well that's just, like, your opinion, man
- BYU at Connecticut (7pm/ESPN)
- UTSA at Houston (9pm/ESPNU)
- Colorado vs Colorado State in Denver (9pm/FS1)
- UNLV at Arizona (10:30pm/ESPN)
- Jacksonville State at Lansing C.C. Burnin' Futons (7:30pm/BTN)
I used to love to read the "Know Your Foe" segments on The M Zone blog. They provided a great preview of the upcoming opponent . . . not just the team, but the entire university, its founding, its culture, its famous alumni, its colors/uniform/fight song. Everything.
Alas, The M Zone appears to have gone dormant, with nothing posted for over a year. But its Know Your Foe segments are still worth a read.
As famous as Appalachian State is in these parts, most of us know very little about the actual university. Admit it, very few of us paid any attention to it the first time around until after the game was over. And by that time, the last thing we wanted to know was anything more about Appalachian State.
But if we are stuck with this game (Thanks Dave! I still have this other band-aid on my heart from my first middle school girlfriend, would you like to rip that off too?), then we should at least know something about them that is not Armanti Edwards.
Here is the M Zone "Know Your Foe" that was done on Appalachian State for the first matchup:
If you plug your ears and go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" during the score prediction parts, the rest of it is informative and interesting.
If nothing else, it provides an illuminating time capsule of what life was like before we lost our innocence, like watching old movies where they walked right on to the airplane and lit up a smoke while the smiling stewardess served up a freshly made cocktail.
If the M Zone does indeed still exist and there is a new KYF on App State, please post a link.
So, with Roseboro committing, Michigan now has the highest average recruit ranking at Scout, 3.91 to 3.90. At Rivals, Michigan comes in at number three, behind only Alabama and USC (they are at 3.95, 3.88, and 3.7 respectively.) For Michigan's player rankings, this is including a kicker. If you pull the kicker out (for averaging purposes,) Michigan's rankings at Scout jump to 4.0, and at Rivals up to 3.9. No matter how you quibble, Michigan is near the top of the heap.
All the concern about stars can get a bit ridiculous, especially when you consider guys like the Glasgow brothers who fly beneath the radar and are a huge asset, despite being walk ons. Still, our recruiting is getting better, not worse. As Ace mentioned on the front page, the number of spots left is getting smaller and smaller. Hopefully, this encourages guys among Keisean Lucier-South, Iman Marshall, Asmar Bilal, Tyrone Wheatley and Marcus Lewis to pull the trigger and join Team 136. And complaints and talk about the 3-star mafia are a thing of the past, thank goodness.
Sam Webb! Your gut knows all!
Edit: It looks like I was beaten to the punch by the front page post.
What are your key areas to watch in tomorrow's opener? (Obviously, winning the game is implied)
1. Is the aggressive defense for real? App St is a team that dinks and dunks their way down the field, something Michigan has struggled to stop. In recent years, we've relied on sure tackling and keeping the ball in front to force opposing offenses to execute for long stretches at a time so they eventually bog down of their own accord. Is this the year we start getting in receivers' faces and taking away the short stuff with tight man coverage and start kicking offenses off the field instead of waiting for a mistake?
2. Can we run the ball straight up with no trickeration? We had some success running the ball early last year but by coming out and surprising our first two oppenents with a switch to outside stretch plays. When opponents adjusted, our run game disappeared and we embarked on a long winding road in search of the next thing that worked. I want to see us establish our base play, inside zone, early and often. Get the defense to cheat up before unleashing play action over their heads. We'll find out a bit if our OL was just struggling against our good defense, or struggling in general.
3. Jabrill Peppers. I'm not one to buy into the hype on a true freshman, but man, this kid isn't your average true freshman. Given App St's style, he should feature heavily at nickel. Will they be conservative with him and have him drop into coverage, or will he be the hybrid blitzing terror we expect on day one? Also, punt returns will be exciting. I want to see him break a big one, but more importantly I want to see him make good decisions and show sure hands.
