At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Why? Because I have to. Not because I believe in jinxes or anything, but because readers do and I serve at their pleasure. For a fuller Hornet breakdown check When Carcajous Attack(!).
Michigan vs Delaware State
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
12:00 EST, October 17th, 2009
Hypothetically? M –35.5
Nationwide on BTN
Cloudy, mid-40s, dry.
Run Offense vs. Delaware State
This should be no contest. Despite the debacle against Michigan State, Michigan is 23rd in rushing offense in I-A. The Hornets are 105th in I-AA, giving up 202 yards a game at more than 5 YPC. The most interesting thing here will be the performances of Shaw, Smith, and Cox. I expect Brown to get like three carries.
Key Matchup: Probably Hornet safeties versus repeated attempts to run by them into the endzone.
Pass Offense vs. Delaware State
Delaware State is marginally better here, in the 50s in both pass efficiency and total yardage defense when it comes to the pass. And Michigan is considerably weaker, currently hovering around 81st in passer efficiency, though a large chunk of that is Denard Robinson's tendency to chuck interceptions. Forcier is middling (55th) nationally.
Key Matchup: Pass protection versus Anonymous Hornets. Forcier's dinged, let's keep him that way instead of seriously dinged.
Run Defense vs. Delaware State
Michigan's coming off two good performances marred by things outside the defensive line's control. Delaware State is the #84 rushing offense in I-AA. This will be a potentially depressing test of Michigan's opponent-invariant defense. Will Delaware State rip off some gashing runs when Michigan players either line up wrong or blow an assignment?
Key Matchup: Mouton and Ezeh versus Aforementioned Blown Assignments. Plz keep getting better here.
Pass Defense vs. Delaware State
Delaware State is 91st in passing offense and 103rd in passing efficiency. It'll be interesting to see how Woolfolk does and if Williams does better at free safety.
Key Matchup: Williams versus Getting Beat Deep.
CATCH THE DAMN BALL
CATCH THE DAMN BALL
Key Matchup: CATCH THE DAMN BALL.
Kittens are not deployed for games against I-AA teams. Here's this instead:
This is at all close.
Someone gets injured.
Delaware State does anything positive at all.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
Tate looks like he's back to his old, better self.
No one gets injured.
I don't know, don't cackle, it's not nice.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 0 out of 10. (Baseline 5, –1 for I-AA Team, –1 for 1-3 I-AA Team, –1 for 1-3 I-AA Team That Just Gave Bethune-Cookman Its First Win Of The Season, –1 for 1-3 I-AA Team That Just Gave Bethune-Cookman Its First Win Of The Season And Is Worse Than 90th In Both Total Offense And Total Defense, –1 for 1-3 I-AA Team That Just Gave Bethune-Cookman Its First Win Of The Season And Is Worse Than 90th In Both Total Offense And Total Defense And Has Been Pegged With A More Than Five-Touchdown Spread By Crazy Offshore Gambling Folk).
Desperate need to win level: 10 out of 10. (Baseline 5, +1 for No Horror Redux, +1 for This Would Actually Be Worse, +1 for Way Worse, +1 for I Expended All My "Get Out Of Spending Two Days In Fetal Position Free" Cards Last Year, +1 for Just No.)
Loss will cause me to... spend the next twenty years of my life digging a ditch around Delaware, and the following ten trying to push it out to sea.
Win will cause me to... react in no way whatsoever.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Vincent Smith and Michael Shaw have a ton of carries.
how many people in this state laughed when i informed them that this game would take place.
"WHAT?!?! THEY COULDN'T EVEN BEAT US" (us being the U of Delaware)
"THEY JUST LOVE GETTIN THAT ASS WHOOPED HUH?"
"I HOPE THEY'RE GETTING PAID FOR THAT BEATDOWN"
engage in a mind-bending game of one-upsmanship with Rick Leach with regard to who's pleasure it is:
Me: "It's a pleasure to speak with you Mr. Leach"
Guts n' Glue: "No, let me assure you, the pleasure is mine"
Me: "I appreciate your pleasure, but rest assured, the pleasure is indeed mine"
etc. ad nauseum
that it just boggles the mind that Delaware and Delaware St. only first played each other recently. I mean, they practically have to share the same campus, the state is that small. At the very least, couldn't UM have played Delaware so that we could have had the Winged Helmet Bowl?
This game should not even be that close. It is important that this game be an absolute blowout. When the game is over, the numbers need to say that we dominated in all three phases, to the point that any mistakes we make are negligible. I would expect that DSU scoring 10 means we turned the ball over twice in our own territory.... although frankly in this game, we should be spending very little time on our side of the 50.
The main danger is the "Super Bowl factor." For a lot of teams on Michigan's schedule, a date with the Wolverines is their Super Bowl. Michigan, on the other hand, can't possibly be that hyped for all 12 opponents. That's why The Horror happened. That's why MSU two weeks ago suddenly got good at things it could never execute so well before.
So there's a distinct possibility that the Hornets play a lot better than the I-AA 1-3 football team that they are, and that the Wolverines play a lot worse than the I-A 4-2 team that they are. No, I am not predicting a second Horror, but I can very well see a game much closer than it ought to be.
as to the post someone made about whether diehards would deem it worth it to go to a bar for BTN... I'm vacationing in San Fran, and there's not a chance in hell i'll be watching this at 9am on a saturday morning at a bar... maybe i'll follow it on gamecast.
over/under 15 total pass plays in this game for UM?
Tate throws 10, denard throws 5. we run the ball 50+ times for hopefully over 350 yards.
...that said, I actually don't advocate this at all... i want to see both QB's get into a passing groove where certain routes/throws become routine and second nature.
'my head take's a lickin' but it keeps on tickin' just the same'
I don't know if 4th string players are gonna be cohesive enough to put up too many points. I honestly think putting 10 on the line and just snapping it to Denard could put up at least 35 during the game...
are expecting too big of a win tommorrow. This shouldn't and probably won't be close, but honestly being disappointed if DSU scores more than 7 points........or Michigan scores less than 40, is kind of silly in a game like this.
This game is inevitably going to bring out the "UNACCEPTABLE" crowd. For them, 3-9 was UNACCEPTABLE, losing to Sparty is always UNACCEPTABLE, winning by less than 40 against MAC/NU/PU/IU/FCS-opposition is always UNACCEPTABLE, etc. Spare me.
For them, tomorrow is a no-win. If we win by 100, they'll yawn and nitpick. If we win by 40, they'll cringe and nitpick. If we win by 17, they'll yell and complain about everything. And if we win by 3, well, UNACCEPTABLE!!!!
As for me....I like the "don't get hurt, let's see Denard throw, let's get a look at next year's RBs, let's not show anything new and let's get ready for PSU" theme.