The Mathlete vs The Big House
Saturday will be my first game day at Michigan Stadium and although I went through a period of mourning after last Saturday, I couldn’t be more excited right now. I am bringing my dad along and although he isn’t necessarily a Michigan fan, he acknowledges the greatness of The Victors, the Maize and Blue and shares a hatred of Notre Dame. Any game day advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully I can contribute some good luck to get the 6th win monkey off our back on Saturday.
On to the preview.
Rush Offense vs Illinois
Michigan Off: +7, 2nd nationally, 1st in Big 10
Illinois Def: +4, 3rd nationally, 2nd Big 10 (Iowa)
Denard Robinson: +8 rushing, 1st nationally all positions
Vincent Smith: -0, 13th in Big 10
Illinois lines up as another top-notch rush defense opponent for Michigan. Before losing Denard against Iowa, Michigan managed to hold up quite well against the only rush defense in the Big Ten better than Illinois (Iowa is now #1 nationally). Illinois’s one below average game was Indiana getting 50 yards on 16 carries before the game got out of hand. Indiana’s average is really bad. Illinois should provide another strong challenge for Michigan who is still looking for someone besides Denard to help carry the load. If someone can step up, Michigan could still get a good advantage here. If they don’t Denard will probably still get his yards but the carries will start to add up.
Pass Offense vs Illinois
Michigan Off: +4, 17th, 2nd
Illinois Def: +2, 42nd, 5th
Denard Robinson: +4 passing, 7th in Big 10
Junior Hemingway: +4, 13th
Roy Roundtree: +4, 14th
Darryl Stonum: +2, 18th
Michigan’s edge here comes almost entirely from its early season success. Illinois has had strong performances against Ohio St and Indiana and mostly average against everyone else. If Denard can find his early season success it could help free up some of the pressure on his carries but at this point in the season it seems as though his performance through the air has regressed.
Rush Defense vs Illinois
Michigan Def: –3, 110th, 11th
Illinois Off: +1, 44th, 4th
Mikel LeShoure: +0, 11th
Nathan Scheelhaase: +2, 15th nationally among QBs
Michigan has gotten gashed two of its last three games but Illinois only has one strong game on the season and that came back in September against MAC foe Northern Illinois.
Maybe Michigan has a chance to not get killed on the ground this weekend but at this point I am preparing for the worst until given a reason not to.
Pass Offense vs Illinois
Michigan Def: –4, 109th, 10th
Illinois Off: –1, 75th, 9th
Nathan Scheelhaase: +2, 9th in Big 10
Jarred Fayson: +2, 19th
Illinois’s pass offense has been all or nothing and Michigan’s pass defense has just been nothing. Last Saturday saw the worst showing of the year and Michigan’s sole above average game was in 2 months ago with a starter out for nearly a half. Illinois doesn’t have a lot of volume through the air, so Michigan has that going for them. The Illini put up big passing numbers against Penn St and Purdue but have mostly struggled in limited attempts against everyone else.
Maybe Michigan has a chance to not get killed through the air this weekend but at this point I am preparing for the worst until given a reason not to.
Michigan: –1, 106th, 10th
Illinois: +3, 19th, 2nd
Michigan Punts: Big advantage Michigan
Illinois Punts: Big advantage Illinois
Michigan KO: Slight advantage Illinois
Illinois KO: Big advantage Illinois
Kickers: Huge advantage Illinois (#6 in country) but at least we made a FG last week
The one advantage we have is the one special team you don’t want to be using. Like Penn St last week, the advantage Michigan has is that Illinois isn’t a huge threat to break big returns. Everyone talks about Michigan’s special teams issues but the only one that really matters for the 2010 Michigan team is the kicker since field position has been largely irrelevant for both our offense and defense.
Predictions that will almost certainly lose you money
Illinois 39 Michigan 35
Hopefully Vegas and the Michigan –3 line know something I don’t, which they likely do. Illinois is one of the top 10 in smallest standard deviation of game scores, they have been very consistent. Michigan can’t count on an Illinois let down but should have a good shot if the A game shows up again.
Iowa 45 Indiana 21 – Indiana is just Indiana
Michigan St 37 Minnesota 17 – Michigan St takes advantage of a nice break to get things right
Penn St 27 Northwestern 10 – Penn St keeps it going
Wisconsin 34 Purdue 21 – May be an optimistic total for Purdue’s offense
TCU 28 Utah 24 – TCU finally gives up a few points but stays undefeated
LSU 21 Alabama 20 – The highly precise numbers were LSU 20.1 Alabama 19.6, should be a very close game and a good chance for some late game Les Miles magic
Can’t wait to be at Michigan Stadium on Saturday!