Somehow, I feel in the minority here, and maybe elsewhere too, but I believe the BCS bowl matchups this season are some good ones. My own personal feelings of the matchups follows:
BCS title - The #1 and #2 for a good part of the season, including swapping the top spot several times. Considered by many to be two of the most explosive offensive teams in the country, even if defense isn't the priority between them. Should be a very high scoring, entertaining game.
Rose bowl - This is the one that I feel many people feel differently than me. Most would have loved to see a Wisky/Stanford matchup, but I believe that TCU is a top five team. This might be the strongest opponent in a BCS bowl game a mid-major has played so far. Wisky is a senior-laden, experienced team that rarely does anything to beat themselves, playing ball-control offense very well and with a stout overall defense. TCU is known for it's defense. They currently have the top overall defense and are top-five against rushing and passing. Against AF, a team that averages 318yds/gm on the ground, TCU held them to 184. Should be a good, smashmouth type football game and a win by TCU would definitely elevate the status of mid-majors.
Sugar bowl - A great SEC/B10 matchup, even if it's that team down south. Lots of storylines in this game, including: Will Mallett get a victory over tOSU before his recruit-mates from UM will? Will tOSU break it's SEC BCS bowl curse?
Orange - As I said in the Rosebowl piece, most would rather see Stanford in it, however, the matchup of them against VT could be a good one. VT is riding an 11-game win streak after a disastrous start to the season. They dropped out of the top ten, and the rankings, just to raise themselves, not only into the top 25, but all the way into the top ten again. One has to wonder: If they had beat BSU, would they be unbeaten and playing for the MNC instead? A win over a very good Stanford team would be a great end to their season. Stanford, on the other hand, is riding an 11-win season, losing only to the #2 team(after leading them at the half). No comments on what a win would do for Harbaugh.
Fiesta - Probably the least competitive bowl, though it does have some interesting storylines(at least for us). UConn could be the worst BE BCS representative, although Pitt might say otherwise. Even so, UConn is a team that we beat and a win by them over OU raises their status, along with the BE's, in everyone's eyes. On the flip side, OU might feel slighted by the BCS in that their opponent isn't even a top 25 team. A win means nothing, really, while a loss would very likely tell the cfb world that the B12 is on a serious decline. I doubt UConn wins this one, but I do remember 08' where Alabama came out flat and stayed that way in a loss to a team everyone thought they would beat handily.
All-in-all, I think these are the best matchups possible out of all of the teams, with some of the interesting storylines that are centered amongst them.
My first impression is that I can’t wait for our offense to take on a sec defense and see how it stacks up. At first glance this should be an interesting match up. Since MSU’s D only gave up 17 to Auburn our offense can’t make the kind of mistakes with drops and turnovers we have been prone to in big games this year. If we cut down on those kind of mistakes this should be a great game. I have heard that MSU’s O is suspect and I was very impressed with the way our D started out against OSU. IF our D can give that for four quarters we win this game easy.
This is the first in a series of wallpapers leading up to the 2011 Gator Bowl. I wanted to have a basic name-of-the-bowl-game-themed wallpaper in place while I work on the opponent-specific graphics over the next few weeks. I also might produce a state-of-the-program commentary and will hopefully finish that Denard Robinson Action Figure behind-the-scenes article I've been promising. If there's time left after all of that I'd like to write a less-hyphenated version of this paragraph.
After the bowl destination and opponent were announced yesterday I did some superficial research on Mississippi State and was surprised at how close they played some of their highly ranked opponents (they only lost to Auburn by 3 and Arkansas by 7 in double overtime). I realize that the W-L column and game scores are statistically less significant than other data sure to appear over the next month in the writings of football minds much greater than mine, but I didn't have room for a grid of opponent points per possession adjusted for field position, strength of schedule and coach seat hotness so all you're getting on this wallpaper are the basics.
The BCS caliber team thread below got me wondering: is there a 2010 end of season strength of schedule ranking?
I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I think Michigan faced some pretty good teams this year. Truly, our defense lost several games for us. In particular, our decimated defensive secondary, caused several losses. If you add Warren & Woolfolk to this year's team, we end up at least 9 - 3, and there aren't so many calls for RR & Gerg's head on a platter.
In a way, I'm fine with 7 - 5, given the circumstances. Not happy, but fine. I'm just a broken record, but 2011 is the year that will tell us a lot about RR & Michigan.
