Hope Floats, But So Do Dead Bodies

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Whoops! Posted this to my test sandbox instead of here; sorry for the lack of content this morning.

Okay, so Michigan is 2-6 and we're resigned to watching the worst season in Michigan football since… uh… sometime in Bump Elliot's tenure. Lame. The last thing I want to do is give readers any sort of hope whatsoever, since that hope will boomerang on you and slice your head off.

So unless this sounds like a good idea, stop reading.

Now that 95% of you have kept reading, intrigued by this whole sinless self-decapitation thing, I have to tell you some things.

1. Purdue might be starting a combination of John Ferrara and Nick Sheridan.

Curtis Painter's Heisman bid suffered a serious blow last weekend:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A slight separation of his right, throwing shoulder kept Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter out of practice Sunday.

Coach Joe Tiller said he didn't know whether Painter would practice today. The Boilermakers were off Monday.

"If he doesn't, there will be some question about whether or not he can get ready (for Saturday's game against Michigan)," Tiller said. "But he's a tough kid. Knowing him, I think he'll be ready, but I don't know if (the doctors) will let him go."

With backup Joey Elliot out with another shoulder separation, this is the guy Purdue might start:

Siller had not been practicing behind center for several weeks after his switch to running back.

(You might remember Siller as the OLSM quarterback Michigan had little interest in a couple years ago.) So, yeah, Purdue might be starting a guy third string a few weeks ago and, more recently than that, a running back.

2. Minnesota, while still probably better than Michigan, isn't your typical 7-1 team.

Dr. Saturday eschewed his usual Life on the Margins column to focus exclusively on Minnesota, finding this:

Aside from Florida Atlantic and, to a lesser extent, Purdue, the Gophers haven't exactly overwhelmed anyone. Their deficits in total yards and yards per play are small enough to call "Push," but not many teams are able to turn "Push" on a down-by-down basis into 7-1 in the big picture. …

The Illinois win in particular brings us to the elephant in the chart ...

The Turnover Margin. Plus-15 is the best number in the country, but it's hard to trust any team that rides the giveaway/takeaway fairy to the bank. Minnesota led the nation in turnover margin under Glen Mason in 2006, too, eking out a bowl game by finishing +18, then immediately collapsed in '07 when that fortune didn't go its way again. Last year's national turnover leader, eerily, was Kansas, which also lost the only game it finished in the red (against Missouri). This year, KU is 1-3 when finishing in the 'Minus' column, where the only win was the frantic second half comeback over bottom dweller Iowa State. 2006 turnover leader TCU fell from 11-2 to a disappointing 8-5 with a negative margin in '07. Big turnover margins are hard to sustain/

This same backslide can happen within a season, too: if the well dries up, I wouldn't expect the Gophers to win any of their last four based on the way they're actually playing offense and defense

Allll right! WOO—

(except perhaps at Michigan, where the Wolverines have been far too sloppy to oblige that hypothetical).

Awwwww, goddammit.

3. Northwestern just lost to Indiana.

Again, Indiana could well be better than us. But.

4. They have just cancelled the Ohio State game because of the election.

That's the ticket!



October 29th, 2008 at 3:34 PM ^

At the beginning of the year, I probably would have been labled a pessimist for saying a 6-6 record would be a "good" year for this team. If you read into this, I figured 5-7 would be most likely. From my "optomistic" predictions, we would have been sitting at 3-5 at this point. Only an injury to Threet and a subsequent loss to Toledo has changed that. I think it is definetely possible we run off three wins in a row here, as I  have figured we would since the summer. I can't believe we will win at OSU, but this team has potential and might just turn this season from horrendous to just bad.

Never give up hope.


October 30th, 2008 at 2:35 AM ^

they have potential but i would be surprised if we pulled 2 or 3 out of the rest of the season. as brian said, offense is not diverse enough yet. if we could piece together all of the things we've done in individual games (minor rage, etc) we'd be solid. even less than that, if we could hold a lead we could've won the last 4 instead of lost the last 4. anyway, my point is i have much hope for next year. this year if we can get to 5-7 i will be pumped

Yinka Double Dare

October 29th, 2008 at 3:38 PM ^

I watched some of Purdue and Northwestern this weekend.  Northwestern's backup did something far worse than anything Sheridan has ever done, it was reminiscient of the stupidity that made Aaron Brooks famous.  If Bacher is still hurt, plus with Sutton out for the year, we might have a shot in that one.  Bacher is also generous with the turnovers, but he's a much better overall QB than the backup, not even close.

Purdue will probably not be throwing downfield much.  Tackling is going to be key because it will be a lot of running and a lot of dink-and-dunk if Siller is at QB.  Tackling is naturally always key, but especially so here where they're not likely to be tossing a 30 yard pass down the field -- big gains will only happen if we blow tackles.

Kevin Holtsberry

October 29th, 2008 at 3:51 PM ^

I could be optimistic.  But I just can't see how a team who couldn't find a way to beat Toledo is likely to beat anyone.  Two or three wins wouldn't shock me but neither would losing them all.


October 29th, 2008 at 3:55 PM ^

if we win three in a row we'll be taken out of bowl contention and given our first losing season in 41 years by OSU, making it one of the worst losses to them ever. lets hope we lose to somebody else before that can happen.