that's unfortunate, but at least the interest is there on both sides
Something has young Charlie Blockham stirring in the midnight hour...
and only his mother, well-versed in the lore of Michigan football,
can disarm his anxiety and put his fears to rest.
(Click the image to view full size)
I have found that, so far, Charlie is far and away the easiest Blockham to write for.
I've tried to keep the cast appearances relatively well rounded so far to allow the
readers to get to know the family. But the truth is there's already more Charlie strips
in the can than anyone else. He's just fun to create.
Look for more Charlie, this time interacting with his dad, later this week.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least every
Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest feature,
Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on current Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Below are the strength of schedules for all Big Ten teams from 2011, as well as Michigan’s opponents in 2012 (note that Massachusetts isn’t listed, more about that later).
If you want to look at the rankings for opponent win percentage for all 120 FBS teams for 2011, check out my website.
Teams who had tough schedules in 2011, and easier schedules in 2012, should, theoretically, improve their win total. By contrast, teams who had easier schedules in 2011, and tougher schedules in 2012, should decrease their win total. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way.
The opponent win percentage is simple based on the combined wins and losses of a team’s opponents (includes bowl games and conference championship games, as well). Note that the rankings do not include games played against FCS opponents.
Once every team in the country has a finalized schedule for 2012 (I’m looking at you, Big 12 and Big East), I’ll throw together the 2012 Strength of Schedule, based on the win totals from 2011.
|8||Penn State||Big Ten||62.1429%|
|53||Ohio State||Big Ten||54.0230%|
|55||Michigan State||Big Ten||53.9474%|
|80||Air Force||Mountain West||50.4132%|
A few notes (on teams other than Michigan and their non-conference opponents) (Note that my projections will include postseason play, too):
Illinois –Illinois’s home conference games are all winnable – Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue. The road games are brutal, though: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, finishing up with an easier game at Northwestern. Illinois’s non-conference schedule is a bit tougher than the 2011 version – Western Michigan, at Arizona State, Charleston Southern, and Louisiana Tech. Early projection: Illinois decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Indiana –Hands down the worst team in the Big Ten; schedule was among the toughest due to games against Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Hoosiers have a relatively forgiving non-conference schedule, playing Indiana State, at Massachusetts, Ball State, and at Navy. Early projection: Indiana increases their overall win total in 2012, from 1 in 2011.
Iowa –The Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor and East Lansing in 2012, and also make trips to Evanston and Bloomington. The home games, outside of Nebraska, are easily winnable (Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue). Iowa plays Northern Illinois (at Chicago), Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Central Michigan in 2012. Early projection: Iowa increases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Michigan State –Illinois’s road Big Ten schedule is tough, but the Spartans will have it just as bad at home, as on the road. Michigan State plays Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern at home, while traveling to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Michigan State’s non-conference schedule is tougher than the one from 2011 (which isn’t saying much, since 2011 was pretty easy) – Boise State, at Central Michigan, Notre Dame, and Eastern Michigan. Early projection: Michigan State decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 11 in 2011.
Minnesota –Partly a byproduct of how bad the Gophers were, also a byproduct of having played Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, all of who had at least ten wins. Minnesota’s non-conference schedule allows the Gophers to improve – at UNLV, New Hampshire, Western Michigan, and Syracuse. Early projection: Minnesota increases their overall win total in 2012, from 3 in 2011.
Nebraska –The Cornhuskers had a particularly challenging schedule in their first year in the Big Ten, having to visit tough environments in Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. The Huskers will play Ohio, Michigan State, and Iowa on the road (as well as Northwestern). Nebraska has one non-conference game to schedule; they will play Southern Miss, at UCLA, and Arkansas State. Early projection: Nebraska increases their overall win total in 2012, from 9 in 2011.
Northwestern –Easiest schedule out of all the Big Ten teams. Having to replace QB Dan Persa will be tough, but at least QB Kain Colter has experience. The Wildcats will need that experience, as they travel to Michigan and Michigan State on back-to-back weeks; Northwestern also travels to Penn State and Minnesota on back-to-back weeks. The Wildcats host Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. Northwestern’s non-conference schedule in 2012 won’t be easy, playing at Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College, and South Dakota. Early projection: Northwestern decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 6 in 2011.
Ohio –Talk to a Buckeye fan and they will tell you it was one of the toughest years to stomach, between the NCAA investigations, Jim Tressel, and the losing record, Ohio is looking to forget the 2011 season. 2012 will likely be better, but the Buckeyes won’t be in the postseason. The Buckeyss have a soft non-conference schedule in 2012, playing Miami (OH), UCF, California, and UAB. Early projection: Ohio increases their overall win total in 2012, from 6 in 2011.