With UConn going to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Oklahoma, our resume might be looking a little stronger after all.
But I digress,
Hey descent match up against an other SEC team, much better than playing Mizzo in my opinion. New Years day bowl, the last one went over well. Added recruiting, hopefully Dee Hart will be on the sideline for this one (I believe he could travel with the team right, if he enrolls early? Maybe not since classes would not have started yet? Either way hopefully he will be there). Also 8-0 against Non-conference opponent last two years, lets keep the steak alive, also one last time for Denard to go dilithium this year and pad some stats.
And lets not forget about the seniors, and all the players going their first bowl game!
Jan 1st in the am (just after lunch for those of you on the East Coast)
Dallas Football Classic
Northwestern vs. Texas Tech
Penn State vs. Florida
Capital One Bowl
Michigan State vs. Alabama
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
Michigan vs. Mississippi State
I remember when the Rose Bowl would get upset if 2 Big Ten vs Pac 10 games happened in a bowl season. Now there are multiple Big Ten/SEC games and they all compete with each other. Seems like poor planning.
Do Big Ten ratings suffer as a result?
Should the Big Ten try to to work some changes in future years?
Disclaimer: The following diary is a combination of a narrative for the 2010 Michigan football season excluding the Gator Bowl and a collection of work from author Hunter S. Thompson. I made minor changes to his work such as places, names, coaches, players, etc to make it relevant to our 2010 season. The work in this diary was lifted from the pages of Dr. Thompson’s work in “Hey Rube”. If you wonder what lines were his and which were mine, thank you for the compliment and then get the book. This is a trial run at my first diary. If the majority of you like the content, I shall release part two of the 2010 season. If the majority of you do not like the content, I will keep part two to myself and would appreciate FAIL pics more than pointed insults. At least I will be able to laugh AND cry at the same time.
The autumn months are never a calm time in America. Back to work, back to football practice, etc….Autumn is a very traditional period, a time of strong rituals and the celebrating of strange holidays like Halloween and Satanism and the fateful harvest Moon, which can have ominous implications for some people.
Ominous it was. A second half season collapse leaving us 5-7 after a 4-0 start left the Michigan family feeling like getting in line for free turkey at the homeless shelter for our first hot meal in ages only to be told that chilled peas and week old fruitcake were left once it was our turn. More grumblings came not from our tummies, but alumni, fans, and current students at the time. Also the Detroit Free Press and their head henchman of death, Rosenberg, were hellbent on sinking Michigan football into Lake Huron.
September 4th, 2010. UConn. A kid nicknamed “shoelaces” that had the best smile east of the Mississippi takes the field as the starting quarterback. We witnessed the possible talent the year before with his blazing speed. Some of us worried of the inaccuracy and arm strength however, but this was a new season and nothing having to do with shoelaces, jockstraps, and sports bras would prevent us from feeling the overwhelming lust for the spoils of hearing Hail to the Victors with smiles all around when the clock ticked to 0:00 in the 4th quarter. Shoelace D Robinson proved his offseason training when he threw for 186 yards, ran for 197, and garnered 2 TDs. Victory was ours and we were headed to a showdown in South Bend riding on a 30-10 victory over a favored conference champion on the grand opening of a renovated stadium that rivaled the Roman Coliseum.
September 11th, 2010. Notre Dame, a college of hopeless alcoholics with huge egos and a weakness for mob hysteria in tense situations. They are the ones who will get angry when their lofty pregame predictions start going awry. They then guarantee some last minute fumble or shocking interception. I have seen these loonies win on some days, but lately, not often. They are the spiritual descendents of legendary old west gamblers who would bet the ranch and even their wives and daughters on one game of impossible odds that they cannot see due to denial of the mediocrity of their program. The fact remained the same though. We hate them and would hate even more to lose to the bastards. Games in South Bend can be scary, but again Shoelace D Robinson led our band of warriors to victory over the Brian Kelly led pack of degenerates. The week before’s performance against UConn was not expected again. That expectation turned out to be true. The performance of 244 yards in the air, 258 on the ground, 3 TD’s, and the last minute game winning drive shattered the expectation. 2-0. The next week? A I-AA opponent that was a sure win.
