How does Lewan coming back change your expectations for next year?
Adds not only a monster on the line, but some leadership, etc. for the offense. I think this moves the needle in a real way.
Mark it dude.....
I like your style, Dude.
Thank you Donnie
The run game is too big a question mark for me to agree to any 12-0 season. If Michigan can pick up Green, or we see signs that Fitz's leg is back to 100%, then maybe. I don't see any unwinnable games on the schedule, but there are a lot of toss ups based on where the team is today.
Agreed. For me the biggest question mark is now the development of the interior linemen. I was pleased to see that the whole line seemed to improve between OSU and South Carolina. If the new guys can create holes for Derrick Green, the sky's the limit.
Is not yet on our team. But, the #11 RB in the country according to scout is - smith. Sure, I would like to see green go blue as much as anyone, but let's not ignore the 4* guy that has already committed and looks to have had a monster senior year.
Good point. Allow me to amend my original comment to include any freshmen or new contributors (to allow for development of those currently on the roster).
There's always at least one freshman who steps up every year. Please let it be a RB
Basing this strictly off a picture I saw of Kyle Kalis - but he looks massive and ready to be a great player immediately. All reports from his HS days support this. C and the other guard remain question marks, but you hope they can emerge to be par to this year or better.
i was sitting behind the UM bench in Tampa about 9 rows from the field and Kalis was dressed in pads and looked like a beast. he already looks an NFL lineman - seriously. he could barely stuff his arms thorugh the arm holes.
I apologize right from the start. However, you stated if Kelly leaves you really like our chances! DId I miss the ND M game? Was ND the better team on the field? From what I remember of the game, if not for 5 turnovers, with 4 of them in the red zone, we crushed ND. The team mistakes beat Michigan ND did not. Kelly can stay or he can go, ND was severely overrated all season, as we all saw in the NCG.
I don't post often and again I am sorry for this post as I am sure it will get ripped by someone. But looking at the schedule I can see a 12-0 record, however, as someone already stated in another thread, Michigan has been fortunate with injuries. As long as we continue the good luck 12-0 we will be. One or two injuries on the OL and we lose a couple close ones on the road (IE. PSU, Iowa and Northwestern.)
I live in Seattle and of course they never talk about anything Michigan on sports radio but the day of the NCG, the local sports radio cast was picking who was going to win and all picked Alabama. One of the main reason they were picking Bama to kill them is because ND was super lucky this season and is not in the same area code as Bama.....and the main game they were talking about was Michigan ND game. They were saying Michigan should have won, dominated them at home...etc. So, long story short, this is just proving your point even more.
ND just got a lot of breaks this year just like we got a lot of good luck last year, I would even argue we are a step ahead of ND.
12-0 will be real, real tough. Don't forget that our upperclassmen (the few that remain) are holdovers from the RR style. This will be a very young team that I believe will stumble at least once in the regular season, as ND, Nebraska, NW, PSU, and Ohio could all be ranked teams when we play them.
That said, I feel a lot better about going to the B1G Championship game now...and perhaps it will be a rematch with Ohio. I think we are looking at a 10 or 11 win regular season.
Don't be surprised to see Smith force his way onto the field next year, even if Green comes here and Fitz is back. The kid is good, a lot of power to him, with some speed to go along with it.
I think our fans are consistently overlooking Deveon Smith as a possible early contributor. He just had a monster senior year. Green will be a very awesome addition to the class, but we are pinning too much on one recruit. I have seen too many savior RBs come and go (Baraka, Fargas, and McGuffie) and seen many less heralded recruits thrive (Perry, Hart) to simply pencil in Green as the starter.
But your point is a good one. Never get enamored with one guy and ignore the rest of the players who can really help us. But, getting back to the OP, I beleve the key to next season on offense at least is how the center of our OL comes together (or not). Michigan must develop a much stronger inside running game than we've had in recent years.
I think you are spot on. We have too many holes to be filled with players that lack experience to feel confident, including QB. While Devin got a great start on getting experience, behind him are two players who are suspect, Bellomy because we saw him in the Nebraska game and Shane Morris who didn't play much last year due to mono and is a freshman. We have to hope Devin stays healthy.
I stopped counting chickens a few years ago. Anyone think Dee Hart would be relegated to his position on Alabama? Countess, Toussaint, etc......lots of ifs. Green hopefully will choose us and be the second coming, but until I see it, I see potential issues. Ditto for WR.
A couple of teams we play are also pretty good. Ohio, ND, etc.
Lewan staying will be a very big help, but he is only one piece of the puzzle, albeit a big one.
I'd rather be surprised than disappointed.
** I agree Blue-Chip. Schedule is favorable, but hard to predict a 12-0. I would love to see Green sign, and am stoked to have Taylor Lewan back
ND, OSU, and NW on the road don't look much (if any) better than 50-50 as of now, and MSU and PSU on the road and Neb at home are potential trouble. Iowa on the road is usually trouble but they were a MAC level team this year.
The odds of a 0- or 1-loss regular season and conference title look a lot better than they did this time yesterday.
We're going to be better than 12-0?
Or. . .
If Kelly left I think they'd promote Chuck Martin, just like at GVSU. He's 74-7 as a HC. Eek.
Im a GVSU grad and got there in 07, just after the run of championships. I agree Chuck is no where near on the same page as Kelly, he did so well because he still had Kelly's guys on the team but when he started using his own recruited players things started to head downhill from there.
Urban to ND.
No way, the jihadists are more devout in colombus
I still think OSU will be a huge game next year. Notre Dame may also be tough. They lose a lot of players (and if we're lucky they lose Kelly as well, perhaps with even more players and recruits following suit) but as it stands there is still serious talent coming back and a great recruiting class with some serious impact-right-away players.
Other than that....maybe some competitive games between Nebraska, PSU, and MSU, but probably wins there.
I think double digit wins is now much more likely, with 11-1 being my guess and 12-0 being a real possibility.
I am no OSU apologist; I hate them, just to be clear. Having said that, they too won 12 games last year. Like ND, those wins were lucky in some cases, good breaks in others, and poor competition pretty much across the board. Having said that, there is something to be said for going 12-0. OSU won't be a roll over game. I think it will be highly contested, a potential paring of two 11 win teams. OSU's schedule is just as flimzy as Michigan's next year. It will be interesting to see how the season shapes up.
