Due to the not-overwhelming-but-still-pleasant response from last week’s Bruce Willis montage, I figured I would try this week to both recap the season so far in UM football, plus this past week’s prominent games, with one of America’s most storied thespians. Please feel free to comment away on the quality in the, um, well, comments section.
The Season So Far, or as I like to call it, the 6+1 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Recap
After two disheartening seasons, the talk at the end of last season was that Rich Rodriguez needed to start winning or else it would be the
for him in Ann Arbor. Reports during the offseason pointed to the offense making strides even while the defense suffered from a lack of depth and a dearth of talent at key positions. All was relatively quiet until
could be felt emanating miles away in a nondescript building in Detroit. This rumbling was caused by the furious digging of one misguided newspaper’s attempt to generate headlines (and relevance) by “exposing” the deep-rooted NCAA violations going on in Schembechler Hall. RR was characterized as a criminal guilty of
for what amounted to a couple of extra hours of stretching and some tangential football personnel watching unofficial practices and weight sessions. Undaunted by reality, pundits and reporters across the various media streams let loose with a flood of chest-thumping and invectives about the “transgressions” going on under RR,
with false accusations and fears of the
being handed down by the NCAA. The Internet’s reaction was, perhaps unsurprisingly, split, with some treating these accusations as gospel while others accused the media of being actors in a conspiracy that would make the
investigations seem like child’s play.
But as we all remember, not much came of it. Despite the accusations and rabid media treatment, the truth ultimately came out, leaving everyone with the impression that the author of the “expose” was just a
, and soon the focus turned to RR
with Denard Robinson as the starting QB. Perhaps not surprisingly, the message boards and radio stations were a veritable
of individuals questioning the wisdom in this move. But on a
day in the beginning of September, Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines cast aside the tumultuous
and blasted Connecticut. Next came Notre Dame and another epic performance by Robinson, as the sporting world began to wonder if he was UM’s
And as the team raced out to a 5-0 start despite games that would leave no fans
there was a sense that this season would not be the like the two previous, that UM was back as a national power.
Unfortunately, the last two games have tempered these expectations, as it became clear that this team, gutted by injuries, transfers, and other player departures, was lacking in
especially on the defensive side of the ball. The pundits and opposing fans, so quiet during the 5-0 start, are back out in full force, questioning whether RR will ever be able to win at UM. From their high horses,
apparently so clear that even the smell of hypocrisy cannot reach them, they have already begun the countdown to RR’s demise, even with nearly 1/2 a season to still be played.
for this team is probably somewhere between the 5-0 start and the 2-game losing streak.
this season is already a success. With youth dominating both sides of the ball, UM still features one of the most dynamic offenses in the country and a defense that, well, only sometimes drives me to nearly jump into a
Every Saturday so far
is filled with an optimism, a sense of possibility that was missing the past two years. It is the air UM fans used to take for granted, and even though this season probably won’t ever by confused with some of the
seasons of years past, it is hard not to see a bright future for this team no matter how much of a UM-hating
you may be.
This Week’s Games
It was a weekend of upsets,highlighted by the third #1 team in a row to fall to a ranked opponent. This time, the Oklahoma Sooners were knocked off by one of the
in the Big 12, Missouri. With yet another #1 falling, it begs the question how the BCS will shake out at the end of the year, especially with non-AQ teams like Boise St. and TCU
beneath an invisible glass ceiling by the BCS computers and pollsters [Ed-M: Not to mention a schedule that's not...how shall we say...
* Coming off a 3-game win streak and winds in South Bend once again filled with a
of a Return to Glory, spirits were high at Notre Dame as they welcomed the Midshipmen of Navy. 367 yards on the ground and a thoroughly dominating 35-17 win by Navy a couple of hours later, the college football world was reminded that anyone trumpeting the reemergence of the Domers as a national power was simply
* Other major upsets this weekend included
at two former stops for Greg “touch of GERG” Robinson as Iowa State besting Texas for the first time (!!) in team history, while a Scott Schafer-led Syracuse defense (!!!) held West Virginia to 14 points in a stunning 19-14 win. As with politics, I will leave the
discussion about the team’s defensive performance to others.
