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|1 week 5 days ago||Trail Early; Win Late||
I expect the Irish will show quite early that they are not Ap State. Given our historic weakness defending mobile QBs, and the fact our LBs are still finding their way in the new defense, I expect ND to burn us a couple of times in the first half. On the other side of the ball, I expect that ND watched the Ap State tape, and will do what is necessary to shut down Funchess. Since I also expect ND's front 7 to pose more of a challenge, I'm guessing our Wolverines will need an offense series or two or three to figure out where the weaknesses are in ND's defense. Big plays/lucky breaks will dictate who has the edge at the half, but I'm guessing the Irish have a 3-7 point lead at halftime.
I have way more confidence in our new and improved coaching staff (i.e. Nuss vs. Borges) to make the correct adjustments at halftime. As many have pointed out, ND is short-handed in the secondary, who have to guard our most talented and our deepest unit, the pass receivers. With all of that and a 5th year Sr playing QB, I expect the offense to find the receivers who will make ND pay for taking Funchess away. I also expect the Michigan D to slow down the Irish O enough for Michigan to overtake in the 4th quarter. Again, a big edge in special teams or turnovers will decide the game, but assuming neither side has a clear advantage, I think Michigan wins by 7 or less.
I do not know if it will be low-scoring or high-scoring. It's too early in the season to predict the factors that determine the level of scoring, but I do expect it to be close.
What would make it a blow-out? For Michigan, a quick 7+ lead in the first quarter. If Michigan can put the ND defense on roller skates early, ND does not have the talent or depth to do the total shut-down job the Irish offense would need to catch-up. For Notre Dame, exploit Michigan's green offensive line such that the rest of the offense has no opportunity to show-off its talents. Regardless of the score, if the ND defense owns the line of scrimmage early and often, Michigan has a problem.
BTW, Michigan an underdog by more than 3 points?! Do they have whiskey rather than water running in the taps at Vegas? ND as shorthanded as they are favored by more than the usual 3 points for being at home? That's just crazy!
|2 weeks 19 hours ago||Then ASU must have excellent team speed...||
What I recall from all three long runs is Green & Smith being behind several ASU defenders (as in closer to the goal line), and not out-running ANY of them to the end zone. Perhaps Denard spoiled us all, because all he needed was one crease, and no one from any part of the field was going to catch him. In fact I turned to a fellow Wolverine fan at my side during Green's second long run, and observed that he is no Denard Robinson. I was wondering why Smith and Green were running side to side looking for blocks, because it appeared to me they had a couple yards or more lead on all the defenders, and all they had to do was sprint at full speed to prevent anyone from catching them.
Suffice it to say, what I remember was neither back being able to out run any of several ASU defenders. That's not a tragedy, but it is a fact that needs to be balanced against all the great things Green and Smith can do carrying the ball.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||OK||
Stanford, LSU, Texas, Florida State
|3 weeks 12 hours ago||Regression to the Mean||
Is our friend. Last year was, well, that in large part because no one on the interior played up to his promise and the unit failed to gel at all. It's college football; some years are like that. However, when things work the way they usually do, the younger guys play better as the season wears on. Guess what, by the OSU game they have just about one season's worth of starting experience. (Math is a wonderful thing; it couldn't care less about momentum or who has the hot hand.) Also, as a unit plays together more, they somehow manage to know better what the guy next to them is going to do. Only in a completely unlikely debacle (like last season) do neither of those things happen. Not always, but usualy, highly skilled recruits progressively figure it out, individually and as a team, as they play more. I expect that to happen this season.
And when you look at the "HOLY CRAP! DID YOU SEE THAT!!" level of talent we have at the offensive skill positions, I'm likin' where I think Michigan's O will be when we get well into the B1G schedule. Add to that a defense that changed scheme because the guy who built the BALTIMORE FREAKIN' RAVENS' defense is now comfortable enough with the talent and experience to take some risks to utterly shut people down, and I'm hearing "fe fi fo fum" when I think about what playing Michigan will be like this year.