I for one think that Taylor's contribution could potentially account for .6777777 of a win next year. Yeah, that much.
No, but not having four first year starters on the line just might.
I think you have to look at what Lewan's return means in the grand scheme of the offense.
Had Lewan left, UM would probably have to replace him with Schofield. Either Braden or Magnuson takes the RT position, and then you're counting on Kalis and either Bryant/Byrzinski/Bars to produce at the OG positions, with Miller at C. That might work, but what if those interior line prospects don't produce like we're hoping? What if we have an injury or two in there?
WIth Lewan returning, we have all the above players, plus Schofield who is proven at both RT and OG. So you not only have two OL positions solidified, plus another body worth of depth, but you have more flexibility in case of an injury or performance issue.
Agree about two, but I'll say he's worth a win next year.
Looking at WAR wrong Lewan could change their record on the margins 2 wins without being worth 2 wins.
Probably will lose 1 or 2 to any of Notre Dame, at State (always seems to be close whether we'd care to admit it or not), Nebraska and Ohio. Given the state of those 4 program though, that's about as well as that could be scheduled.
I think it depends a ton on if a) Devin continues to improve and b) if we have a running game at all. If we can run the ball again and Devin gets a smidge better, bada-bing bada-boom
Now I expect the left side of the line to play better than I had previously expected.
Just like with Jake Long, 3rd and 1 is going to be a run left...then again with Borges...?
I don't think it's ever wise to predict 12-0, you don't have to be good to go 12-0 you have to be both good and have some things (unpredictable things, I might add) fall your way. Consider Ohio State, in 120 whatever odd years they've only done it 6 times, so, it's rare. Even dynasty Alabama had 1 loss in each of the past two seasons.
*steps off soapbox*
I was previously thinking 8-4/9-3 and this bumps it up to 10-2 in my opinion.
Being 13-0 = YES...playing Alabama or another undefeated/1 loss SEC team = No thanks
Really? If we get to the NCG I don't care who we play. I think we can hang with anyone next year. Go Blue.
Considering that we've never got to see UM play on the BCS era NCG, I would be beyond excited. Idgaf WHO we'd be playing.
I think that's pretty fair, I'm most excited to watch Gardner's progression at QB.
the only teams that would be on our level next year are Ohio and ND. The possible losses would come with ND, Ohio, PSU, and MSU, and I guess NW. ND was massively overrated this year, and we only lost because of turnovers, plus we play them at home. Ohio, maybe about the same, with the weak schedule, and us almost beating them, and we also play them at home. I would imagine playing at PSU could be tough, but they are simply feeling the sanctions too much to win (their defensive coordinator is gone, too). MSU always plays us tough, but next year they lose most of their functional components, and the replacement they have is low. Nebraska went down hard at the Big House last time, their personnel/coaching is no better than it was, and we should have won this year, except the Denard thing. Northwestern is better than it was, but it still can't seem to get over the hump of beating good good teams, and their low attendance means we might have a Michigan crowd there. By the law of averages, if say we have like a 66-75% chance to win all those games, I guess that means we lose one or two, with probably Ohio the obvious one. Of the others, I say MSU could be harder than we imagine, maybe PSU at home. The rest I think are fairly likely to be wins. So, a solid 10-2 next year.
Not visiting at all? Or just not visiting this weekend?
Well, one thing is now certain: we know who one of the captains will be.
Lewan is worth 12 wins alone
The rest of our studly team is worth 1 win
Coaching staff is worth 1 win
Yep, you guessed it, National Champs!
I am not excited and delirious at all that Lewan is staying.
Directly affects it, honestly. Our defense looks to be just fine, and might improve next year, but our offense is a question mark with the passing and run game incosistancies from 2012, and losing Denards rushing yards. Taylor should be an anchor next year for the offense and provide major stability for young Kalis who'll probably line up next to him. Devin should have the safest pocket in the B1G next year, and our running backs i'm sure are pretty happy to hear he's coming back too.
11-1. We start out with a W, somehow lose to ND because of our young defense and RB (assuming Green here), then run the table with an exciting Gameday presentation WIN over Ohio.
EDIT: Wait, the ND game is UTL.... hmmm. @PSU or @Iowa?
Young defense? We return all but Floyd, Demens, Campbell, Roh, and Kovacs. There's massive depth now too.
Tackle was probably the strongest line position going into the season, now it's up there with the top units in the country. We still have major questions on the interior line that this doesn't address. Miller, Kalis, and one of the others need to be ready and really good to beat Notre Dame. We also need Funchess and one of the receivers to become quality starters to approach an undefeated level of play on offense.
On defense, we need to get pressure with four rushers, Countess needs to come back really strong, and all of the rising sophomore starters need to pan out to approach an elite defense.
To beat OSU and maybe Notre Dame, we'll need to be excellent on offense and defense. I think we're a 9-10 win team, losing one or both of those games and allowing for a loss to Nebraska or some other yet to be seen upset. That said, this is probably Hoke's best team yet, with a serious run in 2014 possible.
There's no doubt in my mind that 2013's interior line will be better than 2012's.
I think we've got a solid shot at 10-2 next year and the Capital One Bowl at least. I think we'll lose to Northwestern (Fitzgerald is on the verge of a major breakthrough with his team, and that option will continue to give the defense fits), and 1 other loss will come somewhere against MSU, OSU and ND.
I feel much better now knowing that Gardner's blindside is safe.
What I think will really make or break the offensive line now is how much of a road grader Kyle Kalis/Chris Bryant/Braden/Magnuson can be in their first year of play. You can't say anything but good things about our previous linemen as people -- solid citizens, worked hard and gave everything they got. However, if we can conjure up two interior lineman that have a meaner streak geared towards a power running game, MIchigan can really have something going. I really believe it can be the difference between 8-5 and 11-2. That's how subpar the line looked to me at least in terms of power run blocking. If the cards line up right, I really think next year can be special.
Huge change! My expectation for next year was hoping to win at least our half of the Big Ten next year with an expectation we should win at least our half in 2014. Taylor Lewan (and the awesome leadership he demonstrates) bumps me to thinking we are likley to win at least our half of the Big Ten.
