.... man, that is just... awesome.
Opponent Watch: Week 7
About last week:
Indiana (3-3, 1-1 B1G)
Last game: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28 (L)
Recap: Indiana put up 28 points against MSU, which was 11 points more than any other team has scored against Sparty this year. But they also gave up 42 points, which was 14 more points than Sparty has scored against any FBS team this year. Given the nature of Indiana’s season, neither of these should be surprising. IU jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Tevin Coleman broke a 64-yard touchdown on the first series of the game, but he finished with only 15 yards on 14 carries outside of that. IU kept it close until State scored on the last drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half to take a 14 point lead.
Indiana simply couldn’t stop Michigan State, either in the air or on the ground. Sparty averaged 5.6 yards per carry and 7.6 yards per pass, both of which are, I believe, non-FBS highs for State. Indiana couldn’t defend the run in any way, shape, or form; their defensive ends were just getting destroyed, and their linebackers were leaving cutbacks and counters open all day. If the front side didn’t look like a cavern, the back side looked like a moonscape. And while this is a steadily-improving Michigan State offense, we’re still not talking about the ’85 Bears.
If Michigan can’t run the ball against Indiana… oh dammit I can’t even find a humorous way to finish that sentence because Michigan probably can’t run the ball against Indiana because even Indiana’s defense can stop the run when they put 13 guys in the box.
IU’s bowl quest is probably still on track, because they still have Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, and (sigh) Michigan on their schedule. Three more wins until the Pizza Pizza Bow… wait, there is not Pizza Pizza Bowl anymore? WHY CAN’T WE HAVE ANY NICE THINGS ANYMORE?
This team is as frightening as: An octopus. Noted for its intelligence and resourcefulness. Can open jars, pick works cup winners, and occasionally knock off some bigger prey, but for the most part they will just hang around looking unassuming and not standing out too much in any respect. Fear level = 4
Michigan should worry about: Kevin Wilson has an office. That office has a television. That television is attached to a video-playing device of some sort. As a result of this freak confluence of factors, that tackle-over thing won’t work, even against Indiana.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Hey, a home game. Sometimes those don’t start with Michigan doodling randomly for 40 minutes before looking at the clock and realizing “oh shit this exam is over in 20 minutes and if I hand it in like this I’ll fail.”
I SAID “SOMETIMES,” okay?
Seriously, this is the kind of game where if the defense plays well, the offense can MANBALL stumble its way to 30 points. Indiana isn’t a bad team, but they are an abysmal defensive team.
When they play Michigan: I still think Michigan wins this game. IU’s defense is terrible, their offensive line is banged up. One important matchup to watch will be Tevin Coleman coming out of the backfield. I don’t think Desmond Morgan can run with him, so it’ll be up to Mattison to figure something out or risk getting wheel routed like whoa.
Next game: @ Michigan
[AFTER THE JUMP: I get a little less snarky. No, that’s a lie. I can’t back that up.]
Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 B1G)
The ratio of blockers-to-DERP isn’t nearly as amusing as it used to be (Freep)
Last game: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28 (W)
Recap: You know the team that stomped the team Michigan just lost to? Yep, they just got stomped by the team Michigan plays next. This bodes well.
All signs point toward Sparty developing a functional offense. If true, this is terrible, terrible news for the rest of the Legends. They followed up on a promising-but-uneven performance against Iowa with a statistically and visually impressive game against Indiana. They ran the ball consistently, breaking a few big runs and avoiding negative plays. Unfortunately the Nick Hill/Riley Bullough experiment has given way to a pair of seemingly solid running backs in Jeremy Langford and Delton Williams. Connor Cook also had another solid outing, going 22/31 for 235 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT while completing passes to 11 different Spartans.
Part of this is my fault. During week one’s Opponent Watch, I said the following about Michigan State’s offense:
Beyond that, the offense seems to be assembled by someone who has no idea about his personnel or how football works…. Dave Warner and Jim Bollman are running an offense predicated on stringing completions together, but doing so with personnel who seem utterly incapable of doing so.