* In other games of note, both Iowa and LSU suffered from
at the coaching position, as questionable coaching decisions by the Mad Hatter and Kirk Ferentz late in their games may have cost them wins against Wisconsin and Auburn, respectively. Senator Tressel went
against Purdue after last week’s demoralizing loss to the Badgers, drubbing the Boilermakers 49-0. The only disappointment was that the Vest didn’t break out this routine on the sidelines late in the game. Hey, hey! What's this I see? I thought this was a party. LET'S DANCE!
Mark Dantonio and Michigan State continued their unlikely run toward a Big 10 title and MNC berth (!!!!) as they rallied late against Northwestern, who blew the upset even though the Spartans once down 17 points. With only Iowa likely standing between MSU and a perfect season, I will now fill my body with
lest I be subjected to even more Sparty gloating.
* To no one’s surprise, the first game in which the Minnesota Golden Gophers were
after the dismissal of Tim Brewster ended rather badly, with Penn State earning its first Big 10 win rather handily despite being outgained by 80 yards. Perhaps a eccentric former Texas Tech coach will be walking the sidelines next year, though in that case I would like to see a name change to the Golden
This is what i think after the game: OUR DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS SUCK!!
I also thought: A win is a win, but comeon!! UMASS!! comeon!!
So I have to start by saying that Jordan Kovacs is a STUD! he showed us what a true Michigan Man is today!! wow, i cannot ever believe that he was a walk-on at Michigan.
As for the Offense, great job Denard, I would say Shaw did super, the line was great and the receivers have to get a lot of recognition here. I know it was UMASS, but 42 points is blowout style points, if the defense was half decent and the FG kickers can kick it would be 45 - 20 or something.
Now to the ugliest defense I ever saw, seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY!!! come on, just something has to be there. No way on earth we can beat the likes of MSU, PSU, OSU, Wisc or even Indiana with that atrocious defense. and even when Cam Gordon (I know he is a freshmen and doing all he can) get the INT, which would've ended the game, he fumbles. That really said the story of our defense. Its almost an automatic first down against then on third or fourth! UMASS wasn't even scared to pass on 4th and 10. Come on GERG you must be able to do something. Maybe against athletes similar to ours in athleticism do some man with some blitzes!! some pressure has to come in on the receivers and the QB! WOW, SERIOUSLY!!
We're not done yet, can anyone on the team kick a FG kick!! any single human, maybe the Punter Hagrup, we can do what Michigan did a couple of years ago when Finley became a kicker!! Get someone to walk-on from the soccer team! And as for punt returns, I don't know what they want to do, but Gallon is not smart about it. I don't care if he's athletic, we just need someone to make decisions back there... no need for big returns. just someone to HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL!!
Now to the heart-attack part, Im 30 and if Michigan keeps letting all the games go down to the final seconds (UMASS, UMASS???????!!!!!) then I'm going to have that heart-attack at some-point. A win is a win, but SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!! Anyone care to comment!! Put my heart at ease!
4 - Upvoting and Downvoting are enabled. First recorded negbangs happen shortly after.
6 - HTTV 2009 was released.
9 - You can follow Tate's mother's twitter, and we discovered a Forcier - Roundtree connection. Go back and posbang him. Also, the first forum topic about points.
12 - It's the offseason. Bad Movies that looked good.
13 - Still the off season when we're talking about fictional Michigan Alumni. Also, consensus 7-5?
14 - Tim Hardaway Jr. is scouted. Boundless optimism about the season
15 Still the offseason. Underrated Movies
16- Kurt Wemers transfers, trashes program
21, 22 - New Rivals 100 and 250 are released. We are very concerned.
22- Rick Reilly writes a Tiger Woods article that portrays him in a negative light. Even though he's mainly right, Reilly is still a tool.
24- Mgoblog and Varsity Blue combine.
25- Justin Feagin is dismissed from the team.
27- A thread on showering.
29- Rich Rod likes him some RAWK MUSIK. Let's talk about the band.