I see the biggest risks to next year as O-line, big step up for Devin Gardner, need healthy Blake Countess and need Jarrod Wilson or Marvin Robinson to be solid at safety. If those four happen we could be excellent in 2013 instead of just pretty good.
Lewan returning dramatically raises both the floor on possible O-line performance and raises the possibility the O-line could be pretty darn good next year from zero to 50-50 or so. Still risk with 3 new O-line starters, but it looks a whole lot better.
Doesn't change my expectations at all, I had 12-0 from day one. Now we shall win the twelve games by a slightly higher margin.
Anything less would be a disappointment.
You do realize they just lost the the vast majority of there total offense, right? So where do you expect the yards and points to come from? From Fitz who's leg just got snapped in half like a twig and wasn't able to produce anything this last season? or the extremely shallow wide receiver corpse? I think you should probably lower your expectations a little. We should get excited in a couple years when the depth is actually there.
Their, I said it.
"We" should be excited every year.
Yes, in a realistic manner.
Please name a team on our schedule that we can't beat? Going 12-0 with our schedule is definitely realistic.
We can beat every team on our schedule. We also could lose 5 games. Going 12-0 is almost never "realistic."
A BIG BLUE WORLD salute. Thanks to you we're smelling the roses.
It definitly improves depth on the offensive line. The defense should be solid next season. With all the recruits and the returning players im actually very optimistic for next season. We return everything on special teams plus Gardner returns. Honestly our only issues next season are secondary, running backs, and offensive line
11-2 after beating OHIO twice!!!!
This makes me feel a lot better about our QB depth. Devin's jersey will stay a whole lot cleaner now.
i don't see us winning more than 9.. unless we have big time playmakers show up on offense.. We can't pass it to gallon every play, and our offense is generally way too predictable..
Our D, will prob not be able to stop NW again.. We will lose to OSU, and could lose the ND, or a few other games.. ND returns most of their line.. Gardner should be in trouble most of that game.. specially if we have no running game
We were in winnable positions in every game except Alabama last year. Geez man, it's not like we got our ass kicked the entire year. Look what the offense did against a legitimate top 10 SEC defense in the bowl. Combined with an easier schedule, we should be much better.
NW, isn't Coulter gone now?
A five star senior qb should be a big time playmaker after a summer to, you know, actually play qb
Better protection for Devin is always nice. Gives Magnuson one more year to bulk up and learn, then come out and kick ass as a RS Soph.
I expect the line to look like this:
I like a lot that both our tackles are 5th year seniors, and the rest of the line is relatively young, but should be able to hold their own.
12-0, are you insane? 9-3 is realistc.
12-0 exists in some sort of fantastical land devoid of realism, or something.
Here is realistic:
On offense, we have a quarterback, two offensive linemen, one 5'6'' wideout, and an up and coming tight end. We have a bunch of really young guys trying to fill in on the interior of our O-Line with not really much knowledge of whether they will be better or worse than the fairly maligned guys who just left. Our wide receivers outside of Jeremy Gallon are complete unknowns. The running backs that we have are not very good, so much so, that we are praying to be rescued by a guy who hasn't even committed yet, let alone stepped on campus.
Our offense is a few good pieces and a whole lotta these: ?
All of this is of course assuming no one of significance gets injured, and we all know how that worked out this past season.
I could go on about the defense, but the point is, 12-0 teams generally don't have this many question marks coming into the season. I know the Big Ten isn't very good, but it's not like we've been shredding through it the past few years.
"12-0 teams generally don't have this many question marks coming into the season."
I can name two this past season: ND and OSU. 9-3 would be pretty disappointing given the schedule.
Notre Dame had the perfect storm of other teams collapsing and/or completely falling apart at the right time, lack of injuries, and calls, OH GOD, the calls.
That type of season is not replicable.
I agree ND will not duplicate luck, but teams get lucky bounces every year. As an obvious skeptic did you expect 11-2 last season? 9-3 is decent, however there just aren't enough teams more talented on the schedule to warrant 3 losses. Everyone seems to be mixing the idea of beating obviously bad teams, and winning MAYBE 3 challenging games. That's more than enough reason to see 12-0 as a real possibility. ND loses key defensive players, returns a shaky qb, and possibly loses a coach. Ohio is legitimately a toss up, and Nebraska at home favors Michigan. Sparty will have no offensive weapons or offensive line. I understand managing expectations, but Michigan might not be a dog in any games next season
The 11-2 team overperformed and this year's team underperformed. I think 9-3 is a pretty good baseline.
People are already marking MSU in EL as a guaranteed W, which is completely and totally ridiculous, even if they have lost a lot of talent.
Nebraska, Ohio State, and Notre Dame can all state that they are better than we are, and it would be hard to argue against them.
Penn State has a good team, and would have been a tough game this year. I don't know what their team will look like next year, but we're going to have to go to Happy Valley which is a tough place to play.
All I'm saying is, if you're going down Michigan schedule and marking all of these games as easy Ws, you're not being very reasonable.
We have 5 very losable games on our schedule.
NW will be a tough game next year as well, and it's not like they were an easy out this year.
That said, IF the O-line can get their act together, I think double-digit regular season wins is very attainable. Gallon, Funchess, and Dileo are reliable targets, and I expect some of our sophomores to step-up.
Hayes and Rawls will probably take big steps forward (they need to) and Darboh and Chesson will be better. If we get good blocking and decent RB play, and a sophomore WR steps up, the sky is the limit.
That's a lot of "IFs". 9-3 or 10-2 seem most likely; 11-1 possible; 12-0 and 8-4 seem like outliers to me.
You forget one thing: BIGGG TEENNN!
The conference sucks. Maybe it won't suck as bad next year, but anything can happen.
I could go on about the defense, but the point is, 12-0 teams generally don't have this many question marks coming into the season.
Actually, they often do. ND had a new QB this season. Ohio had a new coach and rebuilding defense and was coming off a 6-7 season. Our 1997 team had four new starters on the OL. Pretty much every team in the country has question marks. National championship teams happen to have guys who step up at the right time.
OK, but the key words are "generally" and "this."
Also, there is a huge difference between 4 new O-Line starters, and 3 new O-Line starters, an entire receiving corps minus a 5'6'' guy, the entire running back corps, nearly the entire secondary, and half the D-Line.
