to play football, not to play trumpet
Never too early. Never too early!
I think we have a tougher set up this year than last. That said, we win it all.
No way, man. ND, Nebraska, and OSU on the road, PLUS Alabama? That's brutal.
What a bizarre statement. Care to elaborate, because I honestly have no clue what you're thinking.
a hell of a drug.
What's the line on the spring game?
And Michigan +7.
Man, I feel like The Game is going to have that feeling back this year. I am getting chills thinking about it. Not that its importance or significance ever lacked for fans on either side of the rivalry, but this year has the makings of a big showdown with huge implications (unless those implications are a rematch in the BTCG, which is rather likely). Last year featured two good teams and a great match, but it was overshadowed a bit by Michigan's subpar year and OSU's meaningless season.
No mention of Sparty in the article. Must not be an intergalactic preseason poll?
I think this coming year will be very telling for the future of the program under the current staff. The great coaching staffs find ways to come out on top consistently, even with questions on the team. We did that the first year, and I'd say we shot par last year. We have some holes to fill definitely, and the lines are still young and/or without depth. But we'll have questions every year. We probably won't face maybe the toughest schedule in the nation again, and I don't think the O will be in a frozen state of not knowing it's identity. This is now year three and it's time to see some of the young talent develop and show up consistently in big games. A sub par year is not the end of the world, but there are no teams on the schedule I think we cannot beat (like Bama last year). It's time the team steps up, makes a statement, and starts restoring UM to the top of the conference and nation on a consistent basis. I'm hopeful, I'm still unsure they get it done. I see us dropping 2 games next year, and while very good, still miss the Rose Bowl.
I think that charachterization of Rittenberg is a little unfair. I don't think he's piled on any more praise on OSU or Meyer than they've received from any other media memeber. I think many over-estimated OSU last year in general, but that's just what happens when you don't lose any games.
Your last sentence is rather annoying. Are you implying that Oregon/Bama/TAMU aren't 3 of the best teams in the country?
I can't speak for the OP, but I actually assumed the opposite. I figured he meant "obviously" because everyone would assume they are the best teams, or at least going to be ranked accordingly based on expectations.
saying that because of my thoughts on expectations going into the season for those three teams.
We need to be like Alabama. Great talent, but don't beat themselves. The last five years of Michigan football has been heavy on the turnovers and penalties. Hoke needs to crack the whip.
With the notable exception of 2011. Not coincidentally, look at how the highly favorable turnover margin resulted in an 11-2 season AND a bowl win.
Except in 2011 we were #5 in the nation in fewest penalties per game and first in the B1G (Bama was #3 in the nation), and #6 in penalty yards per game. In 2012 we were #26 in the nation in penalties per game, number 3 in the B1G behind Wisconsin and Iowa, but we were #52 in penalty yardage per game. Now we were #99 in the nation in TO margin in 2012 while being #25 in the nation in 2011 (Bama was #23 that year). I get your point, but I don't think penalties are a huge reason why we're losing games. I think it has more to do with INTs, not recovering fumbles in 2012, and the fact that we don't have elite playmakers on defense yet. Penalties, or lack there of, have not been a huge problem. Hell in 2010 UM was #11 in the nation in fewest penalties per game.
That schedule is pathetic.
Perhaps, but Ohio also got pretty lucky last year. Both ESPN's review of lucky teams based on efficency rankings, and the Mathlete's analysis based on this database found Ohio to be either #1 or #2 in the nation as lucky teams. It's very difficult to go undefeated, and Ohio won all of their close games last year. They do return a bunch of players, but also lose their entire defensive line. I've got to think there will be some regression to the mean and drop a game or two that they shouldn't (like they would have last year if Purdue didn't shoot themselves in the foot, or the UW game, or the MSU game, or the UM game if Borges didn't go batshit crazy). But at the same time, as I noted in my above post, great coaches find ways to consistantly over-achieve, and Meyer has certainly shown at his previous posts that he is a great coach.
