"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
I think we can all pretty much agree that Michigan’s top four rivals are OSU, MSU, ND and PSU. I was thinking about this the other day and trying to decide which ones are the most important to beat in 2009 and 2010? I thought it would be interesting to get everyone’s perspective and see how these four rank overall and for giving them a good beating this year and next. Rank the four teams in order of importance and, on a scale of 1-5, 5 being most important, that we beat them in 2009 and in 2010. Of course, Ohio State is the biggest, but the real question is who is number 2, 3 and 4 and why. Also, of these rivals, which ones are most important to defeat in 2009 and why? Which ones, if not all in 2010? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Some of this may seem trivial, but if one assumes that Michigan will not beat each of its four biggest rivals this season, which ones are most important this year and next? The value of the question can be looked at from many different perspectives. Is a “progression” over the course of the season more important or simply beating the best teams? How would certain victories look to pollsters or bowl selection committees? Are bragging rights a major issue, or is it simply pride that makes one game more important than another.
With the debacles of last season still lingering, is revenge a huge factor or is simply ending a losing streak more important? Does the perception that one team is believed to be so much better this season make the game this year less important, but more important next year because we should be better next year? Does the fact that a game is at home make it more important? How much does recruiting affect your choices? There are many reasons why you might choose one over another.
With the longest off-season I can remember, (Nov.-Sept) the idea of which rivalry games are most important to me this season seemed intriguing. Boredom generates some crazy thoughts and this seemed like an interesting topic. Although I could be wrong I did a lot drinking while kayaking on the Kalamazoo River yesterday and my judgment could be very clouded. Lord knows, my head is.
1) OSU (5) Must end the streak. Respectability and maintaining this as truly a rivalry is huge
2) MSU (5) The first road game, setting a tone for the conference season and truly gauging the defense
3) ND (4) Need this to start the season right, build confidence and destroy Jimmah and the whale
4) PSU (3) Would like to get this, seems doubtful, but its at home and we have dominated them for so long
1) OSU (5) New Years Day bowl at stake, Restablish our place in the conference
2) ND (5) Will solidify that the program is back
3) MSU (5) Recruiting, bragging rights and keep little brother in place
4) PSU (4) Important for rankings and exposure at their place, and simply HATE happy valley
2011: Win ‘em all MNC dominate college football
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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.
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!!!!!!!
Last year I watched a couple of Virginia Tech games on ESPN and I noticed one of their special lineups. The lineup is called the Wild Turkey and I thought it was well done and pretty creative. It's a different take on the wildcat formation. They line up with their TE Boone at QB (in NCAA 10 they line up with a RB at QB) and he is a bruiser. The lineup also has a FB just in front of the QB and to one side. I believe they also have a RB in at the wide reciever position off to one side by himself. Most of the plays I've seen consist of the QB running the ball himself or handing it off to the WR/HB in a WR motion handoff. They also throw in some trick plays with the WR/HB coming in motion, getting the ball, and then having the QB/HB go out for a screen play. The point is basically this: Do you think this is something Rodriguez has considered as far as a trick play to utilize all of our speedy slot ninjas or does he have anything else up his sleeves? I think that this type of formation could be amazing. One thing I would change would be to put one of our slots/HBs in at QB instead of the TE VT uses. I think RR needs to find some way to utilize all of our playmakers on offense, and this could be one way to do it. Any thoughts on this idea?
EDIT: Sorry about the Alcoholic confusion here.
One of responses in a forum post got me to thinking about whether a Big Ten Championship game would be helpful in propelling a team to the MNC game.
The short answer is no. Analysis follows: let's see what couldhave happened the past 3 years.
