“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
I was fortunate enough to be on the field at the Fiesta Bowl which allowed me to get close enough to the action to understand the game inside the game and to hear the players talking. Here is the critical 3rd quarter TD drive by Texas interspersed with the play by play.
McCoy: Come on girls let’s get moving. Move move. Just go over there and bend over.
Texas OL 1: ?
McCoy: I’ll tell you the play at the line. Just go.
Colt McCoy pass complete to James Kirkendoll for 9 yards to the Texas 31 for a 1ST down.
OSU DL 1: What the hell is going on?
OSU DL 2: no idea.
Chris Ogbonnaya rush for 9 yards to the Texas 40.
McCoy: Keep moving girls. Daddy’s watching!
OSU DL 1: Are we really being beat by that guy?
OSU DL 2: He’s not doing the thing where they group together…
OSU DL 1: Huddle?
OSU DL 2: Yeah, is that legal.
Texas penalty 10 yard holding accepted.
OSU DL 1: guess not.
Colt McCoy pass incomplete to Peter Ullman, broken up by Anderson Russell.
Ohio St penalty 15 yard pass interference accepted.
OSU DB 1: WTF, I’m tired. I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to be in on this play. Ima get paid either way.
Little Animal: You guys want to meet my Dad after the game.
OSU DL 1: Why don’t you put on those stupid, spiky shoulder pads and shut up.
Little Animal: Coach said they weren’t legal. They were just for the pictures.
Foswhitt Whittaker rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Texas 42.
Colt McCoy rush for 12 yards to the OhSt 46.
McCoy: I’m so pretty! Look at me!
Texas: Dude they just showed your girlfriend on TV. Now she’s hot!
McCoy: Girlfriend? Oh yeah, my girlfriend… She has such beautiful hair. Keep moving ladies! Daddy never loved me!
Cody Johnson rush for a loss of 1 yard to the OhSt 47.
Rashad Bobino rush for 2 yards to the OhSt 45 for a 1ST down.
OSU DL 1: weren’t they supposed to punt a second ago?
OSU DL 2: Dude, who has any idea what’s going on?
Colt McCoy pass complete to Chris Ogbonnaya for 5 yards to the OhSt 40.
Chris Ogbonnaya rush for 2 yards to the OhSt 38.
Colt McCoy pass complete to Jordan Shipley for 2 yards to the OhSt 36.
OSU DB 1: I think the line of scrimmage is way back there. And you guys have been off sides for like 3 plays.
OSU DL 1: Fuck off. You see that San Diego game where the DB was all "Reggie Wayne what?" I think that is about to happen to you.
OSU DB 1: Why, did they put in Peyton Manning?
Cody Johnson rush for 2 yards to the OhSt 34 for a 1ST down.
OSU DL 1: Peyton’s no Tom Brady but I’m pretty sure we’re still getting beat by the dude named after a baby horse.
Heacock: Soft zone, soft zone. Works every time.
OSU DB 1: Aren’t they close enough to kick a FG yet?
OSU DL 1: Maybe their kicker guy isn’t any good?
OSU DB 1: They can borrow ours because I’m fucking tired. Is there any way to slow that dude down? Make them do that huddle thing?
Shawn Crable: You could try hitting him the head.
Colt McCoy pass complete to Chris Ogbonnaya for 8 yards to the OhSt 34, Ohio St penalty 12 yard personal foul accepted for a 1ST down.
OSU DL 1: Nope that didn’t work. Weird because it always does on Beanie.
Bike Hart: Beanie and I are bike buddies!
OSU DL 1: Ol’ Man Boeckman told me about this other way to score maybe he’s trying to do that.
OSU DL2: You talk to Ol’Man Boeckman?
OSU DL2: Dude he’s majoring in Molecular Genetics. He’s smart.
OSU DL1: I’m pretty sure that was Mr. Krenzel.
Colt McCoy rush for 14 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
McCoy: Look at me! I’m the belle of the ball! Do like how my skirt flares when I twirl? I’m prancing just like a little pony!