Here we are five weeks later, and Michigan is the team running an offense predicated on accomplishing something that its personnel are utterly incapable of accomplishing. Meanwhile, Michigan State is running the ball effectively, throwing downfield, and forcing the defense to defend the entire field (and doing so within the flow of the offense, not with a “base offense base offense base offense base offense HEY LOOK A CONSTRAINT PLAY base offense base offense”)
DAMN YOU KARMA.
Defensively, they are still very good. They gave up a couple of big plays (the aforementioned 64 yard TD to Coleman and a 53 yard reception by Shane Wynn) and 28 points, but for the most part they kept IU in check. In fact, I’m just going to stop talking about State’s defense until further notice. Just assume they are terrifying soul-eating bastards until otherwise indicated.
This team is as frightening as: A team that is sound in all three phases of the game, because we walked past that homeless guy or didn’t recognize Ned Ryerson or something. Fear level = 8.5
Michigan should worry about: Remember the ’11 game? Now mentally remove Denard from that game. It’s gonna be like that.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: [404: Dream not found]
When they play Michigan: Despite collecting other weapons along the way, Al Borges plays a first-person shooter exclusively with the pistol they give you at the beginning of the game. When he runs out of ammo he uses the brass knuckles.
Next game: vs. Purdue (Helloooooooo BoilerQuest booster)
Nebraska (5-1, 2-0 B1G)
Purdue’s new “General Inadmission” seating plan isn’t going as well as had been hoped.
Last game: Nebraska 44, Purdue 7 (W)
Recap: The biggest reason to think BoilerQuest has a real shot is that Nebraska really didn’t play very well, and they still beat the everloving snot out of Purdue. Husker starting QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. went 6/18 for 43(!) yards before being yoinked for Ron Kellogg III. They turned the ball over three times (all Armstrong picks). And they had a 44-0 lead until there was under a minute left in the game.
Ameer Abdullah continued his torrid pace, rushing for 126 yards on 20 carries. The team as a whole finished with 251 yards rushing, all from non-quarterbacks (that sound you hear is my teeth gnashing together). Still, bowling over Purdue isn’t exactly difficult. In fact, it isn’t very sporting. It seems safe to say that unless Taylor Martinez can get healthy, Nebraska will be hard-pressed to contend for the Legends division title.
This team is as frightening as: A toddler with a Taser. You don’t know exactly what he’s going to do. He might zap your ass. He might zap himself. But whatever happens, you get the feeling it’ll be entertaining as hell. Fear Level = 6.5
Michigan should worry about: Taylor Martinez will probably be healthy enough to play. The question is whether he will be healthy enough (given that he’s recovering from turf toe) to be a threat in the run game.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Michigan could probably run tackle-over against Nebraska, and they’d be all “WHAT IS THIS DARK MAGIC?” That defense is incoherent as all get-out.
When they play Michigan: Michigan will fare better than Purdue.
Next game: BYE
Northwestern (4-2, 0-2 B1G)
Last game: Wisconsin 35, Northwestern 6 (L)
Recap: Northwestern’s Ohio State hangover was of the “tequila with a moonshine chaser” variety, as they got absolutely pounded by Wisconsin in Madison. The Wildcats managed only two field goals in fifteen possessions. This drive chart pretty much tells the tale:
A major part of the problem was that Kain Colter went out injured (again) as did Venric Mark (again). Colter returned, but wasn’t 100% and threw only 5 passes all day. Unstoppable Throw God Trevor Siemian was very much a stoppable throw mortal, going 13 of 34 for 163 yards (4.8 YPA) and no TDs. Mark did not return, and as a result Northwestern went with a running back by committee approach that saw their leading rusher gain just 19 yards (I’m still jealous somehow).
