August 23rd, 2018 at 10:12 AM ^

I told myself after last year that I am not going to care as much about Michigan Football, but yet I think I have read more about this team this year than I have in all the previous years combined.  I cannot kid myself anymore, I am obsessed with Michigan.


August 23rd, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

In your defense, this is a team to get excited about. Easily a top 3 defense again this year, if not the #1 defense. Upgraded QB, WR and OL play this year should mean a much better offense.

I've been saying it all summer, if the offense can hit that top 30-40 range in the rankings, there is no reason why we can't go undefeated or be in the B1G Championship and onto the CFP.

Watching From Afar

August 23rd, 2018 at 10:45 AM ^

Top 30-40 range was the 2015 (33) and 2016 (35) offenses (according to S&P Rankings).

I'm not entirely sure that 2018 will get to that level (or maybe that's just me having lost some faith here). The running game should be better this year than in any of those 2 years. Higdon/Evans are much more explosive than Smith and the OL's ceiling is higher, but their floor is much lower.

Cole/Braden/Glasgow/Bredeson/Kalis/Magnuson (and the short stint with Newsome prior to injury) were by no means elite, but when they didn't biff on plays (looking at your Kalis) they were generally solid. 2018 line could be maulers on the ground, but they could also screw up at a much higher rate.

QB wise Patterson > Speight (IMO - if he limits the turnovers) but he needs to be late season Rudock to really get the offense moving. The receivers, again, have a higher ceiling than Darboh/Chesson, but they also have a lower floor. Perry and the TEs could keep that group above water if the worst happens.

Defensively, 2018 is definitely better than 2015. Will most likely be better than 2016 too assuming no major injuries. The talent is oozing everywhere and the DTs and Safeties just need to play solid.


August 23rd, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

How low is the floor of this year's OL really.  The 2016 line did not have Glasgow, and after Newsome went down, how good was that line?  Not good enough to punch it in from 1st and goal at the 1 yard line against FSU; not good enough to avoid a safety against Iowa or run out the clock against anybody, or get a first down in the 4th Q against OSU.   Is the floor of this year's OL really much lower than post-Newsome 2016?  Looking for feedback.

Watching From Afar

August 23rd, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

I included Glasgow because I was talking 2015 and 2016. That's why there were 6 names in there plus Newsome.

Anyways, post Newsome the OL could still operate well enough for Speight to have a chance. You critiques have some valid points to them. I'm not saying that line was good in anyway, but they weren't missing 2 blocks on the same play, letting in free runners consistently, or getting their QBs killed (Speight's injury @Iowa was him scrambling around).

The floor of the OL this year? I don't know how anyone could say it's significantly better than last year. I think it will be better than last year but the "floor" implies everything going wrong. And if everything goes wrong, they're 2017 again with a better Center and LG and worse LT.

Yes, Cole wasn't a great LT, but he was solid. Runyan is a step down from him.

Bredeson should be better, but he wasn't great last year. He somehow was 2nd team All-Big Ten but pretty much everyone who looks at these things in depth (Brian on UFR) showed him to be ok and still have problems in pass pro. 2016 Braden before he went to LT (where he did ok given the circumstances) was better than Bredeson last year and it will take a step forward for Bredeson to be better than 2016 Braden, which I expect to happen.

Ruiz, for all his hype, is still a true sophomore with half a dozen starts to his name at RG. He COULD be very, very good, but that is almost all projection. He is physically capable, but playing center requires more than that. In any event, I think he'll be better than Kugler.

Onwenu and Spanellis at RG have their own individual problems. Onwenu doesn't have the longevity to play 100 mph for 4 quarters so he has to be spelled some snaps or his fatigue slows him down a step. His pass pro is also suspect. Spanellis is the quintessential "smart OL" guy but physically he might have a slight downside. Kalis was a massive bust waiting to happen (the Iowa game you brought up was his miss on the safety). But when he didn't bust he was, again, ok.

RT is still a black hole until proven otherwise. We know what JBB can do (which is better than most people give him credit for - he's not AWFUL). We have no idea how Hudson will do. It's 95% speculation. Magnuson was actually a pretty decent RT. He was the 1 guy from the 2016 graduates who was thought to get drafted.


August 24th, 2018 at 9:03 AM ^

In '97, our offense ranked 48th in points per game at 26.8.  Our murderous defense ranked 1st in opponent points per game at 9.5.  Both of these are not out of the realm of possibility for this year looking at our returners on both sides of the ball.  Go blue!