I am totally comfortable with expecting 9 wins (including the Bowl game) this season, and I think 10+ wins is substantially more likely than 8 or less.
|3 weeks 16 hours ago||Actually, I see several routes to 10 wins.||
Note: I'm including the Bowl Game, but not including a B1G Championship Game.
If Michigan wins all the other games (including ND at South Bend), they can go 0-3 against MSU, OSU and in the Bowl Game. (It would leave a bad aftertaste, but it's still 10 wins).
If Michigan wins even one of the three games against MSU, OSU or in the Bowl, they can lose to either the Irish, Penn State, or another goodish team (Utah, Northwestern or Minnesota), and still get to 10 wins. OR, they can loose a DOH! game to anyone on their schedule, and get to 10 wins.
As a subset of the last paragraph, I think a win against either MSU or OSU means a realistic shot at the B1G Championship Game, and then we are talking TWO chances to get to 10 wins, or more likely, 11 wins are part of the conversation.
If Michigan wins two of the three games against MSU, OSU and in the Bowl, they can have TWO DOH! losses, and still get to 10 wins.
Summary, I think 10-3 is substantially more likely that 8-5. The latter record presumes none of the promising youngsters pan out and the team does not gel at all as the season progresses. It assumes Michigan does not win a single game against an evenly matched opponent, and has a couple of DOH! losses. It assumes the vast majority of the lucky breaks go against the Wolverines. All of those things have happened consistently in the past 10 years (2011 excepted), but regression to the mean is our friend.
|3 weeks 16 hours ago||If He's not a Member of the Northwestern Booster Club...||
He's cheating them out of his dues.
|3 weeks 1 day ago||Oh for the Love of Pete!||
I like you and your writing generally, but this column sucks on so many levels, I hardly know where to begin!
First, stop acting like a 13 year old Michigan State fan who can't remember past the mid-point of last season! What makes Michigan Michigan is an alumni and fan community who remembers that we are a world class University, and a world class athletics program (not just a football team) with a decades long legacy of consistent distinction. Yes, the last decade has been epically bad for football, by our standards, and there were cracks in the foundation even before then. We've weathered periods just as bad and returned to succeed the way we expect. We are MICHIGAN G-D it! We have a football All-American who went on to be President of the United States. Present and former Michigan students comprised 2 out of the 6 pairs who skated in the finals of the 2014 Olympic Ice Dancing competition. When I was a student, a visiting international law professor told me that the international law section of the Michigan law school library was third in the world (behing Heidleburg and Harvard) in his opinion. While other schools are dropping wrestling and men's gymnastics as varsity sports, Michigan is winning national championships in them. A Michigan student who was a volunteer, assistant coach for the swim team just became the most decorated athlete and most prolific Olympic champion in history during the 2012 Games. Current Spartans and Buckeyes, you want to know who your boss is going to be in 10 years? You might want to get familiar with the current student body in the Michigan Law, Business, Engineering, or Medical Schools. That may be arrogance, but it is also THE TRUTH!
Second, you write an article LIKE THIS less than a week before the season opener? We know precisely jack-____ about how the football team will play during the season, and we're about to get some actual information within days if not hours, but you're already making the "Wait til Next Year!" signs? Let me remind you, college football is one of the least predictable sports. The sample size, 11-14 games, is tiny. Kids whose average age is under 20, and many are away from home for the first time, are major contributors. You want to know a reason why our team's performance has been so lack-luster? Here's a big one that no one wants to acknowledge; we've been extraordinarily unlucky (except for 2011, which explains why it stands apart from the seasons before or after). There are a million reasons why our O-line was a dumpster fire last year, while still having two seniors who got drafted at the tackle positions. He's a big one; we were extraordinarily unlucky that the 4 and 5 star athletes recruited to play the interior line positions all failed so spectacularly. This year we've lost our two senior tackles, true, but all the other guys are a year older, and each season is a new roll of the dice. Which leads me to my next point, Michigan men and women DON'T PANIC, especially in the absence of relevant information.
