Lindy's B1G preview, a couple of snippets for discussion and general board praise or derision.
They have Michigan coming in 4th in the B1G, behind OSU, MSU, and Wisconsin. Three players - Funchess, Ryan, and Countess - make All-B1G first team. Same number of players that OSU and MSU have on the first team, with Nebraska having four - Kenny Bell, Amir Abdullah, Randy Gregory and (somewhat surprisingly) LB Michael Rose. For national reference, they list Funchess as the #1 TE in the country, Ryan as the #7 ILB, and Countess as the #6 CB.
Maryland doesn't have anyone but a kicker on that first team, but reading the preview, they may be better than many people believe. For WolvinLA2 who I remember last year saying naming surprise teams too overachieve was lazy, I am naming them my surprise team to overachieve in 2014. They have great options at WR (as Seth has alluded to in earlier posts), a dual-threat fifth-year QB, a decent RB, and an OL that has 5* incoming freshman Damian Prince and a coveted juco transfer coming in to fill potential holes. The Defense is apparently solid, and at least junior-and-senior-laden with five of the top six tackle leaders returning. They were mid-50’s by un-advanced statistical measures in 2013.
But what I found most interesting was the ranking of offensive and defensive units. I will ignore offense because OL ranking (noteworthy though that they have Magnuson as 3rd team B1G), but the defense was interesting. For Michigan, the DL was ranked 5th, LB's 4th, and DB's 2nd (#9 unit nationally). Total score of 11, lowest score wins obvs. MSU is ranked DL 3rd, LB's 7th, and DB's 1st (#3 nationally). Total score of 11. OSU is ranked DL 1st (#1 nationally), LB's a crime against season preview humanity 2nd, and DB's 5th. Total score of 8. That's a pretty generous LB rating, in my opinion, for a unit that has an open question at MLB coming into the season. In the write-up they do excuse this away a bit, saying the LB position in the big is weak overall, who knows how they're going to do. PSU is #4 DL, #3 LB's, and #3 DB's, for a total score of 10.
I think M's DL is going to end up being better than #5, and I think our LB's are a little underrated as well. Of course I think that. But even so, Michigan should expect to have one of the best D's in the B1G next year.
Among coaches on the hot seat nationally, Brady Hoke is listed at #8 (“he sounds and looks the part, but we’re not convinced”); Tim Beckman is listed at #5 and Charlie Weis #6, with Florida's Wil Muschamp taking top honors. Rob Bolden, former PSU quarterback and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s grad, is now playing WR for LSU. Braxton Miller is #3 in the Heisman watch, with Melvin Gordon #8. Iowa sophomore CB Desmond King, by way of Detroit Crockett, is listed as an emerging star and 3rd team All-B1G. No offer from M or finder-of-all-unearthed-gems Sparty. Lindy’s list The Game as being in Ann Arbor this year as an advantage for M, which is a bit of a credibility sapper.