My main point though is that it is insane to expect 12-0. This year's Alabama team did not go 12-0. Last year's Bama team did not go 12-0. The 2009 Florida squad, which if I recall correctly some group attempted to track the best football teams of the past 20 years and rated them number 1 overall, did not go 12-0.
Expecting 12-0 is generally dumb. Hoping for 12-0 is fine, but everyone does that every single season, so it's kind of moot.
Are you under the assumption that if you keep calling Gallon 5'6" then that will make it true? Does this work for you in other avenues of life?
I love the mighty mite, but if you think Jeremy Gallon is 5'8'', I've got a bridge to sell you.
He's 5'8" and can jump higher than 6'2" guys.
That doesn't change the fact that he's still not ideal for this offense, as talented as he may be.
Jumping is one thing, but using your body to shield the defender from the ball on slants and out routes is something a 5'8'' player just can't do as effectively as a bigger receiver. Smaller body, shorter arms, smaller target.
Even if he can out jump people, a 5'8'' guy basically has to out jump a 6'2'' guy by 8 or 9 inches just to break even with height and arm length taken into account.
TheLastHoke I'm completely with you man, I don't know what the hell everybody's thinking. Has everybody forgot that injuries happen during the course of the season. So it Gallon goes down, where is the depth at receiver? There is no way that they are going 12-0. Maybe if they're lucky the following year and they answer a lot of questions next season, but until then I haven't drank the Kool Aid.
Jeremy Gallon had 829 yards receiving last year. Your "we only have a 5-8 receiver so we're going to be terrible" argument would be more valid if said receiver hadn't already proved he can be a productive college football player. We're going to have Gallon starting on one side and probably the winner of Chesson/Darboh on the other side. Add in Dileo in the slot and a potential breakout year from Funchess and we have a potentially very productive passing attack.
I actually agree with you about the seeming overly optimistic statements many here are making (winning 10 games is really, really hard even when we were uber talented 8-4 or 9-3 is still more likely), but you're undercutting your argument by dismissing Jeremy Gallon as merely a "5-8 receiver"
I'm not saying that we're going to be terrible. I just stated that our wide receiving is corps has two knowns (Gallon and Dileo), and a bunch of unknowns. Both of our knowns are undersized, and Gallon is not playing his ideal position. So based on that, it's probably not safe to assume that it will be a group capable of playing 12-0 football.
Is there anything wrong with that?
Gallon is good, but there's no denying that he's not in an ideal spot.
Let me put it to you this way, seeing as there is so much confusion with regard to this matter.....
There is a concept that's been around forever, but I think Bill Simmons coined a phrase for it.
The "Table Test."
In other words, what do you bring to the table (good attributes), and what do you take off the table (bad attributes)?
A perfect example of this for football would be Adrian Peterson in 2008. He ran for 1700 yards and 10 TDs, but he fumbled a ridiculous 9 times. So while you acknowledge the good (1700 yards, 10 TDs), you can't ignore the bad (9 fumbles).
I'm not denying that Gallon brings a lot to the table, but a lot of you are simply glossing over the things that Gallon takes off the table, and not only that, but you're basically admonishing me for even bringing those things up.
I'm not being debbie downer. I'm being, "Hey, we're probably not going to go 12-0" guy.
Gallon is 5' 8" and Dileo is 5' 10". Then we have the Funch, Jackson, Darboh, Chesson, all well over 6' IIRC.
My point was that the receivers that are known quantities (Gallon and Dileo) are extremely undersized, and the rest are question marks.
If we are going to be a pro-style passing offense, having tiny receivers isn't ideal, and the receivers we have that fit the mold, are complete unknowns. That's not to say that they can't be good, but probably not 12-0 good.
how that's worked out for him. Wes Welker? Naw man, you're too short. I am only going to throw it to the tall receivers.
Good god, could you possibly misconstrue my point any worse?
You realize Welker plays in the slot, right? Gallon plays on the outside. If we ran a passing spread and Gallon played in the slot, like Welker does, that would be ideal.
My point wasn't Gallon can't play, just that he isn't ideal for this offense in his present role.
There is a reason Welker plays in the slot. You should ask Tom Brady why that is.
I agree with your premise that it is unwise to "expect" a flawed football team to go 12-0, but I don't think the comparison with 2012 Alabama is persuasive. This past season, the B1G was the worst I've ever seen it (though in fairness, the ACC and Big XII were also as bad as I've ever seen those leagues, and I'm not sure I bothered to watch a Big East game all season). Not only do I think Alabama would have gone undefeated against a B1G schedule this season, but I doubt any B1G team would have seriously challenged them.
I haven't seen any reason to expect that the B1G will return to historical levels of football competence in 2013. Indeed, with Wisconsin losing its HC, the continued erosion of the talent bases at MSU and Penn St., and with Nebraska failing to keep pace in the recruiting wars, the distinct trend appears to be in the direction of a return to a Big 2 and Little 8 (or 10 or 12) scenario.
It seems to me that this is what is driving the 12-0 predictions--the strength of Michigan's personnel relative to the schedule. Put 2013 Michigan in the SEC, or in the 2009 Big Ten, and they probably are an 8-4, 9-3 type of unit. But in the 2013 B1G, with all their most difficult games at home, and a12-0 finish is realistic for Michigan. Still unlikely, IMO, but realistic.
The Big Ten was the worst you've ever seen, and yet Michigan still lost 2 games in that worst ever Big Ten conference, nearly dropped a third to MSU, a forth to Northwestern, and avoided 2 of the better teams in Penn State and Wisconsin.
Just like you're going down the schedule, pointing out all of the flaws of teams like Nebraska, MSU, PSU, or OSU, and marking them off as Ws, they're going down their schedules, pointing out all of Michigan's flaws, and marking us off as a W.
Those flaws being (and I'm trying to look at things from their perspective, not my own)...
- A Quarterback with a lot of talent, who can be inconsistent, and looks totally lost at times.
- A complete and total lack of a running back or a running game, outside of Denard, who is no longer with the team.
- A complete lack of wide receivers outside of Gallon, who is extremely undersized and playing out of position on the outside, rather than his natural position as a slot guy.
