The Four Toughest Games

Submitted by swdodgimus on August 11th, 2017 at 9:03 AM

22 days until kickoff. Thank you, Jebus.

I see a lot of predictions from national outlets dismissing Michigan's chances in the big four games this year (Florida, @PSU, @Wisky, OSU). Lots of "maybe they pick off one, but they're too young." Instead of redundant talk about how they're Harbaugh's guys and youth won't matter, why are these games being dismissed as Michigan losses so early?

Florida-inept offense for four years running. Never ranking above 70 in offensive S&P. Defense returning only a handful of starters, without the same talent replenishment from years past. 15th in recruiting two years ago, which followed a 23rd ranking. Including the 41-7 bowl loss two years ago, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and FSU all racked up 30-plus points. 

PSU-Obviously, 49-10 last year. Barkley may be elite, but he hasn't been for two years against M. Who has been able to pass the ball on Michigan in the last two years? CU, which is a quick passing spread. RB wheel routes? Connor Cook laser accuracy? It's been a tough nut to crack. Without a good PSU OL, this is a defensive slugfest. Which leads me to...

Nobody is talking about how mediocre their defense is. 42 points to Pitt. 49 against Michigan. 31 against depleted Indiana. 31 against pedestrian Wisky. 52 against USC. Why are they highly regarded?

Wisconsin-How are they going to move the ball? Defense will probably be solid, but they've lost tons of playmakers that set that defense apart (Cichy, Watt, Biegel, Shelton). The only way I see this falling apart is an Iowa-esque performance. Given our record in Big Ten West road games (Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa), that's certainly possible.

OSU-Don't talk about them until after a few games in. I have no idea what to think with the turnover and coaching changes. All I know is I don't like them.




August 11th, 2017 at 9:20 AM ^

Were amazing. The 100m heats and final were special. People here LOVE Bolt, and HATE Gatlin. Got to interview Christian Coleman, who got silver, and he's the next star in USATF.

Mo Farah is a celebrity, and the British press is pushing lots of athletes really hard to replace him as the next star. Fans are getting frustrated, bc GBR has really laid an egg so far.

The 400m women's final, where Allyson Felix got beat by a head nod, was racous. 

The only complaint I would have is that the games are so spread out that some nights have only two must see events, and the rest is a really long field event (throws, vaults, etc. take 4 hours). 

MGJS SuperKick Party

August 11th, 2017 at 9:53 AM ^

No one will be able to replace Mo. He's so likable. It's going to be weird not seeing him, but I find Galen Rupp likable and a suitable replacement for me... obviously not the same for Britain.

That 400m was absolutely amazing and the 100m was kind of bittersweet. It was nice to see the US have success, but like with Mo, it's going to be weird seeing track without its biggest star.

Edited: removed a 0 from 400m to make it correct.


August 11th, 2017 at 10:27 AM ^

The thing that frustrates me about the Brits here is the hypocrisy of the Gatlin situation. Out of the 40 fastest 100m times, 31 are by accused dopers. The other nine are Usain Bolt's. Just look at him a year prior to his emergence and what he looked like in Beijing. It's a string bean turning into a beast in a year. I wouldn't definitively accuse him of doping without hard proof, but I'm suspicious.

The hypocrisy comes in when you hear nothing about how Dwain Chambers doped, and yet Gatlin is raked against the coals by the IAAF President (who allowed him to race?). 

I think the press should be focusing on Coleman, who is now 2-0 against Bolt. But I'm not the one selling papers here, so what do I know?

MGJS SuperKick Party

August 11th, 2017 at 10:41 AM ^

Yeah, I've noticed him increasing in size too... maybe it's a good workout program, but it wouldn't surprise me... I saw on reddit an image of the top 100 times, and the ones that have been accused for doping have been crossed out... absolutely crazy.

I agree with you on Coleman, but Gatlin has the stained image, so naturally that's going to be the bigger story.

The one thing I haven't heard much of, which surprised me after the emergence in Rio, is I haven't heard much about the US distance team. Have those events happened yet or are we striking out?


August 11th, 2017 at 1:47 PM ^

But moved to az when I was 3. Always loved going back to visit. In fact, I was offered the opportunity to transfer back to North Muskegon to play football where my grandpa's did in the 1930's, and Dad did in the 70's. But, in the end, I decided to stay in Phoenix to try and win a title in Arizona's top division.
I often think about how much different my life could have been if I went.


