Michigan has a great chance to wreak havoc in the Big Ten Title Race (!)

Submitted by griesecheeks on November 9th, 2010 at 6:18 PM

(1) I think after this past weekend, many of us, players, fans & coaches alike felt at least some kind of burden lifted: Bowl Eligibility; Defeat of supposedly a team on the rise in Illinois. Things are a little bit calmer in these parts. Plus, we have some momentum going forward into a very winnable game @ Purdue. Sure, nothing's a given, but I like our chances to put a hurtin' on the Boilers. 7-3 going into the last two? Many predicted 7 wins for us this year. Check*.

(2) Those last two games against Wisconsin & OSU should be a blast! We are in a fantastic position to totally screw up the chances of those teams for Big 10 Title & BCS aspirations. A dollar says this team from here on out looks much less tense and seems to have a shitload of fun on the field. They will be underdogs in each of those games, and I'm going to predict that we upset one of them. I think these last three games will be a great preview of some of what should come next year. 

(3) There's been some more Denard/Heisman chatter around here recently, and while it's probably not going to happen, this stage is where Heisman finalists are made. If Denard leads us to wins over the last three games, he's got a real shot to get back into the picture. I think he could still be a finalist if he wins 2 of the three, but puts up great numbers in all three. Not super important right now, but it sure would be fun to see him get proper credit for the ridiculous year he's having.

(4) I, for one, am quite excited to see what happens with this team the rest of November. Before the season, I said very calmly to myself that if we improve enough to get to a bowl, I'm not going to complain about Rodriguez as our coach again in 2010. That's happened, and I'm sticking to my word. He gives us the absolute best shot to be a contender next year, and he seems to have full support of his players. So sit back, breathe a little easier, and let's all have some fun and see if this wacky combination of Top-5 offense and Bottom-Tier Defense can't find some happy medium and mess up the Big Ten Picture a little. 


*First things, first: Let's wipe the floor with Purdue this weekend. I think it will happen. Maybe some tense moments, maybe a high-scoring affair, but whatever, that's old hat at this point. Anyway, always have to put this disclaimer when looking ahead.



November 9th, 2010 at 6:27 PM ^

I keep making myself stop thinking of Michigan having a epic shootout in Columbus in a few weeks. I mean, if we can do it to a statistically stout and talented Illinois defense we can probably do it to about anybody, right?

By the way, I am prone to totally setting myself up for epic emotional letdowns.


November 9th, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

I can almost picture you smiling as wrote this.  Good to see some happy people showing up on the board again.

And I'm not taking your bet either.  I think they'll win one of the last two games as well!


November 9th, 2010 at 9:19 PM ^

I have been telling my fellow U-M alum at work all year that this M football team will beat Wisconsin...then see what happens at OSU...then a winnable bowl game after 15 practices...beat Purdue, and our beloved Wolverines have a shot at a 10 win season.  So I think...what are Purdue, Wisconsin, and Ohio State fans thinking....we have a VERY scary team right now, that just bull-dozed a top 12 defense.  Looking forward to the next three Saturdays..

Wolverine Pride

November 9th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

Great things can happen against Wisky and osu.  I think we will learn a lot this week, if we can maintain confidence and soundly defeat Purdue, it should bode well for the next two weeks.   Momentum should start to build and a very young football team just may believe they can get it done.


November 9th, 2010 at 6:33 PM ^

a chance to be MSU's best friend and big toe. Beat Wisky, beat OSU, race is settled. 

Of course, MSU has 2 chances to be who we thought they'd be (NO!). 

My point? Don't really have one other than happy hour was fun.


November 9th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

Assuming Iowa beats OSU, that is.

Tiebreakers go head to head in a 2-way tie.

In a 3-way tie:

If a team is 2-0 vs the other 2, they win

If a team is 0-2 vs the other 2, they are eliminated and the remaining two are chosen based upon head to head.

If neither team is 2-0 or 0-2 vs the others, it goes to overall record.

If no team breaks any of these tiebreakers, it goes to BCS standing


November 9th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

Let's think of it as helping ourselves.  Doing something nice for Sparty is just the sad consequence.  They will owe us a couple and we can start collecting next year.


November 9th, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

I don't care about how our wins impact the B10 race.  I don't care about how our wins will spoil someone's season.  I care about how they will impact Michigan.  Beat Purdue, and we are 7-5, meeting pre-season expectations (despite the rash of injuries after those expectations were set.  Beat Purdue and win one of the final two and we are 8-4, which WOOOOO, that's a damn good record for such a young team with an all freshmen secondary.  The stage would be set for an epic 2011 season with us almost certainly being ranked in the pre-season polls (who cares, I know, but nice), picking up some big recruits and RR definitely being back next year with the NCAA, WVU, real estate lawsuit, hot seat BS all behind him.  Damn that sounds nice.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

you're missing the spirit of my original post: Of course, all of us care all the time how winning effects Michigan. I would think, from an opponent's perspective, we are not a team that would be desirable to face at the moment. Wisky and OSU will have so much more riding on beating us... The Big Ten; BCS. 