- A TE, that while amazing, is used sparsely and is generally only in the game when Michigan plans on throwing the ball.
- An offensive line that has one super-awesome-amazing-guy, one competent to good guy, and a bunch of heralded freshman/sophomores who haven't played.
- A defense that lost a lot of key contributors in Kovacs, Demens, Roh, Floyd and Will.
- A cornerbacking corps that was absolutely torched by South Carolina, whose best player is coming off of an ACL tear.
- A defensive line that is replacing 2 of 4 starters, with one solid guy in QWash, and no real proven pass rushers.
So while we do have a lot of undenaibly strong areas we also have a lot of question marks, about as many as any of the other top teams in the conference.
The fact is, realistically there are only two or three teams that could conceivably be favored against Michigan next season (barring disastrous injury/attrition issues). There won't be any games where UM is a decided underdog (like Alabama this year).
When UM went 12-0 in 1997, we had to play at least seven ranked teams (CU, ND, State, Penn St., Ohio, Iowa, Wash St.), including #1 Penn St. on the road and 1- loss Washington State in the Rose Bowl. Times have changed; to go 12-0 in 2013 requires no such feat of mastery.
"The fact is, realistically there are only two or three teams that could conceivably be favored against Michigan next season (barring disastrous injury/attrition issues)."
That's true of basically every team in the top 25.
Right, and that's why we see so many more teams going 11-1, 10-2 these days. When the schedule hands you 9 or 10 wins, you don't have to exceed expectations by that much to reach 12-0--especially if the games in which you are not favored aren't against an Alabama or other dreamkiller.
I guess, after seeing so many 11- and 12-win seasons out of flawed B1G teams in recent years, I just don't see any reason why UM can't do it in 2013. If and when the league gets back to having four or five real good teams, then I think it will again require a truly complete team to run the table.
Quit dismissing Gallon as that guy who's 5'6". He looks like an All-B1G receiver based on what he did this year. Have you missed all the jump balls he's come down with in the past couple of years? Gallon is a huge matchup problem, because he's too strong for waterbug DBs (and has the aforementioned rocket boots), and is too quick for big, physical corners. Do we need another guy with the ability to stretch the field vertically so the safeties aren't always rolling over to Gallon? Sure. But he looks like a legit number one receiver to me.
Oh, and he also blocks like a son of a bitch.
When have I dismissed him?
I've said he's good, ridiculously talented, but playing out of position and doesn't have the ideal size to play on the outside. How many times must I repeat myself?
As far as being an All Big Ten receiver, that's not saying much these days. BIIIIIGGGG TEEENNNNN BURRRRRN! OH!
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Again, in what sense is he playing out of position? Would he be more dangerous as a slot? Maybe, though maybe that would limit his big-play potential somewhat. Regardless, he was extremely effective as a wideout this year. So whether he'd be marginally better at slot or not, it doesn't really matter, because he's a great player where he is. Doesn't matter how tall he is.
in my NCAA '13 dynasty, my O-line of Lewan/Bryant/Miller/Kails/Schofield is dominant. Just sayin'. 'Run left' is the main mantra. A calling card, if you will.
9-3 or 10-2 next year.
Ask me again after we know if Green is going Blue and we know if Toussaint is going to be back, and if Miller puts on the weight he needs, and if Kalis looks good in Spring ball, and Bryant isn't carrying a lot of bad weight in August...
Lewan back could be huge, but only if Kalis, Bryant and Miller are real upgrades at guard and center, and a RB treat actually emerges. Otherwise, all Lewan returning is going to do is allow Gardner a little more time to run around before he is sacked. No run game = Death, and Lewan and Schofield can't block everybody.
I was 8-4 before, and I'm 8-4 until I see some evidence that we can produce more than 2ypc on the ground without Denard.
We can't be much worst at Center blocking wise than last year. Can't really fault Mealer though, he was put on the spot. And Miller was still too small. And Omameh wasn't that impressive thus year either.
Sans Denard, our run game was non-existent. We need much more than "can't be worse". We need leaps and bounds better. That means big time improvements at center and guard. Do Miller, Kalis, Bryant, Braden (freeing Schofield to move back to guard) have the potential to be big improvements? Absolutely. But it's way to soon to tell. What we do know is we have a more favorable schedule but the loss of Denard's production on the ground. We could be good, but if we can't do a lot better than 2ypc, we're done for.
Everything. Everything is changed.
If those golden clowners can fumble there way into the BCS championship then I got to believe Michigan has a pretty good shot to run the table.
i think taylor thinks we can get it done next year. i don't think he stays otherwise. if he's all in, i'm all in. 14-0.
You're delusional. Is Taylor going to play safety? Is he going to play cornerback if Blake's knee isn't 100 percent? Is he going to be the pass rusher that they were missing all year? The deep threat at wide receiver? or the consistent every down running back that they haven't had for a full season in the last 5 years? There are just way too many questions to think this team can go undefeated.
But I'm not sure what else Jeremy Gallon has to do to prove to you he's a deep threat.
I'll go back on the Gallon statement, he is a deep threat. What I should have said is the lack of depth at wide receiver.
Between Chris Bryant, Kyle Kalis, and Ben Braden, 2 need to be the mountainous donkey riders that they are hyped up to be. If this happens, I don't care if Drake Johnson is our running back we will be in position to win every game we play.
I know the coaches are high on Bryant and Braden, hope Bryant is healthy enough to play in spring ball
Hello Michael Ferns!!!!!!!
Hello Michael Ferns!!!,
I thought 9-3 and I still think 9-3 (I picked 8-4 last year). At this point in time, who the hell knows. Let's see how the recruiting class ends up and how we look in the spring game. Alabama has been a power house for the last 2 years and they couldn't go 12-0. On the other hand, Ohio and ND had good, but not great teams and they both went 12-0, it takes a little bit of luck (but, you cannot predict luck).
Having said that, I am glad as hell that Lewan came back and we will be a better team because of it.
i think the interior lineman will have to play stronger than they did this year. we need a running back that is a game changer (green hopefully?). we need to see if gardner can play to the best of his abilities. we need funchess to step up and have a good season. im expecting kalis to step up and play great. i'm not sure about 12-0 but i sure smell the roses.