OSU DL1: The fuck is that dude twirling for?
OSU DL2: They got 6 points for that shit. How many FGs we gonna have to kick to win now?
Tressel: Did you see that young man prance and twirl just like a beautiful little girl? I used to have a pony that pranced. I liked to put a pink bow in her hair and call her my pretty little pony.
dex: Did it look like a unicorn because, boy howdy, I sure like unicorns!
OSU punter: Is it time to punt yet coach?
Heacock: Yeah, Jim, I’m sure that was nice.
Tressel: I miss that pony.
Cool thing about hockey? Far more straight-forward than basketball. So, here's the deal: after winning the GLI, we're still #11 in the USA Today poll. However, the USCHO poll was nice enough to tie us with Colorado College for #10, so, that's good (polls listed below in that order). And, since all but one team we're concerned with plays a series this weekend, I'm doing the "Teams You Want to Lose" and "Schedule" in one place.
But, to start, our schedule.
#11/#10 Michigan has one of the most important series of its entire season this weekend at Yost, against #8/#6 Miami. In hockey, it's totally that Miami. Which is to say, Miami of Ohio may be the team to beat in the CCHA this year. They're a point behind Notre Dame, but, they will certainly make noise at the Joe in March. This game is interesting because Miami would have been on the list below if we weren't playing them, making it even more important. A split here would go a long way in getting us a CCHA-tourney first round bye and NCAA tourney bid, a sweep would be incredible. Games on Friday at 7:35 on FSN Plus, and Saturday at 7:35 on Comcast 900. Also, its at Yost, so, if you're lucky enough to go, BE LOUD.
Teams You Want to Lose, And Schedule
Note: Unless otherwise noted, assume everyone has a Friday/Saturday series in one place with their stated opponent.
Nebraska-Omaha: Ok, so, they're #18 in the USCHO poll and the USA Today doesn't even go that far, but, this is about the CCHA. They play Northern all weekend, and losses from them get us closer to being in a position to get a CCHA tournament first-round bye, and home ice for the second round.
#12/#10 Colorado College: It'd be helpful, as we're tied with them in one poll, but, they're playing Minnesota State at home, and MSU's only .500. I'd bet on CC wins, but, hockey's hockey.
#10/#12 Vermont OR #9 Boston College: They play each other! Whoever loses, it's helpful to us, slightly more so with a BC loss, which is reasonable at Vermont. I'm not entirely sure what a split would do, it would probably only be significant if we swept or it was a really good split.
#6/#8 Cornell: They play Niagara. Probably are safe, maybe a split.
#7/#5 Denver: They're against a shattered Michigan Tech, who's trying to recover from a GLI blowout. Hehe. We'll see how that goes. I automatically root in-state (usually, never for State unless it somehow helps us, always for Northern unless it somehow hurts us) anyways.
#5/#7 Princeton: The one exception to the "playing in series" rule. They get 9-8-1 (2-4-0) Union on Friday at home, then .184 Rensselaer on Saturday afternoon, still on home ice.
So, we'll see how it goes. See you Thursday or Friday with a basketball update.
I know all of us have discussed ad nauseam how Michigan's last couple of years have been, whether here, or with your friends, or at the local crack spot. There were several things that have happened over the last few years that were rationalized at the time but in hindsight were indicators of the decline of the program (e.g. Ball State 2006).
During this barren bowl season I decided to take an objective look at our bitter rival to see if there were any similarities. Please make no mistake, I'm not guaranteeing OSU's imminent demise any more than I guarantee Michigan's next National Championship (while I, of course, hope for both). I assure you the point of this post is not to dissect Michigan's recent shortcomings but to draw some parallels to Ohio State's current state of affairs.
The first similarity is predictable play calling with little to no adjustments. A perfect Michigan example is the 2006 Rose bowl which saw Michigan and USC go into the half tied at 3. USC proceeded to come out throwing and put up 29 points while Michigan continued it's zone left runs until it was too late. On to OSU. While there are enough examples in recent years the thing that sticks out most to me are other teams' postgame comments. Just this year Rey Maualuga and Colt McCoy both gave indications that either a) OSU did exactly what they did on film (Maualuga) or b) their coverage was predictable enough for the WR to call a play (McCoy).