Watching From Afar

August 24th, 2018 at 9:39 AM ^

Michigan averaged 40 PPG (10th overall) in 2016 and that wasn't enough with a top 3 defense. That metric isn't really useful.

This offense has to be better than 1997. Even with the assumed PPG inflation, the offense needs to be top 40 in S&P Offense to have a shot at making the BTCCG. Like they were in 2015 and 2016.


August 23rd, 2018 at 10:20 AM ^

I hope you are wrong because that to me would indicate they took no steps forward this year.  I feel like that outcome would be a repeat of what we have seen of Michigan Football for the last decade and a half.  I think the possibilities are much lower for them to lose all 3 road rivalry games than win 1 or even 2.  If Harbaugh can win the Big Ten this year (and I know it is a BIG if), he could change the course and perception of our program which has taken a huge hit for a while now.  This is our year! GO BLUE!!


August 23rd, 2018 at 11:14 AM ^

Not to sound like a skeptic, but is it *that* insane to think Notre Dame could fall off substantially this season? If their offensive line regresses, their offense could very reasonably become one-dimensional against high-end competition. With games against Michigan, Stanford, Florida State, and USC looming, an 8-4 record is *possible* under those circumstances.

My guess is Notre Dame will be better than 8-4 this season, but could a win over Notre Dame look progressively less impressive as the season continues? Seems like a real possibility to me.


Blue In NC

August 23rd, 2018 at 10:34 AM ^

This is actually a realistic pick.  That would have us losing 3 tough road games (all to top 15 teams) but winning PSU, Wisc and all other games.  I know people would be disappointed with that, but it is entirely possible (and maybe likely by the percentages).  

Of course, it would probably be easier to handle that better if we went 9-3 but one victory was against OSU (e.g. losing against Wisc).  Are people okay with that?


August 23rd, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

State will be very good this year. Don't know why it's hard for people to realize that. Lewerke and their receivers are legit. Online will be better and defense will be solid. And they have a pretty easy schedule so it's not hard to think they'll have a better record than us, again. Keep underestimating them and we keep losing to them. 


August 23rd, 2018 at 12:37 PM ^

I strongly disagree with this take. OSU has way more talent than MSU does. Last year's team was 10-3. They were also 7-1 in games decided by 7 points or less. Their advanced metrics:


State - #30 / Michigan - #33


State - #21 / Michigan - #27

They bring back a lot, but they were about the same quality of team that we were last year with a few more breaks (which seems to be a recurring theme). 


August 23rd, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

Bryan Fisher's picks seem a little "fishy."  He picked us to beat MSU and Ohio in our preview.  But in his predictions for MSU and Ohio he picked them to beat us!  Easy to please more fans by picking their team to win more games.  


August 23rd, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

A good season in my eyes and one that would put Michigan in the limelight is at least 10-2. 

Beat three of ND, PSU, MSU, Wisc., OSU.

One of the three must be MSU.

Watching From Afar

August 23rd, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

Beat 1/2 between OSU/MSU.

Beat 2/3 between ND/Wisconsin/PSU.

I'd be good with that.

Even 1/3 between ND/Wisconsin/PSU would probably be... well I could come to grips with it somehow.

The thing with last year, even with as bad as the offense was, Michigan got no breaks except maybe in the Indiana game when Cobbs stepped out of bounds on the onside kick. Otherwise, the MSU game had 100 bad bounces, missed wide open TDs, and generally getting stuck playing from behind in a monsoon. Wisconsin, the DPJ TD that was called back. The Wisconsin punt return where they had the guy dead to rights and he got away (with a block in the back). The OSU game with the missed wide open receivers and dropped INT.

You HAVE to thing these things average out over time (even though I could put a list together showing they probably haven't for Michigan over the years outside of the wacky ND games). And if they do, Michigan gets a 50/50 win more than 1/5 times or whatever.


August 23rd, 2018 at 10:22 AM ^

After the sh!t OSU pulled, the only games I'll watch are Michigan football. I am not claiming some high moral standard but its a game and a show. Maryland, OSU, PSU, MSU they will do anything and everything to win. SEC pays players. We as a society don't give a crap enough and we forget. Why is that? It is sad to me. I can't get hyped for CFP etc. Mostly I'm just sad today because as a society we have been going down the shitter like every year. 


BUT Go Blue and hope we go 10-2/11-1 and beat all these A-hole schools at their own game.