One, it sends a clearer message to Derrick Green that the offensive line will be pretty stout. Second it will help the redshirt freshman learn faster and hopefully they take on Lewan's attitude. Establishing a good running game will help control games and keep other offenses off the field. Great teams run the ball. Exciting teams throw it all over hell and win nothing. This is a huge step for offense.
I thought they were going to win the BCSNCG without him. Now I'm pretty sure they will win the Super Bowl.
One massive question mark became substantially smaller in the O-line. The O-line is everything, just ask Alabama.
We should have a better O-line than we did this season if any of our 2012 recruits are in the ballpark of their rankings given their size, and we should have a much more effective backfield as well.
I never saw anything special in any of our 2012 running backs except Rawls in garbage time, they all seem to lack vision, patience and any kind of elusiveness. 2013 on the other hand brings some interesting possibilites. Norfleet is a bigger, meaner, faster version of V Smith, which puts him at Sproles potential.
I've been excited about Drake Johnson for a long time, and Hoke has been talking about him as well. Concerns about WR? Throw Johnson out there, 6' - 6-1 200 lbs and a record breaking hurdler in high school. Now we have a vertical threat to go with our massive possesion recievers and athletic tight ends.
I personally prefer Deveon Smith over Derrick Green based on the film I've seen, but having both can only improve our backfield by leaps and bounds.
Robinson was great but he wasn't going to beat you with his arm, which only made it tougher on the run game.
As stated by others, our defense should be better than it was in 2012, and our schedule is favorable.
ND and OSU are both in A2 - they are gimmies imo. ND should have been a win this season and they are losing talent/coming to the big house. OSU should have been a win also, they squeeked by a lot of mediocre teams and do not/will not have any kind of defense to worry about.
TL:DR Lewan is critical piece, given the rest of the picture. We aren't good enough to expect to run the table, but it isn't out of the question at all.
ND and OSU gimmies? Come on man....
Done deal. Mark it down.
I'm more concerned with Sparty in EL, and I think Michigan will drop the ball on the road against either NW or PSU.
I don't think U of M has the talent to go through the all the twists and turns to run the table, but it is possible to get all the breaks your way. 2011 proved that for us (sorta) and 2012 for ND until Bama just Bama'd them
As for ND and Ohio, we should have beaten both on the road, and comparatively we get stronger AND at home, AND they don't have (imo) the defense Sparty has. +Hoke gets us prepared for the rivalry games big time.
Fret no more about those two in 2013.
I'm not so sure our problems at WR can be solved by simply "throw[ing] Drake Johnson out there." I mean, he does have a cool name, but that's only half the position. He also needs to be able to make good post-snap reads, run crisp routes, get separation from DBs, catch the ball in traffic, etc. Is there any evidence that he can do all that stuff? Jerald Robinson couldn't do it and he played the position for 3+ seasons.
(Then again, Jerald Robinson isn't a very exciting name).
Please let's not start this again. The #1 jersey has been way more trouble than its worth and now we just have the problem of no one being good enough. Just give it out like any other number with the expectation that the player is going to work his ass off to live up to the legacy of the number. That's what should happen with all the legacy numbers. The #1 scholarship by Braylon was one of the worst things to happen to jerseys since the conception of the Nike Ducks.
100% agree. Endowing a scholarship is great, but tying it to your own number isn't.
And up for a "successful" season.*
*must beat Ohio
9 - 3 with a win v. ohio. So who did we lose to ? A win v. ohio gets us to 11 -1 in my mind (and we will not lose to nd) ... I could see a stumble on the road somewhere - but Hoke keeps his perfect record in Michigan Stadium.
We finish the regular season 11-1, beat OSU for the 2nd time in 2 weeks in the B1GCG, get snubbed for the BCSNCG, and win the Rose Bowl.
with a running back. 8-4 without....
Too many unproven players at key positions to go higher.
Predicting 12-0 is what a reliable precentage of fans of top-20 teams do each year. It's as predictable as the changing of the seasons.
I think 10 wins is attainable, bowl practices probably helped alot of the younger guys especially those RS O-linemen. I think given Devin's passing ability, he should be able to keep defenses from putting 8 in the box, which should help our RB's regardless of who they are. Defensive line should improve marginally, Linebackers will be awesome as they have been for the past two seasons. Secondary could be a weakpoint, but if Countess returns and Taylor improves upon 2012 it could be solid going into BIG play. WR is the one spot where I think we really need someone to step up. Teams are going to realize that Gallon and Dileo are solid and will probably focus on stopping them. If we can get Chesson or Darboh going in the pass game it may keep UM from relying on a 5'7" and 5'10" WR for most of the season. And Funchess has got to get more touches.
...being protected is as impactful as the leadership he will leave behind for Kalis and the rest of the up-and-comers..
i would expect no less. Also a fan of cass tech midget cbs I'm sure
tough games: ND, @MSU, NE, @NU, OSU. I'm thinking 3 to 5 wins!
moderate games: @PSU, @IA, MN. We should win these games
Easy wins: CMU, Akron, @CONN, IU, need I say more!
I think Lewan picks us up 2 more of the tough games. As long as we beat sparty and NE we should win the legends! I could see us going 10-2, 11-1 and possibly 12-0. I think going undefeated is more realistic this season due to an easier schedule and home games against ND, NE and OSU.
Previously I was thinking more in the 9-3 to 10-2 season record. Now with Lewan I'll go 11-1 since it is difficult running the table to go undefeated! We are a few years away from being a totally dominate team.
You have MN (Minnesota) in the moderate category. I'm curious as to why you think they will present any challenge at all. UM stomped them in Minneapolis this season in Devin's first career start and I expect will have little trouble pounding them in Ann Abor in 2013. I actually think the UConn game will be more competitive than the Minnesota game---although UM should beat the Huskies as well. Other than that I agree with your assessent as far as easy games, moderate games and tough games.
Perhaps because Jerry kill is a decent coach and if a few plays had broke different (fake field goal that had us beat til the throw was atrocious, DG yakity sax TD) the Minnesota game could have been a much bigger struggle than it was.
Personally I'd move PSU to the middle category (they're going to suck, but that will be a hyped up game for them) and I'd keep everything else the same. Sparty and ND could present a tough game simply because they are rivalry games that are usually tough games.
