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Date Title Body
03/07/2018 - 2:38pm Luke Yaklich is our Don Brown of hoops

And since John Beilein is wayyyy ahead of Jim Harbaugh on the offensive side of his game at the moment, let's ride all the way to San Antonio!

03/05/2018 - 1:08pm Our coach is better than your coach.

That is all.

01/11/2018 - 7:31am I posted this on another thread...

...but I'm repeating it here (more or less) in a similar but different context: Something was really 'off' this year and I don't just mean QB injuries and youth at skill positions. Harbaugh was different (demeanor), play calling process and duties were muddled and vacillated between stubborn (running off-tackle with no room), uncreative (no deep passing game after Black went down), and proof of life (OSU game plan appeared uniquely different from every other game this season). Too many OC cooks in the kitchen. Defense was great but wore down and never fixed the difficulty covering slot receivers with safeties. Special teams were actually bad if you think about it: punting basically sucked regardless of who was back there, punt return game was a shaky mess, and Nordin went through a mid-season slump. None of this really makes sense and belies Harbaugh's track record. Harbaugh's teams typically exhibit strong fundamentals, play relatively mistake-free football, are tough and get stronger as the game wears on, etc. Not this team. I obviously don't know what's going on and I don't think any of us really do either but SOMETHING isn't right. It ain't Xanax, but where is the FIERY PASSION clearly visible in OP's video link (where Harbaugh was speaking to other coaches in a GYM setting...nowhere near the field!)? Here's hoping that next year is different...or more fans will mentally check out against their own will.

01/09/2018 - 7:13am Because it IS impossible to tell

Something was really 'off' this year and I don't just mean QB injuries and youth at skill positions. Harbaugh was different (demeanor), play calling process and duties were muddled and vacillated between stubborn (running off-tackle with no room), uncreative (no deep passing game after Black went down), and signs of life (OSU game plan appeared uniquely different from every other game this season). Too many OC cooks in the kitchen. Defense was great but wore down and never fixed the difficulty covering slot receivers with safeties. Special teams were actually bad if you think about it: punting basically sucked regardless of who was back there, punt return issues were constant, and Nordin went through a mid-season slump. None of this really makes sense and belies Harbaugh's track record. I obviously don't know what's going on and I don't think any of us really do either but SOMETHING isn't right. Here's hoping that next year is different...or else! As for Georgia vs. Alabama, both teams looked more skilled, more smooth (play calling and execution), better coached, and more clutch than us. It's hard being a Michigan fan.

01/07/2018 - 8:15am There's another aspect to this heading into '18...

...and that is our NEED for next season to be a BREAKTHROUGH. Define it however you will, e.g. beating ND/MSU/OSU, making the B1G championship game, or even making the CFP, but we are all waiting for manifest destiny. The painful disappointments, lack of comback/magical wins, upexpected road victories against supposedly superior teams, etc. have taken a major toll as described in OP's analysis. We've collectively paid our dues, endured the pain, waitied our turn, and now it's time for catharsis in the form of a Harbaugh-led resurgence. Or so we expect. Like most others here, I am optimistic. I have faith in Harbaugh despite how terrible--and terribly coached--we looked during this past season. Unfortunately I also fear that our expectations and NEED for '18 to be a breakthrough might could be a setup for 'ultimate' failure. CFP is a uniquely wonderful sport because of the constant change in players and to a lesser degree coaches. It requires patience and as pointed out by OP, "...build(ing) a foundation from which to reach (the next) level." We're probably on our way to succeeding but on the other hand that's what Lewis and Clark thought after their 2000+ mile and months' long journey up the river finally yielded the salty smell of the sea...only to reveal the Sawtooth mountains between them and the Pacific. Let's be hopeful but realistic and Go Blue!

01/04/2018 - 2:30pm It's all hindsight but...

