Bowl tickets available. From the Alumni Association:
We have a limited number of tickets available in the Michigan Alumni Section. These are lower level tickets in section 110. We are selling them for face value at $245. You do not have to be a member to purchase these tickets, all you need to do is call our Alumni Relations team at 800.847.4764 during normal business hours. Like I said, we have a limited number of tickets available, first-come, first-serve.
If you're still looking.
Florida State also has tickets, but there's a catch: you have to start at safety. Tomahawk Nation reports that starting safety Ermon Lane will miss the bowl game with a foot injury. Derwin James, who missed much of the season, is also confirmed out. This is bad, and the situation in the FSU secondary makes it worse:
FSU will be incredibly inexperienced in the back end of the defense, and it is not known exactly what combination of players FSU will use to sure up the back end against the Wolverines, who feature tight end Jake Butt and a strong running game. Trey Marshall and A.J. Westbrook will receive a lot of playing time, with true freshman Carlos Becker likely to play more snaps unless Lane can somehow play.
Lane was even in PFF's grading; the two guys mentioned at his replacements were moderately negative (-5.1 and –2, respectively). Becker's only gotten 40 snaps this year. The worst bit for FSU is that Lane's absence might force third corner Marcus Lewis to play more. Lewis has the worst coverage grade in the FSU secondary on under half of their snaps.
Preview preview. Speaking of PFF's grading, FSU breaks down into four tiers:
- Three incredible players: RB Dalvin Cook, DE DeMarcus Walker, and DT Derrick Nnadi all carry massive PFF grades and have the stats and NFL hype to back those up.
- A good to very good receiving corps, depending on how much you want to ding their run blocking.
- Several units that are average. Francois is up and down as a passer and got most of his points running; the linebackers are the definition of average; FSU has a couple of good players and a couple of not so good players in the secondary. Aside from the two NFL first round types, the rest of the DL is just okay.
- Rutgers's offensive line. Grades for guys with 350+ snaps this year: +11.2, –14, –5.6, –20.4, –8.4, –4.3, –11.5, –9.2. Your lone acceptable OL is LT Roderick Johnson. Everyone else is a disaster. This is why whenever you turned on an FSU game this year Francois was neck-deep in defenders.
Michigan's most difficult task will be containing Walker, who has 15 sacks this year. If they can do that they should get enough offense to win since the opposition is going to have serious trouble blocking Michigan's DL.
PFF's freshman All-America team is not great for last year's LB scouting. There are a couple of familiar names here:
Linebacker: David Reese, Florida; Shaquille Quarterman, Miami (FL); Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma
Injuries opened the door for Reese to start down the stretch after impressing in a backup role early on. He played well in coverage while missing only six of his 50 tackle attempts. Quarterman paired with Michael Pinckney to form the best true freshman linebacker duo and he led all Power-5 freshmen with 44 stops. Kelly came on strong down the stretch, keeping the ball in front of him in coverage while finishing with a solid 70.6 grade against the run.
Reese decommitted after Michigan told him they didn't have an early enroll spot for him and Caleb Kelly seemed way more interested in Michigan than Michigan was in him. Hopefully this was a DJ Durkin problem; he was both the DC and the LBs coach a year ago. Also in (slightly) painful inclusions, albeit for a different reason: Isaac Nauta and his 27 catches for 353 yards. He probably made the right decision because he wasn't going to get that at Michigan, but he'd be nice to have on the roster.
No Michigan players made it and that seems right. Rashan Gary played well but didn't play much on Michigan's ultra-loaded DL, and Ben Bredeson was middling at best.
Michigan should still be pretty good next year. Get The Picture points out a story about the stunning youth of most of this year's playoff participants:
Alabama entered the season with the SEC’s least experienced roster. Ohio State did the same in the Big Ten. Ditto for Clemson: bottom of the ACC. But it was actually much starker than that. Phil Steele, the king of preseason mags, uses a five-part formula to determine experience, and he ranked the Tide roster 116th out of 128 FBS teams. Clemson was ranked 101st. Ohio State was dead last at 128th.
So if you’re scoring at home — and recruits are — then three of this year’s best four teams were also among its youngest, somehow surviving one of the most unpredictable regular seasons in recent memory. The holdout is Washington.
These days if you're recruiting at a very high level you can get away with inserting a bunch of untested sophomores and juniors, because the top end is much more ready to go than they were in the past. Michigan will insert almost entirely touted recruits into their starting lineup, and most of them should have one or two apprentice years to their name.
Nothing is more annoying about DCFC than this. Detroit is a name frequently proposed for MLS expansion because it makes a ton of sense. It's an excellent sports town and it's smack dab in the middle of the Toronto-Chicago-Columbus triangle. But Detroit City is vehemently opposed:
...for this team and its passionate supporters, being included would have also presented another conundrum: DCFC’s identity is homegrown and supporters say it would disintegrate under MLS’ sanitized fan control policies.
For them, the only way to keep growing soccer in Detroit, the only way they saw the sport as having a real future here, was to keep it community and supporter-focused. The Detroit sports landscape, Wright said, was too treacherous for any team to turn their back on that model.
That is absurdly self-important and aloof. Many MLS environments are excellent and homegrown because the league was able to establish a détente with existing fans. The league has done a terrific job of crossing over from Family Fun to actually fun environments in Toronto, Seattle, and Portland.
The same can happen in Detroit, because the DCFC hardcore are not 1) particularly numerous and 2) the only soccer fans in the city. If DCFC wants to finish out of the playoff slots in the NPSL because MLS would frown on them saying "fuck" 300 times in a 90 minute match, that's their prerogative. It should have no impact on MLS's decision to come to Detroit or not. There's no reason the two teams can't coexist since they serve different markets. One will draw the interest of soccer fans; the other will draw the interest of people who like to act tough and watch colored smoke instead of soccer.
Etc.: Iowa didn't shake hands with North Dakota after a basketball game, and it's a very big deal. Zach Hyman finds his spot in the NHL: next to Auston Matthews. Analyst Jimmie Dougherty gets a position coaching job under Willie Taggart. Could Arizona have a better Michigan recruiting class than MSU? Probably not! But it's close!
Speight, Peppers, and Charlton make PFF's list of best single game performances in the Big Ten. Charlton's against MSU should have been even more astounding but for "multiple holding violations that he caused but went uncalled."