The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
A man in my position cannot afford to be made to look ridikuhlis.
Ace: Brian and I did a segment on this week's podcast in which we each listed our top five most ridiculous games of the Hoke era. Not only were our bottom three picks entirely different, but between Twitter and the comments at least a dozen games that didn't make the cut were suggested as meriting inclusion, and... it was really hard to argue with a lot of them.
So let's try this again. List and explain your top five, perhaps mention a few dishonorable mentions, and feel free to explain your methodology—I'm intentionally leaving "ridiculous" open to interpretation.
BiSB: I just drew up a quick list of candidates. There are 16 games on that list. I HATE ALL THE THINGS.
Ace: Now remember that the very first game Hoke coached featured two Brandon Herron touchdowns and was called due to a biblical storm before the third quarter ended...
Even the wins, man. Even the wins.
[After the jump: we discuss 60% of the games under Hoke]
[Note: I plan to do these twice a week from now on so that we (I) can have closure with the 2011 season by sometime in February. Apologies if you find this content dated, but since there are people still writing papers about dinosaurs, I feel somewhat timely, relatively speaking.]
- @ No. 25 USC, 17-19 (L)
- New Mexico State, 21-28 (L)
- Miami (NTM), 29-23 (W)
- North Dakota State, 24-37 (L)
- @ No. 19 Michigan, 0-58 (L)
- @ Purdue, 17-45 (L)
- No. 13 Nebraska, 14-41 (L)
- Iowa, 22-21 (W)
- @ No. 17 Michigan State, 24-31 (L)
- No. 18 Wisconsin, 13-42 (L)
- @ Northwestern, 13-28 (L)
- Illinois, 27-7 (W)
Record: 3-9 overall, 2-6 B1G, 6th place Bo Division
|Rush:||160.0 ypg, 56th||186.4 ypg, 91st|
|Pass:||150.3 ypg, 109th||216.7 ypg, 49th|
|Total:||310.3 ypg, 110th||403.1 ypg, 77th|
|Scoring:||18.4 ppg, 111th||31.7 ppg, 94th|
|T/O margin:||-8, 100th|
Recap: There was a time not too long ago when Michigan fans could look at a team with a new coach that had finished a season with a 3-9 record and say, “I have no idea know what that’s like, but that must be terrible.”
Now that we know exactly what that’s like -- and yeah, it’s pretty terrible -- let’s take a closer look at how coach Jerry Kill and his Minnesota squad ended the season 3-9 and weep together as repressed memories begin to surface.
(more after the jump)
I said I would write a final opponent watch to recap the season. This is not it. I'll have that one next week.
About Last Saturday:
Bad guys - 0, Good guys - a billion
(more after the jump)
(Wait. Which one is Michigan playing again?)
About Last Weekend:
No. 16 Nebraska 17, No. 18 Michigan 45 (W)
"Guess why I smile a lot."
"Uh, 'cause it's worth it."
The Road Ahead:
Ohio State (6-5, 3-4 B1G)
Getty / via the Huffington Post
- Akron, 42-0 (W)
- Toledo, 27-22 (W)
- @ Miami, 24-6 (L)
- Colorado, 37-17 (W)
- Michigan State, 10-7 (L)
- @ No. 14 Nebraska, 34-27 (L)
- @ No. 16 Illinois, 17-7 (W)
- No. 15 Wisconsin, 33-29 (W)
- Indiana, 34-20
- @ Purdue 26-23 OT (LOL)
Last game: No. 21 Penn State 20, Ohio State 14 (L)
Recap: Recap. Have to do a recap. Last recap. Gotta finish by the end of Tuesday. Tuesday's over. Damn. Gotta finish by Wednesday. One-day-late Championship recap. Okay.
... Ohio State fell into a hole early. Penn State RB Stephfon Green took a run up the middle, evaded some tackles, and sprinted 39 yards for a touchdown. 7-0 Nittany Lions.
The ensuing Buckeyes drive stalled because Ohio State C Mike Brewster snapped the ball into his ass while QB Braxton Miller was in shotgun formation. (I think this is when this particular bad snap happened. Bad snaps happened many times throughout this game. I think Brewster ended up blaming it on his gloves.)
Penn State drove and got a field goal, miring the Buckeyes in their third 10-0 deficit in as many weeks.
Ohio State wasn’t dead, though. Not yet. Miller ran the option to good effect and scored on a 24-yard keeper; most of the Buckeyes’ large chunks on the ground came from his option keepers, which is to say he kept the ball every time. He and Denard are both members of the “never pitch” movement.
That’s not anything relevant, but I google imaged “option keeper” and it’s what I got.
Also, WR DeVier Posey returned from suspension. He didn’t make a huge impact (4 catches, 66 yards), but he was pretty much the entire passing offense, and he did do this.
