Punt/Counterpunt: Air Force 2017 Comment Count

Seth September 16th, 2017 at 9:03 AM

36364604183_17c4a0c9f8_z[Eric Upchurch]

PUNT

By Bryan MacKenzie

For today's game, we must be specific in how we discuss the opponent. The members of the U.S. Air Force, and the cadets that attend the Air Force Academy, are fine people who have chosen to dedicate a portion of their lives to the service of their country. We applaud them for that, and we welcome them and their supporters to Ann Arbor gladly and with open arms.

pcp01

No, I don't care if they sound alike, you can't line up an A-10 as an A-back

Now, from a purely football standpoint? I never want to see these devoted self-sacrificing bastards again.

For the third time in three weeks, Michigan will face a radically different type of offense. But at least the work the defense put in for the first two games will have value beyond those games. Florida's offense (and yes, I know we're stretching the word "offense" beyond all reasonable interpretation, but stick with me) was predicated on taking big shots down the field on the outside, which Michigan will see again in Happy Valley in a few weeks. Cincinnati used a quick-passing offense and inside zone read-option run game, which should be helpful for several opponents, including Ohio State.

And now we get Air Force's triple option. The triple option requires a great deal of preparation, and that preparation is basically time lit on fire with respect to the rest of the season. No one else in the Big Ten runs a triple option (unless you count Rutgers' "fumble/interception/fall over" as a triple option). What's worse, there isn't really any extra credit for winning a tricky game against an average but sui generis opponent. It's basically like taking Advanced Sanskrit as a college elective; it may be difficult, but it affects your GPA the same as any other class, and you'll never use it again.

In other word, thanks Dave.

pcp02

We tried to warn you, G.

The good news is that Michigan's defense passed the first two tests (such as they were) with flying colors, and are currently outscoring opposing offenses 21-17. If they can stay gap-disciplined, they have the kind of fast, athletic defense that can hold down an attack like this. And on the other side of the ball, this is the kind of matchup that will force Air Force to throw all of their undersized defenders at the line of scrimmage to stop the run, and pray that Speight can't beat them with his arm. And on a warm, sunny afternoon in Michigan Stadium against ten new defensive starters, I'll take that bet.

Still, defending option football is like hitting a knuckleball. It's theoretically the same exercise, but you can't really know what you're up against until you see it done live by someone who is an expert at the craft. Air Force scores a couple of times in the first half, but Michigan eventually sits on them.

Michigan 31, Air Force 17

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COUNTERPUNT

By Nick RoUMel

“God has a very big heart, but there is one sin he will not forgive…” Thus begins one of my favorite quotes from “Zorba the Greek.”

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How author Nikos Kazantzakis finishes that quote is politically incorrect in today’s world. How I will finish that quote today is …. SCHEDULING A WEDDING ON A FOOTBALL SATURDAY!

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How could you, my cousin Ernie? Allowing your lovely daughter Madie to have a wedding during Michigan football season? Just because you live in Pittsburgh, and have no connection to the University of Michigan whatsoever, is no excuse. Your actions are very inconsiderate towards your favorite cousin Niko, who will have to miss today’s game to resentfully share your bliss. You’d better have an open bar, with a TV tuned to Big Ten Network.

Worse are the actual Michigan fans, who should know better. My friend Joe, who married a fellow UM law grad, did so during last year’s Indiana game. Worse are their friends, also both UM law grads, who are having their day of bliss during this year’s Michigan State contest. I would attend dressed as Sparty just to spite them.

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Yes, Sparty does events.

My friend Lauren texted last night, “My friend got married during the penn state game last year like WTF”

The worst was when my friends Pam and Kevin decided to have a Hawai’ian-themed indoor party during Michigan basketball’s 1989 NCAA championship run. Pam would not allow us to turn on the television during the semifinal against Illinois, so we huddled furtively around “Punt Classic’s” tiny portable TV until Pam finally relented during the game’s final minutes.

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Today’s game, however, may be one of those that a Michigan fan will be glad to miss. Reading analysis, and watching Air Force highlights, has my head spinning. Perhaps the scariest quote is this one from defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who actually told MLive that he has “a little familiarity” with the triple option offense because he’d “played with it sometimes in NCAA Football (the video game).”

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The only actual Michigan player who has non-video experience with the triple option is safety Josh Metellus, who played against it in high school. His advice, as the “biggest key” in defending? "Just not falling asleep," Metellus told MLive.

Woe to us. Shades of 2012 - but with an even shadier ending. I won’t be at the Big House for this one, but at least I’ll have an open bar to console me:

AIR FORCE 28, MICHIGAN 24

Comments

Sam1863

September 16th, 2017 at 10:20 AM ^

A female friend told me once that fall weddings are planned for three reasons:

1. Everybody has them in the summer, so if you go with early fall, you have a better chance of not running into a scheduling conflict.

2. The weather's not as hot, but still nice. Therefore, the bridal party aren't sweating their makeup and hairspray off, so the pictures will be better.

3. Who cares about football anyway?

That last one is why I've never spoken to this woman since.

WayOfTheRoad

September 16th, 2017 at 9:29 AM ^

I just don't like the feel of this game.

Wacky service team offense
Wacky service team defense
Noon game
Airing on BTN
Michigan offense not quite in sync

I won't say we lose but I feel like the spread is insane. Come out like last week and we lose. Zero doubt, IMO.

WayOfTheRoad

September 16th, 2017 at 11:41 AM ^

I can't guess regarding our covering but this game has a odd feeling for me for those reasons listed. It's a win-win for them and while we don't usually play well at Noon, they rarely seem fazed (I've seen plenty).

They'll come out swinging and we'll either freak out to a questionable outcome or absorb them, exposing their defense for a big win.

Elmer

September 16th, 2017 at 9:39 AM ^

If Metellus has experience against a triple option in high school, wouldn't Bush and Gil also have some?

So that's three players...we are all set. Go Blue!

UMBSnMBA

September 16th, 2017 at 9:58 AM ^

The year that Sparty got destroyed.  I bought a TV and streamed the game using my phone as a hot spot (no Wi-Fi).  Fortunately, no one watched past about the first 10 minutes.  Damn Sparty fans.

After we blew out Northwestern 38-0 earlier in the year, I thought that it was the good guys that I would have to miss.

LabattsBleu

September 16th, 2017 at 10:45 AM ^

the Punt Counter Punt write ups confuse me... are they meant to be legitmate predictions or sardonic hot takes?

28-24 AF?!

there wouldn't be people jumping off the Harbaugh wagon if that came true: it'd be a full on Exodus.

Being contrarian for the sake of it really stretches the concept of these article...

turtleboy

September 16th, 2017 at 11:15 AM ^

Air Force is the kind of opponent that can make any fanbase salty and nervous. The result isn't in doubt, but I should still start drinking early and hold onto something, lol. Sorry grandpa, but your team makes me uncomfortable.

Mike420GoBlue

September 16th, 2017 at 11:28 AM ^

We got married during the Penn State (Manningham) game in 05. All of us guys were watching in the coat room when Mario caught the game winner as time expired. Several people in our families have season tickets, and made sure I felt like a heel for making them miss being there. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a hot body and blue eyes...

uminks

September 16th, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

Then they probably will not be able to beat half the B1G teams we play. You can say hello to 6-6 or 7-5.

This team is much better than what they showed last week. I think they will win big Today.