under a new coach, and Weis's "to hell with Michigan" comments to boot.
It's hard to tell what the progression of Michigan's new offense will be, but with a couple tough defenses to start the year, it could just be in South Bend that they start to click. Notre Dame's rush defense was awful last year, and won't be helped by the departure of Trevor Laws. The secondary is supposed to be good, but without Darrin Walls, and after losing Zbikowski (DYK he is a boxer?!) I'm not sold. Notre Dame was second in the nation in pass defense last year, but I'm not sure how tough it is to defend the pass when most teams only have to throw the ball for the first half to build a big lead, and the rest of the teams are service academies that don't throw the ball. Ever.
Even if Michigan hasn't fallen into rhythm offensively, they should be able to move the ball on the ground. Crum is a good linebacker, but he is the only returning starter at LB and one of only two returning starters in the front seven. The young guys, however, are part of some of these highly touted Weis recruiting classes, so we'll see how they develop.
The offense shouldn't need to put up a whole lot of points to win this game. Last season, the Irish offensive line was just plain horrible, giving up 58 sacks, to lead the nation, and win our hearts. At least they can keep Michigan honest with the run, right? Nah, not so much. 2.1 yards per carry and a cloud of dust was their policy last season, which actually may not be all that bad after 58 sacks.
Perennial Heisman hopeful Jimmah Clausen is back at the helm this year. Expect to see him on his back. A lot. And possibly crying. Again, there is plenty of young talent on the offense, but it will come down to giving Clausen some time, and with the blitzing linebackers, combined with the matadors on the O-line, it just isn't going to happen.
One of these young talents to keep an eye on is wideout Duval Kamara. At 6'5" about 210 lbs, he creates a matchup concern with Trent (6'1") and Warren (6') and could be the prime target for some quick passes from Clausen.
Special teams have not been good to Notre Dame recently, and if this thing comes down to the kicking game, Michigan gets a distinct advantage, as Irish kicker Brandon Walker was 1-7 from 30+ yards out last season. I don't see this one coming down to kicking though, as 21 points will probably be enough to win it.
I was lucky enough to be in South Bend two years ago for Michigan's huge win (I even got a picture with Jarrett Irons!!!) and hope to be back again to watch the Wolverines improve to 3-0!
COACH RODRIGUEZ, I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL AND ANGRY MICHIGAN SAFETY-HATING GOD (named as such by Brian Cook at MGoBlog, which you should read every day there is new content.)
COACH RODRIGUEZ, YOU SHALL OBEY THESE COMMANDMENTS, CONVENIENTLY WRITTEN IN DESCENDING ORDER OF IMPORTANCE. IF YOU DO SO, I SHALL MELLOW OUT A BIT AND NOT REDUCE YOUR SAFETIES’ KNEES TO WARM RICOTTA CHEESE.
- THOU SHALT RUN A CLEAN PROGRAM. My people do not like NCAA sanctions one bit. For My sakes, we aren’t Alabama. Thou shalt keep it clean, or thou will be smote down with extreme prejudice, including any Ed Martin-types standing in your smoting radius. My people like to think of our program as being honorable, except in recruiting when My people secretly like to see Wilford Brimley frothing.
- THOU SHALT WIN FOOTBALL GAMES. That is thine calling. Get to it.
- THOU SHALT BE A POSITIVE FORCE IN THE PLAYERS’ LIVES. My players should be better off in life having been through thine program. Though that doesn’t always mean getting a degree, it often does. My people want their heroes to be prosperous and successful. Thou shouldst not even consider winning a Fulmer Cup.
- THOU SHALT KEEP TRADITIONS AND STREAKS ALIVE. My people love streaks and traditions of all kinds. Appearances in bowl games, beating Indiana and Penn State, the #1 jersey, record home crowds, the Go Blue banner, non-losing seasons, the Winged Helmet, thou nameth the streak or tradition and My people loveth it.
- THOU SHALT PREVAIL OVER RIVALS. This means over half the time defeating the hated Buckeyes, two out of three against the current Irish regime, and four out of five against Little Brother.
- THOU SHALT NOT BLOW 4TH QUARTER LEADS. My people liketh safety and security, and are not constitutionally equipped to handle late blown leads well. Play good solid defense, and be better conditioned than thine enemy. Scoring early and often also helps.
- THOU SHALT NEVER COACH WITH ARROGANCE. Arrogance is the job of My people, particularly when bossing around their Spartan brethren at work. Understanding that, no sitting starters against a spunky FCS team. No pretending you have talent that meets what thoust wisheth the gameplan to be. No telling the other team exactly what thoust is going to do, then being shocked when they adapt and it doesn’t work. No assuming that all will be OK if you recruit better than the other guy. Take nothing for granted, or incur my wrathful wrath cupcake, covered with little wrath sprinkles!