Another similarity is when a great team wins a close one to a lesser opponent they are expected to roll on. Michigan's example is Ball State 2006, which everyone treated as a trap game after the fact and woke up to Appy State the next year. This year OSU played a close game against the vaunted Ohio University Bobcats that they barely escaped at home.
We all know the diluted argument (which will never be settled) that it's better to get to a BCS game and lose than not get there at all. To which I say: bullshit. First of all, as a fan, I would take a victory over Florida in the Capital One Bowl over a BCS beatdown any day. Secondly, ALL of us have to remember how frustrating the annual "showdowns" in Pasadena were getting. Maybe getting to one and getting beat is a moral victory; 3 in a row is just pathetically uncompetitive.
The last example (unless anyone wants to chime in) is the fact that Tressel was hired because of his "big game" experience and abilities. He held up his end of the bargain for the first couple of years, but in recent memory hasn't shown up. The most telling stat is OSU's record against opponents ranked in the Top 10 since "The Game" in 2006, which is 0-5. In the same span Michigan's record against Top 10 opponents is, get this, 3-4. (If you count the 2006 season the records go OSU [2-5] and Michigan [4-5]. Remember one of OSU's wins and one of M's losses were The Game FWIW).
To summarize, in my humble opinion, I honestly believe that as Michigan goes the Big Ten goes (for the most part). Michigan has been sliding for years, but it wasn't truly evident until the Buckeyes were getting exposed. Imagine being in Columbus thinking "How can we beat Michigan every year but not win a bowl game?" (On the other hand how can we beat Florida while they run laps around OSU...?) The truth is Michigan hasn't been very good, plain and simple. And the only time they were was when they were, yep, unpredictable. You know Urban Meyer had the same reaction all of us did when Michigan lined up 5-wide on the first play from scrimmage, which was: WTF?!
This is purely for discussion's sake only. No predictions, merely observations. Please don't get me wrong; I am not insisting or assuming that Tressel is out or doomed, I'm just trying to look at some gradual trends that we didn't notice on Michigan's behalf over the last few years. But I'm also realizing that without Michigan on top, the Big 10 simply cannot support itself. The balance of power has to be restored.
Texas utilized the short passing game vs. OSU and the hurry up offense, and were successful b/c they had 3 very solid WRs. They did not seem to have a talented tight end, and I was not overly impressed with their running game/backs. If Tate Forcier does become a Colt McCoy style QB, I believe this game gives Michigan Nation some serious promise in the Big Ten and against OSU going forward.
Scoreboard aside, Texas gained over 400 yards passing, and they did so without hitting any long plays. I believe that Michigan has the building blocks to run a similar style Offense against OSU with a more dangerous and versatile running attack. The option appeared successful against OSU's overly aggressive D-ends, and in the second half Colt began utilizing his legs.
I'd also like to point out that In bowl games, very often the team with more to play for/wants it more, has a huge advantage. IMO, there is no question that the OSU seniors wanted this game far more than the Texas team as a whole, despite Texas being slighted from the BCS Championship game. I am very optimistic about Michigan's offense and special teams, and now if our defense can play like Michigan Men, we should have a successful 2009 campaign.
Another year another BCS choke! The times have passed Tressel by and Pryor looks less and less like a future star. We were lucky to avoid that cancer for sure.
It has been a rough year but it is going to be worth it. We are the only team in the conference with a progressive outlook and the resources to be a leader in the coming years. Its pretty clear that the Big Ten can't compete on a national level until we do. We have the strength training and spread offense to light it up and the stud d-line recruits coming in to plant trashy-talking QB's with no arm like Pryor for years to come.
Someone here said it best, WE ARE GONNA TEAR IT UP LIKE A MACHINE. No one is going to want to play us starting next year. The Big Ten might be down, but once Michigan is back... we are going to revive this conference. I really think that Rich Rod is our Pete Carrol, or maybe I've just been celebrating this Bucknut loss a little too much.