Next fall's MSU team will be down a peg or two from the 2012 version. Ditto ND, which we get under the lights. Nebraska -- a team Michigan thrashed in 2011 and would have beaten in 2012, barring injury-fest -- performs poorly on the road. And NW seems to perform most poorly when much is expected of it. I think it's reasonable expect M to win 3 out of 4. Overall, I see 10-2. Worst case: 9-3. Rose Bowl berth depending on the OSU outcome. Normalcy, restored.
Perhaps Denard will announce he's coming back as well, in which case we'll go 13-(-1) or 14-(-2).
This can be a very talented team, lets hope miller really pans out as center as that was and still is my biggest position concern on the offensive line
I don't know what kind of Kool Aid everybody's drinkin on here, but I do not see them going 12-0. There are definitely some question marks on the defense, let alone the offense. When I was 20 I would have said definitely going undefeated, but then you grow up and become a realist. They are still 2 years away from playing at an elite level. Best case scenario 9-3 and hopefully competing for a big 10 title. Nebraska's offense is going to be something to be reckoned with, it's going to be all on what their defense can do.
A guys at the end of the Indiana game the last year of Rich Rods tenure told me there was no way that Michigan was not going to win a national championship that year. I laughed and said, "did you not just see that defense? Good luck living in that fantasy world." Some people just don't want to see what's right in front of them.
I can't get on board with that. I'm older too, and I hope more realistic, but to say 9-3 is the best case is just getting downright stodgy.
The DG-led offense demonstrated serious potential, even with the worst interior O-line at Michigan in many, many years. If our line gets to even average Michigan levels--and with Lewan back I think it will be even better than average--than our offense should be able to produce points. Why:
- DG is an extremely efficient player. He may lack consistent accuracy, but he excellent at scrambling for the first down and our 3rd down conversion rate with him at QB was amazing.
- Gallon should be All-B1G next year.
- Funchess should catch 30 balls next year, and is probably good for 8 TDs or so.
- Dileo is a reliable slot threat who was used well once DG took over at QB.
- Hayes and Rawls will have an off-season to battle for the starting RB job. I do believe one of them will emerge as a solid option. Both have talent and will get a steady diet of carries. Adding Deveon Smith to the mix also encouraging; Derrick Green would be amazing. My point is that I do NOT believe our RBs will have a terrible 2013
- Darboh and Chesson should contribute; Al Borges has a history of getting production out of his WRs no matter who they are. Both these guys are talented and should produce something next year.
- DEFENSE. I don't see many question marks. You never return 11 starters. Sure, we are losing 5, but only one of those players (Kovacs) is concerning, and there were NO other seniors on the two-deep. If we can find an adequate replacement at safety--and I believe we can--our defense should be substantially upgraded. Heitzman, Bolden/Ross, Countess, and even Jarrod Wilson are all athletically superior to the guys they replace, and BWC was really just a rotational player this year already. Black, Henry, Godin, Pipkins, etc should have no trouble replacing him. The Defense is likely to be better in 2013.
So what I'm saying is that a better defense and a much easier schedule might not be enough to get us to 12-0, but to say 9-3 is the ceiling after going 8-4 against a far tougher schedule is obnoxiously pessimistic. I think 9-10 wins should be the expectation, with 11 a pleasant surprise and 8 a terrible mess. 12 wins is an outlier, IMO, but so is 8.
Going back to 1969—a span of 43 seasons—we have had 21 years of 8 wins or less in the regular season. That's just a bit under 50%.
In that same time span of 43 seasons, we have had all of 2 in which we were undefeated and untied—11-0 in 1971, and 12-0 in '97.
You're right that 12-0 is an outlier, but unfortunately 8-win seasons have been surprisingly commonplace.
As M fans contemplate their team's chances for 2013, thoughts of 12-0 often arise. And why not? Anything can happen. In fact, it could all hinge on four game situations:
First, M won't start the season against the BCS champion. Second, against ND Golson might throw 4 ints (and a RB throw one more), thus ensuring an M victory. Against NE a banged-up Martinez might have to leave the game and be replaced by an struggling RS freshman, ensuring yet another victory. In the final, tightly fought game, with two stout Ds controlling the second half, M's two FGs would provide the only second-half scoring and the winning margin against Ohio.
I mean, this stuff has happened before, and can happen again. 12-0 is out there. Never give up hope!
.....and world peace.
I'm less a football expert than most here, but have consistently predicted closer to our actual season-end WLs than most, the record will show. People just tend to be wildly optimistic about what it takes. Nine and three would be great for me next year, with better to come.
I agree with you, I feel that some just tend to be delusional. Taylor's not going to fix the question marks at safety, cornerback, rush end, running back and wide receiver depth.
completely unsettled. I think we're as talented as anyone we play, regular season. But all kind of stuff happens.
Some early thoughts on our O-line
C- Miller, but Kugler will challenge
RG- Schofield vs Bryant
RT- Braden vs Magnuson, Schofield moving inside increases our athleticism
How long until practice starts..too long!
That's not a bad looking line. We might just have some running lanes on the left side of the offense...
I'm curious why you think coaches will move Schofield to guard? I have been assuming he would be our right tackle next year again with Braden or Bryant taking the guard spot.
real competence from the center position? (Asking, not trying to sound smart.) Expressed my curiousity about this above. . .
I have also heard a lot of this Schofield to guard talk on the MGoBlog. But i can't say that I have heard it anywhere else. Do we have a reason to think this will be a thing, or is it just a lot of hopeful speculation.
Don't get me wrong, it would be great if Braden is good enough to unseat Schofield, but I'm just not entirely certain its going to happen. Although that would give us a pretty mean left side--*cough*cough* Derrick Green *Cough*Cough*
Too many people are just writing off Fitz. Granted, he had a forgettable season. But he came in late -- his own fault, yes -- and was running behind a very meh line that didn't open many holes for any other backs, either. And then, of course, the leg. But he's shown himself to be a very good back in the right circumstances. And I expect he'll come back very hungry. That's assuming he heals properly, of course. But there's no reason to assume he won't. I'm excited about a running game that includes Lewan, Fitz, and Green/Smith.
At least not until mid season and Fitz has to recover, so u don't see him getting better until late in the season.