I think our team will relish the opportunity to go out, have fun, and begin the process of taking this thing to next level going into the offseason and next year.

We can't win the B-10 (are we mathematically eliminated? I don't know for sure, but it's certainly extremely unlikely). We're probably not going to a huge bowl game. But we sure as hell can still improve things in Ann Arbor by pulling an upset or two, which is why it's fun to consider what happens to the B10 race if we muck it all up.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:00 PM ^

Assuming Wisc/MSU win out... I totally want OSU to beat Iowa and thus leaving the Michigan/Ohio State game to decide if MSU win the Big Ten.

I then want in a press conference someone to ask Dantonio if he's rooting for Michigan to beat Ohio State so that MSU would win the Big Ten title.  Previously, Dantonio has been quoted as he'd rather Mich lose than promote MSU's standings.  I REALLY want him to say it again, and have everyone go "WHAT THE F**** is wrong with you"


November 9th, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

Pretty sure that Sparty controls its own destiny, as it is ahead in the BCS standings, which will determine the tie-breaker here.  Tie-breakers, from the big ten website:

  1. An ineligible team shall not be considered in the standings for determination of the conference representative.
  2. If there is a tie for the championship, the winner of the game between these two teams shall represent the conference.
  3. If there is still a tie, or if the tied teams did not play each other, the representative shall be determined on the percentage basis of all games played.
  4. If there is still a tie, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings shall be the representative

Then again, we COULD hurt Sparty, by beating Wisconsin and hurting their strength of schedule.  But then, unless we beat tOSU, we'd be sending the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl. 


November 9th, 2010 at 8:29 PM ^

Then again, we COULD hurt Sparty, by beating Wisconsin and hurting their strength of schedule

That's OK, Sparty hurts their SOS enough by themselves, such as GETTING BLOWN OUT by Iowa.  No team with the same winning percentage as them in the Big Ten will be ranked below them because of that one, pathetic excuse of a game.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:06 PM ^

to be honest, I'm looking forward to the game against OSU. Their defense is a bit banged up, and I think we can put points on the board if we're out there having fun and not shooting ourselves in the foot. OSU's offense is fully capable of blasting our D, but they're also prone to offensive blunders. Also, there's the matter of Tresselball.

If we can NOT play like scared, over-matched MAC teams playing on the road for the first time in the Shoe, there's no reason we can't compete with the Buckeyes. It's time to believe, folks, and shake another negative streak.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:07 PM ^

It sure would be nice to beat Ohio State in Columbus, but I dont want to get ahead of myself.  We need to avoid a let down @ Purdue Saturday.  IM just ready to see our team on the field again after last weeks craziness with the NCAA and the Illinois game.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:07 PM ^

It's so tantalizing to think about upsetting Wiscy or OSU but if we don't beat Purdue there's a lot of pressure back on, I think.  

Purdue is beatable and UM seems super-fired up right now, so I am as hopeful as anybody, but I agree with this post that the possibilities of playing spoiler (and getting to a better bowl game) are splendid.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

Only game that matters is Purdue. Fun for fans to imagine the possibilities, but the team needs to focus on the Fighting Hopestaches. I do hope the thought about playing loose, having fun, and playing hard--as long as it's focused--is potentially a factor that could bring some success in these last three games. 7-5 seems like the likely outcome, but with this offense, anything can happen, as many have said.  I'd like to see just one good performance from all three units in the same game--limit huge gainers on D, don't turn the ball over on O and don't leave huge gains on the field, and have a competent day kicking and returning the ball.

The swings on optimisim-pessimism meter on this board have been wild. I do appreciate the general tenor back to optimism after Saturday.  A win Saturday will go a long way in keeping that good feeling alive.

Beat Purdue, and this team will have pulled the State of Indiana hat trick. Yes please.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

Who else would agree to a loss to Wiscy at home for wins against Purdue and OSU?  I think M fans would be changing their diapers every 10 minutes if we knew we'd come away with an 8-4 record going into a decent bowl game.

If nothing else, I think learned OSU fans will be sitting on pins and needles for THE GAME this year.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:31 PM ^

When I lived in Reno and did a wee bit of gambling we used the term "house money" to describe bets made with the cash we had won.  Meaning you couldn't lose because you were betting the winnings, not your original stake. I believe if Michigan wins on Saturday.....strike that...WHEN Michigan wins on Saturday we will be playing on house money.

