"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
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For those of you who have forgotten what a blowout win is, it’s a win where <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Michigan scores many more points than the opponent. Those days will be here again soon, but unfortunately probably not this year. So hang in there, and here’s a list of my favorite blowouts to keep you smiling until we’re seeing them live again. (Which should be real soon, I promise.)
· 10 2007 Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0 – Cripplefight 2007 between two teams headed in different directions, but we didn’t know it at the time. For Michigan it was redemption following two horrible weeks that I won’t recount, and was the first of eight straight wins. Mike Hart guaranteed victory, and victory he achieved in blowout fashion. Also known as Yakety Sax Part Deux.
· 9 2004 Michigan 43, Miami (not that Miami) 10 – This is the game we all expected to be Matt Gutierrez’ coming out party, and instead it was Chad Henne’s. I can still recall learning about Chad starting from the guy who’s lawn we parked on. Even though it was a blowout, it was actually closer played than the score indicated due to a plethora of Miami (NTM) turnovers. Two TD passes to Braylon Edwards were an omen of good things to come.
· 8 1998 Michigan 27, Penn State 0 – Penn State was fired up for this game following the embarrassment from the year before. An early goal line stand over four downs made it clear Michigan came to play. 27 points later, Michigan had its first home victory ever over the Nittany Lions.
· 7 2002 Michigan 49, Michigan State 3 – This game was Bobby Williams’ death knell. The prior year was clockgate, and Lloyd was pissy. Maybe it was just me projecting on Lloyd, but he seemed to relish this one a little more than usual. He certainly didn’t call off the dogs until well after it was decided with a couple insurance TD’s for good measure. (It is honestly the only game I can recall where I thought he ran it up a little.) He seemed to be declaring that if you needed an extra second to beat us last year, this year we don’t even need the *2nd half* to beat you punks.
· 6 2003 Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0 – This was awesome in a conveniently wrapped package, seeing as there was only doubt for about ten minutes of gametime. Steve Breaston had a couple great returns, late in the game Brady Quinn got a welcome to college football that involved lots of mass and pain, and the Leprechaun got teary eyed. ESPN had tabbed Notre Dame for “The Season”, and it was secretly very enjoyable to watch that week’s episode to see how they would hide the fact they were destroyed. As I recall, Tyrone Willingham was only vaguely aware at best that they had been blown out. Return to Glory, indeed.
· 5 1993 Michigan 28, Ohio State 0 – From the 1985 season when I really understood college football, through the year 2000, we lost to Michigan State five times, and lost to Ohio State three times with a tie. Think about that a second. 1993 is a perfect example of why, in 2000, Wolvrine32 had virtually no respect for Ohio State. In 1993 we were unranked at 6-4 and facing a #5 Buckeye team that rolled into Michigan Stadium only to slink home after a thorough and meticulous beating. These things run in cycles, and we owned them in the 90’s. Let’s hope the tables turn back in the coming decade.
· 4 1997 Michigan 27, Colorado 3 – Not only the backdrop of Colorado’s prior visit to the Big House, but also the talk of the Michigan “M” standing for mediocre and the sheer shock of the whole thing make this an all-time blowout great. I went to the game with an ND friend, and he actually cringed several times when Hessler (Colorado’s hapless QB) got sandwiched. Neuheisel pulled him less from ineffectiveness than from concern for his well-being. Things got ugly. It was awesome.
· 3 1991 Michigan 31, Ohio State 3 – This is the Desmond Howard “Heisman Pose” game. Also my first Michigan game I actually attended, with the best seats I’ve ever had at a game. What a great day. Howard also caught two long passes and generally ran in circles around any DB in a white jersey he could find.
· 2 1997 Michigan 34, Penn State 8 – Judgement Day couldn’t have gone more to plan, at least without footage of Beano Cook actually sobbing after the game. This game was a massacre, and if Penn State QB Mike McQueary doesn’t still have recurring flashes of Glenn Steele bearing down on him, then he lacks some form of basic survival instinct. (Sometimes I think of Steele sneaking up on McQueary working in a real estate office and pulling a Terry Tate just to mess with him.) I still remember the PSU crowd cheering mildly sarcastically after that 4th quarter TD, both because they had avoided the shutout and because Penn State had scored the first TD in a second half on Michigan all season. A minor footnote in a major win for the program. (A good friend described it afterward as a “three hour orgasm.”)
