This is exactly how I saw our season unfolding and posted it before the season started as a response to UMFootballCrazy post Put Your Money where your mouth is 8/29/8. 6-6. Unfortunately, I thought 6-6 would get us a bowl game. Now, probably no bowl after so many big ten teams went undefeated in non-conference play. Still, I have always felt going .500 or better was a "good" season for this team and next year I think we will be very good and in 2 to 3 years challenge for national title.
schedule please save us
Like many fans I am frustrated by the amount we still don't know about this team- and I'm trying to stay optimistic. One thing to note is that we might get bailed out by the schedule this year- or at least as much as one can be "bailed out" and still finish .500- really the question is can we find a win in the next couple of weeks, because the schedule at the end of the year is actually pretty friendly. At the beginning of the year I thought we would lose 4, or 5 if we lost to ND. Now our best might look more like 6-6.
What is difficult is that it's so hard to know what to make of ND. Those who make a lot of our mistakes have us finishing 2-10, others think this was a breakthrough game for the offense and have already chalked up 500 yard masterpieces for the rest of the year. I'm not sure what to think- I do think we have improved, but I also think what really helps is that a lot of our destiny is going to be determined a lot by schedule, and a lot of our opponents are really weak. I think the Michigan State/ Notre Dame game suggests that we have improved somewhat- I expected MSU to pulverize Notre Dame and though they still made mistakes-a-plenty, the Domers were in this one. They are not a good team, but unlike last year they are a real team- I think that means our offensive imrovement can be given some credit.
This week I am hoping we will get a lot more information. We should find out a lot this week when some important macthups take place. One is our linebackers against Wisconsin. Last year this was a disaster, could be even worse this year. Another is Penn State/Illinois. Is either team for real? Purdue plays Notre Dame and Northwestern plays Iowa in what will surely be a ghastly game. I think it's very possible we find out that either Illinois or Penn State isn't that good, and that NW and Purdue are as weak as we thought. I would never say that I want Notre Dame to win, but obviously it's better for our future if Purdue doesn't do well. Maybe they'll win 3-2 or something.
Wisconsin: I don't think it's a stretch to say that Wisconsin is much better than we are. But they sometimes have trouble scoring points. I think probably their linemen on both sides of the ball grind us into dust and this game goes pretty much like last year. Wisconsin's offense is perfectly suited to exploit our light tackling, bad first stepping linebackers. But, in a 13-10 game anybody can win. The good news is that even Wisconsin fans seem to wonder out loud if their real offense looks more like what played against Fresno than what played against Akron. Wisconsin hides it better than most teams but any modern offense with a limited quarterback is going to have a tough time. http://www.badgerbeat.com/news/article/id/304831 All you need is the ball to bounce your way once or twice, maybe our DL plays out of their minds, etc. Still, with our OL against their experienced D, and our LBs against their OL, this has to be a loss, right? I will not gainsay the excellent post by drexel on the Wisconsin D- #92 is Shaughnessy by the way and it looks like he figures to ruin us, which he could just about do single-handedly. We might see a lot of OL butts bumping into ball carriers. One thing: we really shouldn't fall to pieces if we lose to Wisconsin. This was a loss from day one even if we were better than we thought we were, and sure, 1-3 looks like hell but this year the tough parts of the schedule are up front.
Illinois: Just watching the scores this year I thought Illinois was seriously underperforming. Against Missouri they scored a lot of points but were playing from behind. They obviously had a subpar game against UL Lafayette. Defense is an issue for Illinois. Illinois actually gave up a fair number of long drives against ULL, who had two drives stopped by fumbles, missed a field goal, and turned it over once on downs in Illinois territory. Illinois gave up 52 points against Missouri. Obviously Missouri's offense is very good- but, should a good defense EVER give up 52 points? No, not ever. I don't care if it's the first game of the season, a good team does not give up 50 points. I think Illinois has a talented but inconsistent offense that can't throw, and a vulnerable defense. For what it's worth, the Illinois newspapers seem to think the problem is offense and that the D is OK http://www.illinihq.com/news/football/2008/09/14/illini_ready__to_get_to_work- I respectfully disagree about the D, as ULL isn't that good but still had a number of long drives. As of this moment, I think this is a game we can win, but we will find out a lot more this weekend when Illinois plays Penn St. Side note: Ron Zook talking is funny, I like his explanation of bye weeks for mentally exhausted Illini players. http://www.illinihq.com/news/football/2008/09/20/zook_penn_state_is_rolling_now
Toledo: Toledo scares me a little bit because they can put up so many points, like 41 during regulation against Fresno (and 13 in OT), but this is a couple down the road and is still a MAC team. If our game against Miami proves anything, it's that we are still talented enough to play a stinker against MAC opponents and win.