- THOU SHALT NEVER INTRODUCE MAIZE JERSEYS IN A GAME. This is an abomination against all that is holy, and a bullshit gimmick to boot. Let Notre Dame keep getting beatdowns while wearing a goofy-colored jersey. My people like to win, but prefer to win with class. A bright yellow jersey does not have class.
- THOU SHALT NOT HAVE ANY FORM OF MASCOT. A live Wolverine mascot would be acceptable if it could be trained to rip up stuffed animals in the likeness of the opposing team’s mascot, but that’s not very likely. Then again, maybe Barwis can work that miracle. Did you know he raised wolves?
- THOU SHALT RECRUIT PLAYERS WITH FUNNY NAMES. Shavodrick Beaver is an excellent start. Thoust has a standard to live up to, with Elvis Grbac, Zoltan Mesko, Tshimanga Biakabutuka, and the Sword/Irons/Payne/Steele grouping, among many others. “Dingle/Berry” having consecutive jersey numbers so they would be in proper order in a numerical roster leads me to believe thoust understands this Commandment well.
SO LET IT BE WRITTEN, SO LET IT BE DONE.
(Also, shouldst thou ever run across Reggie Ho in thy travels, please kindly let me know so that I can smite his puppies.)
seems former wolverine and current packer charles woodson has his own purple drank...
but the nfl isn't particularly happy since they have a policy against any endorsement of alchohol by players...http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008807190370
guess he's joining the ranks but likely a higher price point than that other "2" Chuck
Hey there...was wondering if anyone has downloaded the rosters to their XBox 360 for NCAA 2009...would love to get them from you if you have. Don't have a memory card/the converter thingy, etc. Anyway, I think this involves being someone's "buddy" or something on there. The gamertag (is that what it's called?) profile name that me and my roommate use is "n00b voracity." (Yes, that is a nod to a certain blog we all know and love). Anyway, it would be great to grab those rosters- especially the U of M one. Oh, and we could obviously square off in a game. Hope someone replies!
Heading into a year with as much doubt as ever for the Michigan football program, it likely wont warm too many Wolverine hearts that the squad opens its season against one the best underdog bets anywhere across the college football landscape.
While there is serious discussion in the Beehive Stae about the chances of the Utah Utes running the table and returning to a BCS game, it should not be forgotten that this program built its reputation, in gambling circles at least, of being a money maker when catching points from the oddsmakers.
Consider the following numbers: Since the start of the 1997 season, Utah is 24-5 ATS as an underdog. Breaking that down even more reveals that Utah is 4-0 as a home dog, 2-0 as a dog in bowl games and a remarkable 18-5 as a road dog. Relative to that last number, it does not really matter too much if Utah is playing out of confernece or a league brethern. While they do have a better mark in league play as a road dog, 10-2, their mark against non conference is only percentage points worse at 8-3.
Putting those numbers in financial terms, had you wagered $100 on Utah everytime the Utes were getting points since 1997, you would be up $1,850. Only in two seasons during that span did the Utes not win money as an underdog, but one of those seasons was the 2004 Urban Meyer created monster that ran the tables into the Fiesta Bowl. That squad did not make money as a dog because they were favored in every game, of course they still cranked out a 10-2 ATS mark that season. The other non-money making year the Utes had as a underdog was 2006 when they logged a 1-1 mark in that roll, thus costing players merely the juice on a pair of bets.
Clearly, the Utes as a dog is a strong trend. Many in the gambling world shun trends. In some cases, that instinct is correct as you can dig up a trend to support any play you want to make. However, I have always included trends as part of my personal handicapping routine. History carries value. I have a degree in history and a deep rooted passion in college football. So when those paths intersect in terms of placing a wager, I lean on it. But, it has to be proven out long term. Utah as an underdog is just that. It goes back more than a decade and covers three different coaching regimes. It is not a fluky run, or the product of a quick run led by a shining star coach. No, for Utah it is part of the program's culture. They play their best, or better than expected at least, as the competition, and the odds against them grow.
Frankly, I am surprised by this line. It comes courtesy of the Las Vegas Sports Consultants. THE LVSG is not a site where you can actually place wagers, however. I believe it is just a sports gambling resource and information site. Tons of usefel stuff, for sure, but I dont think you can actually lock in a bet at the -7 line at that site. No other internet book that I found has actual week 1 lines up. Plenty have posted lines for the 'games of the year' and listed is Michigan +14.5 against a certain team from down south. I will have thoughts on UM lines in those games in other diaries.
