Punt-Counterpunt: Air Force 2012

Submitted by Brian on September 8th, 2012 at 10:29 AM

The-Big-House-2010[1]

Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one. Something like… Punt-Counterpunt.

Ken_thumb7PUNT

By Ken “Sky” Walker
9/8/12

By Labor Day, I had pretty much put last Saturday’s debacle behind me. There was a time when I would obsess over a Michigan loss all week long. I’ve learned over the years to kick all that angst to the curb. I’m way beyond having my mood be affected by a Wolverine win or loss. After all, this is just a game played by kids, right?

I’d taken Tuesday off to extend the weekend. The extra day off didn’t help. It having been a holiday on Monday, every sports news outlet had the Alabama game as its lead story Tuesday. College Football Live, PTI, Around the Horn, and Jim Rome Is Burning—I’ll admit to watching them all—rehashed that nightmare over and over. I finally decided to go outdoors to take a walk, which is somewhat of a novelty for me on a non-football Saturday, in an effort to get away from the talking heads. By the end of the day, I was looking forward to returning to work.

It’s Wednesday and I’m back at the office. I venture down the hall and I’m greeted by a coworker—"Hey Ken! What happened to your boys?!" I find myself sucked into a lengthy conversation revolving around what Denard did, didn’t, or was allowed to do; Borges’s game plan or lack thereof. Is Gardner going to stay at wide out? Would having Fitz in the backfield made a difference? What happened to the defense? I ended up having similar conversations during the course of the day. By now I’m totally immersed in dissecting this game and what it means for the rest of the season.

On Thursday a young woman who just occupied the office down the hall pokes her head in. She spies my Go Blue mug and exclaims "A Michigan fan! Wouldn’t it be great if all the offices in this hall were tricked out in Michigan gear?" I point out that all the pins in my press board are maize or blue. She laughs and continues on her way. I’m struck by the fact that I pointed out to an attractive young woman that I’ve deliberately disposed of all the green and red pins and use only the maize - ah, yellow - and blue ones. OMG! I’ve become one of those Old Michigan Geezers!

I am neither obsessed nor depressed. I am aware that Air Force cannot win this game today. No amount of poor tackling, stagnant offense, or turnovers could possibly cause the Wolverines to lose to an academy team. But I can’t pick Michigan to blow them out either.

MICHIGAN 27, Air Force 24

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By Nick RouMel
9/8/12

I am so glad Punt and I didn’t go down to the Cowboy Classic. I was looking forward to that party all year, but it ended a bit like “Project X.” It was not only like having the host steal your girlfriend, but then having her post on Facebook that you were nothing but a “Minute Man” anyway.

Oh, wait, that’s next week’s opponent (UMass). This Saturday we face Air Force. The mighty Falcons averaged 35 points a game last year, and opened this season by laying waste to Matt Gutierrez’ alma mater, Idaho State. Yes, like last week’s rude party host, they can score. But unlike Alabama, they do not have professional athletes on their squad, merely crackerjack trained U.S. military personnel. Thus they are vulnerable to a Michigan squad with something to prove.

Was last week’s debacle a product of bad coaching or execution? I learned from MGoBlog’s play-by-play analysis that the problem was not so much poor play, as simply being manhandled by a superior team. Air Force is a welcome respite from that mugging. Compared to ‘Bama, the Falcons are tiny. Their largest offensive lineman is a gaunt 260 lbs., and their defense is prone to being porous.

Expect Michigan to have a field day in the Big House. Denard will be on target, Devin will run better routes, and Fitz is back from the Dog House. The party that didn’t happen last week will rock Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are favored by 21.5 points for a reason. That reason is that the oddsmakers are smoking crack. Oh wait, I mean it’s because we’re going to win by at least three touchdowns! Up and down the field we will run. Touchdowns we will score. And this week, no one steals our girl.

MICHIGAN 45, AIR FORCE 21

Comments

Michigasling

September 9th, 2012 at 9:04 AM ^

I beg to differ.  That was not the young lady's opinion, but the sensitive concern of a wise and mature man, evidenced by both his writing and his attachment to Michigan.  (This is assuming the mug and the stick-pins were the classy but subtle reminder of his affections and that he wasn't wearing a "Worst State Ever" T-shirt as well.) 

His assessment of the game and final score was also more accurate. 

GoWings2008

September 8th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

...but I fully expect UM to win handily.  Growing up a UM fan, but an AFA grad, I'm deeply conflicted.  My heart is spilt between my childhood favorite team and the place where I shed blood, sweat and tears.  My head will break the tie and say UM should win by about 14 to 17 pts.  I think it could be worse, but Hoke has too much respect for AFA, not just because he has history playing them.  

After the game however, I'll be glad that UM has rebounded to become 1-1.  Looking forward to the game watching with my dad, a 1947 UM graduate.'

Edit:  For any of you going to the game, watch and listen (if they somehow end up doing this) but the AF players and the AF section may stand and sing the third verse of the AF song, a tradition after every game, honoring the fallen Airmen thoroughout the years.  It's pretty cool to see.

ChalmersE

September 8th, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

is it appropriate to call Idaho State Gutierrez' alma mater.  Matt played there, but his degree is from the University of Michigan.  Indeed, he's been in some promotional videos produced by the Admissions Department.

P.S.  I get that the reference was in jest.

cigol

September 8th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

But how can Ken say that there is no chance of Air Force winning, but only pick Michigan to win by 3?  Almost any game that is within 3 points is a coin flip at some point late.

DeepBlue83

September 8th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

and better prepared on both sides of the ball. Their defense will stick us with a lot of short yardage plays when we try to run the ball, and Denard will miss more open receivers than he should, but we'll break a couple of long runs and at least one long pass play, and that will be the main difference.  

A solid but unimpressive win that won't be in the bag until the second half of the 4th quarter.  Still a long way for this team to go.

 

Michigan 35-20