The UM vs ND game from last season is being replayed right now on BTN for those who are able to watch. It was on this past Saturday too, great game to watch to get excited for the upcoming season, GO BLUE!
Now that Hopson is out, who gets the job now? I honestly have absoulutely no idea, and thus am very interested in your opinions.
Kovacs is up for the "Rudy" award. It is an award for the college football player with the most heart. Yes, I know this was posted a week ago, but it has slipped down the board and I thought I would post again as a reminder. Also, it looks like you can vote more than once, so go ahead. We definitely could use the positive PR.
P.S. Any chance we could get a button on the home page for something like this? A win would be as much a victory for the power of the MGoBlog as it would be for Kovacs because my guess is many (most?) of his votes will come from here. Now, if we could only get them to agree to give us a vote in the BCS.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I had my first good Saturday in a long time last weekend. It was great. I got a ton done, I was in a good mood and I didn't realize why until the end of the day when I was watching a thrilling Arkansas - LSU match on espn. I was hugely pleased that no matter which team won, it wouldn't be crushing. I was actually able to enjoy watching football for the sport itself again. Marvelous.
I'm expecting another good Saturday this weekend. It is nice to be able to expect good Saturdays until next September. I still wish Michigan had made a bowl game, but it is okay with me to be able to just let my football nerves rest as the players train during the off season. I'll hopefully be rejuvenated enough to grind my psyche to paste again for 12 straight weekends and, who knows, we could be good.
As we near the end of the football season, there will be much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth concerning where M ended up in national rankings in various categories (offense, defense, etc.).
Before getting too excited (good or bad) keep this in mind:
The difference between being ranked in the top 25 and being ranked below #80 is usually just +/- 10%.
For example: Total offense: #55 = 390 Yards/Game. Subtract 10% and you get to 351 and rank #82. Add 10% and you get to 429 and rank #23.
My point? It does not really take a huge improvement on the field to change the national rankings. Is it unreasonable to expect M could get 10% better next year?
Also, the national rankings include the FCS teams as well as the BCS teams. This has a tendency to muck the works also.
For example: 6 of the top 10 ranked teams in Total Offense are NOT from the BCS.
What are his chances?
One of the nation's top defensive players, University of Michigan football senior Brandon Graham (Detroit, Mich./Crockett Technical HS) has been named one of seven finalists for the 2009 Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's foremost defensive end.
Graham leads the nation in tackles for loss (26) and is 15th with 10.5 sacks. An All-Big Ten first team selection, he posted career highs in tackles (64) and TFLs (26) while contributing two forced fumbles, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Graham also blocked two punts and returned another for a touchdown. He posted at least one sack in seven of the final eight games and collected at least one TFL in 11 of the 12 contests. A preseason All-American, he is the only player in the nation to rank in the top five in TFLs two straight seasons (first in 2009 and second in 2008).
I'll have to admit, I've been a little bummed about our D. But, I'm sitting here watching NFL PrimeTime and 4 (count'm FOUR) professional football players of the NY Jets all decide to cover Randy Moss on 3rd and 7 while Wes Welker (yes, that Wes Welker) runs by all four for a 50 yard reception.
Jeez, if these guys can look like they are clueless on a few plays, maybe it is not so bad for M.
I'm stoked for next year!!
I think most would agree one of the most difficult aspects of the last few years is the fact that Michigan really hasn't had this sort of rebuilding experience. Struggling at UM meant 3-4 losses or a bad bowl game. The last two years are uncharted waters.
Someone else posted on the comparison with Dave Wandstedt having three rough seasons before finding success at Pitt. And it struck me that I was drawing on some other PA based teams to try and deal with this rebuilding process.
I happen to be a lifelong Steelers fans despite having been born in Michigan and never having lived in Pennsylvania. Obviously, the Steelers dominated the 70s winning four Super Bowl with an amazing collection of Hall of Fame players.
But when I was in high school in the later eighties they hit a rough patch where it was very tough to be a Steelers fan. They missed the playoffs four straight years and had a losing record for three of those years.
As football fans know, they got back on track and again became a consistent playoff team. They had a number of heartbreaking playoff losses - and a SB loss - before breaking through and winning another Super Bowl in Detroit.
I now live in Columbus and this makes watching football difficult as you might imagine. A friend of mine is a Penn State fan so we watch college football (all except one week a year) and hate Ohio State together.
Watching him deal with the Penn State struggles was also a useful reference for me. During the 2000-2004 seasons Joe Pa had a losing record four out of five years. And Penn State was the one team Michigan seemed to beat no matter what. Even their breakout year when they went 11-1 Michigan was that one loss. Joe Pa's record since? Nothing less than 9 wins with three bowl wins and two straight against Michigan.
I bring all this up not to pretend their is some neat connection - or to note PSU wins of late - but rather just to point out that teams and fan bases go through this and get over it. Good things can follow very ugly years.
This year frustrated me a great deal and it ended on a very ugly note. But I have come to accept that the hole was deeper and the transition was a bigger challenge than I had thought. But I am confident that commitment and patience will pay off.
The announcers were talking about Tate Forcier hitting the wall this year late in the season. And I was wondering whether a whole team could hit the wall.
What has bothered me the most about this team this second half of the season is their complete inability to take advantage of opportunities and their tendency to collapse at the most inopportune times.
Obviously in the first four games (but also Michigan State and Iowa) it felt like they could still make plays when they needed to; like they were going to keep fighting until the end. I can take the losses of MSU and Iowa, like the wins against Indiana and ND, because it felt like we played hard and were in it right until the end.
But in this slide is just didn't feel that way. Whenever the defense played well the offense struggled. If the offense made a big play the defense immediately gave up one.
Today was just another example. Tate just inexplicably fumbles and gives Ohio State 7. We can't make a short FG. The defense plays well but the offense goes three and out. When we do move the ball Tate throws a pick in the endzone. The score may have been close but I never felt we were going to win this game - maybe that is my lack of faith - because we gave OSU the perfect set up: protect a lead and wait for Michigan to make a mistake. It worked.
Maybe it is because there are so many young players - Forcier is still a freshman after all - but it just feels like this team picks the worst possible time to make critical mistakes.
Ohio State is a good defense, and they played conservatively on offense, but five turnovers?!?! Three with the game hanging by a thread.
I don't know if it is inexperience, mental and physical exhaustion, or trying to do too much. But this team found ways to lose rather than finding ways to win and it wasn't always clear that it was due to lack of talent.
One thing I will be looking for next year is a sense that those who return will play smarter and within the system. I am not sure I can take another year of massive turnovers and the overall lack of poise and discipline.
P.S. For the record I am totally against firing RichRod. I think continuity is a must right now. We need as many returning players as we can get plus as many recruits as is possible. This team needs to continuing building not start over again.
I don't blame this inability to find ways to win games during conference play primarily on the coaches - the players were in a position to make plays but didn't. But I do think next year this team has to show composure and discipline or I will begin to wonder about coaching.