to play football, not to play trumpet
We now know that Devin Gardner was basically Michigan's only serviceable quarterback Saturday. Bellomy was hurt (and it's pretty obvious it was legit, given his absence from warmups and Kennedy's insertion in garbage time) and Denard was unavailable.
We also suspect that Al Borges isn't a huge fan of using a quarterback in designated runs, and that starting next year the "Let Denard Run" portion of the playbook will be mothballed. He had a week of Devin Gardner as his first-team quarterback, knowing that Denard and Bellomy might not go.
The result? A gameplan that completely ignored the quarterback as a runner. Devin's a pretty fast guy, but his running plays were mostly improvised, with a light helping of traditional drop-back draws. There were no veers where Devin actually could have made a run read. No QB isos or sweeps. We just saw what might be our QB next year; did we just see a preview of our new offense?
My question: Did Borges remove the QB run plays from the gameplan because he preferred Gardner as a more traditional drop-back-and-occasionally-scramble QB? Or did he merely take runs out of the plan because Michigan absolutely could not afford to have Devin get hurt?
This question is in good faith; I think either answer is reasonably valid, and on this weekend at least the Manball grind-and-torch-clock huddle offense was absolutely perfect for Michigan. The second quarter was brilliant. This question is relevant, though, because if Devin starts next year but has a valid backup or two, he can still do damage in an inverted veer that seems to work pretty well.
In this week's useless ESPN bowl projections, here are the B1G bowl games predicted by ESPN's Edwards & Schlabach.
Italics= Not enough B1G teams bowl eligible to fill slots
|Rose Bowl presented by Vizio||Nebraska vs Oregon State||Nebraska vs Oregon State|
|Capital One Bowl||Michigan vs Georgia||Michigan vs Florida|
|Outback Bowl||Wisconsin vs Florida||Wisconsin vs Georgia|
|Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl||State vs South Carolina||Northwestern vs Miss. State|
|Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl||Northwestern vs Okla. State||State vs Texas Tech|
|Meineke Car Care Bowl of TX||Minnesota vs TCU||Minnesota vs West Virginia|
|Heart of Dallas Bowl||Louisiana vs San Jose St.||Louisiana vs Nevada|
|Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl||No. Illinois vs Utah State||Kent State vs San Jose St.|
Other matchups of note-
|BCS National Championship||Alabama vs Oregon||Alabama vs Oregon|
|AT&T Cotton Bowl||Texas vs Texas A&M||Texas vs Texas A&M|
|Tostitos Fiesta Bowl||Kansas St. vs Notre Dame||Kansas St. vs Notre Dame|
|Bell Helicopter Armed Forces||Air Force vs Tulsa||Air Force vs Tulsa|
The ESPN guys just posted on this topic (http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten), but I figured it’s worth discussing here.
This could be a very, very strange year for Big Ten bowl participation.
Consider that teams need to go at least 6-6 in order to go bowling (well, and not get caught cheating or covering up the sexual molestation of children). Here’s where the Big Ten stands:
Michigan State (5-5; Northwestern, @ Minnesota)
MAYBE GOING / PROBABLY NOT GOING
Minnesota (5-4; @ Illinois, @ Nebraska, MSU)
Indiana (4-5; Wisconsin, @ Penn State, @ Purdue)
Iowa (4-5; Purdue, @ Michigan, Nebraska)
Purdue (3-6; @ Iowa, @ Illinois, Indiana)
DEFINITELY NOT GOING
Ohio State (ineligible)
Penn State (ineligible)
There’s a real chance the conference only gets five or six teams in this year. Last year, ten teams made it.
Seems high to me, but Vegas knows best. What do you think?