- 2008 Last year Ohio State and Penn State shared the Big Ten Championship. They probably would have played in a hypothetical B10 championship... but PSU had already beaten OSU earlier in the year. Even had they played a championship game, PSU would not have gone to the MNC game had they won, and OSU (and the B10 in general) probably would have lost out on the 2nd BCS bid. Reverse the situation and OSU doesn't get to the MNC with a win, and PSU may lose a BCS bid if they lose. The net result is negative: one BCS game, a bunch of teams bumped down a peg, and a random mediocre Big Ten team may get shut out of a bowl.
- 2007, The Michigan-Ohio State game has a slightly different meaning. If Michigan wins, The B10 championship is suddenly Michigan-Illinois. If Ohio State wins, the B10 championship is Michigan-OSU. Playing the hypothetical game here can take you to all sorts of different places. Anyways, tOSU won, and In the 1-2 week after rematch, Henne and Hart are still banged up meaning we probably lose again. If OSU wins they still go to the MNC, while Michigan still goes to the Citrus Bowl. If OSU loses, they probably don't go to the MNC game, Michigan goes to the Rose Bowl, OSU probably gets an at large BCS bid, and Illinois is shut out of the BCS. There is no possible gain here in Big Ten terms, they have 2 BCS teams regardless, but they could potentially lose a MNC contender.
- 2006, UM and OSU have a titanic showdown in The Game. This is where it gets interesting. If UM loses, it would prompt a rematch in the B10 championship, as they had beaten 1 loss Wisconsin early in the year. If Ohio State loses, then what? Michigan would have beaten both teams, both with 1 loss. Who plays in the B10 game? Assuming OSU wins the regular game again, the Big Ten Championship is still fraught with peril. If OSU wins again they still get to go to the NC, and Michigan is eliminated from any talk about going to the National Title game. If Michigan wins, there's a 4 team logjam at the top, with UM, UF, USC, and OSU, as well as a 1 loss UW team that would probably be out of the running. The MNC has the potential to shut out both Big Ten teams, and let UF and USC play. The Big Ten had a legitimate shot at putting 2 teams in the national title game, and in this scenario, could end up with 0.
There are plenty of other messy scenarios out there. What happens in the case of a 3 way tie (ala the B12 last year). Hell, the Big Ten has even had a 4 way conference championship tie, what then? Sure the Big Ten could split into divisions, but who's the 12th school? Bringing back U-Chicago's athletics? Will we change our name (Because you have to admit 11 schools in the Big Ten is pushing it, 12 would just make it too confusing) to the Big Lake Conference? Do we go to 10 schools? Are we kicking Northwestern out?
Oh, and if you were wondering, there's no way a B10 championship would have helped in: 2005 (12-0 Texas/USC), 2004 (12-0 USC/Oklahoma), 2002 (12-0 OSU/Miami), 2001 (Undefeated Nebraska/Miami), 2000 (Oklahoma, 1 loss FSU. Big Ten Champ was 4 loss Purdue), 1999 (Undefeated VTech/FSU), or 1998 (Undefeated Tennessee/FSU)
The only time a championship game could have hepled was in 2003, when 1 loss Michigan wins the Big Ten. That year, 1 loss Michigan and USC were on the outside looking in while 11-1 LSU and Oklahoma were playing for the NT. We were a distant 4th to the 3 other teams, but a Big Ten championship game MAY (may!) have pushed us over the edge.
1 opportunity to improve the Big Ten's situation out of 11 isn't really great. You have to trade that off with 3 potential opportunities that a Big Ten team can stumble and not go to the NT game. And yes, a conference championship would most likely bring in lots of revenue and exposue. However, without a championship game, the Big Ten has one of the easier routes to the National Title game, and it looks like a championship game would be an obstacle for a perfect team more often than it would be to boost a 1 or 2 loss Big Ten team in.
I am not exactly sure how to correctly link a webpage on here but I copied and pasted the URL. That being said, on the bottom of the article it states, "To make room for Johnson on the roster, the Packers cut undrafted rookie tight end Carson Butler, who impressed in rookie camp but missed the end of offseason practices with a knee injury."