ESPN Insider on Michigan

Submitted by cheesheadwolverine on May 29th, 2011 at 8:38 PM

From KC Joyner on ESPN Insider comes a preview of our season which includes this:

"it's a good thing there are many reasons to believe that Hoke's team could be a lot closer to making a run at a conference title than is generally thought"

I don't have an ESPN insider subscription, but if anyone does, it could be an interesting read.…



May 29th, 2011 at 8:57 PM ^

If Borges can somehow figure out how to get as much out of this offense as RR would have, this team could win a ton of games.  A lot of Big Ten teams will be having down years, too.  TSIO should be disorganized and sloppy all season, while MSU and Wiscy lost a ton of talent.  

Before the CC, I was fully convinced that this team would be a "surprise" 11-win team this year, simply by changing DC's.  Obviously, they have changed DC's, and I still see it as their ceiling, as long as Borges can utilize the boatload of talent that has been left in his cupboard.  

Since ND will be in their second year under Kelly, they should realistically beat Michgan this time.  Even if Michigan fully "gets" what Borges is teaching, it should happen later in the season than the ND game.  A more probable ceiling may be 10 games, with one loss to ND and one in BT play.  That might be enough to get into the inaugural BTC game.  

This is a strange year.  There isn't anyone on the schedule they can't beat, but there are about six teams they could lose to.  The best case scenario: they go into the MSU game with one loss and beat MSU on sheer hatred.  It starts to click from there and they peak against Nebraska and TSIO.  

I'm not saying it will happen by any means, but I am saying it is possible.


May 30th, 2011 at 1:18 AM ^

By my estimation:

In-the-bag wins: WMU, EMU

M Favored: Minn, NU, Purdue, Illinois

Toss-ups: Iowa, MSU, SDSU, ND

M Unfavored: OSU, UN

I'll be happy if we win two or three toss-ups and all the favored/in-the-bags (very possible), or at least one unfavored and all the favored/in-the-bags. You're right that it's a chaos year, but I wouldn't count on 10 wins. 7 should be solid. 10 I think is the maximum, if our team performs beyond even the most extraordinary expectations.


May 30th, 2011 at 8:30 AM ^

SDSU is not a toss-up game for UM. SDSU will have a new coach, just like UM, and will be experiencing "growing pains" (just like UM) but our current coach is their former coach so he has an intimate knowledge of their personnel. Add in the difference in player talent level between UM and SDSU and this should be a comfortable win for the good guys. UM wins by 14-17 pts.

Regarding Nebraska, I have broached this topic before but I am still in "wait-and-see" mode with Big Red. They have been playing in the Big 12 North against TERRIBLE competition (Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa St. and Colorado); throw in another bad opponent from the Big 12 South every year as well as 3 cupcake non-conference opponents and they have had a pretty easy road to 10 win seasons.


May 30th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

I put SDSU as a toss-up game because last year, they played competitively with TCU, who beat Wisco in a highly competitive game, whereas we couldn't even compete with Wisco last year. Even seeing a decent growth, our team will have WAY more growing pains than them, because their new coach is their old DC, and ours is running something completely different than we had for three years. They will NOT have the same growing pains we have, but they will have a HUGE chip on their shoulder to beat their old coach, plus they will experience more solid growth during the off-season, making them a very tough team to beat. I see a UMass-like game, where everyone expects us to beat this cupcake team from this lower end conference (division, in the case of UMass) and then they wind up showing up and being a lot more difficult of an opponent than originally thought. I genuinely think SDSU is a toss-up.


May 29th, 2011 at 9:39 PM ^

i disagree. theres no reason why this defense shouldnt be average at the very least. theres too much talent, and there probably wont be a single true freshman on the 2deep. My biggest question is whether the offense will regress. But if the offense is close to what it was last yr, and the defense is even average in the big10, i could see this team competing with anyone.


May 30th, 2011 at 1:27 AM ^

in terms of talent level, it obviously doesnt compare to some of michigans great defenses of the past, but (without actually have researched the subject) im willing to bet that fewer than half of the d1 schools are able to put out a starting defense composed entirely 3 and 4star players, let alone scholarship players. now that lack of experience is no longer an issue, and we have a DC running a system hes actually comfortable with, weve really got no more excuses. maybe its just the blue goggles, but i really think this could be a top 5 defense in the big10. mark it down


May 29th, 2011 at 8:50 PM ^

I think we have ways to go before we can compete for the conference title. We are in great hands defensively with Hoke and the rest of the D coaches. I am actually more excited to see what Al does offensively with his West Coast offense. Interested to see how he uses denard and incorporates some spread concepts.


May 29th, 2011 at 8:54 PM ^

this article was published wednesday and discussed in detail thursday already on a topic on the board about the article.

Eye of the Tiger

May 29th, 2011 at 8:58 PM ^

OSU is probably in trouble, and Iowa and MSU have lost key guys in the trenches, it's plausible we could sneak in there.

We'll need a lot of discipline and some luck to do so, though.  


May 29th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

Isn't it nice seeing "ESPN insider news featuring Michigan" and not having to worry about bad news? Or that when there is news, its osu getting thrown under a bus on a collapsing bridge?


May 29th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

Before the 2008 season there was an article in the Wolverine football preview issue titled "Why Michigan will win the Big Ten this year, and why it won't" Remember how that year went? It's a coaching change year, even Nick Saban had a mediocre first year at Bama. Keep the expectations down.


May 29th, 2011 at 9:57 PM ^

If you look at the line up Roh,Rvb,Mike Martin,Demens, and Willfolk  they have to be better. If Carvin keeps improving and we get a couple more guys who step up they could be very solid. I might sound like a homer or be a idiot with too high of expectations but this is the way I feel.

I feel like we could end up 7-1 with 4 toss up games


2.ND-Toss up




6.NW-close but win

7.MSU-Toss up


9.Iowa-Toss up



12.OSU-toss up because of the situation theyre in





May 29th, 2011 at 10:04 PM ^

I feel like Nebraska is a toss up as well considering how inconsistent they were last year (50-14 thumping of Washington in regular season and then a 19-7 loss in the bowl game to the same washington team) and that it is in Ann Arbor.

Marley Nowell

May 29th, 2011 at 11:02 PM ^

KC Joyner is the reason I cancelled my ESPN Insider subscription.  He is the one of the worst columnist ever. Take a look at the article he is currently trying to pass off.


May 30th, 2011 at 1:01 AM ^

I think Michigan fans have forgotten what it's like when a defense matures year to year. We got used to the defense (really the secondary) being shuffled out and replaced entirely every season and forgot the progress that players make in a second or third year starting.

We fortunately have a lot of those and if they are being coached well our defense should be good, not great but good.

I consider both Michigan and Northwestern Big Ten sleeper picks this year. They have enough talent where if things go correctly they could compete for the conference title and enough question marks to avoid the "experts" picking them to win.