media doesn't matter
Lately I've noticed several threads that all go something like, "This media person thinks X but I think Y!" Seeing this and also knowing how mgobloggers like having lots of small threads even less than they like the opinions of media people, I thought I would try turning them all into one big thread.
The main benefit is for people who want to get some insight into the game that's outside of, or even contrary to, what the mainstream media is reporting.
A couple of the ideas below are drawn from this blog, some come from blogs like SBNation, but most of them come from someone who doesn't know that much about football (me), even though he's been watching it since he was a wee tyke waiting for Bo to throw his headset into the ground again so that his dad would laugh.
So, without further ado:
Advantages - Things the media missed that will help Michigan
Brandon Herron. Although he's not a safety that's coming back, Brandon Herron is a junior. And that means experience -- something the defense needs just as much as it needs deep-backs. Also, his return frees up Roh to play at DE and rush the QB like a hungry Rhino with rabies. Which leads us into....
Hitting Cousins on the Road (courtesy of this thread by brewandbluesaturdays). It turns out Kirk's numbers drop pretty reliably in road games. Check out last season's difference in his average per-game stats. HOME: 16/24.5 (60%) for 220 yds, .33 INT, 1.5 TD, and 4 wins out of 7. AWAY: 17/31.2 (54%) for 233.4 yds, 1 INT, 1.8 TD, and 2 wins out of 6. Some of this stems from a tendency for Cousins to make mistakes when under pressure. The combination of MSU's first true road game, the increased stadium noise, and the return of Herron bode well for Blue.
Denard Robinson. Okay, the media has said plenty on this front. But one thing they haven't brought up is his history (a short one, yes) against the Big Ten. Last year, Denard ran just fine over Big Ten defenses. Overall, he rushed for 351 yards, averaging 5.1 per carry. Much of that came against stalwart defenses like Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin; and, all while he couldn't pass. They knew he was going to run and still could do little to stop him. His average bumped up to 5.8 ypc against those three. Here's the other thing that often goes under the radar: Denard's pass-efficiency is now #3 in the country. So, guess what? He can throw now too.
Penalties and Turnovers. Yes, the media has pointed out how MSU is the most penalized team in the Big Ten (91st nationally) and ranked 8th in turnovers (67th nationally). They might even mention how well Michigan is doing: 5th in penalties (32nd nationally) and 3rd in turnovers (15th nationally). What they don't mention is that this is key to Michigan's defense doing anything. Although our defense has about the same strength as recycled tissue paper, its
greatest only hope is for the opponent to make mistakes. By playing bend-dont-break and stopping the big plays, Michigan will force MSU to run as many plays as possible, hoping to increase the number of drive-ending penalties and turnovers they commit.
That Golden Dome. Despite being so early in the season, Michigan and State have one mutual opponent: Notre Dame. Of the two games, Michigan won theirs more convincingly. They did it on the road, and they didn't need a trick play in overtime.