Getting back to the opener, I feel when the lines do get released by the actual books in the week leading up the game, this line will get bet down, perhaps by more than a field goal. It might be released at that small of a number, the LVSC opening guideline be damned. Before I saw the line, I gave strong consideration to the fact this game might be close to a pick 'em. To a certain extent, the point spread of the game is geared towards public perception and an attempt to even out the wagering. And, who is not dissing Michigan this off season? Most expect this power to sink, even as it relates to this specific game. There has been a lot of chatter about BYU-Utah closing the season in a battle of unbeatens, a Utah football announcer in an interview with Rivals said the Utes should be favored to win, college football news.com has penciled in a "W" for Utah and you cant surf the web for too long before stumbling upon some enterprising writer calling for an opening week upset, most with a "lightning will strike twice" theme. A Utah win on August 30 will not necessarily surprise the college football punditry, nor its casual 'Michigan will have a ND 2007-like season" audience.
The line at -7 shocked me. At first blush, it seems like its easy money for Utah. Perhaps too easy. With that in mind, here are a couple reasons why Michigan might buck history in this one and beat/cover as a favorite against Utah.
The experts in the desert dont make too many mistakes. While the goal is to get even money on both sides, dont be fooled into thinking Vegas does not attempt to predict games or manipulate lines to trap a lot of people on the eventual wrong side. This is their business and their business has always been good. I dont know too many cash poor bookies. If the line indeed is -7, they are giving a strong indication that Michigan, as they analayze it, should win by more than a score. While the public gets entranced in the summer by teams who look good at the skill positions, Vegas knows and understands the whole picture. They see a top flight defense wearing the Maize and Blue. They understand that its only a matter of time before we know UM's skill players by name. The skill players may be anonymous, but they know its as talented a group the Utes program ever sees. While the public keeps talking about UM's struggles against the spread, the experts who profit off of casual fans misconceptions figure that fault will wane because a spread innovator is now in control and the D sees this now every day at full throttle in practice. The oddsmakers are well aware that people jump on the Utes when they're a dog, so why make them a full TD puppy against a foe that everybody is expecting to embarass themselves this year? Perhaps Vegas does not expect Utah to score much in this game?
The thought that Vegas is setting a trap for underdog players in this game might even heighten once the rankings are released. We can all agree that UM will not be ranked in those first polls. But what about Utah? Rivals has them ahead of us, but not in the top-25. Still there is a palatable buzz going around in the punditry circles about this Utah team. I exepct Utah to be in the first polls in the 20-25 range. If Michigan is still favored in the game, then I might even go to the window asking for a favorite ticket. If you're looking to break into the sports gambling world this season, do this one thing and you will make money: During college football and hoops, look at the lines everyday and find unranked teams favored to beat a ranked opponent. Place a bet on that unranked favorite. You will win two out of three games and slowly develop a nice profit.
Part of using historical trends as a handicapping method is knowing when the tides of history are changing. Do the oddsmakers see a momentum change regarding the profitbality of Utah as an underdog? Its easy for people to go to an information site and quickly find out the Utes are 18-5 ATS as a road dog. They can throw the -7 out there and get all those people to happily climb aboard.
Do those people know the Utes are only 4-4 the last three years as a true (meaning in the other guy's stadium, not a neutral field like a bowl) road dog? A trend that runs a 77 percent success clip is coughing at 50 percent success rate (you lose money if you're going 50/50 by the way) the last three seasons. Utah still has a great percentage over the years in this role, but 80-percent of their losses in this spot have come when this year's senior class has been in uniform.
Or that Utah is 1-3 in that role the last three years against schools from the BCS conference, with double digit losses against North Carolina, UCLA and Oregon State? They did rebound and win outright last year as a dog at Lousiville, but the Cardinal team was the worst of the group and until a few seasons was not a BCS school, but a mid major colleague of the Utes. Coincidentally, their failures at UCLA and at Oregone State came in the last two season openers, just like their upcoming tilt with Michigan. That tells me that when Utah pays off as a dog it happens later in the season, after the public has discounted them. Over an eight year span, Utah went 8-0 ATS as a road dog in non league games, but this year's senior class is just 1-3 in that spot.
I dont feel confortable about either side in this one vis a vis the point spread. The bookish historian in me wants to grab those seven points and see what happens. But, I lost my right ankle and then my left ankle stepping into those season opening "bear traps" in Utah games the last two seasons. Hey, they did earn that money back later in both those years, but maybe this season I will step around the possible trap and wait to play Utah later in the year. Besides, dont we all need to be pulling together this cominig opening week (and season) to get this regime off to a good start. We dont need some jackass in section 14 whose inner accountant is quietly pulling for the Utes.
If I really want to bet on an underdog that opening week, I ought to save my cash for Fresno +5 over Rutgers. Or perhaps MSU +7 over Cal.