Overall, this one was never close. Wisconsin outgained Northwestern 527 to 241, picked up 24 1st downs to NU’s 10, and converted 7 of 14 3rd downs to NU’s 2 of 17. This might have just been an aberration, or it might have been a red flag game. For what it’s worth, Northwestern’s schedule is about as brutal as a B1G schedule can be; their crossovers were Wisconsin and Ohio State.
This team is as frightening as: Outlook hazy. Ask again later. Fear level = 7.5
Michigan should worry about: Probably less than I would have thought coming into this week. I know Wisconsin is pretty good, but 35-6 is a bit of an eye-opener. Defensively they don’t seem that bad to the casual observer, but they just haven't stopped anybody other than Western Michigan and Maine.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Northwestern just can’t get healthy. I’m beginning to think that Venric Mark just really, really likes riding that stationary bike.
When they play Michigan: Does Northwestern count as a road game? I mean, at worst it’s a neutral field game, right? I don’t know if that brings the “Hoke can’t win on the road” curse into play. We may have to bring in a Cubs fan to explain things.
Next game: vs. Minnesota
Iowa (4-1, 1-1 B1G)
Last game: BYE
Recap: Iowa is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, a region sometimes called the "American Heartland." Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River on the west; it is the only US state whose eastern and western borders are formed entirely by rivers. Iowa is bordered by Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska and South Dakota to the west, and Minnesota to the north.
Iowa was a part of the French colony of New France. After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt.
In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.
This team is as frightening as: So many pasta-related items from which to choose. Maybe we should go with giant noodle again yep giant noodle.
Fear Level = 4
Michigan should worry about: The combination of Michigan’s recent trips Iowa and their continuing struggles with road games gives me the uncomfortable feelings. Like I have gas, except instead of a stomach ache it gives me a soul ache and my soul can’t just fart and make it better.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: According to Wikipedia, Iowa is one of the safest states in which to live. So no matter how the football goes, they should be safe from like gang violence and stuff.
When they play Michigan: Al Borges is placed in charge of redesigning the three obstacles from the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He replaces the first obstacle (the spinning blade thingy) with a spread of assorted meats and cheeses.
Next game: @ Ohio State
Ohio State THE University (6-0, 2-0 B1G)
Last game: BYE
Recap: Ohio State had a bye. If Michigan had a bye this week, they’d still be undefeated. Typical OSU, getting bailed out by a favorable schedule.
This team is as frightening as: I hear Guam is lovely this time of year. Fear Level = 9
Michigan should worry about: Everything.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Ambien.
When they play Michigan: Al Borges devises a creative series of base plays and constraint plays that best utilize Michigan’s strengths and exploit the personnel and alignment weaknesses of the opponent.
Next game: vs. Iowa
Objects in the Rearview Mirror
Central Michigan (3-4 overall, 1-1 MAC)
Last game: Central Michigan 26, Ohio (YTO) 23
Recap: Cooper Rush completed a 5 yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left as the Chippewa upset the Fightin’ Worst State Evers. Central Michigan was supposed to be a bottom-feeder in the MAC, and Ohio (YTO) was supposed to be threatening for a MAC title. Instead, CMU is now 2-1 in conference, and is just a game back in the MAC Leaders Division.
Next game: vs. NIU
Notre Dame (4-2 overall)
Last game: BYE
Next game: vs. USC (the formerly Kiffin’d one)
Akron (1-6, 0-3 MAC)
Last game: #23 Northern Illinois 27, Akron 20 (L)
Recap: Akron moved to Moral 2-0 on the season, taking ranked NIU to the wire before falling 27-20. Akron actually had two possessions in the last minute to try to tie the game. Maybe Akron wasn’t as bad as…
…lol just kidding they’re still terrible and you should feel terrible.
Next game: @ Miami (NTM)
UConn (0-5, 0-1 AAC)
Poor Huskies. It’s like a damn Sarah McLachlan commercial in here
Last game: South Florida 13, UConn 10 (L)
Recap: Again, so close. UConn fell to South Florida despite outgaining the Bulls 356-228, not giving up a touchdown defensively, holding USF QB Bobby Eveld to 8 of 28 passing, and no longer having Paul Pasqualoni as a coach. USF returned a fumble for a touchdown and kicked two field goals, including the game winner with 4 minutes left in the game.