Eat it, Buckeye fans. You're time has come. You've had your laughs at our expense this year and a cute little run under the sweater vest, but the tables are turning. You will stagnate while we grow stronger every week. Watch out.
Alright, last week, I didn't do a midweek update because I felt that the Wisconsin loss basically made everything a tossup and didn't think tracking the teams immediately above us was that worthwhile an endeavor.
The damage? Not too bad. Illinois win helped I bet. In the media, we're the first team out. The coaches', #28. Not too bad. So, this week I'm doing it differently.
Teams You Want To Lose This Week and Why:
Illinois State: Yes, you read that right. The Illinois State Redbirds are apparently undefeated. Who knew? (Except many people way more knowledgeable than me.) Anyways, they're the team in front of us in the Coaches' poll. Them losing would make it difficult for them to take any spots that open up there.
Dayton: They're simply the first team out of the Coaches' poll. Same deal as ISU.
West Virginia: I'm just mean. First I want us to steal all of their coaches, then I ask you to root against them? Well, they're #25 in the Media poll. They lose, they're out. #22 in coaches', so losses could make them fall out there too.
Louisville: #23 in media, #21 in coaches, losses from them would help us in at least the media poll.
Baylor: Consensus #23 (there's a tie in the media poll). Losses from them could help us get into both polls.
Minnesota: Well, to be honest, you don't want them to lose. Having Big Ten teams ranked is good for us. But, they're #22/#19, so, they could fall out of the media poll with losses.
Butler: #21/#20. We're getting sketchy here as to whether losses would actually make them fall out, or just move them down to #24 or #25.
Tennessee: This is a weird deal. They're the #25 team in the coaches' poll. They lose, they fall out. But, they're #15 in the media. Weird.
Boston College: Similar situation. #24/#17. I'll say it again: Coaches don't watch enough games to properly rank teams.
Alright, now, for the meat.
I'm only doing Tuesday through Thursday. I'll do a blog about all of Saturday and Sunday's games late Thursday or Friday.
Dayton v. Miami (NTM): Probably a Dayton win. Dayton home game, Miami's at 7-4. Local TV coverage in Dayton.
#25/#22 West Virginia v. #5 Connecticut GO UCONN! UConn wins, WV gets kicked out of the media poll probably. Awesome. Also, if we upset UConn (or even stay close), our RPI is helped by them winning here. Sadly, the game's only on ESPNU. I'm sure you can find a stream. 7:00.
Illinois State @ Bradley: I won't make any claims to knowing anything about either of these teams, but, Bradley is 9-5. They could do it at home I guess. Comcast, but probably not here, 8:05.
MICHIGAN @ Indiana: EVERY GAME COUNTS for our Wolverines. We need to make sure we can beat the sub-.500 teams if we want to beat the good ones. This is a good road test. 6:30, Big Ten Network.
#17/#24 Boston College v. Harvard: I wouldn't have high hopes here. 7:00, can be found Online somewhere.
#23/#21 Louisville @ South Florida: USF is sub-.500. So, a probably Louisville win. 7:00, ESPN2, ESPN360.
#15/#25 Tennessee v. Gonzaga: Gonzaga's 8-4 and knows how to win big contests. If this were at Gonzaga I'd be more optimistic, but, I'll probably watch part of this one. 9:00, ESPN2, ESPN360.
#22/#19 Minnesota @ Iowa: Big Ten games are annoying because I always want the Big Ten to be ranked but maybe the Gophers are high enough that they could contribute to the ranking of more Big Ten teams... We're a good conference. Should be a good game, give us an idea of how Iowa might do on Sunday. 7:05 on ESPN2, or, if you're like me and are supposed to be working on something else at that time, ESPN360.
#21/#20 Butler v. Wright State: I don't think Wright State will win. They're just above .500. Whatever. 7:00, Local TV only.
Back late Thursday or Friday to plan your weekend, back tomorrow with a bunch of hockey.