Finally, to the extent I can make heads or tails out of your "memory of butter" meme, I profoundly disagree. No, one does not have to recently taste butter to believe your organization can produce some dang fine butter, even though its recent efforts have been lackluster. Michigan women and men are courageous and confident. We are courageous enough to look at the past, both recent and distant, and own up to how it really was, warts and all, and not some sentimentalized, factually false horse crap. At the same time, we are confident enough to know we can, and will, be really good; we just need to keep doing the right things the right way, and we will overcome the obstacles in our path, using Edison's formula of 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.
So, buck up! Get your...self back on the firing line, and stop worrying the other troopers!
|6 weeks 3 days ago||Let's See. . .||
His new top five is four SEC teams (including one that offered him only yesterday) and one other school with a head coach who is steeped in SEC recruiting practices. What could po$$ibly be the common factor?
|6 weeks 6 days ago||Oh, he is playing rush DE||
I was about to ask why a dude who weighs less than 280 and allegedly runs a 4.5 forty is buried at nose tackle and eating a steady diet of double teams. But, I see he is listed as the rush DE. It seems to me Mr. Clark is due for his break out season, just as Michigan is way overdue for its hideously bad luck to regress to the mean. C'mon 2014!
|6 weeks 6 days ago||Bruce Catton||
I'd also recommend Catton's Army of the Potomac series (the first is Mr. Lincoln's Army). They are history not fiction, but as impossible to put down as your favorite fiction series. Catton's portrayal of George McClellan is so vivid, I feel like I know him better than some people with whom I've worked.
|6 weeks 6 days ago||The Most Carr/Debord Game Ever||
I watched the whole clip, and was reminded of how Michigan achieved...well, that with TOM EFFIN' BRADY as the starting QB.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||Let's address the rhinoceros in the living room||
The reason why all we Michigan fans want the hammer dropped on this kid is that Mitch McGarry smoked dope once, and got suspended for a whole year, effectively ending his college career. Now Dorial Green-Beckham has smoked dope and done a lot more things that are far worse. However, he and his new school don't want him to sit out even the one season that is customary for a transfer, never mind the criminal activity. Of course Michigan fans think sitting this season is the minimum that should happen. This ain't rocket scientry, stop trying to pretend you're on some kind of moral high ground.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||How do I upvote the whole post?||
I am a lawyer, and that was about as comprehensible an explanation of a complicated legal concept as I have ever read. Well done sir.
|10 weeks 6 days ago||And Here's the Irony||
If the team tears through its non-conference schedule undefeated, the reaction will be "meh, they've killed it in September and faded in November every year since RichRod's second season."
If they don't tear through their non-conference schedule undefeated, the reaction will be "Coach Hoke and Michigan are REALLY in trouble now. Even RichRod beat Notre Dame two times out of three."
Face it, Stewart Mandel and the rest of the ESS EEE SEE idolators have their conventional wisdom, and be damned to you if you think they are going to reexamine it any time soon. And you know what? 1-2 vs. Michigan State; 1-2 vs. Ohio State; 1-2 in Bowl Games (and 0-3 for each one of those last season). Maybe the conventional wisdom has a point.
Just start winning the big ones, baby. We can have some hope in that our luck (which has been TERRIBLE in big games) is most likely to regress to average. That would seem like heaven (on a stick) if that happens.
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Dear Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Cornell||
Congratulations on your choice. Best of luck in your future athletic and academic careers. Thank you for considering the University of Michigan.
|11 weeks 3 hours ago||Dude||
I freely admit I'm participating in this conversation at 0430 because I have a dose of insomnia. What's your excuse? You can't possibly be so devoted to the beauty of the English language that you cruise random sports blogs looking for over the top rhetoric.
|11 weeks 1 day ago||My Thoughts Exactly||
My speculation is that the NCAA is probably closing in on a member of the Chess team who smoked a little marijuana before going to class and who clearly needs a season long suspension due to a clear but obscure NCAA regulation on non-performance enhancing substances used out of season.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Temptation||
Of course any boat owner will tell you it won't be long before you'll want to trade up for one that's 2 feet bigger, and you do realize what you will have to name that one.
|12 weeks 20 hours ago||Scoring?||
A question for the more knowledgable futbol fans out there: is scoring up in this World Cup compared to previous years? If so, is there a reason for this?