Penn State –Oh boy, where do I start here? Penn State’s non-conference schedule has been notoriously soft in recent years. Yes, they did play Alabama the past two seasons, but other than that, its been extremely forgiving. Penn State's schedule turned out to be the toughest because of playing Alabama, Houston, Nebraska, Wisconsin (three of which won double digit games). Next year it gets tougher with games against Navy and at Virginia. Penn State also plays Ohio University and Temple. Early projection: Penn State decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 9 in 2011.
Purdue –Purdue plays five of their first six games at home; an early start would put Purdue in great shape to improve on their 2011 record. Unfortunately for Purdue fans, they catch Michigan and Wisconsin on back-to-back weeks, but at least they are at home. Purdue also plays Penn State and Indiana at West Lafayette. Purdue will make trips to Columbus, Minneapolis, Iowa City, and Illinois. Purdue’s non-conference schedule in 2012, absent Notre Dame, is forgiving; the Boilermakers play Eastern Kentucky, at Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall. Note that Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State are on back-to-back-to-back weeks; three straight losses could send Purdue into a tailspin. Early projection: Purdue decreases their overall win total in 2012, from 7 in 2011.
Wisconsin –The Badgers have it relatively easy for their Big Ten road games in 2012. Wisconsin will travel to Indiana and Purdue, but they also play Nebraska and Penn State on the road. Wisconsin’s 2012 non-conference schedule looks like four wins – Northern Iowa, at Oregon State, Utah State, and UTEP. Early projection: Wisconsin matches their overall win total in 2012, from 11 in 2011.
With that said, what are the early thoughts on Michigan?
EDIT: Thanks to Harmon98 and bluebrains98 for pointing out a serious problem. Problem is corrected. For those who are asking, this is based on the 2011 season, with 2011 opponents.
Lake City (FL) Columbia offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil may be the most sought-after lineman in the class of 2013; he's already ranked as a five-star to Rivals and 24/7, a four-star to Scout, and he's on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. The 6'6", 275-pound junior holds early offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, Purdue, USF, and USC, while Texas and LSU are keeping a close eye on him. Tunsil has already taken visits to Florida and Georgia, but while it may be difficult to pry him from the grasp of the SEC, Michigan has positioned themselves well in his recruitment. Read on to find out his top five and more:
ACE: How is everything going with your recruitment? Which teams are showing you the most interest?
LAREMY: It's crazy, and a lot of them!
ACE: How do you handle the pressure and attention of being an early five-star recruit?
LAREMY: Take it one day at a time. I just keep working and getting better.
ACE: Who's your recruiting contact at U-M?
LAREMY: Coach Funk and Coach Montgomery.
ACE: Any early favorites right now? If you had to name a top five, who would be in there?
LAREMY: Michigan, LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
ACE: Do you have any visits planned for junior days or camps during the offseason? Any places you'd be interested in checking out?
LAREMY: I'm not sure yet, but I have Michigan in mind!
ACE: What attributes about a school will factor in the most in your decision?
LAREMY: The coaches, academics, and tradition.
ACE: When do you think you'll make your decision?
LAREMY: Signing day. [To be clear, that would be 2013, not 2012. Laremy's got a few offers to sift through first.]
In order that I may waste more time on my Michigan fandom, I put together an "all past decade" list of sorts. (2001-2011) I wasn't quite as big a fan back in the early 2000s but I did a little research and this seems about right. I think the reserve players are just there because I like them so much and felt bad not having them on the list.
This would be a heck of a squad to field all at one time. Any glaring omissions?
|QB||Chad Henne||OLB||Victor Hobson||P||Zoltan Mesko|
|HB||Mike Hart||ILB||Larry Foote||K||Garret Rivas|
|FB||BJ Askew||ILB||Carl Diggs|
|WR||Braylon Edwards||CB||Marlin Jackson|
|WR||Marquise Walker||CB||Leon Hall|
|WR||Mario Manningham||SS||Ernest Shazor|
|TE||Tim Massaquoi||FS||Brendent Englemon|
|LT||Jake Long||DE||LaMarr Woodley|
|LG||Adam Kraus||DT||Gabe Watson|
|C||David Molk||NT||Mike Martin|
|RG||Dave Petruziello||DT||Alan Branch|
|RT||Tony Pape||DE||Brandon Graham|
|Reserve||Denard Robinson||Reserve||Jordan Kovacs|
TTB Andrew put up an interview of former Michigan linebacker Sam Sword this morning. He's living in Florida now and could still kick all of our asses.