· 1 2006 Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21 – Make no mistake, Lloyd could’ve named his score here. This was a decent Irish team, which only scored 14 in the first half because Henne threw one bad interception and Ron English got confused and put in Jim Herrman’s playbook for the last drive of the half. God I loved this game. Context: it followed the Year of Infinite Pain, and was the message to all college football that we were back. Also, Brian posted the following on MGoBlog that my wife still refers to as The Michigan Prayer: “Win you bastards. Win. Win for Michigan. Win for America. Win for that little boy in the hospital. Win for me. Don’t lose. Win.”
Bonus coverage, 1992 Michigan 61, Houston 7 – This is bonus because although the opponent or context wasn’t anything special, I can still see Tyrone Wheatley zipping down the sideline for a TD on the opening kickoff, my second home game as a student. Michigan 7, Houston 0, 14:49 remaining, 1st Q. And no one touched him. Plus, it’s the most we’ve scored since the Bo era. Oh wait, no it isn’t, we put 63 on Minnesota that year. Man, Gary Moeller could really coach him some offense.
There has been a crap-ton of commentary about the scheduling of UConn. This Diary attempts to address the issues most people aren't grasping regarding Michigan's future schedule.
For those thinking we need a (currently) elite team (eg, UF, OU, USC etc.) b/c of the new stadium reno and we're the 'leaders&best':
On Oct. 1, 1927, Michigan played Ohio Wesleyan in the first game at Michigan Stadium. The game was a success as Michigan started the scoring on a 28-yard pass from Louis Gilbert to tight end Kip Taylor and prevailed easily, 33-0. The new stadium was dedicated three weeks later against Ohio State on Oct. 22, 1927.in 2010, I imagine the dedication will be against MSU. A UConn level opponent is not out of character for an opening game.
For those thinking that we need to schedule like we did in the 80s and 90s:
I don't know what else to tell you besides, welcome to 2009. PSU is a member of the B10. The BCS exists. We have ND as our opponent every year. The AD budget is about $90M per year. UCONN is a D1A team and in fact has shared a BEast title and gone to bowl games. They have been D1A since 2000 and a BEast football member since 2004. All these facts describe the current climate of college football: teams are scheduling weaker. For money reasons, EVERY D1A team wants to have as many home games as possible. So, even if M wanted to schedule a decent team, they would require a return trip, *IF* that other team doesn't already have a good OOC opponent and would want to play M in addition to any other big game they scheduled for year X.
- b/c of money issues, EVERY BCS conf. team is demanding home games. Whether or not you think of UConn as a BCS team, based on the definition of "is," it is.
- b/c of the BCS MNC format, teams who schedule 2-3-4 BCS opponents in the OOC are jeopardizing their chances at playing in the BCS MNC game. The notable exceptions reside in the Pac10 where they only play 3 OOC games in most cases. This is commendable, and I'd love to explore this further in the comments. Note, however, that most of the Pac10 teams look for mostly low-mid level BCS OOC opponents. Just. like. UConn.
For those thinking that the schedule is easy in 2010:
We play ND, PSU and OSU on the road in 2010. @ND is the 2nd game of the season, IIRC. UConn is a solid BCS team. Not great, but not terrible. They have been a better team than Vandy, Wazzu, Washington (!), Iowa State, Duke, North Carolina... I'll let others make a bigger list.
For those complaining that the HOME schedule is crappy in 2010:
I don't hear you bitching about the home schedule in odd numbered years when you get ND, PSU and OSU all at home. There are 2 sides to the coin. The AD is under no obligation to give you a better home schedule in even years. If you think you they should charge you less for season tickets in even years, then volunteer to pay MORE in odd years.
This all isn't to say that I want a weak schedule. I'd love to play CU, ND, BC, FSU and Miami (YTM) like back in the day. But, it's 2009. Things have changed in CFB (e.g., UConn is as good if not better than CU) and it's not Bill Martins' fault for any of this. People just need to recognize the reality of the situation.
Well, five weeks from today, the college football season begins. We're all chomping at the bit to see and discuss some actual action. Speaking of action, lets get some discussion rolling on these Big 10 out of conference games that are already on the Big Board in Vegas and other odds sites.
Got any best bets among this group? Let's hear them. Here are the games:
Missouri +6 over Illinois (neutral site), Week One.
Iowa -10 at Iowa State, Week Two.
USC -3 at Ohio State, Week Two.
Notre Dame -3 at Michigan, Week Two.
Michigan State +7 at Notre Dame, Week Three.
Illinois -3 at Cincinnati, Week 12.
Wiso -11 at Hawaii, Week 14.
I know, not a lot to choose from.
A couple of points:
1.) We have seen some big movements in the Mizz/Illini and USC/OSU lines. At the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, the Illini opened at -2.5. It did not stay that way for too long. Very quickly it got bet up to six and when online books finally released lines, that is the number it opened at. The same thing happened with the USC/OSU line, but in the oppositie direction. That line opened at 6 at the Nugget. But all sorts of early money came in on the Bucks and the price fell to -3.
