(1) I think after this past weekend, many of us, players, fans & coaches alike felt at least some kind of burden lifted: Bowl Eligibility; Defeat of supposedly a team on the rise in Illinois. Things are a little bit calmer in these parts. Plus, we have some momentum going forward into a very winnable game @ Purdue. Sure, nothing's a given, but I like our chances to put a hurtin' on the Boilers. 7-3 going into the last two? Many predicted 7 wins for us this year. Check*.
(2) Those last two games against Wisconsin & OSU should be a blast! We are in a fantastic position to totally screw up the chances of those teams for Big 10 Title & BCS aspirations. A dollar says this team from here on out looks much less tense and seems to have a shitload of fun on the field. They will be underdogs in each of those games, and I'm going to predict that we upset one of them. I think these last three games will be a great preview of some of what should come next year.
(3) There's been some more Denard/Heisman chatter around here recently, and while it's probably not going to happen, this stage is where Heisman finalists are made. If Denard leads us to wins over the last three games, he's got a real shot to get back into the picture. I think he could still be a finalist if he wins 2 of the three, but puts up great numbers in all three. Not super important right now, but it sure would be fun to see him get proper credit for the ridiculous year he's having.
(4) I, for one, am quite excited to see what happens with this team the rest of November. Before the season, I said very calmly to myself that if we improve enough to get to a bowl, I'm not going to complain about Rodriguez as our coach again in 2010. That's happened, and I'm sticking to my word. He gives us the absolute best shot to be a contender next year, and he seems to have full support of his players. So sit back, breathe a little easier, and let's all have some fun and see if this wacky combination of Top-5 offense and Bottom-Tier Defense can't find some happy medium and mess up the Big Ten Picture a little.
*First things, first: Let's wipe the floor with Purdue this weekend. I think it will happen. Maybe some tense moments, maybe a high-scoring affair, but whatever, that's old hat at this point. Anyway, always have to put this disclaimer when looking ahead.
Great video of the last stop of the game for the Michigan defense against Illinois based off the where will amazing happen videos. All credit goes to youtube user papereater32.
I ran across a quote from RR, thought I'd share it. I think he's speaking to all of us bloggers.
"Anybody who says they love Michigan and love our program yet they go out and say something really negative, just because they want to vent, you don't really love your program because that's not helping you in recruiting," Rodriguez said. "Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program. So to go out and say, I love Michigan, this is the worst, this and all that, well, you're not helping.
I'm not saying you've got to treat everything with rose-colored glasses but if you really love the program and you're all in for Michigan, you're not going to go out and bash anything about the university because it affects recruiting."
Denard has the great stats and he carries his team on his back, but does he deserve Heisman consideration?
Illegal Shift has him ranked #5 at the moment, but some disagree with how high/low he should be ranked. http://www.illegalshift.com/2010/11/09/heisman-poll-through-9-weeks/college-football/
Does he have to many team losses?
To much time missed because of injuries?
Or should that stuff not matter?
I think its an interesting debate with the stats he has at this point in the season. What's your thoughts/opinion?
-Michigan is #2 in scoring offense (behind OSU) and #1 in total offense by a mile.
-(ATTN: DeAnthony Arnett) Michigan is #2 in passing offense, behind only Indiana
-Michigan leads the conference in first downs
-Michigan is last in the conference in TOP
-Denard leads the league in rushing by over 400 yards
-(PAGING Mr. Arnett again) Roundtree ranks #4 in the conference in receiving yards per game and Hemingway ranks #5
-Michigan has three of the top six tacklers in the conference (!), which I guess might be a factor of having a D that can't get off the field. Mouton leads the league in tackles per game.
-Our defensive rankings are the polar opposite of our offensive rankings
-OSU looks insanely good by these measures. They lead the conference in scoring and give up the fewest points. Yikes.
After Penn State, many on the board snapped. The conclusion for a majority was that Rich Rod's job security was in jeopardy. Further, Gerg needed to go, probably as soon as the season was over.
Now, with the win over Illinois, and the strong probability of a win vs. Purdue, RR has some breathing room. The polls here, and the consensus, are that RR has won the right to coach at Michigan a minimum of another year.
Things are less clear for Gerg. I think that many still want to see him cut loose, either after OSU, or after the Bowl Game.
My question is whether the balance of the season will affect Gerg's tenure. Chait suggests that his slim hopes rest on the games against Wisconsin and Ohio State, and how the defense does in those games. (link: http://michigan.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1148722)
I personally think that Gerg should be given at least one more year, even with a 7 - 5 record. My reasoning is as follows.
- Gerg has only had two years to prove himself.
- It is not his fault what has happened in the secondary this year.
- Next year, with more defensive depth, and with more experience, we will have a much more accurate picture of the defense.
- A change to another defensive coordinator would not be good, in terms of continuity.
I believe that even though I predicted a 7 - 5 record, we will end up at 8 - 4. I actually have been completely befuddled by the koolaid, and actually believe that we will win in Columbus. Of course, if yet more injuries hit, especially to our key personnel, all bets are off. But I believe that we beat Purdue, finally get the monkey off our back with Ohio State, and do well in a bowl. This allows Gerg to stay, and to be judged, good or bad, in 2011.
What about you? Do you want him out of here, no matter our final record this year? Would you rather see us win out and Gerg stay, or lose just enough for him to be cut loose? I can never root against Michigan, under any circumstances, but then, I'm also not pining for a Gerg departure.
If the pollster here at Mgoblog could structure a Gerg specific poll, that would be great. I'd like to see what those on the board think.