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.
by Nick RoUMel
Michigan is facing a Northwestern team that come mid-November, has yet to win a Big Ten game. And Northwestern is favored.
This is how far we have fallen.
Remember Spinal Tap, the fictional band that was once hugely popular, but then became so irrelevant that they were billed below a puppet show?
Michigan is Spinal Tap. (And Michigan State is Puppet Show, but that’s another story.)
Bo is spinning in his grave. In fact, everyone who has died since Bo is spinning in his grave. Lou Reed, for example, is spinning in his grave. Even he thinks he can do a better job on the offensive line:
“Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play!”
We are nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team. How did that happen? How did Puppet Show achieve supremacy in our state rivalry, with a freshman quarterback and a bunch of scrappy 3-star players?
Can you imagine what Michigan’s record would be with the same coaches and Michigan State’s roster?
Back in the day when I played recreational softball, we had a saying to help our team rally to victory. “Gotta want it.”
Give the Sparties credit – they come to play.
But when have you last seen Michigan WANT IT? The Wolverines go to work, punch the clock, and grouse about the copy machine. “The copier repair guy, he didn’t execute today. … But we’ll make those copies tomorrow, right? And maybe collate them if we have time? … So, wanna hit happy hour? No? OK, See ya tomorrow.”
Gotta want it, Blue. Show me you do. Call me a fair weather fan if you want, but I watch sports for fun and enjoyment. I want to have fun again. Let’s renew our vows. Let’s get high. Let’s play that game where you dress up like a detective and I wear the Spider-Man Underoos … oh, wait. Wrong game. But I can still fantasize:
MICHIGAN 24, NORTHWESTERN 23
By Heiko Yang
Losing is a familiar feeling. I started following Michigan football during the Rich Rod era, so dropping every game in November used to be an expectation, not a disappointing surprise.
What’s unfamiliar about all this is how little hope there seems to be that anything is going to get better any time soon. Until this season, there always seemed to be a fix for every mistake. Can’t throw the ball to convert on third down? Use Denard’s legs. Linebackers getting clubbed to death by offensive linemen? Teach the defensive line how to absorb blocks. Don’t have a viable backup quarterback? Convert Devin Gardner back to QB.
Every time Michigan lost, you could count on seeing adjustments the next game, and those adjustments would work. Last week was the first time under Brady Hoke where those adjustments either didn’t work or weren’t there at all. Unsurprisingly, it was the first time Michigan lost in back-to-back weeks since 2010.
What’s so disappointing about all this is the coaching staff no longer seems to be an all-knowing entity that’s limited only by the execution errors of its players. Until now I likened the football program to a brilliant scientist trying to run a lab full of inexperienced graduate students: the experiments are well designed, and when something fails, it’s usually because someone forgot to add a reagent or contaminated a solution. Technique and fundamentals, that sort of thing. These days I have to wonder whether there’s something inherently wrong with the scientist. He’s so fixated on his favorite hypothesis that he’s forcing his students to repeat the same failed experiments over and over until the lab gets driven into the ground.
As of this morning we have a sample size of two games telling us that the Michigan football program is more likely the latter scenario. By this evening that number will become three. Wait and see for yourself: Michigan’s coaches have suggested all week that Michigan’s offensive game plan will be no different than it was against Michigan State or Nebraska. You’ll know this to be true when Michigan lines up in an ace set on second and long and runs play action or comes out in I form with Derrick Green as the tailback on first down.
Will it work? Can it work? Should it work? “Theoretically,” will be next Tuesday’s Word of the Day.
Michigan 17, Northwestern 24.