As much as I hate saying this, because I've been extremely high on Fitz going back to before he even stepped on campus, but there is a very real chance his amazing string of games last season was a mirage.
His success basically came as a direct result of teams totally focusing on shutting down Denard, and basically allowing Fitz to beat them.
If you go back and look at Denard's rushing stats in the games Fitz went off on people, they're generally pretty pedestrian, and vice versa.
Here is that monster stretch at the end of the year for Fitz....
Purdue: 20 carries - 170 yards - 8.5 ypc
Iowa: 16 - 58 - 3.6
Illinois: 27 - 192 - 7.1
Nebraska: 29 - 138 - 4.8
Ohio: 20 - 120 - 6
Here were Denard's stats in those same games....
Purdue: 15 - 63 - 4.3
Iowa: 12 - 55 - 4.6
Illinois: 12 - 30 - 2.5
Nebraska: 23 - 83 - 3.6
Ohio: 26 - 170 - 6.5
Here are the games Denard went off on people early in 2011......
Notre Dame: 16- 108 - 6.8
Eastern: 26 - 198 - 7.6
SDSU: 21 - 200 - 9.5
Minn: 6 - 51 - 8.5
NW: 25 - 117 - 4.7
Here are Fitz's numbers from those same games.....
Notre Dame: Didn't play.
Eastern: 11 - 46 - 4.2
SDSU: 13 - 67 - 5.2
Minn: 11 - 108 - 9.8
NW: 14 - 25 - 1.8
So while that doesn't necessarily tell the whole story, you can see a pattern emerge. I'm not saying Fitz is bad or anything, but I think it's pretty plain to see that his success was a direct result of teams opting to let him do his thing and focus on shutting down Denard. The only game where he and Denard really went off in the same game was against OSU.
This past year it felt like teams decided to focus exclusively on shutting Fitz down, while letting Denard run wild in the hopes that he would get banged up or wear down, and it showed.
We'd be undefeated going into the Ohio game.
This gives me more hope that we WIN that game. Lewan stopping Ohio's edge rushers and providing leadership in his last game in Michigan Stadium - HUGE!
I thought that our biggest question mark next year was the ability of all those young O-linemen to gel and perform. This will help the O-line immensely. I think this means that we should have at least a serviceable running game and a good passing game to go with a suffocating defense. In college football, that means the sky is the limit. I have a lot of confidence in DG and I think this means the offense will click pretty well. A huge deal.
Part of the problem is that people read 'prediction' as 'best-case scenario that is at least reasonably possible.' I don't think it's insane to think Michigan could go 12-0 considering our talent and our schedule, but you're off your damn rocker if you think that's the most likely result. It's better to think in terms of a baseline, or a midpoint between best and worst outcomes, IME.
Howeva, I have a hard time thinking objectively at all about OSU, and I think that unless we start seeing a Cooper/Lloyd dynamic start to unfold, The Game's as unpredictable as it gets (also leaving aside the immense talent discrepancies from 2009-2011). That said, to me the baseline is 10-2 with an OSU win and 9-3 with a loss. I'm predicting two losses from the NW, MSU, NU, PSU, ND quintet, in order of increasing likelihood. Predicting three losses from that group isn't entirely batty either.
We're a great home team under Hoke, but not a great road team. Expect at least one road loss, wtih the likeliest candidates being MSU and Northwestern. (Just because MSU crashed this year doesn't mean it won't be very difficult to win in East Lansing next year...as it happens it was very difficult to beat them in Ann Arbor this year).
In terms of home games, ND doesn't really scare me without Teo and Eifert. Nor does Nebraska. So it comes down to Ohio. Are we going to be good enough to theoretically beat them at home? I think so. Are we going to actually beat them at home? We'll see.
I think that it is worth one victory, but not more. I was thinking 8-4/9-3 before this. Now I'm thinking 9-3/10-2. Interior line is a huge question mark. Receivers and TEs other than Gallon are huge question marks. RB looks to have no talent outside of true freshmen. D-line and defensive backfield are badly lacking in established playmakers. Shedule is easier than average, but not a complete cupcake walk. Penn State is on the road. Iowa and MSU are teams that I think we would beat easily at home,but those are both on the road and we have sucked especially at Iowa City. Two of our home games are against teams that went 12-0 this year. Lots of games on that schedule next year where I would peg our chances of wining at about 60%, which means that I'm expecting a few losses.
Coaches have called guard his natural position. My guess is based more on the athleticism, length and speed of Magnuson/ Braden. Both have much larger frames and longer arms, which is a huge help dealing with speedy edge rushers. I think Magnuson is our next All-American tackle.
Schofield to guard...
I respect Lewan, and I think he's an absolute beast based on the games I've watched him play in this last season. I certainly think with the games against teams with good defenses (Scar, MSU, OSU) he held his own and could be a captain to help anchor the OL. However, I don't get how Lewan is equivalent to the"Michigan difference" between Michigan getting an extra win and not. It was predicted on another forum topic what Michigan record would be for the 2013 season but it seems a few says he's worth an extra win. If one player can singularly contribue to make that much of a difference, in which games do you see him making a difference? I wouldn't be too quick to sellout the talent on Michigan OL even without him.
We've heard the staff really likes Braden. If he's so good, he should get on the field at RT. Schofield can move back to LG next to Lewan, which worked really well in the past. Then there are only two interior spots for a bunch of guys (Bryant, Miller, Kalis, Bars, the walkons, Kugler) to compete over. Also, it gives Braden a chance to tune up for the point when the left handed Morris will be QB. Magnusen understudies for another year behind Lewan at LT.
But I like Kalis at LG. That would give us two dominant run-blockers on one side, one of whom is smart enough to make the necessary calls to keep plays successful. I'd rather not have both of our seniors right next to each other. Let Schofield stay on the right side and help make the calls over there.
14-0 is obviously the correct answer.
I'd like to wait and see what happens in Spring Practice. I want to see if there is any attrition or if guys are struggling. We have a favorable schedule, we have Lewan coming back, we have what appears to be stability on defense, I think that we have a decent shot at going undefeated. I think it will be really tough though because I'm convinced that Michigan and Ohio State will face each other twice this season, possibly splitting the two games. I'd say anything below 10-2 would be a disappointing year.
For the young guys may make the most difference.