September 18th, 2010. UMass. This game was thought of as a lock before it even started. Call your bookie and tell them you are betting your soul. There would be no way we could lose this with Shoelace D Robinson. We soon found out that Denard doesn’t play defense. Although Shoelace put up 345 total yards and 3 TD’s, I sat by the internet radio gnashing teeth on my dog’s chew toy at the possible upset of Michigan by another I-AA team. Most if not all of Michigan’s fan base went rigid with fear of “The Horror” part duex. If any innocent bystander were to walk into a house with an avid Michigan fan, they would witness something similar to watching a brain-damaged cow with wild eyes staggering crazily around in circles with its legs caving in, its spine seizing up, and its hooves lashing out in the air with Mad Cow Disease. Michigan won 42-37, but it felt more like a tie and the defense was concerning. Oh well. It is a win and seeing how we came one win short of bowl eligibility a year before, we chalked it up to our horrible luck against small teams in the Eastern Time Zone.
September 25th, 2010. Bowling Green. Not much to say here. Every human being needs a reason to wake up, and this would be a good one for this Saturday. Many of us were curious to see how the defense would respond to its questionable performance the week before. There was an eerie feeling in the air before that game, at least on my owl farm. Most of my body was confident as a red blooded American man that just won the National Arm Wrestling competition and drove off feeling like a winner with Anne Hathaway in a blood red 1963 Chevy Impala convertible. However, I kept one eye open and fixed upon the defense anticipating a meltdown of epic proportion so that I could find the nearest sharp object and ram it into my pupil. Turns out I kept my eyesight and Meeeechigan won again with Denard able to leave early and Tater Nutz making it a record setting day for two quarterbacks in the season.
October 2nd, 2010. Indiana. The Big Ten schedule would officially be started this day. Indiana would be the first foe. By this time we were saturated with the voices of various experts claiming that Shoelace D Robinson could not sustain his demi-god like numbers on the field. It was said repeatedly, like most news and catchy memes, that Michigan would be risking destroying Denard and QBs like him in the future faster than high schools being able to churn them out. Michigan must have two QBs, because one of them is certain to get crippled or mashed by some steroid crazed monster who weighs 388 pounds, runs faster than Deion Sanders, and is hell bent on hurting people. Once Big Ten played started, Denard would suffer a compound fracture beyond our wildest nightmares.
Onto Indiana then. Last year’s contest was a white knuckle ride that left me scrounging for clean underwear at the conclusion. Indiana was and rarely has been good. It shouldn’t have been that close. If we lost this year to Chappell and his rightfully hyped passing show, I could only guarantee one thing. It would be a night in Ann Arbor of booze and violence that, 99 times out of 100, would swamp anybody that goes near it in a hurricane of fear, pain, and stupefying disasters that will haunt them for the rest of their life. Thankfully this was not the case. Michigan wins again, but in close fashion because of the growing liability and unluckiness of the defense. I did not shart my pants this year, but I did almost choke on my gum.
October 9th, 2010. Michigan State. Our intellectually challenged brethren to the west in East Lansing. We lost two years in a row to these shmucks and this year would be different. The noise about falling off a cliff into a pit of shame and despair at 5-0 reached deafening levels. Not this year chaps. This year, we would beat the forces of dumb into Bolivia and become bowl eligible for the first time under our coach Rich Rodriguez. The planets aligned, the moon was in Virgo, and our eggs were counted and ready to launch at that clown disguised as a coach, Dantonio.
The planets may have been aligned, but it wasn’t in our solar system. Michigan State brutalized us, making us look like the Chinese Crested Powderpuff pedigree of the state of Michigan. We came down like a car off a cliff from the week before’s high. There was a savage 180 degree swings between totally opposite poles like joy and fear, wild passions and violent rages, sudden love and sudden hate. Hate for Dantonio and his clown college beating us for three years in a row. Hate for Rich Rodriguez for only filling our hot air balloons with half fuel and mentioning it after we were 10,000 feet high. Hate for hate sake. Nonetheless, the whole situation, without exaggeration, was like sitting in a traffic jam on the San Diego Freeway with your windows rolled up and no air condition while Portuguese hip hop boomed out of your surround-sound speakers, animals gnawing at our necks and diseased bill collectors hammered on our doors with golf clubs. At least we got Iowa at home the next week and have deflated any lofty invincibility complexes…