Penn St: Has pulverized four absolutely hopeless opponents, including Temple without their starting quarterback. Still, they really beat the living hell out of them. We will learn a lot this week when they play Illinois, but this is a road game and I just can't see it. if Penn St. rushes for 300 yards and beats Illinois 31-3, then ok. Even without that, this is another team that is really due to beat us and really needs to take advantage of the opportunity. At that point this is probably a game that they would really need to win but that we would be expected to lose. That shouldn't matter, but it does, and this has to be a loss. One note: Penn State's defensive players are getting themselves suspended for different lengths of time at a fantastic rate.
MSU: This game is totally unpredictable, and the ability of State to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is amazing. But just on paper, I see State doing what Wisconsin would do- no way our linebackers are up to the challenge of a big line plus Ringer. Still, Heuer is weak and they're State. I'm still calling this an L for now, as our linebackers are about the weakest position we have after safety.
Purdue: I'm not very impressed by Purdue at all. They give up a lot of points. Central Michigan got 440 yards and scored late in the 4th quarter. A loss to Oregon, who just got beat by Boise St. (at home, can't blame on blue turf) is looking less forgiveable. Tiller is tired and cranky. I still don't see that Purdue has overcome the deficiencies that caused them to fail last year. Purdue still turns the ball over and quarterbacking is still an issue. In fact Painter was "one series" away from getting yanked last week. That can't be good. http://boilerstation.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080922/SPORTS020101/809220326&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL
I think this is a W.
Minnesota: A lot better than they were, which is saying they aren't the worst team in the universe. They beat 4 weak teams but gave up 356 yards against a really weak Montana State team. They're still no good, this is a win.
Northwestern just beat 0-3 (now 0-4) Ohio 16-8 in what I'm fairly comfortable saying was an awful game. Ok, Ohio has lost 4 close ones but still, they were a very average 4-4 in the MAC last year. Like Minnesota they've showed some growth. Hey, they beat Duke this year. Still though, there is a dearth of talent and a defense that's not much good this has to be a win too.
OSU: Looks a lot weaker than we thought. Not enough weaker. On the road, we will lose.
A LOT of things would have to shake wrong for Michigan to not go bowling at 6-6. Remember, a couple of points...
1) Last year was the first time in forever that the Big Ten actually had more bowl-eligible teams than bowls. Looking at the schedules I don't see seven teams in the Big Ten winning seven games.
2) If there are other 6-6 teams, Michigan will get the bowl nod over them 100 times out of 100.
3) There are four more bowl spots this year, which means that even if points 1 and 2 don't ensure a bowl bid, there's a chance some other bowl might have a spot for a 6-6 team, which would bring point #2 back into play.
definitely true that michigan will get picked over other 6-6 teams all the time- hey, we travel well.
im just hoping that our mistakes are an anomaly and we actually make it there....
yes, UM would get a bowl bid at 6-6 over other 6-6 big ten teams....but, by rule, they cant get a bowl bid over a 7-5 team.
Minny and NW are two teams that we could beat, yet still finish 6-6 while they end at 7-5. They would go, we would not.
Its worth watching the bottom half of the Pac 10 and Big East. not sure those leagues will be able to fill all their bowl slots.
Translation: Congressional Bowl, here we come! Better watch out Navy!!!
I'm not sure that applies to Big Ten bowls. Don't the Big Ten bowls just go by the conference standings? The rule about 7-5 teams HAVE to go to bowls before 6-6 teams is certainly true for at-large bowl bids, but I don't think it is true for conference tie-ins.
For example, if a team went 0-4 in non-conference play and went 6-2 in the conference, it could wind up being the number 2 team in the conference. If there were seven teams with a record of 7-5 or better, would the number 2 team in the conference really not go to a bowl?!?
......that a 6-6 Big 10 will only get a bowl after all the 7-5 big 10s are first ensured a spot......but, i dont know if they have a contigency plan in the event of your 0-4/6-2 scenario.....it seems so far fetched that if it happens, I am sure the league big wigs would not know what to do.....lol......still, thats a pretty interesting situation and I cant say for sure what would be done.
But, league standings in no way dictate the bowl pecking order. The bowls themselves are in a pecking order and they choose from the teams left over.....and, it is a rule, you must pick a 7-5 team over a 6-6 team, in fact, it might be the only real guideline.
League standings mean nothing.....Illinois to the Rose Bowl last year, as an example. They were tied for second and lost to the team they were tied with....and, if you look back throughout the years there are many instances when the true third place team ended up in the Alamo Bowl while a bigger draw like Wisco, PSU or even UM ended up going to either Cap One or Outback.
Hmmm. I don't know, you may very well be right. Do you happen to have a link to anything that says those are the rules regarding conference tie-in bowls?
I was talking to my friend, who went to Notre Dame, about the bowl situation and said something about how 7-5 at-large teams must be chosen before 6-6 teams. He didn't know about that rule because Notre Dame is an automatic BCS team if they win 7 games.
This year there both Michigan and Notre Dame have a chance of being 6-6, and either one would instantly get picked over any other 6-6 team. So he asked me how pissed I would be if a 6-6 Notre Dame team took the only at-large spot and caused a 6-6 Michigan team to not go to a bowl.
I wanted to punch him in the face...