30- UCONN is announced as the 2010 opener. Reactions.
31- Offseason is almost over, but here's a 130 response thread on fast food.
3- Coner isn't the only rapper on the team.
4- Donovan Warren likes GERG. Mgoboard talks about Chicks, man.
7. Bouje complains about losing 7 mgopoints. The future will not be good to him. Also, if we go into E. Lansing 4-0. I don't think anybody made a correct prediction from that thread.
9- Feagin situation is revealed. Freep starts Jihad. Team learns..
11- Reaction. Michael Rosenberg hit job.
12- Brodie resurrects his own thread from January. The title is the most entertaining part.
13- Mustaches for Michigan
14- Reaction to Rosenberg. Denard is fast. You can find out which posters are shut in alcoholics.
15- Talk about yourself
17- Wondering about lunch in Ann Arbor?
21- Sommy hates Fernando Rodney. (Dude... he produced)
23- You should learn about swimming.
24- OH MY GOD 3 QUARTERBACKS PLAY AGAINST WESTERN?
26- Another alcohol related thread. This will be useful as the season progresses. Also, Shredder starts his MS Paint masterpieces.
28- Jay passes Brian in Mgopoints. Everything goes on as normal. MLIA.
30- The week before the opener, the Freep goes nuts.
SEPTEMBER (FOOTBALL IS BACK!)
1- Somebody comes to the defense of Rosenberg? Herbie's got our back. Or just read this entire page. (Link will only work for... a day?). In this recap here's Brian recapping himself.
3- College football is back. Hey, come back and check to see how wrong you were on your predictions and cry yourself to sleep!
3- Brian has been doing a section season preview. The only part that was egrigriously wrong was The Linebackers. Every other position grouping was pretty accurate.
5- More alcohol. Why? Because I just read Brian's season prediction.
6- Hey, we beat Western!
7- Mgoblog was sponsered by the M-Den for awhile. This is why you should never judge a team after week 1 unless its Illinois.
8- Free Jihad still on. Panic?
10- Shoutout to Box. Rosenberg Punches Dolphins.
13- We Beat ND. It was glorious. This, however, scarred me.
15- Jonas Mouton punched a guy
16- I blame this guy for the ensuing season.
20- We beat Eastern. There's a lot of contentious talk over standing up. This thread is an example.
24- I'm not a fan, but Helmet Stickers?
25- We fall off the wagon. Also, the first rule of Mgopoints is to NEVER TALK ABOUT MGOPOINTS.
27- We beat Indiana. However, people really aren't happy. Bill Lynch throws gum, makes my day.
As September draws to a close, we are 4-0. The rest of the year will be a long, drawn out trail of tears, full of frustration, anger, and sadness. There are 80 full pages of MgoBoard threads left, and 40 pages of content. I fear I won't make it through.
1- Denard will sign your forehead.
3- Let's all blame GERG
4- We lose to MSU. The people are restless
6- Tigers choke away division. I die a little inside.
7- "Superfan" is kind of a dick. Aside: the "superfan" during my senior year couldn't keep a f***** beat with a cowbell.
8- You should watch the E:60 Elliott Mealer story.
9- Mgoblog suffers a schitzophrenic break. I blame Fernando Rodney.
11- There are rumors we will wear White pants at Iowa, and they refuse to die.
12- We lose to Iowa. Requisite monthly long Mgopoint thread. Denard was in, Tate was concussed.
14- Look over here! its baseball!
15- Rich Leach goes off on Lloyd.
16- Tom VH interviews defensive recruits. This thread is titled "I hate you all"
17- We beat down Delaware State.
21- Bill Martin is retiring. Blogfight vs. Deadspin.
22- I have no idea why this thread has 151 responses.
24- People are now angry at Rich Rod.
24- We lose to PSU.
25- Somebody suggests Sheridan start.
27- Cissoko dismissed from the team. More
28- "Negbangs are out of control"
31- It's Halloween. And the Illinois game. Dong Punch.
We are still above .500 thanks to Baby Seal U. We can still make a bowl game...