Stuck in Ohio 2

November 9th, 2010 at 7:41 PM ^

If the Michigan offense is firing on all cylinders (like last saturday) I could envision Michigan winning or at the very least making it interesting. Players always play this one with excitement and it makes things interesting..Even last year UM hung around for a solid 3 quarters with one of the worse teams ever against one of OSU's better in many years.

Its going to be a great stage though with UM seemingly rebounding from previous years against an OSU team that has fallen short of expectations again. Pryor vs Robinson.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:44 PM ^

The Denard Heisman chatter can get esp. fierce if Cam Newton is affected by the talk about his Florida shenanigans. My guess is that Heisman voters might seem a wee bit reluctant to pick another Reggie Bush.


November 9th, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^

in 'The Game'. It is not your ordinary, predictable affair. It is a game which affects the players and fans on another level.

It is the true test of the players and I have faith in this bunch.



November 9th, 2010 at 8:01 PM ^

But we have to win this weekend as you say.
<br>Seems to be the thread for overstated optimism, so I guess I'll put this here: does Roundtree look a little JerryRice-ish in his mannerisms on the field? Not his play, not remotely close yet - Rice didn't drop balls or get caught from behind, and he's the greatest ever - but rr reminds me of Rice when I watch him play.
<br>I guess I shouldn't post that when I'm hoping pressure will be coming off the players this week
<br>Again, not Rice. But reminds of Rice-ish

Born Blue

November 9th, 2010 at 10:25 PM ^

Whoa Nellie!  Slow ur roll!  Did you SEE Rice play in college?  I did.  He played for the Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State outta Itta Bena, MS (yeah, that's spelled right!).  Rice was very good in college, but at the time, never thought he'd become JERRY RICE!  True, even then, he did not like to be run down or drop passes, but it did happen...even in college.  Of course, each of these outcomes decreased in frequency over time and with growth in maturity and confidence. For Roundtree, I love the young man, but be careful, compare apples to apples, not a Hall of Famer to a developing college athlete. Rice's mantra, "If I'm even, I'm leaving," took time to develop.


November 10th, 2010 at 12:23 AM ^

I mean, hell, this is the best offense we've seen since 2007 ever.  In '08 and '09 we had a shitty or meh offense to go along with out bad defense, at least we have one of the most powerful offenses in the nation this time around.

(Read:  This is our best chance to beat Wisky and/or Ohio State in Rich Rod's time here)

Also, remember how everything thought that this offense won't work in the Big Ten?  Remember how we put up 28 points and 522 yards against a team (Iowa) that was only allowing 10.2 and 200 something yards?  Remember how we put up 676 yards and 67 points against a team that was only allowing 301 yards and 16.8 PPG?


Communist Football

November 10th, 2010 at 3:48 AM ^

If it's not us? All I care about is Michigan winning whenever and wherever possible. To me, it annoys me when anyone goes to the Rose Bowl other than Michigan. If it Sparty happens to get their once-per-generation chance, so be it. Next year will be different.


November 10th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

I was just wondering what you guys thought on a question that I had.  I was reading an article about RR on freep about rodriquez wanting to make the offense better and then I, unfortunately, started reading the comments (I say unfortunately because most of those people are morons that have no idea what they're saying and are engulfed in negativity towards RR and our program).  People were complaining over and over about how RR should be devoting most of his time towards our incompetent defense and not worrying as much about the O.  I was going to tell them that RR was pretty much just answering a specific question about the offense and it doesn't necessarily mean that he is ignoring the D, but I didn't dare try to talk reason into them.  

I know that perfecting every aspect of the game is on a coach's agenda 24/7, but I think it may be possible that RR could shift his focus even more to the offense because at this point, I do think that our only shot in winning 2 of the last 3 games is in our offense (every aspect of our offense, most importantly after the past few weeks, our turnovers).  I know the defense is still important in the last 3 games and that even just one 3rd down stop could change the course of the game, but still, our defense is kind of hopeless at this point.  The more I thought about it, it made me wonder, how much time is he actually putting into the defense?  Is there any chance that he has, more or less, given up on/has little hope for the defense and thinks our only shot to win the remaining 3 games (more specifically, the last 2) is our offense so he is putting his remaining amount of energy into perfecting the O? I'm asking this very openly as I really have no idea what to think.  This is my first post but I respect your guys' knowledge and dedication to Michigan football and just wanted to see what you all thought.


November 12th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

it's best to do it early in a thread.  Most people read a thread and don't return to it unless there's an ongoing conversation or something's unfolding.  So people likely aren't ignoring your question, but haven't seen it

To your question, I think RR made it known there needs to be more energy and more direction from the D staff after the PSU game.  GERG ran around during warm-ups and the game much more than I've seen previously.  But I do think RR is focusing most on O and still leaving the D alone - there's not much he can do at this point besides encourage