August 11th, 2017 at 9:09 AM ^

trying to be a jerk, but I think why people are talking about the 4 toughest games is because they are the four toughest game.  We have two types of games on our schedule this year - 1) certain win unless something really crazy happens, and 2) 50/50 games against good teams, two of which are on the road and one at a nuetral site.  People aren't talking about the Michigan v. Maryland game or the Michigan v. Purdue game because there is not much to talk about.  Michigan is better and will win them.  The talk is about the tough games because there is not much to say about the other ones.


August 11th, 2017 at 10:36 AM ^

2) Shaky road play last year against good competition, 3) SEC bias (as to the Florida game), 4) skepticism that a program can go from gone to "back" this fast, 5) Ohio State is really good.

All of the games are winnable.  Penn State and Florida very much so.  The back to back Wisky and OSU is not a good draw.


August 12th, 2017 at 11:36 PM ^

I am baffled that people think that Michigans chances in those games are dismissed.  Pretty near every pundit I have read gives Michigan a probable two of those four, and one loss somewhere else.


August 11th, 2017 at 11:23 AM ^

Agreed. A loss to a non OSU, @PSU, @Wisconsin, or vsFlorida this year will be a major let down.

Outside of those four games what is the fifth toughest game on the schedule?  @Maryland in November but it is way below the others.   


Perkis-Size Me

August 11th, 2017 at 10:00 AM ^

In the form of the football season? I'd be happy to go to some podunk bowl in the middle of nowhere if it meant that in exchange we beat OSU and ruined their shot at a conference title or playoff spot at the very least. I'd happily lose to Florida, PSU, Wisconsin, and would even flirt with losing to MSU too. 

In terms of my personal life, that depends, but not much. At the end of the day its just a game and I'm not going to sacrifice things that really matter. But as for stuff I would sacrifice, I'd sacrifice any kind of alcohol for the entire football season. Would happily go stone cold sober from Labor Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend to guarantee that win.


August 11th, 2017 at 9:44 AM ^

Freeze Tag - Utter chaos in the form of a game

Monopoly - Kill your family over fake money and possessions

Battletoads - Still in the middle of a 25 year rage quit

Life - Bills, emails, and sleep deprivation...then you die


August 11th, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

Man, remember when some video games were just too difficult to beat?  Like, you couldn't just beat them thru attrition?  I never beat Battletoads.  Son of a bitch.

I did, however, beat both Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II, which mos def involved a ton of rage quits and a heroic amount of profanity from teenage Sleepy.


August 11th, 2017 at 9:45 AM ^

We will have a handful of tough games.  Most road games present a challenge at the college level.  Rivalry games the same.  Only thing that matters this year, just win.  And beat ohio.


Perkis-Size Me

August 11th, 2017 at 9:53 AM ^

In order:

#4 - Florida - their offense does not scare me until proven otherwise, but their defense is going to be a very tough challenge for a very inexperienced offense. Neutral site game so not worried about it being "a tough environment," but a lot of guys stepping in with minimal experience. 

#3 - Wisconsin - went back and forth a little bit on this with PSU, but considering the team will be about as seasoned as it can be by the time Wisconsin rolls around, it makes me slightly less concerned. Plus, their offense plays to our defense's strengths, and this will almost certainly be a day game. Would dread playing in Camp Randall at night. 

#2 - PSU - white out night game in Happy Valley. Against a team with a stud RB and a QB who will want to arm punt....err....I mean air it out against a very inexperienced secondary. PSU will be out for blood after getting beaten to a bloody pulp by Michigan last season. This is a winnable game, but Michigan will have to play at its best. Even if PSU is not all they're cracked up to be this season, winning in Happy Valley at night is a tall order for anyone. As OSU saw last season. 

#1 - OSU - there was never another option. Michigan will be fully grown by this game, but so will OSU. If Kevin Wilson proves to be OSU's answer on offense, we'll need to play a near perfect game to win and force a turnover or two. Thank god its at home, but I pray our OL is up to the challenge. Unless everyone on that line turns into Jake Long by November, Speight will need to get the ball out of his hands pretty quickly. I hope that the DL is still fully healthy by this game and the backups have plenty of reps. Barrett and Weber are going to try and run it right down our throats, and the last thing I want to see is a repeat of 2015 where the DL was gassed by the third quarter and OSU just ran the ball at will.