1- Let's look towards next year
2- Brian turns emo (but not em0)
3- Carvin Johnson commits. People start grumbling about 3*s again.
5- TKoB, people want him banned.
6- Baskeball starts
7- This is an ugly thread. This one isn't much better. This one is the worst.
7- I've been avoiding hockey. This is part of the reason. We also lost to Purdue. Sigh.
9- This is a poorly reasoned argument.
11- Mgoblog was down. I was lost in the wilderness.
14- Henri, otter of ennui. Or a Wisconsin loss.
16- Michael Wilbon spreads dumb rumors
18- Linked only for the sweet picture. Mike Valenti has sources, man.
19- Senior Haikus. Henri strikes many down. k06em01 wonders where he should unload his speculative rumor. Incredibly, he has -666 points at the time of this posting.
21- A game happened.
22- em0 starts to deteriorate.
23- Let's just go to the fetal postion. OMG A GIRL!
29- Basketball falls twice in Old Spice classic.
30- ND loves Bob Stoops
1- Let's poke at the dead body of the Freep. We talk about hot chicks, man, in the avatar thread and the only reason I mention it is because I got in a Rick Roll.
2- Basketball vs. BC... Discussion
4- People are douchebags when Ray Vinopal commits. But seriously, stop hating.
12- Happy Trails, random guy I've never seen post.
15- Big Ten Expansion? GRID OF JUDGEMENT
This was this month. Hopefully you didn't forget what happened here last week.
Finally, I didn't get through the diaries. There are many great ones, but no good way to page through all of them that I've found. The back half of the year had lots more content, not all of it good. There were quite a few meltdowns that I didn't document, and much uglyness that has been deleted.
Here's to wildly optimistic projections for the future:
5 - Will Campbell re-committed to Michigan, and there was much (slightly creepy) rejoicing. Also, first mention I can find of the "Rich Rod recruits 3*s meme") Slightly ironic that it comes on the day a 5* commits.
7 - Tom VH interviews Tate
9 - Everybody hates Fox broadcasting the MNC game. (seriously, there are more topics than I want to link to)
12 - Brian is compared to Drew Sharp. Hilarity ensues.
16- GERG! floated as a name, then commits on the 20th
19 - 7 people decided to comment on Tom VH's Cullen Christian interview
22 - I missed the lovefest, and am sad that I'm not Enjoy Life's friend
25 - Conboy and Tropp commit a crime
29 - It's been an up and down month for basketball, but we lose to OSU and are 4-5 in conference. Tourney aspirations are dimming.
30 - Possibly the first mention of BLACK UNIFORMS!!!, but certainly not the last.
2 - Refs screw us over twice in the same day. My hatred of Jim Burr grows
4- Signing day. We lose 2 DTs, gain Q-wash and Jeron Stokes, Adrian Witty and Denard Robinson
5- WLA takes over Mgoblog
6- Tim and Paul are guest posting. Baby Seal U is announced as a game, the people are unimpressed
12- Dex helpfully UFRs the Ohio State game from November for those who were misinformed
13- Who's your favorite obscure player?
16- Threet transfers
23- We, uh, lose to Iowa in OT
25- Somehow, there are 299 comments in the Maker's Mark boycott post.
27- We proceed to beat Purdue.
Liveblog is a curse meme lives on strong throughout this month.
2- Seriously guys? 70% of Mgoblog votes against having a liveblog for the last game of the basketball season, against Minnesota
3- Brian realizes he is a harbinger of bad luck
4- Remember Craven Morehead? He's banned. Oh, the simple days.
8- There is a counter petition to the petition to get night games. In other news, people believe that online petitions are noticed. Also, MAIZE JERSEYS!!! And people think that MSU is fraudulent and won't do well in the tourney
12- DG commits
16- Basketball makes the tourney
19- And we beat Clemson!
23- then lose to man-child Blake Griffin and OU. People discover Poole1dan and make fun of him.
25- Spring practice has begun, Hockey bracket is posted,
27- We lose to the zoomies.
28- Speculation on Denard starting starts
29- Oh hey, I found the a classic McFarlin thread.