I disagree. Look at Ohio on the road last year; they squeaked by MSU, Wiscy and Indiana and beat PSU. This year they go to Cal, Purdue (barely beat them at home) and NW.
And they gotta come to us brah!
Duhhhh but he said coming into Ann Arbor
Purdue always has a chance against Ohio.
Without knowing much about the teams ranked ahead of us, I think 12 is too high for now. We may certainly earn it by the end of the year, but we still need to prove we can have a running game post-Denard. We'll have 3 new guys on the line, which may actually be a good thing, but we'll have a bunch of unproven guys in the back field, unless Toussaint makes a full recovery. I'd put us in the high teens or low 20s.
Anything from #10-20 would be reasonable. The Outback was probably favorable to pollsters as they know an 8-4 UM could go down to the wire with a 10-2 SC.
Year 3 is the classic bellwether for a program and we'll have 2+ Hoke classes with a manageable schedule. Other than Denard, the personnel losses are minimal for a top tier program (ie, 2-3 draftees and Kovacs brain).
Defense should be very solid but probably short a few playmakers to become a juggernaut. Offense should be productive and more dependable than 2012 if interior OL gels. Special teams will be solid.
My only real question is how the OL will perform. Yes, there will be two good, seasoned players at OT, one of whom is likely a top 10 draft pick. However, the inexperience on the interior is what worries me. Talented, yes. But also a tad green.
As for the rest of the team, I think we should be quite solid.
The passing game was shown to be pretty good once DG took over as the unquestioned starter. And, the receiving corps should be just as good, if not better, with Darboh and Chesson complementing Dileo and Gallon. No disrespect to 'Tree, but he won't be too hard to replace. Please, more Funchess!
The running game will depend largely on the OL, with some aid from a good passing game.
Defensively, we have Greg Mattison, who only took a group of kids that even Vince Lombardi couldn't win with* and made them into the team's strength immediately in 2011 when he came back. There is a nice mix of experience and talent, along with some depth on D, and I think they'll be even better this year than the last two years.
Special teams has been really good except punt returns (why all the fair catches?). I'm thinking it's just a matter of time before 'Fleet breaks one for 6.
Now let's just hope the team stays healthy all season long!
*paraphrasing Rich Rod
|TOP 5||TOP 10||TOP 25|
|SEC||PAC||BIG 10||BIG 12|
|Bama (1)||Stanford (3)||Ohio (5)||Oklahoma (13)|
|Tex A&M (2)||Oregon (4)||Michigan (12)||TCU (15)|
|S. CAR (8)||UCLA (24)||Northwestern (21)||Texas (17)|
|UF (9)||Nebraska (22)||K. St. (19)|
|Georgia (11)||Baylor (20)|
|Clemson (10)||LOUISVILLE (7)||ND (6)||Boise (18)||NIU (25)|
|Flor. St. (16)|
SEC obviously well represented. Interesing how top-heavy PAC12 is and how BIG12 is 5 teams squarely in the middle of the top 25 but no very highly ranked team. ACC weaker than they usually are- and Big East is well the Big East (and Louisville is leaving...). Big Ten seems about right- nice to see NW love in this poll!
#12 is pretty generous until we prove we can run the ball effectively in a post-Denard world. This is the big question. I know we are all sweating out Derrick Green (me, too), but the bigger issue is the play of the young blue-chip O-linemen. It's been a while since we saw a Michigan line blowing people off the line and it will do wonders for our running game when that happens again.
I personally think OSU and Michigan tread water as far as skill (that doesn't mean their records won't be different, but the talent level should be about equal). A bounce of the ball here or a bounce of the ball there, the rankings of those two teams seems fine to me. Nebraska should still be solid, especially on offense, and I think NW is going to hover in the general area where they are ranked.
But even outside of that, MSU still has a pretty damn good defense that will keep them in pretty much every game. Wiscy looks like they found a pretty good QB and they still have an O-line and a good RB. Penn St is a big unknown, but O'Brian seems to have them at least respectable. Indiana and Minn are both on upward trends to be at least not terrible.
