October 4th, 2011 at 1:08 PM ^

I think Hoke has changed the tide on the rivalry. Hell people in Ohio are starting to believe him. Never in a million years I would have thought that. Selling Michigan jerseys is a good start.

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October 4th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

I can only presume that he was in high school, taking Chemistry II and otherwise occupied, when Michigan went 4-0 to start 2009 and 5-0 to start 2010.

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October 4th, 2011 at 2:30 PM ^

In 2009, we faced nearly the same opponents, and beat them by nearly identical margins of victory, including the same-quality last-scond win versus Notre Dame. 

The three season-starts, 2009, 2010 and 2011, are remarkable for their astonishing similarity, not any great differences.

And as for 2010 and 2011 comparisons:  Look, nobody in their right mind is going to defend Greg Robinson's defenses.  But come on!  We're winning now with the same (mostly) players as last year, in much the same way as last year.  Our defense looks better, our offense looks a little less dynamic so far, but yeah, things are looking up.  As for some breathless pronouncement that Michigan football is back?  As far as I am concerned, that sort of pronouncement comes from the most casual of Michigan fans who really don't know what they are talking about.


October 4th, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

But it's, like, a cartoon.

Do you really need it explained to you how we can tell the 2011 team is better than the 2009 team?

Well, for one, the 2011 versions of WMU (win over UConn, narrow loss to Ill, destroyed CMU), ND , and EMU (actually won a game, unlike the 2009 iteration) appear to be very much better than the 2009 versions. SDSU is certainly better than the seal babbies of 2009 and even though 2011 Minnesota is definitely worse than 2009 IU (who still only went 1-7 in conference), a 58 point margin of victory rather than a 3 point squeaker in the conference opener certainly seems to be an improvement.

I mean, I don't know if I think Michigan is going to win 10 games this year, but it sure seems more likely than 7 like last year. Last year's 5-0 was a ricketty contraption at best. The first two games were good (although UConn did lose to Temple and later got shut out by Louisville, so that game turned out to not be as impressive as at first glance), UM struggled (and gave up 37!) against a 6-5 FCS team, BSGU was putrid but still scored three touchdowns, and IU (once again 1-7) traded touchdowns with UM all the way to the end. We are not "winning in much the same way" as last year. We've had one close game against a comparable opponent and dominated four games.

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October 4th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

I'd like to follow your thinking...

Will I, later this year, be able to use the same line of thinking and argue, "Well, Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State are also not nearly as good as they were last year..."

I mean, if you are going to make value judgments about opponents' strengths over the two years, can I do the same?

Again, I am not really trying to prove much of anything on my own.  I'm just asking for the basis upon which somebody would claim objective proof of some massive sea-change in the fortunes of Michigan football.  We are 5-0.  Just.  Like.  Last.  Year.


October 5th, 2011 at 8:29 AM ^

Absolutely. MSU and OSU both appear to be worse this year than last (OSU significantly so), so those games should be competitive with UM having a chance to win. Iowa is probably about the same as last year's mediocre Iowa, so I would expect if I'm right about UM being better, then we'll beat them or at least be more competitive.

So if UM loses to all three of these teams again by a similar margin then I will have to revise my improvement thesis in light of this additional evidence. I just don't think there's any reason to withhold provisional judgment about what certainly looks like improvement. Not all 5-0 records are created equal. To me, this year's model appears significantly better than last year's. Obviously if we yak away the rest of the season like the last two years then I will have been wrong. I've been wrong before, it's ok.

You're right that we don't have evidence of a "sea-change" at this point, and I get that you are ruffled about the not so subtle jab at Rodriguez in the cartoon. But there's a third option between "sea change" and "Just. Like. Last. Year." That third option is "M looks quite a bit better this year so far."



October 4th, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

It is 2011, not 2009 or 2010.  The team is deeper and more experienced than either of the previous two years.  We have a 2nd year QB instead of a 1st year QB that we had in 2009 and 2010.

Casual fan my ass, I see us headed back and in the right direction.  You are the one who is projecting 2008, 2009, and 2010 on this year's team, not me!

By the way, if you will recall, back may mean that we go 9-3 or 8-4, because we certainly got a lot of that prior to 2008, did we not?