30- Just so you know, Diclemeg with -1635 points as of posting, thinks Denard will start at QB, and stakes his reputation to it.
31- To help you cope, Coner drops some mad rhymes
7 - I didn't attend the inaugural Mgotailgate at the spring game as I was far too drunk, but here's the plan
9 - Hello: Evan Metrics
13- Tate drops bombs in the spring game
15- Greg Paulus is seriously considering playing quarterback in college. Hey, another McFarlin thread! Also, people seriously hate the thought of Greg Paulus.
19- Somebody mentions USC's lack of institutional control. Way to be 8 months early, and use U$C.
20- Barkavious Mingo vs. Iris Macadangdang in the name of the year.
24- Backlash against new posters commences
30- Drew Dileo commits, people are not happy.
5 - McFarlin is banned. This thread is entertaining.
11- Brian addresses the bitching and overall creepyness. Anton Scalia bashes Ohio State
18 - "Douchey Mgoblog Users" reminded us to stop talking on our cell phones when ordering sandwiches.
21- People haven't gotten word that online polls won't get us a night game.
25- Mgopoints are halfheartedly introduced. I start planning my mgopoint retirement fund.
May was kind of a slow month. I didn't link to the variety of small fights about oversigning, stars, etc.
1- Kelvin and Kevin Grady come back into the fold
3- I include this link only because of Brian's throwaway line at the end: "Daily continues murdering Detroit papers, this time landing an extensive interview with Toney Clemons" Sadly, the Freep just sat on their interview...
10- WLA vs. GBMW blogfight escalates. Topic had GOOD MOTOR but FAILS to resolve CONFLICT PEECEFULY. Also, every month must have the requisite 3* recruit post.
29 - Tim Hardaway Jr. commits to michigan
30 - Mgoblog's secondary USA soccer craze comes to an end with a loss in the Confed Cup to Brazil
Another slow month. Hopefully I'll get the 2nd half of the year up sometime tomorrow.
All numbers are points per game vs an average team. They are adjusted for strength of opponent. No 1AA games or stats are included. For more detailed questions on how the numbers come about, click here.
Expected PointsMichigan got exactly what it wanted here. The pace was theirs. For the game, Michigan had a season high 15 drives and a season high 29 expected points. Contrast that to Ohio State who had 13 drives (made possible by the defensive TD) and only 21 expected points. That is a huge gap in expected points for Michigan. Ohio State's defense definitely deserves a lot of credit, but Michigan had the opportunities to get some points, even if 28+ was a bit unrealistic.
Rush OffensePredicted: +0, 35 carries, 130 yards 1TD
Actual: -5, 29 carries, 94 yards 0 TD
For the second straight game, the Michigan running couldn't find it's footing against an elite rush defense.
For the second straight game, Vincent Smith continues to stake a solid claim to next year's starting spot. Smith posted his second straight +4 (adjusted for competition and includes receptions) and was Michigan's most productive back both on the ground and through the air.
Pass OffensePredicted: -6, 18/30 175 yards 2 TD 1 INT
Actual: -12, 24/43 224 yards 1 TD 4 INT
Michigan has only lost 21 points to interceptions thrown this year, which is best in the Big 10. And interceptions are where OSU has made their living this year, racking up a +54 on picks for the season. If Michigan can keep away from bad interceptions, and a pick up a lucky bounce or two, could be a ball game.About that...
Not quite HOLD ONTO THE BALL level jinxing going on there, but still, pretty disheartening to go back and reread it. The amazing thing is that the bounces generally went OSU's way and it was still a ball game. Good sign.
If you remove the INTs (wait, you can't do that?) the passing offense comes in at +0, not spectacular but still very good against this OSU pass defense.
The best news of Saturday might have been the continued emergence of Roy Roundtree as the much needed go to receiver for Michigan. Roundtree posted his fourth straight outstanding game with a +10. In the four games that Roundtree has seen the time and the balls come his way (Ill, Purdue, Wisconsin, OSU) he has averaged +7.7, which if held (understandably big if) would be the top mark in the Big 10 this year and 7th nationally.
