After starting the season 5-0 before dropping games to MSU, PSU, Iowa and Wisconsin, the Michigan coaching staff remains optimistic heading into Ohio State weekend and preparing for the first bowl game of the Rich Rodriguez era. Despite today's loss, I thought people might feel a little more positive if they saw the positive dialogue going on amongst the coaching staff.
You have entered UM 7-4 Google Wave
YouDontKnowJACKson: "... so I say 'That's probably the greatest thing ever to occur in the history of Dinosaur Planet and all but can I have my sandwich now?"
TGibsSmotherCover: "LMAO. Fred Jackson you are a DELIGHT!"
HaRRd Edge: "Great story Fred. Alright, let's get started on OSU prep."
HaRRd Edge: "Yes?"
YouDontKnowJACKson: "Great story?"
HaRRd Edge: "Yes?"
MeAndHobbes: "Here we go."
YouDontKnowJACKson: "Why isn't it the greatest story?"
TGibsSmotherCover: "Easy FJ. I'm srue RR didn't mean it."
YouDontKnowJACKson: "Because, you know, it's not easy being the eternal optimist. Do you think I enjoy comparing a 5'9" running back to an asteroid set to destroy Earth unless Bruce Willis can rocket himself into space and destroy it while Steven Tyler gyrates? Do you think I enjoy that?"
HaRRd Edge: "No offense intented Fred, I just-"
YouDontKnowJACKson: "Because I do kind of enjoy those metaphors."
MeAndHobbes: "Can we move on?"
HaRRd Edge: "Agreed. Now we need to know what's necessary to keep the team's focus during a holiday week going into the Shoe. We need to send these seniors off on the right foot. What do you have planned Greg?"
TortoiseAndTheHair: "I had the strangest dream..."
YouDontKnowJACKson: "The slumbering beast awakes with the force of the Krakken..."
HaRRd Edge: "What now Greg?"
TortoiseAndTheHair: "I dreamed the dream of 113,000 soldiers. I dreamed of defensive tenacity and winning on a defensive stop. I dreamed of a torrential downpour the likes of Moses and the Old Testament and of a field of raptors in winged helmets tearing down upon a foe with an unusually large head and a hammer."
TGibsSmotherCover: "Is he speaking in elevated prose or just being dumb?"
MeAndHobbes: "Vegas would give you 2:1 odds on one of those answers."
HaRRd Edge: "That really happened Greg. We won by two against Illinois and won at Purdue."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "Could it be? Could the one they call Cameron have actually scored?"
MeAndHobbes: "Rod - I can't do this man."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "My lord! This is what it feels like to be Dorothy and find that Oz was not but a dream."
MeAndHobbes: "Rod seriously. I'm about to red ruby shoe my ass outta here and to a head coaching job..."
HaRRd Edge: "Enough Greg. How are you going to stop Pryor?"
TortoiseAndTheHair: "I'm in talks with Henson Studios of bringing my furry game puppet Jebediah to life by Thursday's team meeting."
MeAndHobbes: "What is the proper weight of resume paper?"
TGibsSmotherCover: "I CAN HAS CASTEEL?"
HaRRd Edge: "Guys, let's focus. We have two more games."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "And then we just auto-complete the recruitment process, spend 40 minutes to three hours trying to keep seniors from going to the NFL, skip pre-season training drills and we're good to go."
MeAndHobbes: "For the last time Greg: coaching is not the same as XBox."
TortoiseAndTheHair: " I been pulling the Turbo trigger all season."
HaRRd Edge: "There seems to be a significant weakness on OSU's slants to the sidelines. Pryor has a habit of overthrowing them so if we cheat the route, there might be some opportunity there for turnovers."
PinkyandtheBraithwaite: "Got it."
TGibsSmotherCover: "Whoa, who the hell are you?"
TortoiseAndTheHair: "So we live a life like a video... When the sun is always out and you never get old..."
PinkyandtheBraithwaite: "Adam Braithwaite. Safeties coach..."
MeAndHobbes: "Where the hell have you been?"
TGibsSmotherCover: "Hey Adam, are you the jackhole responsible for all these missed kicks?"
MeAndHobbes: "Here we go..."
PinkyandtheBraithwaite: "I believe that's yours Tony."
TGibsSmotherCover: "You're shitting me."
HaRRd Edge: "Pretty sure that's your unnecessarily long title on your business cards."
TGibsSmotherCover: "Hold on let me grab one."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "My name shall be passed down to generations while debating up in barber shops, young slung, hung here."
CodeRedMountainDews: "If you guys don't need anything..."
MeAndHobbes: "Talk about comin out of the woodwork..."
TGibsSmotherCover: "It's almost as if someone completely forgot to mention members of the coaching staff in these chats."
TGibsSmotherCover: "Ok so it says Tony Gibson. Assistant Head Coach (hells yeah suckas!) Defensive backs blah blah blah... Special Teams coo-sonofabitch."
