Schedule Lays Out Nicely

Submitted by freelion on September 23rd, 2018 at 11:03 AM

Although this is still one of the toughest schedules overall in the country, I like how it lays out going forward for the following reasons:

1. The opponents and matchups get progressively more difficult for the most part allowing an improving team time and opportunity to develop talent and depth.
2. There is a nice break for the bye week to heal up with 4 games to go - not too early and not too late. It also breaks up the "murderers row" of Wisconsin, MSU, and PSU.
3. We have a couple of light games before OSU instead of recent years with physical road matches against Iowa and Wisconsin the week before The Game.
4. The road games (other than OSU) are not in pits of hell like Iowa or PSU. Northwestern will have more Michigan fans than the home team. MSU is not that loud or hostile - they can't even sell the place out regularly. Rutgers is Rutgers.

If the team continues to show improvement and we get some breaks, we could roll into Columbus at 10-1 and ready for a 2006 type of showdown with the Bucknuts. I'm not saying it will be easy but I think if the team continues its upward trajectory, it is doable. This is especially true if injured players such as Evans, Solomon, and Black return to gives us a boost along the way.

Sept. 29       @Northwestern           4:30, Fox

Oct. 6            Maryland                    Noon/TBD

Oct. 13          Wisconsin                   TBD

Oct. 20         @Michigan State         TBD

Nov. 3           Penn State                  TBD

Nov. 10         @Rutgers                    TBD

Nov. 17          Indiana                       TBD

Nov. 24         @Ohio State               Noon, Fox



September 23rd, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

Is it really a road issue or just the fact that we haven't been good enough to beat good teams? Since we crushed Maryland in 2016 we're 12-9. We've had losses @Iowa, @OSU, vs FSU, MSU, @PSU, @WI, OSU, vs SC, @ND. The wins are Indiana, vs Florida, Cincinnati, Air Force, @Purdue, @Indiana, Rutgers, Minnesota, @Maryland, WMU, SMU, Nebraska. We're not losing road games to meh teams and we're not winning home games against good teams so it seems like quality of opponent than venue. Last year we lost to both MSU and OSU at home and probably the best wins we've had in those 21 games are last year on the road @Purdue, and @Indiana. Basically, with FL and NE being shit teams, we've beaten every weak team we played and lost to every top 25ish team. 

We're scoring about 17 ppg in those 9 losses, even with the benefit of turnovers, defensive and special team generated scoring. And the 21 points the offense (11 from D/ST) put up against FSU is the only team we've even gone above 17 points in regulation in those 9 games. So really until we see the offense move the ball effectively against a good defense it's all TBD despite the positive signs yesterday. 

Beilein 4 Life

September 23rd, 2018 at 4:24 PM ^

I don’t know why everyone keeps saying “since the end of 2016...” as if last year’s offense with our 3rd string QB is somehow the norm and all other Harbaugh offenses don’t count. Since the beginning of 2016, MSU hasn’t done shit, got blasted by a billion by OSU, and lost big to PSU and ND. Should we now just think Dantonio is a shitty coach and 2016 through today is the new norm for them?

Newton Gimmick

September 23rd, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Handling "ranked teams" is misleading.  Florida was #17 last year when we throttled them, but they ended up being pretty bad.  OTOH, in 2016 we beat down an unranked Colorado and an unranked Penn State, and both teams ended up winning their divisions.  We also beat unranked MSU that year, but if we had played them earlier in the year when Wisconsin did, we'd have a road win over a Top 10 team and that particular hot-take narrative would be gone -- even though nothing of substance would have changed.


Mike Damone

September 23rd, 2018 at 11:13 AM ^

One very interesting part of our schedules is having the BYE week to prepare more for Penn State, following a game at Sparty on the road.  Given the emotions of the Sparty game, I think this is a perfect week for a break to get prepared for another huge game.


September 23rd, 2018 at 11:15 AM ^

I'm liking this outlook. I think the floor for this team is 9-3 as of today, and I honestly believe that we would have to shoot ourselves in the foot to be there. 

The two positions I think we really need to see improvement on is the O line and the Secondary. The secondary has me worried against PSU, Wisconsin, and OSU. I just hope those QBs don't turn into Tom Brady when we play them like years in the past.

Woodstock Wolverine

September 23rd, 2018 at 11:31 AM ^

Having Wisconsin and Penn st at home is huge. Going to MSU is not near as scary as going to Madison or Happy Valley

Good chance to be 10-1 heading to OSU. Annnnd of course it would be another huge game played at OSU. Be nice to get one of those at home for once.