...it's also clear that RR was and is a scumbag. We (Michigan) were fortunate that stretchgate wasn't something more serious with major consequences. We were also fortunate that RR was such an obviously bad coach at Michigan that he was fired after 3 years with the only lasting damage being the product on the field (ie. no lasting culture damage). We're also fortunate--believe it or not--that someone with the values and integrity of Brady Hoke followed RR and began turning the ship around. It's too bad (of course) that Hoke wasn't a better coach, although since it's all hindsight, his failure as well as the firing of DB led to the hiring of double JH's (Hackett and Harbaugh). I think RR is a textbook narcissist who could care less about other's feelings or experiences. He's all about his own interests and not much else. He was at Arizona twice as long as in Ann Arbor and was able to create and defend his kingdom. Now it's come crashing down and I'll bet it's his last college head coaching job. The broader culture will prohibit an AD from hiring him. If the prospect of hiring an apparently decent guy like Schiano--with no evidence of wrongdoing--can incite a fanbase to react the way Tennessee's did then just imagine the reaction of a fanbase when RR's name gets floated. He's toast at the college level and presumably as a TV analyst too. Maybe an NFL team gives him a shot? I hope not.

01/01/2018 - 4:51pm At what point does the data indicate something is truly wrong?

I think we have reached that point. I'm not football-smart enough to know what it is or how to fix it, and believe it or not I still trust Harbaugh. But that's my heart talking. My head says there's no turning back. Major improvement in all 3 phases next year or bust.

11/24/2017 - 3:14pm All of the signs are bad...

....backup/3rd string QB with essentially no passing game, limited running game with dinged up RBs against a DL full of studs, OSU already got surprise whooped once this year and it was only 3 weeks ago, and on paper we just don't seem to stand a chance. Even at home.

On paper.

But can't you see it? Can't you feel it? Hope and faith are hard to come by and they seem downright foolish from here. But in a little over 24 hrs when, somehow, some way, we inexplicably pull off the upset, won't it make all the sense in the world? Kinda sorta like Bo against Woody in their first matchup in '69?

The buck(s) stop in Ann Arbor. Tomorrow. Don't let the paper signs fool you. Hope and faith don't come easily and they're not free. But they are there for us to choose.

We will rise to the occasion and 'not look like ourselves.'

Except in hindsight, 24+ hrs from now, it will all make sense.

Michigan 21 OSU 18 (or something like that).

Go Blue.

11/20/2017 - 2:43pm More of a personality test than a litmus test...

Watching this team with Maize and Blue blood in your veins reveals whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. It gets old saying, 'we're young, we're injured, and we were never going to challenge for a division or Big 10 title this year' but it's TRUE. Do other teams sometimes overcome such limitations? Yes they do, but infrequently. It takes a little bit of luck to win a title but mostly it takes hard work, patience while learning/development occur, and experience. We all know this. No one lucks into a title. The little things help to create luck sometimes but the learning curve is the learning curve. No way to avoid it. If you're a pessimist then you lack patience and the willingness to allow development to occur and the benefits of experience to accrue. You get frustrated and decide in the heat of the moment that success must come NOW for no particular reason other than you want it NOW. The big test for Michigan fans is our attitude this week heading into Saturday. After all we've witnessed during this admittedly frustrating season I ask, Who among us has the guts to proclaim optimism about our chances against OSU and beyond? Have we given up hope? Ready to bail on our beloved coach and kick him to the curb? We all know that's ridiculous and short-sighted. I like our chances against OSU, especially at home. They are a flawed team just like we are and we tend to rise up and play well against them when on paper it seems unlikely. Onward and upward and Go Blue!

11/06/2017 - 6:19am Agree with too pass-centric

They seem to forget their run first identity sometimes--and not just bc they were getting killed in this game. Happened with Elliott a couple of years ago against MSU. Maybe it's Wilson's influence (vs Herman)? Interestingly their fans seem more concerned about WHO carries the ball. They are up in arms that Barrett keeps it 15-20x/game while JK Rowling Hogwarts or whoever that stud RB is gets fewer.

11/05/2017 - 1:32pm This is clearly a transitional season...

...that none of us wanted to see coming but in hindsight seems obvious. So much youth plus we couldn't rely on our experienced QB even before he got injured and then we couldn't rely on his backup either. What happens from here on out is crucial to how we do next season. We need to solidify Peters as our QB going forward and slowly but surely bring him along. I'm actually happy with the all but one dimensional offense we ran last night bc it didn't put additional pressure on Peters to perform. Of course the OL needs to continue to gel and someway somehow the pass protection must improve. We will be in trouble in Madison and against OSU if we can't pass protect better than last night. One dimensional won't win either of those games. But if we win three of our remaining four games (including a bowl game obviously) then I think this season should be considered a step in the right direction. Youth and inexperience all around plus the usual unforseen injuries and adversity mean that 10-3 (again) would no doubt be an impressive achievement. If on the other hand we only win 2/4 of our remaining games (hard to foresee doing worse than that) then it all depends on whether or not Peters and the OL look like they can carry us next season. By definition going 2-2 the rest of the way will raise questions about that.

