Antwaan Randle El, one of the best players in B1G history, and arguably Indiana's finest football player, now wishes he had played baseball instead of football.
"I ask my wife things over and over again, and she's like, 'I just told you that,'" Randle El said to the newspaper. "I'll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I'm busy, I'm doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids."
Wow, if this isn't a damning indictment on where things might be headed with former players.
I still love Michigan football, but when Ditka said he wouldn't let his own kid play football, that convinced me that the sport might be in trouble in the long term.
There's been a popular line on this blog for the past 10 months or so, "Oakland is still in play." Popular in the sense that it is commonly used, not that any one likes it. The first pro team I remember rooting for was the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders' logo with the shield, crossed-swords, and eye-patched, leather helmeted Raider/Pirate guy was an undeniable lure for a six year old boy. I even had a black and grey winter hat with the Raiders logo front and center. That was the only non-Michigan hat I would wear. But then the Denver Broncos drafted Rob Lytle and I switched allegiances between bitter rivals as fast as only a six year old can.
Besides their iconic helmet, the Raiders have been famous for a few things: their fanbase (the cooler-poopers of the NFL,) Al Davis, Al Davis' unfortunate son, and leading the league in penalties every year by a wide margin. Standing on the sideline and looking out onto a field of yellow laundry, one could excuse Jim Harbaugh for thinking he actually ended up in Oakland. Michigan committed 13 penalties, costing 72 yards. I dare say every one of those was earned. After giving MSU and Rutgers 4 first downs with penalties, Michigan gave Indiana 3 first downs via yellow hanky. Indiana returned the favor by committing 9 penalties for 79 yards. The Michigan of old would take advantage of a sloppy team. This Michigan team has yet to learn the difference between aggression and controlled aggression. When the senior captain ends up in the opponent's backfield before the ball arrives, it's apparent that something is missing.
Jim Harbaugh has mentioned how he passes by the statue of Bo Schembechler on his way to work. That prompted me to skim through my copy of Bo's Lasting Lessons looking for a nugget of wisdom to share with Team 136. Don't look in the index under "penalties." I'll bet Bo hated penalties so much he forbade Bacon to index them. What I did find was this passage,
Sloppiness in this building breeds sloppiness on the field. When a sloppy guy lines up, he'll jump offsides. When he goes out for a pass, he'll run a bad route. And when he carries the ball, he'll fumble it. Why? Because he's sloppy!
This quote, as with most things in life, reminds me of a Seinfeld episode.
Poppy and Team 136 are a little sloppy. Here's hoping the Michigan football team cleans things up in the next two weeks.
Burst of Impetus
* I'm torn here between the first play of the second half and the Indiana punt return touchdown that shortly followed. Michigan had built a 24-16 lead at halftime. Indiana was giving our defense trouble, but we were getting them off the field and forcing them to kick field goals. A good, sustained, scoring drive to start the second half would shorten the game and put us up by two scores. Instead, Michigan put Peppers in motion and pitched the ball to him as he crossed in front of the quarterback. Indiana's defense was ready for this and stopped Peppers for an 8 yard loss. An incompletion and a sack followed setting up 4th and 25. The ensuing punt was returned for a TD and all of a sudden it was a ballgame that was going down to the wire, and then some.
The Two Jakes
* Indiana's QB threw for 220 yards and their running back ran for 238 yards.
* Jake Rudock threw for 440 yards.
* Jake Rudock ran for 64 yards.
* Jake Rudock gained more yards than Indiana's prolific tandem of Sudfeld and Howard. Jake Rudock gained 504 yards running and throwing. Those are Denard Robinson numbers.
* Jake Buttttttt caught seven passes for 82 yards. He could have approached 100 yards if Rudock had turfed a couple obvious negative plays instead of throwing to Butt with a man all over him. This is a minor quibble considering the, you know, 504 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Root Tree Runners
* After spending much of the season spreading the ball out among numberous receivers, this was the Chesson/Darboh/Butt show. They accounted for 25 of Jake's 33 completions.
* I've probably grumbled more about Chesson's receiving abilities than most. He's an incredible runner and blocker, and Saturday he showed he's capable of being an incredible wide receiver as well, with 10 receptions for 207 yards and 4 TDs.
* The leading rusher was Jake Rudock with 64 yards at 9.1 yards per carry.
* Smith did the bulk of the running from the backfield, carrying 12 times for 58 yards.
Tacos and Peppers
* Our leading tacklers were safeties Delano Hill and Jarrod Wilson with 10 each. I don't have to tell you that's not a good sign. Hill did have the game-winning BrUp.
* Michigan only had 4 TFLs for 17 yards. 12 of those yards came on one sack. The inability to tackle Indiana behind the LOS was a big reason IU put up 41 points.
* There was only one FF, no FRs, no INTCs, no Blkd passes, and no QHs. I think you have to credit Indiana for having a very good offense, acknowledge that Michigan was missing Glasgow, Ojemudia, and Mone from the defensive line, and that combined with the "tempo" hurt Michigan badly. Tempo is in quotes because Indiana very rarely went hurry up. They got to the line and waited 20 seconds to get the right play called. My fear level for OSU ratcheted up a couple points. They can do what Indiana did with Howard and ADD a running threat from the QB position.
* This is the spot where I've been tracking total plays this season. There actually weren't that many plays run considering this was a double OT game and Indiana is noted for their pace. We ran 74 plays to their 89. There were 35 special teams plays (17.7%,) mostly extra points, field goals and kickoffs. There were only 5 punts total in the game, and only 2 of those were from IU.