We may just be able to get a spot in the coveted Motor City Bowl for a much awaited rematch against bitter rival Toledo.
At least we wouldn't have to travel far.
is the MAC Champ vs the Big 10......as a Toledo native, I can tell you, they aren't winning the MAC.
It'll be CMU vs UM.....state title on the line!
In looking at the Big Ten, the following teams are more than likely (>75%) to have 7+ wins:
Teams Probable (>50%,<75%) to have 7+ wins:
Now if Michigan gets to 6 wins, they would more than likely have to compete with Purdue and maybe Iowa for the last guaranteed bowl slot. With the way the Michigan travels, I like our chances of getting picked for a bowl before Purdue and Iowa.
That's ridiculous. Northwestern has to be on one of those two lists. I would bet they go 7-5 or 8-4 and as such my list would include them in the top category, but I would accept them being in the "Probable" category also. There is virtually no way that they do not get 3 Big Ten wins.
Also, I would have to say that Minnesota is less than 50% likely to get 7 wins. However, that is based mostly on how bad they were last year, and that they cannot make that big of a jump in one year. Obviously Illinois did, but I think they probably had better talent than Minnesota does.
I think Michigan fans have to hope for 2 BCS bids. It seems like that will be absolutely necessary for our bowl chances. Although, I still hope we can go 7-5.
I agree with you about Northwestern, I just forgot to add them.
I guess my argument goes down the toilet now. You are right, we are going to have to hope for 7 wins.
I still think we're better than hoping for 6-6. Seriously. I still think we can go 8-4. I like how the offense is coming together.
Hell, we can beat Wisconsin.
First, I have no actual link speaking to the bowl guidelines, but my "knowledge" comes from just following the sport for years and guys like Corso, Fowler and Herbie talking about teams with better attendance draws getting better bowls. I consider myself well informed and well read about the game.....however bowls are goofy, so I wont say I am certain.....just pretty sure about the guidelines.
Now, as to the other stuff we're talking about in here:
I still have UM going 7-5.
Minny and NW both will be 7-5, and I had both of them bowl bound in my diary on Big 10 bowl projections back in August.
I have Purdue and Iowa out. Purdue will be 6-6 and only get to that mark by beating IU in the finale. Iowa and Minny will both be 6-5 heading into their finale against each other. I project Minny to win and go bowling.
The ACC, Pac 10 and Big East are in jeopardy of not being able to fill all their slots. That will open the door for any 6-6 Big 10 team, like Iowa and Purdue.
Two Big 10 teams will make the BCS. The league is down, but there are 4 at large spots to fill and leagues are capped at 2. Assume a Big 12 and SEC at large, but where else are the others coming from right now? Maybe one mid major, but who else?
And, since we're starting league play, I will be posting a diary updating my predictions/projections. Hopefully it will be up tomorrow nightish. I'd love all your input/critiques. Its a cool discussion.
I really think you're underestimating the depth of Hoyer's suckitude. He's really, really bad.
.....seeing as if I project UM to be 5-3 in league play. I still have MSU in the win column, despite the numbers Ringer has been putting up.
I try to keep it polite on here, but come on. I really think you're overestimating the "OMFG HOYER IS AWFUL" factor. The majority of his key passes in the Notre Dame game were either caught or flat out dropped by BJ Cunningham (freshman make mistakes).
How anyone can lose to a team by 2+ touchdowns then predict a victory over a team that just beat aforementioned team by 2+ touchdowns is...confusing.
Come on, you're Sparty. You'll find a way to lose that game. You always do. It's just a matter of how certain of victory you are before the rug gets pulled out from under you.
True, but keep in mind, Michigan was favored in all but one of the games they came back and won in. People tend to forget that last year, MSU was projected to go 4-8 and many Wolverines were talking about a national championship with Hart, Henne, and Long anchoring the offense. Looking at the match like that, Michigan had absolutely no business being down by 10 at any point in that game. That's like if MSU had to come from behind in the Indiana game this weekend and squeaks out a win. Would anyone be impressed? Would it be braggable? Would we sneer at the Hoosiers for collapsing? Maybe. But most likely not.
So this year, I'm fairly confident that Michigan State will have their due. I'm not trying to bluster and carry on, I'm just saying that objectively, MSU looks like the better team this year. Michigan looked like the better team last year. Simple as that.
I'm a fan of Hoyer.
But, not a fan of your basic logic that you cant predict a team who lost to Team A by two TDs to beat the team who just beat Team A by 2 TDs.
It took me less than one minute to think of a situation where it happened just in the UM-MSU-ND dynamic alone. 1998. ND 36 UM 20......MSU 42 ND 14......UM 29 MSU 17.
Your "confusing" scenario takes place all the time.
What does not take place all the time? MSU beating UM in Ann Arbor. Good luck on 10/25.
For the record, a 6-6 team CAN get picked over a 7-5 team. What can't happen is a team getting picked over one that is two games better than it . . . so a 6-6 team can't go over an 8-4 one.