Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one… something like Punt-Counterpunt.
Putting this up now, because I'll forget in the morning.
By Ken “Sky” Walker
Thus far, Michigan’s 2012 football season has gone just about to form. All the games they won at home against their better opponents last year have turned into road losses this season. And while the losses have all been different in nature - overmatched by Alabama; a giveaway at South Bend and the loss of a key player versus the Cornhuskers – there is one underlying factor that can’t be overlooked. The Wolverines just don’t have enough players of high caliber on offense.
This was an offense that averaged more than 30 points a game in 2012. The loss of any one player, even one as dynamic as Denard Robinson, shouldn’t totally derail your ability to move the ball. Yet without Shoelace, the Michigan offense is a train wreck. Nobody is stepping up. The offensive line can’t block; the running backs don’t run effectively and quarterback play has been spotty. Other than Drew Dileo in the MSU game, when was the last time a Wolverine receiver made a big play that mattered? Bottom line is the Michigan offense can’t score consistently and has a lack of playmakers and depth at every position.
Once again the defense has been very good, keeping Michigan in games were the offense has stumbled. The loss of a starting cornerback in the first game has not proven fatal, mainly due the efforts of the guys up front. Going into this season, I think most people felt Michigan’s defensive line play would be a concern. In fact, the defensive line play has improved during the course of the season. Obviously, Coach Mattison’s ability to get his players to perform at a high level shouldn’t ever be underestimated.
What does this mean for the game versus Minnesota? It more than likely it won’t make much difference. While the Gophers have a record identical to the Wolverines, their competition has not been nearly as tough. They do have an up and coming quarterback and a good record at home. These are the best things they have going for them. The defense has been porous – the Michigan hockey crowd chant of “Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!” would be an accurate description of their play.
The Michigan defense should be able to put enough pressure on the Gopher’s young QB and stifle their offensive. If Denard plays with any effectiveness, this should be relatively easy pickings. But Michigan fans shouldn’t be blind to the fact that the Wolverines are a flawed and fragile team. It’s just a pinched nerve away from total disaster.
Michigan 30 - Minnesota 20
By Nick RoUMel
Since we are deep within election season, I’m going to take a break this week, and turn my column over to the people who write the ads for those statewide ballot proposals. These folks will tell us the truth, just like they do on TV. Word up:
Proposal 1 – If Michigan doesn’t win this week, Governor Snyder will appoint an emergency manager to run the team. This person will be empowered to fire coaches, change the starting lineup, juggle the offensive and defensive formations, and make the players wear butt-ugly uniforms that look like a combination between a bumblebee and a prison inmate. But it’s not all bad. If things turn around, the emergency manager might allow us to bring water bottles into the stadium.
Proposal 2 – This proposal will allow the players to bargain collectively and form unions. Players will be grouped into classifications such as “offensive tackle” and “assistant clipboard carrier.” Playing time will be determined by seniority. Accordingly, the quarterback this week will be Andy Mignery.
Proposal 3 – Requires Al Borges to call at least 25% of his plays using alternative energy sources, such as the backup tight end, or a single wing formation. This will reduce our dependence on depletable energy sources such as Denard Robinson.
Proposal 4 – Provides for background checks for players. Reportedly will eliminate the Michigan State football program.
Proposal 5 – Would amend Michigan’s playbook to require a 2/3 majority vote of fans in attendance before running two consecutive off-tackle plays.
Proposal 6 – Lets the people decide – not politicians – whether the Stadium Bridge will ever be finished.
But what about this week’s game – who’s going to win?
Demand a recount, folks, it’s going to be an upset:
MINNESOTA 20, MICHIGAN 16