* Michigan gave up another punt return TD this week. This one can be blamed on sloppy tackling.
* 20 of Indiana's 32 first downs came in the first half. I took a look at the drive chart for an explanation for the discrepancy between 1st and 2nd halves. Thanks to the punt return, Indiana only had 3 real second half drives. Those took 9, 9, and 8 plays, but only consumed 10 minutes and 11 seconds of the clock. It's hard to gain a lot of first downs when you don't have the ball.
* All but one of Michigan's first half drives took less than 2 minutes. All but one of Michigan's second half drives took more than 2 minutes. I don't know if this was a conscious halftime adjustment, or just the variability of this crazy game. If anything, I thought Indiana was using more of the play clock by looking to the sideline before almost every snap.
* Since time of possession is meaningless, I also looked at total plays. Indiana ran 54 plays in the first half, but only 35 in the second half and overtime.
* Net yards rushing was 307 to 141 in favor of Indiana. I remember being on the other side of that many times. It was only the last two seasons of the RichRod era where we were outgained like that on the ground.
* I'm not sure what I'm going to track under the Ooga-Booga category. It's either going to be horrible announcing or jinxes. Brock Huard had me thinking back fondly of the days Matt Millen called our games. Bob Windshield (as my son called him,) is just a guy. So if there was an ooga-booga, it was the fact that our #1 defense against the run gave up over 300 yards to Indiana. I tried explaining the ooga-booga jinx concept to my son, but he just responded with a confused look and said, "but we won." He's right, and there's nothing sloppy about that.
This Friday, Jim Harbaugh will in all likelihood catch the non-conference game in Bloomington between Indiana and Eastern Illinois. Harbaugh's sister Joani is married to Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean. Jim and Tom are in regular contact, whether talking or texting.
I've never been a fan of Tom Crean. I haven't liked the way he operates, and really like Beilein much more. I'm glad that Beilein is Michigan's coach. Having said that, I'm wondering if I've been too harsh on Crean. I wonder if he is competitive just like Jim Harbaugh, doing the same kinds of things Jim Harbaugh does. Do I give a pass to Harbaugh for Crean like behavior because Harbaugh is our coach? Or, does Harbaugh really not like Crean, but he befriends him because Crean is married to Jim's sister? Or is it the case that Harbaugh and I just really disagree on this matter.
Maybe some of you more familiar with Harbaugh and with Crean can comment intelligently on their relationship. Because this is one area where on the face of things, I disagree with Coach Harbaugh.
EDIT: negged myself. A stupid thread and stupid question. Of course you are always going to hate your rivals, and the coaches of your rivals. Still, I learned a little bit about Crean in the thread below. And the reality is that sometimes, coaches get along with rival coaches from other schools, even if they want their own school to always win. Think Bo and Woody.
You'll look at Indiana and dismiss them a bit. They couldn't win in conference play, including a loss to a Rutgers team that Michigan beat in the first quarter. Wins against titans like Wake, Western Kentucky, and Southern Illinois aren't too inspiring.
Alas. 40% of those losses come to undefeated teams that Indy played very close. I watched the loss to Michigan State, and though it appears lopsided, and it was in upset territory until the last 5 minutes or so. With games against Maryland and Purdue, Michigan could very well be playing a bowl-eligeable team this week.
There is a can full of expletives, none of them joyful, and I fear it will be opened on Michigan. With Penn State and The Game just after, I find myself concerned.
WHAT SAY YOU?
* Thanks to several folks for the correction!
EDIT: Original title was Michigan certain 9-seed in BTT after Wiscy beats Minny, but I didn't notice Northwestern one game behind us also at 6-11. Derp
Of course, Indiana and Illinois are out of reach.
Michigan will be seeded above Minnesota since
- After the loss to Wisc tonight, Minn can at best tie us
- We beat Minny in the only meeting this yr
To grab the 9th seed from us, NW needs
- to win @Iowa
- for Michigan to lose at home to Rutgers
- for Ohio State to lose at home to Wiscy
Let's go through the tiebreakers
- Results (Mich 1, NW 1; Mich 1, Minn 0; NW 1, Minn 0)
- In case it's a three way tie, Minny drops out here
Records against individual teams in order of standings
- Group tied teams together as single group
- Sudden death, first advantage found wins
- No wins for either Mich/NW vs Wiscy
- No wins for either Mich/NW vs MD
Wins against the four tied 11-6 teams
- MSU (no wins for either)
- Purdue (no wins for either)
- OSU (Mich 1-1, NW 0-1)
Iowa (Mich 0-1, NW 2-0)
- Note both Iowa & OSU
- lose to NW & Wiscy
- this weekend
- by definition of the scenario
Consequence (NW 9th Seed, Mich 10th)
- Group OSU & Iowa together
- Results (Mich 1-2, NW 2-1)
So the likelihood has increased (derp) that we will be the 9th seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will start play on the 2nd day on Thursday, March 12 against either Indiana (if Illinois wins @Purdue & Indiana loses at home vs MSU) or Illinois (the other three combinations of Indiana/Illinois wins/losses).
With its win tonight, Wiscy clinches the Big Ten regular season title and will be seeded first. The winner of the 8/9 game plays the 1-seed on the third day of the tournament in the quarterfinals. Thus, should we win our opening game, we likely will be facing Wisconsin in our second game.
2014-15 Big Ten STANDINGS
|#23 Ohio State||11-6||4||22-8|
Who would you rather face in the opener?