Granted I'm looking through some rosy Maize glasses, but I have seen a lot of 7-5 at best predictions of late, and I wanted to defend why we are setting our upper win limit too low when we look at our actual games this year. So a break down of each game and why its winnable;
1. UConn- UConn has been broken down by other MGoBloggers. They appear to be a solid team that will rely on the run game significantly, since they have to break in a whole new recieving group with just an ok passer. Our run defense is the strongest portion of our defense, and a previous diary showed that UConn did not perform well defensively against spread offenses. Our offense should be very potent this year, and add on the fact that it is at home, and we go from a winnable game, to a possible blow out.
2. Notre Dame- This game scares me, mainly because of Christ, Floyd, and Kelly and really not knowing what to expect. The good news, our offense will be even better, they don't have Golden, and we won last year. No reason to believe we can't win this game.
3/4. BG/ UMass- Hopefully no explanation needed
5. Indiana - Should be an entertaining game, with two potent offenses, but again, we won last year, and by all accounts, should be better. No reason we shouldn't expect a good chance to win this game
6. MSU - Probably the most critical game of the year, this could shape the rest of the year. MSU mirror's our team a lot since we both have potent offenses and suspect secondaries. Why we can win; Our offensive line is better than there's, and our defensive line is better than there's. No matter how much the game changes, games our won in the trenches, and we have the better stats going in. Add in the 6 point swing in homefield advantage, and we win a classic shootout.
7. Iowa- With Iowa, there has been lots of hype coming into the season, however, there are weaknesses that are there. 1. We showed that as good a defense as they have, we can move the ball on them. D-Rob drove the length of the field running 3 plays. With a healthy O-line and improved QB play, expect us to score, which will force them out of there conservative game plan. Take away Moeki, a couple new line man, and Stanzi throwing the rock, and I like our odds. Again, add in the 6 point home field advantage and the closeness of last years game, there's no reason to think we can't win here as well.
8. PSU - Happy Valley will be our second toughest environment of the year. The crowd will be loud and the team will be ramped up. Lucky for us, they are using a freshman QB or a first time shaky starter, playing behind a rebuilt line, that wasn't very good last year. Our offense won't be able to score as easily on this defense, but their offense might not require us too. Should be a great and winnable game in a great atmosphere.
9. Illinois - By all accounts, they should be a horrible team this year. So besides maybe being a trap game after the MSU-PSU stretch, walking away from this game without a W will be very telling ;)
10. Purdue - Similar to MSU as another team that mirror's us pretty well. Should be a shootout, but with two close losses in a row, I'm counting on our team to be hungry (especially RR to shut that pie hole on Danny "give mustaches a bad name" Hope)
11. Wisconsin - Not much to say here. Wisconsin will be a real challenge and by all accounts should be a loss. My only possible response is 2008? But not going to rely on that type of breakdown by Wisconsin.
12. The Game - To this I only reiterate the Epic Tale of the 1969 team that beat possibly the best OSU team ever. Anything can happen in The Game. Winning breads winning, and if we have won like we can to this point, strap in for one hell of a game.
So there you have it. This is why I'm optomistic. Does a lot have to go our way to win this season? sure. Are the odds in our favor? hell no! But we're starting the season off undefeated, and as a famous Corellian once stated "Never tell me the odds."
So, apparently (based on RR statements) all 3 QBs will go into the UConn game without playing "LIVE" since last year? (I don't think they were "live" in the spring either.)
If it was a typical cupcake for the first game, I would not be concerned. But, with UConn this spells a potential problem with turnovers.
I know they are doing drills for ball protection. I don't think that is enough. Even in the NFL with multimillion dollar QBs they still play in the preseason for about an entire game (spread over the enitre preseason).
Especially with 3 QBs, why not go "live" for at least a some practices?
Not sure if he ever got that UM offer (or would have received one in the future anyway), however, he was one of the TE/WR on UM's radar for the TE spot some of us (me) are hoping to fill in the 2011 class. Hopefully Fulse, McEvoy, or Tabb pan out.
Nowadays some of us have moved on from student status, become old people* and realized that there are far too many t-shirts in our wardrobes to justify buying even more. Has the MGoStore considered the possibility of creating other ways to publicly display our support for M and financially support our favorite procrastination source?
Thoroughly researched example for marketing purposes only (Google Docs):
Personally I could go for a little maize and blue conversation piece for the office that doesn't violate the company dress code. Is anyone else with me on this?