2.) The Michigan/Notre Dame line opened at 3.5, fell to 2.5 and is now holding steady a 3.The ND line is weighed at -120, while Michigan is at even money. That tells us that more recent money is coming in on ND and in order to stem that, the oddsmakers not only boosted the lines, but made the bet more expensive to make as well. Is it worth pointing out the underdog in thise series is 20-5 ATS with a 12-12-1 straight up record? I love seeing the Wolverines catching points in this rivalry. The public can keep pouring money in on the Irish for all I care. I'll fade them and go with the Book everytime.
3.) By matter of principle, I always take the Dog in the UM/ND series. In addition to that, I love, I mean flat out adore the Spartans catching a full TD against the Irish. MSU has won 10 of the 13 games on the scoreboard and really own ND Stadium having won six a row there. Among this small menu of games, it is my BEST BET. Book It!
Any thoughts on these games? Hell, I dont care, lets talk about other games. Whatever. Let's get this season rolling!
In fact, it seems we are planning to either (a) move DEs to DT from among our current players, or (b) only use one traditional DT at most times. One cannot be sure--it is not that we don't have the bodies to play a pair of DTs with backups. However, if we expect to be playing two DTs with sufficient backups--comprised of players recruited as high school DTs--our numbers would seem low and our recruiting at the position more lackadaisical than one would expect from this otherwise highly motivated staff.
As a case study, it is interesting to observe the recruitment of Hankins and Talbott. Hankins (Scout: 28 DT, Rivals: 5.5, ESPN: 77) is higher rated than Talbott (Scout: 50 DT, Rivals 5.5, ESPN: 73). More importantly for the MSU-insecure among us, he hails from within the borders of Michigan. But we were not crazy about Hankins. We are pursuing Talbott. The difference?
The most immediate one is body type. Talbott has tall, rangy, DE build. As ESPN begins, and ends, its assessment:
Talbott plays a little out of position in high school as a defensive tackle. In college he could be looking at a move to defensive end...a bit of 'tweener position wise right now.
Indeed. He looks like a DE. But we are recruiting him to play on the inside. I think what DT recruiting this year suggests is we no longer are shopping for Terrance Taylors, i.e. stout 4* gap-stuffing fire hydrants. Or jelly roll behemoths. We will take an athletic behemoth like Will Campbell (or any 5* in our backyard, probably), but on the inside now we want guys who are fast and active. I like this approach.
It is interesting to observe that many pundits have deep doubts about the ability of Michigan's speed defense approach to withstand the power running teams of the Big Ten (nevermind the parallel stories on how the whole league has gone to the spread). I agree it will be interesting, but I have more confidence than most. If teams truly are gashing us within the tackles we can always send more bodies crashing into the box. At least we can do that more easily than scattering our stout bodies across a wide field to cover spread sets (see Ohio State 2006, App St./Oregon 2007, etc.)
Terry Talbott is not a win in the recruiting war in terms of quantified ratings, but I think he is a terrific fit for a scheme that can be implemented to terrorize opposing offenses from sideline to sideline. I am voting "yes" for Terry. I hope you will too.
These are a few things that I have experienced playing the up-in-coming season out a few times in the NCAA 2010 game. I thought that some of you will would find this interesting. If you think that this game has no bearing whatsoever on real life, you should save yourself a few minutes and go on to something else.
In the game, both Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor are really good and injury prone at the same time. This kind of follows what's happened in real life, and in every version of the up-in-coming season, neither of them played all the games. In most instances one or the other was hurt and not both. However, you need at least a couple guys during the course of a game, and the 2nd string guy will get some good looks. This makes me wonder who will be the #3 running back this year, and it really highlights the important role he will play for Michigan. Who do you think the #3 guy will be?
Tate vs. Denard -- I went to the spring game, and as a result I am all about Tate. When I started playing the video game, I started Tate without hesitation. He is a more accurate passer in the game (probably in real life as well) but a considerably slower runner. The thing is, when you are playing a really tough defense you need some big plays to sway the outcome. I found myself putting in Denard on some key plays to run the option, or just buy some extra time to get someone open. Denard seems to get himself into some big collisions while scrambling, and if I run out of bounds and try to slide he's ok. All in all both QB's are great for true freshman, and I am happy to be able to cheer for both this year. I am now confused about who should really start in real life. Tate offers better throwing skills, but Denard has a much better ability to make really big plays in the air and on the ground. RR has got his work cut out for him deciding who will start. Who do you think will start the majority of games this year?