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October 4th, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

I didn't propose anything -- not that this team is "bringing Michigan football back."  That was the cartoonist.  And I didn't criticize this 2011 team, either.  I didn't "project" anything on this team.  You, and the Daily cartoonist, seem to be projecting an all-new level of success on this team.  It is okay if you want to do that.  But it would be a projection.  Not a declaration of "Mission Accomplished."

You have only stated the obvious -- that 2011's team is deeper and more experienced with much more settled personnel after the somewhat disastrous changeover from Coach Carr in 2008.  You may remember Coach Carr from such seasons as -- as you say -- 9-3 and 8-4.

So I don't understand your point, if you are attacking me.

Why don't we just cut to the chase and be clear?  The Daily cartoonist presumes that Michigan football needs to come back from some place.  That is a loaded presumption.  It naturally carries over the popular media meme that Brady Hoke and his new staff are the difference-makers and that they have rescued Michigan.  When what Hoke, Mattison and Borges have actually done is to have built on the fine young team that was left to them by Coach Rodriguez.

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October 4th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

And that -- an improved scoring defense (with two identical 5-0 records) -- means "Michigan is back"?

But for the fortuity of a miracle toss-and-catch from Robinson to Roundtree, to win the Notre Dame game with two seconds, we'd be 4-1.  A worse start than last year.  With a defensive performance in that game that was, at times, almost scary-bad.  Would Michigan be "back" in that case? 


October 4th, 2011 at 6:03 PM ^

Why are you asking me?  I didn't draw the cartoon.  I don't know if we're "back" or not, but I don't agree that we're looking just like we did last year.  Cutting down our defensive PPG by 60% is a huge change.

As for the ND game being close, yes, it was.  So was the 2010 ND game.  And the 2010 UMass game   And the 2010 Indiana game.  Last year's team had already played three close games by this point in the season.  This year's has played one - against a team that might actually be good, unlike the three teams we struggled with last year.





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October 4th, 2011 at 6:31 PM ^

I really don't understand who you are telling that to.

You, and the cartoonist, seem to presume that "Michigan is back," because we are 5-0.  When we had a 5-0 record last year at this same time.  What is Michigan "back" from?

Would you say that "Michigan is back" because we will not be 7-6 this year?  Okay.  But now who is doing the prognosticating?

If we are playing the prognosticating game, I'd have said that Michigan would be doing well this year, with or without a coaching change.  But the only way that you, or me, or Rich Rodriguez, or Brady Hoke, or a Michigan Daily cartoonist will know that is to see what happens between now and December.

I really and truly don't mind fans being optimistic about where things are going.  But what I don't get is how people can declare Michigan needed to be brought "back."  Or that it has been brought "back."

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October 4th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

30 points versus a bowl-bound UConn.

28 points versus ND.

42 points versus UMass.

65 points against Bowling Green.

And 42 points against IU.

So, as I have already said; we have an improved defense, with the return of almost all the starters from last year.  I expected that improvement.  And, offense?  How could it not be good?  I see "Rodriguez" all over this offense:  Denard, Vincent Smith, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Gallon.

My position is the easy one.  Clearly, easily defensible as "improvement of last year's players, doing what we knew they could do."

The cartoonist's position is the hysterical one; that what we see now is nothing less than the return of a Michigan football team that vanished some time ago.  What's the evidence for that?

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October 4th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

As has been stated ad nauseum; the defense is improved.  Returning just about all of the starters, getting rid of an awful DC; yeah, those are improvements.

I think I'm done with this.  Sometimes, you really can't fight city hall.  The media is telling everybody that Brady Hoke is bringin' Michigan Manball back, and the folks want so much to believe something like that, that it is impossible and pointless to argue it.

I'll just keep reading Brian Cook instead. 


October 4th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

I believe Michigan Football is back because I see the coaches needed to bring Michigan Football back in place and getting the job done.  Just give these guys 2-3 years and the product on the field will consistently exemplify Michigan Football.

Hoke, Mattison and Borges haven't had enough time to effect the required culture change throughout the organization.  It's getting there but the consistency and talent level are not there yet.

We are improving every week and are looking more and more like Michigan Football.

Is there reason for optimism?  You bet! 

Are we there yet in terms of the finished product?  All you have to do is look at Wisky, see the resemblence of past Michigan teams, e.g. the physical dominance, and realize we've got a long way to go.

But the encouraging thing is knowing that the coaching staff is in place and we're on our way to becoming a consistent top 5-10 program again.