September 23rd, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

MSU is not that loud or hostile - they can't even sell the place out regularly.

Michigan is not a regular opponent for them though.  When Michigan comes to town, MSU fans step it up in intensity.  The silver lining is that we also bring a lot of fans to that game (more than for any other road game, save Northwestern).


September 23rd, 2018 at 12:11 PM ^

I live in Lansing. Spartan fans have lost their swagger and they know the end is near. Like OSU fans they hate Michigan with a passion but they have a big inferiority complex that comes out often. I don't think home field will be a big advantage for them. Hopefully Dantonio's weather machine malfunctions this time.

Der Alte

September 23rd, 2018 at 1:04 PM ^

Not just Mark D's weather machine, but some damnfool occurrence like a muffed punt (2015) or an unfortunate occurrence like an only moderately talented M QB to go along with the monsoon (2017). 2016 showed that all else being equal, M can handily beat Sparty in his own house (yes, 2016 was a down year for them, but they still played pretty well in that game). And even though it was Nebraska, the O-line did a great job in both opening running lanes and in pass protecting.

Keep improving, and the Michigan men "up front" will become much like the Wisconsin O-line last night in the Iowa game. When Hornibrook dropped back to pass, his O-linemen just escorted the Iowa rushers around behind him, giving him time to step up in the pocket and throw for his +200 yards and 3 TDs. And according to the stats I saw, Hornibrook wasn't sacked once.

Now when Wisconsin comes to AA whether they'll escort Rashan and Chase in the same manner is wholly another question. They'll no doubt find that a much tougher row to hoe.


September 23rd, 2018 at 1:06 PM ^

I could not agree more with that. I’ve got two buddies that are as rabid MSU fans as I am an M fan. Indeed, they have lost that cockiness and swagger. They go into every game thinking they could lose. When I look at that team, the players strike me as undisciplined and there seems to be something missing. The honeymoon seems over with Dantonio. 


September 23rd, 2018 at 1:36 PM ^

This is partially correct, but Michigan has to beat MSU for the worm to really turn.  This is the case every season.

A loss to Michigan proves the fears are true and everything spirals out of control.  A win over Michigan, no matter how fluky or weather-induced, will give them confidence to finish strong.  I don't know of any exceptions to that rule since the 90s.


September 23rd, 2018 at 11:39 AM ^

Penn state is looking like they are starting to heat it up a little bit. Next week when they play Ohio state will be interesting, night games in happy valley are tough


September 23rd, 2018 at 12:09 PM ^

And it hasn't mattered when that game has been played.  Nearly every game against Indiana this past decade has been a stressful nail-biter. 

We couldn't hold on to a 10 point 4th quarter lead last year and needed overtime to win. 

Needed overtime three years ago. 

Played a close game in 2016 when Wilton was hurt. 

We needed heroics from Tate Forcier to pull out a miracle in RichRod's second year. 

The next year we only won because we were the last team to have the ball in a game of no defense on either side.

And although the 2013 game wouldn't be considered "close," it was disheartening to sit in the stadium that day and watch Indiana put up 47 points on our defense with shocking ease on most of their drives.

Indiana games now are very stressful.  

Warm Cockles

September 23rd, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

Ok, Black had surgery.

If it was a lis franc fracture with surgery his season would be over, so we can rule that out.

That means it was likely Jones fracture. That has 6 week healing time for returning to play with good union of the fracture.

So I think his prognosis is actually best case scenario given the fracture. Hopefully we hear he's out of cast/boot in the next week or 2.


September 23rd, 2018 at 12:23 PM ^

Get ready for an annoying, possibly anxiety ridden MSU game. 

Their game plan might be similar to ND’s, lob it deep on 50/50 balls and use their mobile QB. 

And that game is between Wisconsin and PSU, two good teams at home. This is still a hard schedule. 

Durham Blue

September 23rd, 2018 at 12:26 PM ^

The schedule has always been the schedule. What’s changed is we won three in a row and have shown improvement on the OL and the D is settling back into top 5 form. We appear to be as good or better than each of our “murdere’s row” of opponents (MSU, Wiscy and PSU) with the two toughest at home. I like our chances of being 10-1 heading into the Shoe. 

Go for two

September 23rd, 2018 at 12:56 PM ^

PSU and OSU look like the huge games going forward.

yesterday was the most dominant performance in years. 

I am thinking DPJ is as good a punt returner as Jabrill. Time will tell as we really need an easy TD against PSU or OSU via punt return