I hate making comparisons, so kindly allow me to spend 20 minutes typing one up.
I hate making comparison's but ...
I want to start off by introducing myself as a loyal Michigan fan and a longtime reader of this blog. I don't know why I waited so long to post. I am an avid college football fan, the kind that watches every game on Thursday night. My favorite player of all time (other than Woodson) would have to be David Terrell and/or Jamie Morris (hero as a child). Enough with the pleasantries.
I noticed something that was very interesting and if I am stretching it please feel free to reel me back to earth. 2008 Michigan is eerily similar to 2001 Ohio State.
1. Obviously both hired a new coach from outside the program.
2. Both offenses were horrendous to start the season. Ohio State had an impressive 28 point, 500 total yard performance to open the season v. Akron (W 28-14), but the next week they were shut down completely by a very average UCLA team that finished 7-4. They only scored 6 points and were held to 150 yards of offense.
3. In game 3 they played a very mediocre team from the state of Indiana. Ohio State played Indiana and trailed after 1 quarter but then pulled away to win by 13. Remember this wasn't the typical Indiana, they had Randle El and while never being a real Big Ten contender they were still tough at Memorial Stadium. Obviously we don't know how the ND game will go, but I wouldn't be surprised if we won led by an inspired defensive effort with a very efficient offense, and by efficient I mean taking advantage of turnovers and not turning the ball over.
4. In 2001 Ohio State lost to a very overrated Wisconsin team that came back from big halftime deficit to win. I actually am expecting Michigan to play a very good first half against Wisconsin. They have a week off leading into the game and it will be the 4th game of the year and best opponent YTD, so I expect the boys in blue to be very inspired, but maybe be overmatched in the second half and even potentially lose.
5. OSU started 3-2 in 2001 and I expect UM to be 3-2 if not 2-3, but by both schools standards not a great start in any other year.
6. OSU started a stretch that saw them win 3 of 4 against a mediocre out of conference team in San Diego State, for us this year it's Toledo. This really salvaged a season that was right on the brink of being disastrous. The teams played on that stretch were San Diego State (3-8), Penn State (5-6), Minnesota (4-7), Purdue (6-6). They lost to Penn State on the road and then beat a decent Purdue team very convincingly which I see as Michigan beating a very decent MSU team at home.
7. OSU had awful quarterback play all year Belisari had a 54% completion percentage and threw 10 TD's to 7 INT's while throwing for 1900 yards. Craig Krenzel emerged the week before the Michigan game as a little recruited tough and gutty QB who had a knack for big plays, which I am hoping Threet will draw a noticeable comparison at year's end.
8. Each team will have played their arch rival on the road to end the regular season.
9. In 2001 Michigan was the odds on favorite to win the Big Ten and possibly a National Championship until Henson was lured away by the Yankees and Steinbrenner (sp). I fully expect Wells to miss most if not all of the regular season with this injury and consequently OSU will probably struggle with USC, @ Illinois, @ Wisconsin and @ MSU. I know that the reason the stars missed the season is a little different, and Henson was lured away in the Spring and not lost in a game, but still both teams will have lost their superstar heisman candidate.
10. OSU came up to A2 with little hope of winning outside of Columbus, and they thoroughly dominated Michigan with a defensive game that set the tone for a great run in 2002. Now I am not saying UM will win the NC in 2009, but the similarities between the 2001 OSU team and the 2008 UM team are interesting. Both teams had a very good defense the year before led by several underclassmen, I believe UM will start 5 sophmores on defense on Saturday (eligibility wise) Warren, Brown, Evans, Mouton, Ezeh and 2 juniors in Graham and Harrison. If you think this defense is going to be good this year just wait for the next two years. Seriously who do we lose that is an impact player outside of maybe Taylor. I can stand to lose Johnson, Stewart and Trent with the jury still out on the other two whose names escape me.
If Coach Rod can adapt the offense to fit the strengths of Threet, I really believe this team can experience moderate success in 08 and be a strong sleeper team in 09, remember OSU came out of nowhere and took advantage of a great defense, some good bounces and wonderful scheduling, all of which we may have next year. Either way I don't think that the future is doom and gloom for Michigan and I expect us to contend for a National Championship quicker than people think and don't be surprised if a young overlooked quarterback with that "it" factor leads us to big upsets and great future success.
I am curious to hear what everyone thinks, so don't hesitate to argue my points.
I had the exact same thought as I was reading the title of the post.
We can only hope you're right....as in, that this year won't be THAT bad. 2001 OSU, while being pretty bad by OSU standards, did not have a complete collapse, which is what I'm hoping Michigan will avoid.
Hmm. Interesting. My question then is which one of the QBs is going to get pulled over for dui during the season?
Well that team did "win the NC" the next year, and I use that phrase very lightly, I guess we could hope to follow in that pattern, I see the 2010 season as our best opportunity to reassert ourselves as the class of the Big 11.
The title included the word "but." That word has a meaning. By the way, I enjoyed reading the comparison, bentley. Thanks for posting.
Wrong. Tressel was a former Earle Bruce assistant, if anything it was Ohio State going back to the Woody Hayes coaching tree.
And, scarily, I think this is more like OSU in Cooper's first year.
I was actually thinking a fair amount about OSU during the Krenzel years. During that time, including the MNC year, there was a lot of smoke and mirrors. As I recall (and as I age that is getting worse) they punted for field position often and had the benefit of a strong kicking game with Nugent. With some exceptions, they won alot of close, defensive battles.
This seemed to be Tressel's (MHBUH --malignant herpes be unto him) MO. Cautious, pin them back, use your defense and force errors.
I don't know if this could be any blueprint for us. First of all, the offense has to be at least good enough to get out of the hole to win field position. Secondly, I don't know if it fits RR's personality. The end of the first half touchdown being an example. Certainly, it is not the kind of football I want to see once our talent level improves.
I was thinking about this today before your post, FWIW.
Beanie Wells is only going to miss a week or two, not the majority/all of the season. OSU will obliterate MSU and probably Illinois (especially a year after Illinois caught them off guard).
Their only worries should be USC, Michigan (just because you never know what could happen), and MAYBE Wisconsin (because the Badgers always seem to stay in games).
when people make plurals into possessives.
thats one tough tongue twister.