All of this game’s points were scored in the first half before the allure of B1G football got the better of both teams. Penn State scored another touchdown and field goal in the first half but failed to convert on a redzone opportunity in the second half when Ohio State turned the ball over on a fumble.
On that possession, the Buckeyes defense mounted an impressive goal-line stand to keep the Nittany Lions out of the end zone.
The second Buckeye touchdown came in the second quarter when Braxton Miller found TE Jake Stoneburner on a deep crossing route in the end zone. It was an impressive throw. Something tells me that he might eventually be pretty good when he’s given a real offense to work with.
You probably know the rest. Ohio State drove ferociously for a Hail Mary opportunity in the final minutes, but the first fourth-down conversion fell short when a Miller scramble, set back by a false-start penalty, fell short of the first down marker. The second attempt after a quick Penn State three-and-out fell incomplete because Penn State actually knows how to cover receivers. Unlike you, Wisconsin. For shame.
Right now they are as frightening as: Voldemort down to his last Horcrux.
Michigan should worry about: When you look at Miller’s highlight reel, the thing that stands out is that he scrambles effectively to buy time for his receivers to get open. He keeps his eyes downfield, and his instincts are usually good when it comes to finally tucking and running. A lot of his game-winning or almost-game-winning touchdowns came when he danced around in the backfield for some length before finding his target.
To get to him, Michigan’s secondary will need to stay on receivers for a lot longer than they’re used to, and D-line discpline will be essential. If he’s able to break through the containment, Miller will make plays.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: The Nittany Lions rushed for 239 yards on not that many carries. Their running backs consistently found enormous holes in the Buckeyes defensive line and frequently had to be tracked down from behind by linebackers. It looked like Ohio State’s defensive line was caught in pass rush mode at the wrong times -- the ends were way overcommitted, allowing the backs to run right by them.
Next game: No. 15 That School Up North
(more after the jump)
Finally, a post on Tuesday. November is championship football, and championship football requires championship opponent watching.
(Fear scale: 0 = Bye week; 1 = If Michigan loses to this team Lloyd Carr will announce his retirement a second time; 5 = Illinois any given year; 8 = Best in B1G, which may or may not actually be any good; 9 = National title contender somewhere in the SEC; 10 = Hold me, Ace)
About Last Saturday:
No. 24 Michigan 31, Illinois 14 (W)
The Road Ahead:
No. 19 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2 B1G)
David Swanson / Philadelphia Inquirer
- Chattanooga, 40-7 (W)
- Fresno State, 42-29 (W)
- Washington, 51-38 (W)
- @ Wyoming, 38-14 (W)
- @ No. 7 Wisconsin, 48-17 (L)
- Ohio State, 34-27 (W)
- @ Minnesota, 41-14 (W)
- No. 11 Michigan State, 24-3 (W)
- Northwestern, 28-25 (L)
Last game: Nebraska 17, No. 12 Penn State 14 (W)
Recap: Nebraska shrugged off last week’s upset loss to Northwestern as well as the national scandal that has been monopolizing headlines to win a football game on the road.
Their rush offense steadily churned out a 17-0 lead midway through the third quarter before Penn State finally put together a cohesive touchdown drive. A Rex Burkhead (25 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD) fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Nittany Lions a short field, so with the help of some trickery, Penn State was able to find the endzone again to cut the lead to 17-14.
That’s when the Huskers defensive front, led by LB Lavonte David, who had been quiet for most of the game, stiffened. Three times they stuffed Lions running backs for no gain on short yardage. 2nd and 1 turned into 3rd and 1 turned into 4th and 1, which ultimately led to a turnover on downs.
Miraculously, the Penn State defense was able to force a Nebraska four and out to get the ball back with 49 seconds remaining, but Nittany Lions QB Matt McGloin (16/34, 193 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs) had trouble finding receivers on the desperation drive, and his last pass under pressure fell incomplete.
Huskers QB Taylor Martinez had a pedestrian day, completing 13 of 26 passes for 143 yards and no TDs or INTs. He was also limited on the ground, carrying the ball 19 times for just 56 yards -- only one of those carries was a sack. He did manage the game well, however, and the offensive play of the game was his last-second option pitch to Rex Burkhead that went for a touchdown.
Right now they are as frightening as: The mounting sense of unknowing you get as you stare down the betting lines this week. 7.
Michigan should worry about: Option offense, which is something Michigan doesn’t really know if it can stop. Northwestern ran it successfully but then outsmarted themselves by abandoning it in the second half. Illlinois used it in limited quantities, and while Michigan stifled the hand-offs, the Scheelhaase keepers were effective and therefore worrisome.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Numerous reports indicate that Nebraska’s offensive line is about as deep as Michigan’s, i.e. drowning is a hazard only for the very young or the very intoxicated. The Wolverines D-line play has been steadily improving since the bye week, so that matchup looks to be favorable.