It’s starting to look like UConn isn’t going to be what you’d call a “resume-boosting victory.”
Next game: @ Cincinnati
Minnesota (4-2, 0-2 B1G)
Last game: BYE
Next game: @ Northwestern
I actually wiped a tear away from my eye. Bravo.
All my instincts, they return
The MANBALL facade, so soon will burn
Without a line, with all my pride
I will run to the inside!!!!
In your eyes
The Bub-ble Screens
In your eyes
They don't compete
In your eyes
You see soft coverage
In your eyes
On your slot receiver
In your eyes
But who cares?
In your eyes
You're a MANBALL believer!
Poor little fella....
and let me add to that by all of us internally humming this song:
The use of a pistol as a primary weapon in an FPS game you mention vis a vie Borges against Sparty is an interesting concept. If Borges comes out wielding on like rivaLRavic does, the B1G is totally f-cked:If, however, Borges comes out wielding one like CooperLily21 does, he's going to miss every shot and subsequently get front-knifed by a 10-year-old in Nova Scotia. True story.
(if you watch the above, change the resolution to 1080 and pay close attention to when he does and does not aim down the sights. I had the great/horrible luck of playing a few rounds with/against Ravic. He's an amazing BF3 player lighting up lots of pretty good competition.)
Even this guy switches his pistol out when he runs out of ammo. Borges would just keep pulling the trigger, wondering why it wasn't working.
*click*, *click*, *click*.
Hahaha. Life and death situations like those in BF3 make you do crazy sh-t sometimes. From the looks like it, Ravic decided the unfathomable choice was the only way to save his life. Saving video game life >>> saving job?
He's gonna pull the trigger until it goes...."click".
Sorry, trying to break up the negative stuff with some Big Lebowski.
I'd put that octopus at a seven. Have you seen its terrible arms and cold eyes?!
show Borges how tro use the rainbow farting Unicorn gun? PLEASE
Many a Halo game in my youth were won on the back of the pistol and punching people in the face. Good times.
Cubs fan here (I saw the call in the northwestern part). My assessment as a Cubs fan:
There's always next year.
This is usually the feature that I laugh the hardest at every week. HOWEVA, considering my recent bout with depression after last Saturday, I cried.
"When they play Michigan: Despite collecting other weapons along the way, Al Borges plays a first-person shooter exclusively with the pistol they give you at the beginning of the game. When he runs out of ammo he uses the brass knuckles."
The simple act of merely looking forward to the Indiana game is a step in the right direction for fixing the fragile psyche of this blog. Beating Indiana could be the most important victory this blog has ever witnessed (yes, it felt weird typing that).
But if Michigan loses to Indiana this Saturday, Brian may have to start a new feature on SBNation called TYIS (Y = year).
If Michigan loses to Indiana I'm quitting the internet. That is why, for me, the need to win this game is an 11.
Given our recent play, I think every opponent from here on shd be at least a 7 ( especially since we are not playing Purdue). It worries me that Vegas lines for the Indiana game has dropped from 12 to 7.5. Iowa is an away game. Our two other home game is Nebraska and Ohio. Does it really surprise anyone if we finish 1-5?
Akron is littered with transfers from BCS schools, some of whom started for one or more years at their previous destination (some of whom, obviously did not). They are at Akron for a variety of reasons, mostly seeming to be academics and other off-field issues. They are a motley crew of misfits who just seem not to get excited or focused until they're playing a BCS school or a ranked team. Then they play with a purpose; otherwise, not so much. I guess it's encouraging that they almost beat Northern Illinois.
Otoh, it is disconcerting that it seems like almost every team that plays Michigan plays their best game of the year, and it's not just Michigan's offense that seems not to have played well in some of these games.
The collection of pictures at the top of this post is too funny.