*Refers to almost everyone past their 4th year of undergrad at U-M or equivalent
Well, my friends over at the WLA have gone over the edge. They have switched allegiances and are now rooting for the Northwestern Wildcats. I do not know why anyone would support a team from the state of Chicago, but they are. Perhaps its too much Zima, or too long of a ride on a Unicorn. Whatever the case, they have completely lost it. They are now the Wildcats Liberation Army.
Deal with it.
I have been on the MGoSidelines for an extended while, too shellshocked by the current state of Michigan football to participate much or even complete my McBean Rating System. Yet, I return on the eve of the season because I think a point need be made. Assuredly, it’s been made before, but perhaps not with this emphasis.
I am somewhat hesitant to post this, and some will say I was not hesitant enough. I am going to the UConn game overflowing with optimism, but the optimism comes with a catch, which, because it is cathartic, will now pollute MGoBlog.
Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, now stands or can stand between the results we see on the field and a verdict on this coaching staff. We are at a moment of refreshing purity where a simple answer to a simple question now awaits the spiritually hungry:
- Can the current staff of football coaches actually recruit and coach?
In previous Rodriguez campaigns, muddy waters divided the Michigan faithful; one side, with justification, pointed at coordinator changes, mismatched personnel, attrition, distractions, and injuries, while the other side declared that, despite all these high-quality excuses, no serviceable coaching staff could ever lead a Michigan team to 3-13 against Big 10 teams over two years. (Can this actually be true? Pinch me. A 3-13 record against the Big 10? Hit me.)
The debate is thankfully over. Almost like the nauseating propaganda that precedes an election, this confusion now ends in Election Day: eleven votes are to be cast that will answer many questions, but one in particular:
- Can the current staff of football coaches actually recruit and coach?
Reading scrimmage notes prompted me to post this; in particular, I detected a faint odor of excuse wafting from comments about the secondary and the marginal tackling performance.
No more excuses, no matter how tempting. If our entire team transferrs tomorrow, no excuses. If we’ve had the bad fortune to overrate every linebacker on the planet since David Harris, no excuses.
Last year after the Indiana game, I posted on how other coaches are doing more with less. Allow me to quote myself:
The Iowa defense is younger than ours overall and features a less-experienced secondary that averages 5.3 for a Rivals Rating, or a middle range two-star. Brian says about Michigan, “There is exactly one junior and no seniors at both safety and cornerback.” Iowa has less experience. Yet my gut tells me – with absolute certainty – Darryl Clark will have a far better day against our secondary. Who wants to take me up on that bet?
In general, their players are more lowly rated at every position (possible exception of one LB), often significantly so, with players converted from the offensive side of the ball (a TE turned DL) and one playing out of position.
Occam’s Razor makes it difficult to accept that our stud HS talent was pretty much collectively overrated, and Iowa’s meh HS talent was pretty much vastly underrated. Ferentz would have given a kidney to have Cissoko or Warren or Graham or Brown or Mouton or Martin. He doesn’t have enough organs to bargain with the devil to get those types of players with mega-hype coming out of HS, yet he easily is fielding a better defense that probably would have consumed Indiana whole without any sauce.
As for the “new system” argument – that switching from Shafer to Robinson has resulted in our guys being at the start of a new learning curve – I accept some of that, but not all. Now, I will defer to Sharik or gsimms to tell me whether a new system can transform studs into non-studs, but it would seem to me that stopping Eastern in the first half or stopping Indiana at all would frequently be possible with raw stud talent playing by instinct.
I backed down last year. New DC I was told. New system, fool. Well, it’s not new anymore. No one in today’s game gets a decade to establish a system. If Appalachian State can manage Mannigham, Arrington, Matthews and Butler with walk-ons, we can manage better than last year with our secondary. If Michigan State can dominate most of a football game with putrid DBs, so can we. If Iowa can mold nasty defensive lineman out of corn oil, tight-ends and spare body parts, then our row of premium four-stars is ready to be twice as nasty…if the coaches are competent.
- Bad tackling will be on them.
- Bad coverage schemes will be on them.
- Safeties futilely chasing TD runs from behind will be on them.
- Turnovers will be on them.
- Weather will be on them.
- Injuries will be on them (speaking of which, whatever happened to the Barwis dividend? If being turned into supermen doesn't help you tackle and stay healthy, then he’s more overrated than Heaven’s Gate).
I look at the Michigan football team, and I don’t see players, I see red litmus paper hovering over a solution know as UConn, that, if basic Michigan coaching is present, will turn that paper Blue.
(FWIW, I feel the paper will turn Blue. I think we shall catch a glimpse of WVU-style offensive firepower against Oklahoma come September 4th en route to an 8-4 season.)