Phil Steele: Michigan vs Toledo in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on June 23rd, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Just skimmed through the Phil Steele 2011 preview magazine and he's picking Michigan to finish 5th in the Legends Division and go to the Pizza Bowl in Detroit against Toledo. Not exactly where I want them to go. DISCUSS!





June 24th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

Just curious as to who the 3 losses are to in your opinion.

Losable Games (IMO), not saying we are going to lose ALL of them, but these are losable:

Notre Dame - If Floyd plays (which is looking quite likely last I knew) then the situation is bad for Michigan.  We have a scaled back offense and, despite a home-run hire at DC, a defense that returns 8 of 11 starters that finished 115th in FBS.  Our defense probably (though not outside of the realm of possibility) won't take a quantum leap in just one year.  The only reason we beat Notre Dame in 2010 is because Crist was out on that concussion.  When he was in, Notre Dame's offense moved the ball at will and scored rapidly on us.

Northwestern - Persa is a great passer, we have a horrendous defensive backfield.  He could easily throw for 400 yards on these guys if they perform at 2010 levels.  Even if they improve some, they will still have trouble slowing down Northwestern's passing attack.

Michigan State - The most winnable (IMO) of the losable games.  Yeah, that makes sense, hah.  If anything, it's tradition for Michigan coaches to lose to MSU the first time they play them, every coach since Bo in '69 has lost to MSU their first try.

Ohio State - Despite the scandal there is still the best talent in the Big Ten at this school.  We'll see.

Nebraska - Depends on how their Big Ten entry season goes.  They could dominate, or they could go more of Penn State's route.  They have a lot of talent and Pelini seems to really be bringing Cornhusker football back.


June 24th, 2011 at 7:01 PM ^

First, let me say thanks for the brief breakdown of each team.  When I read your first sentence my thoughts went to my handy-dandy pamphlet B1G schedule I've been taking notes on for a couple of months.  As I look at it, it's already quasi-out of date: I boxed in the first five games of Osu's season, marking them "Tat 5".  My  "*results pending NCAA sanctions" still stands, though.

Anyways, I circled games for each team that IMO would be interesting, close-fought battles, or otherwise season-defining games.  I suppose we have the seed of a diary here, but I'll try to be brief.

For Michigan, I picked ND, Illinois, and Nebraska as our losses.  It's a coaching change year, and the new pieces will not quite be there yet in Week 2.  Coach Mattison is on the record as saying that Michigan "will be a swarming defense wherever we line up", and seems to be fully supported by the staff and players at all levels.  Assuming he is as good as advertised, I predict Michigan's average defensive rating will rise by 30 plus or minus 5 spots per year for the first two years.  This will put us on pace to have a defense ranked in the top 50s or 60s going into year 3; I feel this is a reasonable benchmark for Michigan's current defensive philosophy, roster, recruiting trendline, and staff.

Michigan State is vulnerable IMO, or may AMHG strike me dumb.  Northwestern is dangerous, but the tough home loss vs. ND will motivate the team to victory in their second night game of the season.  This, of course, assumes that Denard/Devin and the O-Line will have a decent grasp of whatever concoction Coach Borges is brewing up by Week 6.  Illinois scares me because of the way our games have gone since the Juice Williams era, and especially after the 67-65 affair.  We're playing in Champaign, after another tough but successful trip to Iowa (I think Michigan will be clicking after beating Purdue, and Iowa is without Stanzi and friends).

Nebraska will be a tough pill to swallow, but Michigan will prevail against Ohio State.  Michigan MUST prevail against Ohio State.  We can't let this streak continue any longer, not after Tressel and his dirty shenanegins tarnished the good name of The Game.  [unscrews secret hip flask; drinks Kool-Aid]

While I'm offering up my MGoCredibility as an offering to the masses, I pick Nebraska to win the B1G West and Wisconsin to win the B1G East and the B1G Championship.  IMO their team is the most complete in the East this year.  Illinois will also have a good year with Scheelhaas.


June 24th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

I predict that we finish between first and last of the Legends division.

Seriously, look at 2010 MSU -- their ceiling was around 8-4, 9-3 depending on who you asked, but they managed 11-1.  Who knows.