HaRRd Edge: "Anyone seen Fred?"
YouDontKnowJACKson: "I'm here."
HaRRd Edge: "Why so quiet?"
YouDontKnowJACKson: " "
TortoiseAndTheHair: "Foreeeeeever young. I wanna be... Foreva young."
HaRRd Edge: "Fine. It was the greatest story ever Fred."
ScoobyDooVillain: "Is there any chance I can have a fourth guy down on the line?"
MeAndHobbes: "It's almost like the season's ending so everyone who hasn't been mentioned is coming into the chat to make an unnecessary, innocuous and obvious comment."
TGibsSmotherCover: "That user name doesn't even look like he was trying hard at this point."
MeAndHobbes: "Ok what the hell?"
YouDontKnowJACKson: "This is a greater meeting of the minds than the the Manhattan Project if the Manhattan Project was inventing bombs of giant angry robot centaurs sent back in time to prevent socialism."
HaRRd Edge: "Thank God for the state of Indiana."
MeAndHobbes: "While they're back in time do you think they could also prevent Greg from bringing furry objects on the sidelines?"
HaRRd Edge: "Time for practice."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "Has anyone seen my stuffed varmint? I need to go fire up the janitor. Vaccuuming's been a little sloppy lately."
TortoiseAndTheHair: "Did everyone put me on Ignore again?"
TortoiseAndTheHair: "I'mma get your heart racing in my skin tights jeans... Be your teenage dream tonight..."
"What we do isn't pretty," Bielema said. "A lot of places, there's a certain emphasis on being pretty and being individualized on players."
That seemed to be a shot at Michigan, especially after Bielema was asked aboutDenard Robinson's 360-yard, four-TD performance.
"For them, that's great," Bielema said. "We would never recruit to that."
Seems very bigoted to me and disrespectful to a guy that played a pretty good game and the Michigan program as a whole. I don't know why he would say anything here other than typical coach-speak (i.e. he's a great player, we struggled to contain him, yadda yadda yadda), but maybe I'm missing something.
.......2000/1500 QB in cfb history. He very well might be the first 2500/1500 QB in cfb history as well. Currently, Denard has 2228 yards passing. UM has two games left for him to add to his stats. Averaged out, Denard needs 136yds/game in the remaining two games to reach that mark. As for the next rushing milestone of 2000 yds, that is improbable, particularly given the competition UM faces next week. Currently, Denard is at 1540 yards rushing. In order to reach 2000yds on the season, he needs to average 230 yards/game. Very unlikely.
As a comparison, Cam Newton became the 8th QB to surpass 2000/1000 last week. Denard was the 9th. In order for Newton to surpass 2000/1500 and join Denard at that level, Newton needs 203 more yards rushing, with 3 more games to do it. I think he reaches that milestone.
For another comparison, now that both have played 11 games, there is this:
Player Passing yds PassTD Int Rushing yds RushTD
Denard 2228 16 10 1540 14
Newton 2038 21 6 1297 17
Kaepernick 2412 19 6 981 16
I included Kaepernick in the stats as he will be the next QB this year to reach the 2000/1000 plateau, although for him it will be the 3rd time he has reached the mark in his career. One thing to add about him is that he has also had Vai Taua, who has surpassed 1000yds rushing 3 straight years now. This is proof that having a stud RB in the backfield with you doesn't necessarily mean the QB won't get rushing yards too, which is the main reason I included his stats.
I just finished changing the GERG Wikipedia entry, which as of 12:30AM Sunday began:
"Greg Robinson (born October 9, 1951 in Los Angeles, California) is a joke of a defensive coordinator for Michigan."
Real classy, guys.
Honestly, it's been a blast having GERG around. The man has beautiful hair and that stuffed wolverine he pulled out today was pretty wild. Regarding both GERG and the defense, I haven't seen any signs of quitting this year where lesser men would have given up.
Having said that...
I think it's time we all join together in looking forward to a new defensive coordinator. This is in no way a direct commentary on the performance versus Wisconsin, or whether or not GERG deserves all/majority blame. When things go this bad, heads will roll, and I believe he is un-retainable. There is no benefit to axing him before the season is over, and I hope he uses these last two games to push the defense to be its absolute best.
Big Ten play is done for this week, so lets look at the bowl outlook.
First the standings (from Bigten.org)
|11 Michigan State||6-1||201||150||4-0||2-1||10-1||348||219||7-0||3-1||2-1|
|8 Ohio State||6-1||236||98||3-0||3-1||10-1||436||153||7-0||3-1||1-1|
First, we eliminate the non-qualifier teams for bowl games based on already having 7 losses overall. These are Purdue, Minnesota, and Indiana.