Rush DefenseProjected: -3, 45 carries 210 yards 3 TD
Actual: +0, 48 carries 264 yards 1 TD
The yards ended up higher than projected, but in terms of the value, Michigan got a number of big stops against the Buckeye ground game to warrant a very solid break even performance.
Pass DefenseProjected: -1, 15/24 160 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Actual: -8, 11/19 54 yards 1 TD 1 INT
When the Buckeyes have thrown the ball less than 20 times, they average +2.2 and have had their two best passing games of the year. When they have thrown the ball more than 20 times, they have averaged -1.1 and had their 3 worst games of the year. You have to think that the gameplan is going to be to keep the ball on the ground.Ohio State got the low volume passing game that they wanted, although it didn't quite go as expected. Michigan's pass defense took the conservative Buckeye game plan and did quite well against it. Even without the pick (+3), the pass defense did quite well, picking up nearly 3 points of value on a pair of sacks. Even removing the sacks and the pack, the defense still posted an above average performance, an outstanding day for a much maligned group.
The Rest of the PictureSpecial teams ended in a near wash. The missed chippy was a definite negative for Michigan, but it was offset by great play from both the punt and kickoff teams.
On the turnover front, the net of Forcier's 5 turnovers and Pryor's single miscue netted a 13 point swing for Ohio State. A neutral result on turnovers could have very well been enough for the Wolverines on Saturday that I thought they needed to 2 swing play advantage to have a shot.
PredictionsMichigan 21 - OSU 31
Almost nailed the spread, just a few less points scored than I thought.
Same story for Minnesota Iowa where my 27-14 pick was within a point of the spread but high on the total.
I nailed Wisconsin but underestimate Northwestern as my 31-17 pick missed the mark.
Also missed out on Purdue/Indiana. I had it a tight one at 28-27 and missed on an easy Purdue victory.
Another one that was not as close I expected was Penn State/MSU as PSU brought the posse and beat up on the Spartans. Still had the Nittany Lions covering, but didn't see a 4 TD win in my 28-24 pick.
Lost out on the Irish as well this week, picking them to cover against UConn, 35-28.
Overall - 3-3 ATS.
Expected PointsMichigan actually held a pretty nice advantage in field position for the day. Based on starting field position, Michigan had an expected advantage of 22 points vs 17 for Wisconsin. Both sides gave up points vs expectation as the offense scored 17 themselves, five less than an average team would given their field position. The defense was a little bit further from average, allowing 45 (and scoring 7) a full four TDs worse than average.
Rush OffensePredicted: +0
The first matchup, where the rubber meets the road. This is clearly a huge battle of strength vs strength. If Michigan is going to win on Saturday, they have to find success in the running game.Michigan did not find success in the running game and they did not win on Saturday, but you already knew that. Michigan's performance on the ground was really bad and in a matchup of strengths, it was clear that the Wisconsin defense was the stronger of the two forces. Michigan's -7 was the second worst rushing performance of the weekend, trailing only Virginia's performance at Boston College.
Pass OffensePredicted: +1
Michigan's offense will need to find points and opportunity wherever it can and a third straight [passing] game in the +'s could come in very handy.After the disappointing showing by the running game, the passing game continues to show marked improvement. This was Michigan's best showing through the air in the Big 10 this year and their third straight week of improvement in the passing game.
Roy Roundtree continued his progression as the most consistent threat in Michigan's evolving passing game. Roundtree went +6 after going +10 and +6 in the last two games.
Rush DefensePredicted: -5
Best case scenario here is probably a Penn State like performance where Wisconsin gets 150-200 yards but it takes 40+ carries to get there.All in all, for this run defense this could have gone much worse. At the same time, it did not by any stretch go well. Especially when you factor in what the Badgers did through the air, the ground game in a strange way became secondary and 250 yards against as a secondary is something any offense would love.
Pass DefensePredicted: -1
I don't consider anything a sure thing the way Michigan's pass defense has looked lately, but this is a Wisconsin team that doesn't show any major indications of being able to greatly exploit it either.I was wrong.