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 Stanford||Nebraska vs Stanford|
|Capital One Bowl||Michigan vs Texas A&M||Michigan vs Texas A&M|
|Outback Bowl||Northwestern vs LSU||Northwestern vs South Carolina|
|Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl||Wisconsin vs South Carolina||Wisconsin vs Vanderbilt|
|Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl||State vs TCU||State vs TCU|
|Meineke Car Care Bowl of TX||Purdue vs Baylor||Purdue vs Texas Tech|
|Heart of Dallas Bowl||Minnesota vs Iowa St.||Minnesota vs Iowa St.|
|Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl||No. Illinois vs Mid. Tenn St.||No. Illinois vs San Jose St.|
Other matchups of note-
|BCS National Championship||Georgia vs Notre Dame||Alabama vs Notre Dame|
|AT&T Cotton Bowl||Texas vs Alabama||Texas vs LSU|
|Bell Helicopter Armed Forces||Air Force vs UCF||Air Force vs SMU|
What's shocking to me is our inside running game is non-existent. I'm not sure what it is but for a coaching staff which preaches MANBALL, we are far away from it. I didn't see any production from Fitz or any of the other RBs against stout defenses.
Our playcalling has been dismal. This makes me wish for 3 yards and a cloud of dust all over again. It wasn't pretty but it worked.
Also, what will it take to not throw interceptions and lose fumbles. This game reminded me of the dark days.
With a fresh corp of OL next season, I'm very skeptical of where we will be at. No more Lewan who'll be drafted 1st round.
While everyone is debating the job Borges is doing, why isn't anyone talking about the absolute tire fire that is our offensive line performance? The OSU game was as bad as anything I've seen all year.
Our guys aren't undersized anymore, and are "Wellman-ized," so they aren't weak. So those memes no longer hold true.
I rewatched all of the run plays again in slo-mo to see exactly why we couldn't get even a few meager critical yards when necessary. It jumped out at me time and time again.
Missed blocks, confused linemen linemen not even engaging anyone, while the ballcarrier behind them was getting tackled. The fullbacks were bad, too.
With all the mental errors, it looked like a really poorly coached unit.
So incredibly, my biggest fear going forward isn't Borges. It's the offensive line play. Charlie Weiss proved that even with superior talent, if the guys aren't properly coached up it won't matter how many blue chippers you've got.
I hope to God what we're seeing is a product of the coaching change. But as far as I'm concerned, Darrell Funk just joined Spain as officially On Notice with me!
1 in the first half, 4 in the second. All descriptions are approximate because I only had the reply on BTN and can't rewind (I didn't DVR). Admittedly some of these are asking for good/great plays.
Play, the first. Michigan is in field goal range in Ohio's end in the first quarter. Gardner drops back and is sacked by A. Washington. The true freshman went right around Taylor Lewan for a sack/fumble. Result: 3 potential points lost.
Play, the second. Michigan near mid-field on the first drive of the second half. This is the The Play of The Game. 4th and 3. Gardner leaves the field and Denard comes in. It's described as "Borges ran it straight up the middle into a stacked front!". I don't think that's true, but even if it is, this play is there. All blocks are made except one - our best OL Taylor Lewan whifs on a simple downblock on and undersized Sabino, and he makes the tackle. If he even occupies him, Denard has the first easily, and likely a lot more. Result: field position and momentum lost.
Play, the third. Gallon deep ball / post. Either Borges calls a play that occupies the safety, or he's horribly out of position, but Gallon is by him as he continues through the catch. The cornerback he'd already beaten lunges for a shoestring tackle and makes it. Pick up your feet or run through those arms/hands and it's six points. Denard will fumble on the next play. Result: loss of 6 points.
Play, the fourth. Last drive. Gardner does an outstanding job of avoiding another strong rush, runs for 8/9 yards on first down. Play is called back for holding. Result: 1st and 20 instead of 2nd and 1/2 near midfield.
Play, the fifth. Gardner again with an outstanding scramble, rolls to his left, and throws to a covered Funchess. Given man coverage on that side of the field, he could have kept and picked up at least 10 yards. Maybe significantly more. Result: 2nd and 20 instead of 2nd and 10, potential big play/momentum lost.
This was a close game. Watch again tonight on BTN if you can stomach it. Not excusing Borges because I believe he failed in several ways, but there were plays to be made in the second half.
Other teams of note:
#1 ND (duh)
#2 Bama (Double Duh)
#4 ohio :(
#22 Northwestern (Good for them)
I have not read all of the million threads criticizing our coaches, defending our coaches, analyzing our depth chart and generally offering thoughts on the state of this team, but I have skimmed at least a few. I will try not to be too repetative, although I doubt I will succeed. Some general thoughts on our coaches after 2 seasons:
1. I still believe that Hoke is the right guy for us. Most importantly, he seems to have instilled a sense of "we are Michigan" that seemed to be lacking. Call it fit, whatever, he does seem to get it and I think that over time, this will help return us to our former glory. He also seems to get that the game starts in the trenches, and is appropriately loading up with quality big bodies in both.
2. Clock management - whomever is running our 2-minute drill needs to go back to coaching 101. There have been numerous times this season that we looked lost or failed to even attempt a score. This happened again in the first half, but DEnard's great run and OSU's crap tackling saved us.
3. Borges - I am not yet ready to call for his head. THat said, he has been terrible this year and last. His game plan for big games is pathetic. ALso, complete inability to adjust. Why not call for his head? Because these players do not fit the system that he knows well. If he still has the same problem next year, he needs to go. Next year, Devin will be able to run the pro=style with a group of Hoke-recruited OL.
4. REcruiting - we are doing great. And loading up the lines. But, I am concerned about hoke's inability to land premier skill position players (other than Morris). We keep striking out at WR and RB and it is going to continue to hurt us. What's the issue here? Is Hoke's no-nonsense style less suited for coddling bigger ego guys?
5. Mattison - he is amazing. Nuff said. We lack so much athleticism on his side of the ball, and his results are still great.