So the bowl placement standings (based on overall record w/ conf standings in parenthesis) are:
Wisconsin, 10-1 (6-1), tiebreaker with best BCS ranking
Ohio St, 10-1 (6-1), higher BCS than MSU
Mich St, 10-1 (6-1)
Iowa, 7-4 (4-3)
Penn St, 7-4 (4-3)
Northwestern, 7-4 (3-4)
Michigan, 7-4 (3-4)
Illinois, 6-5 (4-4)
The only remaining question with one week of play left is how many BCS teams the Big Ten is going to get... I'm going to analyze that tomorrow when the BCS standings are released. For this, I'm going to go on the current standings and expect that next week, Wisconsin, Ohio St, Michigan St, & Iowa are going to win (favorites). We'll also assume Illinois will beat Fresno St on the road. That would mean we would have standings that would look like this:
1) Wisconsin, 11-1 (Rose Bowl, BCS autobid as highest BCS team in 3-way tie)
Ohio St, 11-1 (BCS at-large, Sugar or Orange Bowl)
Michigan St, 11-1
2) Iowa, 8-4
3) Penn St 7-5
For the bowls, I'll go in order of selection:
Capitol One Bowl
First pick after BCS Bowls. MICHIGAN STATE. This one is easy as Michigan St is the co-champ and can't be by-passed by anyother Big Ten teams for this slot. Looking at playing the top SEC that doesn't make a BCS game, so likely LSU, or So Carolina, but if the Cocks get pasted in the SEC championship, Bama may slide in here.
Big ten #3. IOWA. Iowa being all alone in 4th place and a good traveling team makes this an easy pick as well. Hawkeyes will play the SEC 3/4/5 team, so probably Arkansas or Alabama.
Big Ten #4/5. Probably PENN ST. JoePa factor, they beat us head to head, travelling following is about equal with Michigan or maybe slightly ahead. I'll say Penn St slots above us in bowl selections. The Nittany Lions will play the SEC, probably the #6 team, so Florida or Miss St.
Big Ten #4/5. Probably MICHIGAN. When compared with the remaining selections available (NW, Illinois) we win most comparisons that matter to bowl committtees. We won head to head against Illinois, are a more "exciting" team (especially with a record setting and probable Heisman finalist Denard Robinson), and travel well to warm locations. Tempe ain't Boise so we'll probably do fairly well along with being our first bowl game in 3 years. We'll play the Big 12 #6, right now looking like Kansas St, Baylor, or Texas Tech.
Big Ten #6. ILLINOIS. Illini are a shoo-in over Northwestern now as long as they get to 7 wins, and may be a higher selection at 6 wins. It's another Big 12 opponent, so the lower of the Kansas St / Baylor / Texas Tech triumverate.
Ticket City Bowl
Big Ten #7 NORTHWESTERN. Last remaining slot for a Big Ten team that's bowl eligible (thanks Purdue!). Some confusion here as the Ticketcity Bowl website says that since its the newest bowl it has to defer its selection until all the other established bowls have selected, which by my reading would mean the Little Cesar Bowl gets the last Big Ten eligible team if there's not enough, but I could be wrong as the TCB site also says that the Big Ten is the anchor conference for the first four years... So we'll assume the Big Ten #7 goes here and plays a Big 12 team if they have enough (and it looks like they do), the last of the KSt/Baylor/Tex Tc grouping.
If-I-Have-To Projected Matchups:
Rose Bowl: Wiscy v. TCU or Boise St
Sugar Bowl: LSU v. Ohio St
Capitol One: Mich St v. South Carolina
Gator: Iowa vs. Alabama
Insight: Michigan v. K St
Texas Bowl: Illinois v. Baylor
TicketCity Bowl: Northwestern v. Texas Tech
I would say if this is the case, Big Ten is favored in Capitol One, Insight, & Texas Bowls, being underdogs in most others. But who cares? We're back in and have a winnable bowl game ahead of us....
Barring major upsets next week, this is pretty static. The only changes would occur if the Big Ten only gets one BCS team (Say Stanford and an undefeated Bosie/TCU get at-larges ahead of Ohio St or Mich St).. that happens and move everybody down one slot with Northwestern going to the Little Cesar Pizza Bowl, meaning we'd end up in the Texas Bowl, which, eh, could do worse considering the Texas Bowl is one day later than the Insight Bowl (Wed vice Tue night), Houston vice Tempe, and 6p kickoff vice 10p.
Coming into this game almost every single analysis nationally and on the board suggested it would be critical for us to slow down Wisconsin's potent running attack to have a chance to win. Wisconsin has been a heavy package running team for as long as I can remember and this year is no different so this was no surprise.
Wisconsin then proceeded to run the ball 32 out of 33 times in the second half of today's game. As I sat in the stadium it occurred to me that if a running play was "heads" and a passing play was "tails" then the Badger's play calling went something like this: heads, heads, tails, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads and then heads.
And yet it seemed to me (and admittedly I haven't watched the game on DVR yet) that our D wasn't selling out to stop the run. How is this humanly possible given that every man, woman and child watching the game could see the pattern developing and know what was coming next?
Can somebody help me here? Were we in fact surprised by the repeated "heads" call by Wisconsin or were we just powerless to stop them?