So overall I think the B1G will be much improved next year. Still won't be the greatest conferense, but won't have everyone saying "the B1G is way down", which will be nice.
"The Outback Bowl showed that Devin Gardner can play quarterback at a high level. Notre Dame is the only defense on Michigan's 2013 schedule that can match the athleticism of the South Carolina defense Gardner faced and nearly beat. Plus, Gardner will have an entire offseason working with the first-team offense to help him improve even more."
This is an interesting but pretty fair rating, I think, but what Staples says above actually does work in our favor by itself. In 5 games as QB (bowl included), the final passing stat line on Devin Gardner was 75/126 (59.5%) for 1,219 yards with 11 TDs and 5 INTs, and he managed an additional 101 yards and 7 TD rushing. I would think that, projecting that sort of performance over an entire season and allowing for refinements as the reps pile up, we're in a pretty good situation here.
As was mentioned, running the ball without Denard (who accounted for 1/4 of last year's rushing yards) is a point of intrigue for this team, as well as replacing the interior offensive line - with a manageable schedule, however, there may be more breathing room on these adjustments and a full season of production from Gardner will definitely help out with this.
I think Gardner makes it easier to run because now opponents have to respect the pass more than when Denard was qb
Also, with DG back there, I look forward to some awesome mad scrambles once he sees nobody open, and/or he feels the pocket collapsing. He really seems to have a good "pocket presence", backed with some excellent running skills. He reminds me a lot of Vince Young, who will forever haunt my Rose Bowl dreams.
As great of a runner as Denard was, nobody was really ever caught off-guard when he ran the ball. Everyone expected him to run and dared him to pass. In spite of this, he still gained a pile of yards; that's how good he was. I doubt we will see this with Devin; teams will have to fear the pass.
This is going to be a long 7 months.
I'd say #12 is a little too generous at this point. There is a ton of talent on the field next year, but it will be mostly very young and/or unproven. The O-Line situation is much better with Lewan coming back, but its still a question mark. A lot of RS freshman will have to grow up in a hurry. The D-Line could be very good if Pip starts to show his potential, or it could just be serviceable again. Wideouts outside of Gallon are a big question mark. Who will be the running back if Fitz isn't 100%? Will Derrick Green even be an option? Will Countess be ready to go? Too many question marks at this point to be considered the #12 team, in my opinion.
#12 is too high. Lewan coming back helps the O-line but who knows how Fitz will look after his injury. If Fitz is not 100% I am not sure who will start in his place. If Michigan can't run the ball it will be a long season.
Not sure why anybody thinks #12 is too high. If you take the same team from last year and played next year's schedule, the team probably goes 10-3. If you cut down on the turnovers, it can go 12-1. In college football, it is all about the schedule. The schedule says 2013 Michigan will be better than 2012 Michigan. And if 2012 Michigan was still a top 25 team. 2013 Michigan is easily a top 15 team.
Except that Michigan was barely ranked (#24 in AP, unranked in Coaches), and your assessment is basically that "as long as Michigan plays better against weaker teams, they'll do better." If anyone still takes for granted that the team can just "cut down on turnovers" as a matter of course, they haven't been paying attention the past few years. Brian's been selling that for as long as I've been reading MGoBlog, and yet it remains an issue.
I think Michigan will absolutely finish better than they did last year, but I think the team has too many question marks (Gardner's continued development, outside WRs, interior OL, RBs, etc) to warrant a jump from #24/unranked to #12 based on weaker schedule alone. Time was, UM used to get the benefit of the doubt from the national media, but I think the past 6 years has really undone that, and the program really has to prove itself again.
Disagree with you on the benefit of the doubt from the media thing. Remember when we were ranked at #8 pre-season last year? All because we recovered an unsustainable amount of fumbles and Gary Gray-ed a game or two? I think the great majority of opinions from people who actually disceted UM's 2011 season and the 2012 roster were kind of like "LOL top 10" going into the season. UM still gets the benefit of the doubt. Maybe not quite as much as they used to, but if we go through the non-conference undefeated, which is quite possible, we'll be in the top-10. And then our toughest games are probably at MSU and then Ohio at home. The schedule does ease quite a bit, and I can totally see how we end up #12 or better.