4. Is the offensive tempo improved? Are we making the right adjustments at the line? I want to see lots of pointing and communicating before we snap the ball. I want to see Devin get us into the right play, and get us out of bad ones. Can he handle the additional responsibilities that Borges never seemed comfortable giving to his QBs? Is our OL communicating their blocking assignments? Do the RBs know where the blitz is coming from?
5. I want to see us have the game in hand early, not only for my blood pressure, but because I want to see our back-ups play. Not getting meaningful playing time last year for our back-ups was maybe the worst consequence of our struggles as far as development of the team going forward. Beating teams we should and getting the game reps for back ups will help not just next year, but down the road this season if injuries occur. It'll also be a good chance to see who redshirts and who the coaches think can contribute.
Some of the items have been covered here previously, including the upgraded cell service and the new broadcasting crew, but this press release has details on various "fan initiatives" for the 2014 football season at the Big House, including delay-free radio and new food items. There's also info on traffic for tomorrow—note that "all lanes on Ann Arbor-Saline Road north of the bridge over I-94 and all freeway entrance and exit ramps to I-94 should be open to traffic. The single lane closure on Ann Arbor-Saline Road south of I-94 may create minor delays in the area." Here's the full release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With game day less than 48 hours away, the University of Michigan Athletic Department wants to provide fans with some of the new initiatives expected for the 2014 football season at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines will kick off the 135th season of gridiron action on Saturday (Aug. 30) against Appalachian State at noon EDT.
The gates to Michigan Stadium will open at 10 a.m., with the team expected to begin taking the field at 10:55 a.m. for warm-ups. The Michigan Marching Band will perform its pregame routine starting around 11:45 a.m., with the 2014 Wolverines taking the field under the "Go Blue" banner just prior to noon.
A limited number of tickets including unique ticket packs remain for the season opener with Appalachian State. Fans can purchase tickets online at MGoBlue.com/tickets.
Following are some of the key initiatives that fans can expect at Michigan Stadium in 2014:
Athletics in partnership with University of Michigan Information and Technology Services is testing upgraded cellular coverage at Michigan Stadium for Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility. [ More Information ]
- U-M started a major upgrade to the distributed antenna system (DAS) at Michigan Stadium.
- The current DAS project integrator is ExteNet Systems, which is constructing the systems for cellular providers Verizon and AT&T.
- The Verizon infrastructure improvement is up and running, while there will be a temporary solution in place for AT&T customers. This temporary structure for AT&T is currently visible from both the east and west towers.
- The cellular improvements are being funded by the cellular carriers through their respective agreements with ExteNet.
Fans can listen to the flagship radio broadcast featuring Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf without delay inside Michigan Stadium thanks to a partnership between WTKA Radio and the Michigan/IMG Radio Network. WTKA's AM 1050 in Ann Arbor will be airing Michigan football games without delay during the 2014 season, meaning fans can bring a radio to the games and hear the commentary in virtual real time as the play unfolds before their eyes. [ More Information ]
New Food Options from Sodexo
Sodexo, the official concessionaire of Michigan Athletics, will have more than 100 new items for fans to enjoy at different locations throughout the Big House. Some of the highlights around the general concessions are:
- Gourmet mac and cheese with brisket, Buffalo chicken or broccoli mix-ins
- Chili and cornbread
- Chopsticks Asian noodle stand featuring stir fried noodles and vegetarian offerings
- Big C's BBQ with smoked pulled pork, ribs, brisket and all the sides
- Fruit smoothies
- Enhanced gluten free stand with chicken chickpea salad and Udi's snacks
- Additionally, take the top of your popped maize popcorn box to the Michigan Ticket Office or Crisler Center to redeem two free tickets to any 2014-15 women's basketball game (not including the Michigan State at Michigan game)
Pregame Tailgate Show Featuring Doug Karsch and Jon Jansen
A new pregame tailgate show featuring Doug Karsch and former Wolverine captain and NFL veteran Jon Jansen take place on the corner of Stadium Boulevard and Main Street. The tandem will anchor the tailgate show from Pioneer High School starting two-and-half hours before kickoff. Karsch and Jansen will provide fans with a new college football-centric broadcast that includes appearances from director of athletics Dave Brandon, former Michigan football coaches and players as well as members of the media.