I seem to remember the 1994 WC, and it seems to me we expected games to be 1-0 or 0-0. This year, it seems to me we're expecting games to be 2-1 or 1-1. Did international soccer get the memo on boring, defensive strategy? Has someone finally broken the code on how to beat teams playing for 1-0 or 0-0 results? I have a sense that the Spanish team of the past few years did find a way to play to make the "pack it in" teams pay for their passivity. (Other than the Brazilian approach, which is to field so many players so much better than your players that they will get their goals regardless of what you do. Works only if you have a talent pool as deep as Brazil's.)
|12 weeks 1 day ago||One Contrarian Word||
At the risk of being negged, a lot, I'd just like to remind everyone that events outside the control of the AD affect the perception of this schedule. In short, would we be be critical if Michigan State and Penn State were both home games this season? They should be; Michigan played at State College and East Lansing last season. But, the B1G decided imbalancing the home schedule of one of the Conference's flagship programs would be a cool thing to do. Similarly, suppose ND actually lived up to the spirit of its agreements, and ended the series AFTER next season's game in Ann Arbor (instead of scarfing one extra home game for a marquee match-up, because you know, they could). Wouldn't we give the AD a little more slack for this season's home schedule?
Now, I get why we don't give the AD any slack at all for the atrocity which is this season's home schedule. They've made an art form of nickle and diming their paying customers, probably even past the inflection point where higher prices actually reduce gross revenue. The fact is they've said not one word to acknowledge this season is a little short, or thank fans for showing loyalty through the thin times. No, instead they've kept their one-way "dynamic" pricing model, expecting fans to pay premium prices for the better (but still not good) games, and full retail for the dog's lunch games.
So, it's not all their fault, but they could try treating their fan base as something other than an ATM.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||Jake Long||
We are loaded on offense, except for the O-line, which was a dumpster fire last season even with two tackles who got drafted. I'm willing to give the interior line the benefit of the doubt about being young and expecting one more year's experience for eveyone will be a big boost. But, now we have two rookies at tackle. The best LT in the program's history and #1 over draft pick the year he came out looks real tasty right about now.
Note: corrected subject to Long. Got my LTs confused.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||Selective Outrage||
Funny how College Administrators find their "ethics" when considering the one rule in the entire NCAA rule book that favors students over Universities. The fact that it's a University President questioning whether the move could be based on legitimate ACADEMIC considerations is just BBQ sauce on the ribs.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||I hate to be a broken record, but||
Title IX, discuss. You can spin all the hypotheticals you want about the NFL being required to support the National Art History League, and why the extra money should be going to the players of revenue sports. The flat fact is that Title IX exists, it applies to college athletics, and it's going to stay on the books for the foreseeable future. Reforming the NCAA is a noble goal. Making simplistic statements that ignore the rhinoceros in the living room is not helpful.
|15 weeks 5 days ago||Home and home, oh yeah||
Yes, play in Tuscaloosa in the 2015 season (since we will get OSU and MSU at home that season), and in Ann Arbor in 2016 (when we have our B1G biggest rivals on the road again).
|16 weeks 1 day ago||NFL Scouts:||
Please note the character and leadership potential. Just sayin'
|16 weeks 4 days ago||Sorry to Disappoint You||
1. Who cares?
2. It depends. Did the molar-challenged fan do something to embarass the entire fan base, like stalking a recruit, poisoning a rival's trees, or shooting another Michigan fan who was insufficiently inconsolable after a big loss? Did the stock-owning alumnus close down your employer and ship your job off to the Third World?