Tay Odoms is a pimp. I came away last year feeling like all Tay did was fumble and get blasted, and every once in a while he showed flashes of brilliance. In the game, it is extremely apparent that he is the biggest playmaker on the team. Out of every weapon that Michigan has to use this year, Tay is head and shoulders above the rest. He needs to get his hands on the ball as much as possible, and any play can become a big one when he's involved. I still don't know if he should return punts, but my confidence in him has grown as a result of really getting into this year's roster. Do you see a bigger playmaker in this offense?
The defense will be fine. I spent some time playing the 4-3 under with Stevie at the WLB, and he makes plays on the backside because he is so fast. However, when a team lines up and runs right at him he gets blown back, and so I ended up using Evans, Mouton and Ezeh at the LB spots. I actually like to play with Craig Roh at the "quick" - he is a playmaker. Brandon Smith (how many Brandons are there on this team?) is really good in the game, and I hope he is half as good in real life. Donnavan Warren will break out this year. He will have multiple INT's this year, and I bet he will return one for 6 as well. Every game I play Donnavan makes big plays that change things. Obi Ezeh still has trouble with intermediate routes, but scheming can help support that. I really think GERG has a bettter idea of how to hide weakness and play to the guys' strengths. Will Campbell should start from day one. He is big and inexperienced, but playing him beside Mike Martin is deadly. He might as well get thrown right in and learn quickly, because he is really athletic for his ginormousness. (like that word?) Do you think the defense will show improvement from last year, or will they struggle with a 3rd scheme in as many years?
The schedule - The opener is a tough game, but WMU ends up not being able to keep up after a half of close play. Notre Dame is really good, but if we can shut down the run and double Golden Tate we can win this one handily. It really helps that this game is in Ann Arbor. MSU is easily defeated, and I don't think they will be half as good as the media portends. Really, there are only three games that are tough as nails to win. Illinois, Penn State, OSU. I really think that Michigan will go 9-3 this year. I think that they will win one of the three tough games, and lose one of the easier 9 games. I think that Tate&Denard will both start, get nicked up, make it through the season, and win games for us. Call me crazy, but I'm sticking to it until I see the team in person on Sept. 5th. I Can't wait, and at least this game is helping me deal with the time as it passes. Go Blue!!!!!!!
This is a drastic departure from my previous diary entry (thanks for the all the love btw) but an item on the message board this evening piqued my interest and sent some of my right-brain synapses firing.
The answer to MMBhorn's question is Big Boutros' suggestion: The Ecstasy of Gold.
While it's not a "jump around" type song, it's perfect for specific situations such as second half kick off or key second half defensive series (ala Iowa '97). The song has a mountain of intensity behind it for fans to get amped up and scream their asses off and for players to get hocked up on adrenaline and unleash some Barwis-esque fury at some poor unfortunate on the opposition.
There's also actually a football tie-in for this song. It was featured in a Nike Football commercial a year or two ago with Troy Polamalu and LaDainian Tomlinson:
Additionally, there's a hip-hop connection; Jay-Z used it in a track on 2002's Blueprint 2. The track was also called Blueprint 2 and was on the second disc (hmmm, the number 2 comes up again and again weird...). While this isn't a reason for consideration per se, it does at least provide something current for the student section and players alike to relate to.
Finally and most importantly, while the lyrics and song aren't Jay-Z's finest there are many lyrics that could be forged into descriptors and anthems for the past/current/future state of Michigan Football once you absract the subjects and/or objects in the phrases. Gems like:
"Y'all and your articles, hard to spit at Jay
Y'all from afar threw darts my way
What you thought, I would naught have nothing to say? Nope!
"And now you'se can't leave
You opened the door dog, I'm at you annually"
"It's time to wake up the dead
You sound a little naive in them articles that I read"
"I've been real all my life, they confuse it with conceit
Since I will not lose, they try to help him cheat
But I will not lose, for even in defeat
There's a valuable lesson learned, so it evens it up for me"
"When the grass is cut, the snakes will show..."
"I'm back before you had a chance to miss me
ma' can't save you this time, n***** is history..."
"I won't rest till you on one knee
You want war then war's gonna be..."
Not to mention the many overtones of the title: Blueprint 2. C'mon, it's too perfect...
Now, obviously an all out rap song (a dis no less) will have many stone cold traditionalists in the Michigan community all up in a tizzy. That's what makes 'The Ecstasy of Gold' such a perfect basis: it provides a link from the old to the new. It has passion; It has swagger; and the music provides a perfect fit for the musicianship and sound of the Michigan Marching Band. This must happen.
(God I'm so ready for some Michigan football)