Yeah, I guess you're right about the benefit of the doubt issue. Michigan does make unreasonable jumps in rankings when the team seems to do well during the season. If anything, my opinion that #12 as a preseason ranking is way too high suggests that the media continues to give Michigan more credit than it probably has earned.
I could definitely see Michigan finishing #12 or higher, but I think it's too high for a preseason ranking.
I agree with much of what you say. Now it gets into a debate about preseason polls in general. I personally don't think we should have them until after week 4. I can find large question marks about pretty much every team in the top-15 except for Alabama. Nature of the college football beast.
Preseason polls are mostly hype, but they're an interesting (if flawed) way to get a bird's eye view of how the national landscape looks, in my opinion. I do agree, though, that there should be at least a few weeks of actual play before any polls of any consequence are released.
And yeah, with turnover being what it is in college, every team will have questions every off season. For better or worse, seems like Michigan's questions have become pretty predictable (e.g., QB development, Oline depth, RB performance, down field receiving threats) the past couple of seasons. The D has managed to find some stability, thankfully.
As are most power or traditional teams, but outside of that I pretty much agree with everything you said (last year Michigan was ranked high partially based on program prestige, and if you agree that #12 is too high, they probably are this year is well), and think Michigan as a program still has a lot to prove if they want to get back to the top consistently.
I would be disappointed if we finish 2013 with fewer wins than 2012 based on schedule alone. I'm looking at 10 wins this season and ending up with around a number 12 ranking is probably about right, especially if we win our bowl game.
It will be tough winning the big 10 this year but we will be in the hunt within our division and if we make it to the championship game, it should be a close game, probably against OSU, especially if we beat them at home. As always there will be key wins needed at home against NE and on the road against sparty! Northwestern may be tough to beat on the road.
Northern Illinois doesn't belong within a sniff of the top 25. Sure, they prevailed above the rest of the MAC teams, but they got lit up in their BCS bowl and don't they lose Jordan Lynch? I very much doubt they were even one of the top 25 teams this year, much less next year
I agree Northern Illinois, and by the writers own metric TCU and UCLA, should not be ranked either. I'd probably replace TCU with one of the 8-5 Big 12 teams that won their bowl like Texas Tech or OKState, and UCLA with one of the 8-5 Pac 12 schools that won their bowl like ASU or Arizona. I'd replace Northern Illinois with a different mediocre team that actually won their bowl like Sparty, or VTech, or Georgia Tech.
Otherwise I think Florida should be down there with LSU, Stanford should be top 10, but not #3, and Northwestern should 15-20, or at least above Baylor.
Who cares about anything else?
The teams he has above us all have more proven difference-makers than we do, and the teams below us all have more question marks.
I don't like Stanford at #3. Their defense should be excellent, but their O was really pedestrian this year (they scored 28 or more just 4 times in 14 games) and they lose most of their playmakers. They were 8-2 in games decided by 7 points or less, making them basically a 9-5 or 10-4 team that caught a bunch of breaks and ended up 12-2.
Every time I see rankings like this I want to know what the hell is being ranked. Is it how good the teams are or where they're likely to end the season given their schedules? If I were doing rankings, I'd provide both, and I could see them being pretty different from one another. (Michigan 2012, for example.)
Who do we have to beat in the Rose Bowl next year, Oregon or Stanford?
I think we finish better than this. Given our schedule we could be rated even higher. Given our performance this year, we should be ranked lower. Just win and it won't matter anyway
I think about 16 to 18, with being really hopeful Miller can handle being the starting Center.
I say this is too low but I'll take it for now. I know we will have inexperience at a few positions but I think we're 11-0 going into The Game. IMO Gardner has a shot to have a Heisman type season. Defense will be much improved too.