3. It is not worth my time to try to figure out WTF that means to know whether I care. BTW, it's not looking good.
5. Title IX, discuss. Any proposal to pay players in "revenue sports" that fails to mention how Title IX affects your proposal is like asking which star system your would colonize first without explaining where the faster than light drive is coming from.
6. See 3 & 4.
|16 weeks 5 days ago||They're High||
I figure the over/under is 8.5 (regular season) with 9 wins more likely than 8. Are they actually taking bets on this data? [shakes head]
|17 weeks 4 days ago||Math Geek's View||
If I may, i'd like to contribute a couple of thoughts on probability vis-a-vis "karma." There are two schools of thought on what a long streak of bad luck means. They are the opposite of each other, and both are fallacies. To use an example, let's talk about flipping a coin four times; suppose we get tails on all of the first three flips. One school of thought says "oh man, we're cursed; we're never going to see heads again, DOOOOMM!!" This is obviously wrong; it's the same 50/50 chance for a heads or tails just as it was for the three prior flips. This is a response of emotion rather than thought.
The other school of thought is slightly more clever, but still wrong. It says, "oh man, three tails in a row. We're due for heads, bank it." This is more clever because the person making that statement is perhaps thinking that if you toss a coin 4 times, you expect to see 4 tails only 1 time out of 16. However, the coin has no memory. It doesn't know it was tails the last three times; you have the same 50/50 chance. Or to put it in probability language, the chance of 4 tails in a row, given the first three flips were tails, is 50%.
What does this mean for the sports we follow? If we have seen one (or more) unlucky seasons, we should expect average luck next season, which would be an improvement if it happens. We may get a lucky season (like Hoke's first), or we may get another unlucky season (one of Lloyd Carr's several losses to OSU), but something in the range of average luck is the most likely outcome. The technical term is regression to the mean. We have had a historically bad run against OSU the last 10 years. Even if they were so superior to us (for whatever reason) that they could expect to win 80% of the games we play (and I don't think even the most rapid Buckeye fans would claim this), we still would have expected to "get lucky" against them more often than one game in ten. This means average luck would be a good thing against OSU. On the flip side, we have owned Notre Dame the last decade. Losing to the Irish next fall is more likely than we have become accustomed to expect.
So, I'd say there is no such thing as karma. You are no more or less likely to win a game because another Michigan team won or lost its last few games. But, there is such a thing as regression to the mean, and it can feel a whole lot like karma in the moment. Knowing all of this stuff, I still cursed 2013 and celebrated 2014 with everyone else. Notions of "karma" are hard to shake from your lizard brain.
|18 weeks 12 hours ago||Yes, yes I do||
Let's think back to those thrilling days of January 2013. You've just quarterbacked Alabama to its (and your) second consecutive National Championship. The Alabama offense does not let you generate the kind of numbers to be in Heisman consideration. The 2013 draft class is weak in QB prospects, and sandwiched between two strong QB classes. In short, your choices are to leave now for the draft, get drafted higher than in 2014, get paid more, and sooner than in 2014. Or, you can risk injury and getting beat up to pay for free in the following season (where you have no conceivalbe goal you have not already achieved) so you can get drafted later, and get paid less after waiting 12 months.
So, you turned pro, right? What the what?! You came back for your last year at Alabama?! WHY?!
I'm sorry folks. I find it harder and harder to believe Alabama has managed its recent run of dominance without one of the best bagmen corps in the country. Meanwhile, Inspector Clouseau of the NCAA Compliance Branch is hot on a tip that some softball players from Harvard's intramural 1995 season were smoking pot after the Championship Game.
|18 weeks 1 day ago||Thanks||
I will be relocating to the DC metro area next month, and I will keep these locations in mind. My wife is making noises about how we don't need cable, and she may have a point. I mostly watch cable to see live sports. 12 months of cable TV subscriptions will go a long way buying drinks and food at a sports bar a few times a year.