Additionally, if you’ve ever watched Martinez throw … eesh. Imagine Denard passing, but instead of an arm he has a chicken wing. Expect to see Jordan Kovacs nuzzling the line of scrimmage frequently.
DE Jared Crick has been out with a torn pectoral muscle, so Mark Huyge at least can sleep a little better.
When Michigan plays them: Both teams are going to try to make each other take to the air, at which point it’s anyone’s guess.
Martinez thrives on the kind of passing game that made Denard a 2500+ yard passer last year -- as teams choke up on the run game, receivers find themselves wandering alone in areas of the field large enough to raise a horse. Michigan’s safeties have done a good job of not blowing these sorts of assignments or getting beat deep so far, but again, they haven’t been tested by a true option offense where the whole point is to get safeties to bite on play-action. Worry if the Wolverines can’t stop the Burkhead-Martinez tandem early.
As far as Michigan’s passing game goes, jump balls are probably not such a great idea. Nebraska boasts one of the B1G’s best cover corners in Alfonso Dennard, and the guy playing opposite him is not so bad either. The Wolverines’ passing game does seem to be more sophisticated than the Huskers’ and relies less on establishing the run game, so there’s that.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams combine for six turnovers.
Next game: at No. 18 Michigan
(more after the jump)
The difference between this season and 2009-'10: 100 percent more Jug.}
Photo: Eric Upchurch.
[ED: LATE BREAKING is this week's edition of Pick Six.]
Michigan is 5-0 and beat a Big Ten team 58-0. The only thing tempering effusive celebration and Pasadenic predictions right now is Michigan made it to 5-0 last year too. Quick this year v. last year table (EDIT: now FIXED):
|W 30-10 v UConnn||W 34-10 v WMU|
|W 28-24 @Notre Dame||W 35-31 v Notre Dame|
|W 42-37 v UMass||W 31-3 v EMU|
|W 42-35 @Indiana||W 28-7 v SD State|
|W 65-21 v BGSU||W 58-0 v Minnesota|
I realigned '10 a bit to kinda sorta match the level of competition (so like beating up on BGSU = beating up on Minnesota) but last year had two road games. It also had an FCS team put up 37 and Indiana put up 35, while the season on the right side seems to keep getting better as it goes along. "This isn't last year!" was this week's rallying cry in the diaries, where justingoblue is trying to figure out how tough the schedule has been so far, and 909Dewey is taking way too small sample sizes to put 58-0 over Minnesota in the context of Michigan 2005-present.
Blazefire is preparing himself for a "Rationality Juncture," ie the swings that sports fandom brings:
We are fans because we believed that a five foot ninja could stop North Dakota. We are fans because we believed Darius Morris would shoot successfully. We are fans because we believed in 30 seconds.
This one paragraph puts him in the running for Diarist of the Week. Of course he wouldn't have a chance except BlueSeoul is exempt from winning. That does not exempt you from reading his latest masterpiece Game Wraps:
Little Brown Jug Total Gopher Destructo, with pics:
MSU-OSU Total Rival Self-Destructo, with pics:
How we know it's not 2010: Michigan State actually played Ohio State.
While we're on the subject of Mansmash vs. Brotough, see if you can guess which of the following names are 2013 prospects recently profiled by Ace, and which are MST3K space jocks:
|Laquon Treadwell||Fist Rockbone||Brick Hardmeat||Lump Beefbroth|
|Blast Hardcheese||Stump Beefnoss||Taco Charlton||Shaq Wiggins|
|De'Niro Laster||Smash Lampjaw||Wit Slagcheek||Touch Rustrod|
|Slap Bulkhead||Punch Rockgroin||Punch Sideiron||Reif Blastbody|
|Bold Bigflank||Buck Plankchest||Gristle McThornbody||Big McLargehuge|
|Splint Chesthair||Stump Junkman||Blake Fistcrunch||Jake Butt|
|Flint Ironstag||Dirk Hardpeck||Buff Hardpack||Smoke Manmuscle|
|Bolt Vanderhuge||Tom Tyner||Bob Johnson||Beat Punchbeef|
|Thick McRunfast||Rip Steakface||Blast Thickneck||Hack Blowfist|
|Buff Drinklots||Blake Slamrock||Crunch Buttsteak||Roll Fizzlebeef|
|Grunt Slamchest||Rod Bonemeal||Slabs Quadthrust||Jus Gritzer|
Big McLargehuge has camped at Michigan but needs to improve his shape before he earns a Michigan offer. This week's points bonus opportunity goes to whoever can best apply the above names to characters from this year's OSU-MSU debacle. Last week's goes to Gwhizz for his chewbacca costume.
After the jump, more evidence that 2011 =/= 2010, and more diaries.