A New Team in the Michigan/IMG Radio Booth
College and NFL Hall of Fame player and broadcaster Dan Dierdorf is joining Jim Brandstatter in the radio booth for broadcasts on the Michigan IMG Radio Network this season. Brandstatter begins his first year as the play-by-play announcer on the flagship broadcast after serving as the team's color commentator for the past 34 years. Dierdorf will provide analysis for the broadcast heard on WWJ-AM (950) in Detroit, the flagship station for Michigan football. Karsch will continue as the team's sideline announcer and Jansen will provide halftime and postgame radio commentary.
Towsley Museum at Schembechler Hall Open to Fans Prior to Games
The newly renovated Towsley Football Museum at Schembechler Hall will be open to the public on football game days. Admission is free. Following is the schedule for each of the three potential game times:
- Noon kickoff -- 8-10 a.m.
- 3:30 p.m. kickoff -- 8 a.m. to noon
- 7 p.m. kickoff -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Traffic Information for Saturday's Game
It is expected that all lanes on Ann Arbor-Saline Road north of the bridge over I-94 and all freeway entrance and exit ramps to I-94 should be open to traffic. The single lane closure on Ann Arbor-Saline Road south of I-94 may create minor delays in the area. In addition, the eastbound I-94 exit ramp 172 to Jackson Avenue should be open by Saturday; however, there will continue to be a single lane closure on Jackson Avenue (I-94BL) at Maple/Stadium which is likely to cause some backups. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Road and Lane Closures link at www.a2gov.org.
TuneIn, the world's largest audio network, and the Michigan/IMG Radio Network have joined forces to create a groundbreaking broadcast partnership in which TuneIn will carry every play-by-play broadcast of Michigan football this season. Fans can simply search "college football" on the free TuneIn Radio app or visit TuneIn.com/collegefootball for a complete list of their team's games. TuneIn is available on more than 200 platforms, including smartphones, tablets, vehicles and gaming consoles.
Welcoming Our Wolverines (W.O.W.) Fridays
Michigan Athletics welcomes fans and visitors to Ann Arbor and Michigan Stadium on Fridays prior to home football games by providing an opportunity for them to purchase official game programs, take their picture with one of the well-known landmarks at Michigan Stadium, and ask any question they may have prior to game day. Guest Services team members are available outside Gate 10 (corner of East Keech Avenue and Greene Street) and the Northeast Entry of Crisler Center from noon to 5:30 p.m. this Friday (Aug. 29). Please email any questions about W.O.W. Fridays to [email protected].
Tours of Crisler Center and Portions of Michigan Stadium
Sixty-minute tours of Crisler Center and select areas of Michigan Stadium are available on Fridays prior to home football games for a fee of $10 per person. Tour tickets will be available for purchase at the Crisler Center Ticket Office located just inside the Northeast Entry beginning at 12:30 p.m., with tours beginning at 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The tours will begin in the Hall of Honor, travelling around the concourse of Crisler Center to the east side of Michigan Stadium. There will be an opportunity to have photos taken inside the stadium, and officially licensed University of Michigan souvenirs will be available at the M Den Store located on the northeast concourse of Crisler. For information on other guided tours of Michigan Stadium and Crisler Center, please visit MGgoBlue.com/specialevents/tours.html.
Hot Weather Expected for the Season Opener
With temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 80s on Saturday, we suggest that fans take precautions to ensure they stay hydrated and are well-prepared for the hot weather. To assist in this effort, there are several ways to find access to free water once inside the gates:
- Courtesy cups of water can be found at any concession stand with soda dispensing capability as well as at any one of the Absopure tents located around the concourse
- Numerous water fountains are available inside Michigan Stadium
- New this year, there are five water bottle/cup filling stations in various locations throughout the concourse
Medical personnel will be on hand to help anyone who may need assistance.
Additional Resources for Fans Attending Saturday's Game