10/30/2017 - 9:20am Peters

I certainly have no more concrete information than others regarding Harbaugh's decision to stick with O'Korn until it was crystal clear he wasn't getting the job done, but FWIW I think Peters' inexperience was the biggest factor. If he also had a poor attitude about being third string and/or didn't practice well that would have sealed the deal--but wasn't required for him to sit. Yes he's been the program for a year and a half but he has essentially no college game experience. There's no way he was going to play in front two experienced upper classmen unless he was a 5* world beater type talent. So while I do think Harbaugh is stubborn, and loyal, and perhaps more conservative than other coaches wrt who starts at QB, his offense is complex and Peters simply wasn't ready. After the blowout at PSU and the awful 1st qtr on Saturday, however, "it was time." I don't think Peters would have faired much better against MSU (big stage, bad weather) or PSU (big stage/national TV, road game) than O'Korn. But he's clearly our best bet for the rest of this season and perhaps beyond. I just hope he's up for the challenge of learning on the fly.

10/23/2017 - 10:58am Great write up

I'm starting to get my mind around this season as a transitional 'rebuilding' year based on youth (including on defense) and coaching/scheme changes on offense. Great recruiting and faith in Harbaugh and Don Brown papered over the reality that we weren't going to be a 10+ win team in 2017. Time to take our lumps, grow up a bit and learn what we need to know for 2018 and beyond. Go Blue!

09/25/2017 - 7:50am Risk averse?

If our O line is truly as limited as they appear--despite Brian's modestly hopeful UFR analyses--then it makes sense for our gameplan to rely on our brilliant D and good/very good special teams and play more conservatively on offense. But I don't think I agree that Speight's track record makes him the lower risk QB. He has a clear penchant for making big mistakes and this year he's added ball control miscues to his arsenal. And at the risk of piling on, I think he looks incredibly indecisive out there--holds the ball WAY too long. Plus wasn't he the QB who showed remarkable escapability last year? Where has that been this year? O'Korn showed much more decisiveness and escapability on Saturday and I'm interested to see if those continue, assuming he starts against MSU. I have nothing 'personal' against Speight--like all of us we just want the best man for the job in there leading our team. If we're going to play conservatively on offense for whatever reason(s) then let's not fool ourselves that Wilton is much less likely than O'Korn to turn the ball over to our opponents.

09/23/2017 - 9:51pm Don Brown

Might be the best hire since Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Changing our world.

09/23/2017 - 8:57pm Nicely done Ace

4-0. Onward.

09/22/2017 - 8:55am I dunno, man

It's been a while since I read Brian's analysis and wasn't clear on his conclusions. If he doesn't know then that's a sign something isn't right. I still think we're very young and need more time to gel but...last Saturday the offense definitely didn't look like it was gelling. More like stalling and perhaps stepping backwards. Our new offensive line coach has switched philosophies and yet we are not taking advantage of 'free' yardage, especially on 1st down, when the opposing DBs are giving our WRs too much room. We lost our RB coach but our RBs are not inexperienced and are often missing cuts or not forging straight ahead when we need a short yardage gain. Our QB defies easy analysis at this point. Poor footwork under pressure? Doesn't trust his receivers? Locking into his first read? Going through his progressions but making poor decisions at crucial times? Looking for the home run too often (or too infrequently)? Playing to avoid mistakes at all costs? Some or all of the above? Who the hell knows? I don't, and I don't think Brian does either. That is new and concerning. There is no reason we shouldn't put the wood on Purdue tomorrow, even on the road in a rocking stadium. It doesn't have to be 40-10, just a sound beating by 2-3 TDs in which it is clear we are the more talented, better executing, and better coached team on the field. If that doesn't happen I think we're in for a disappointing season.

09/14/2017 - 7:00am Good one

This will be a challenge. Air Force pretty much always moves the ball and scores 21+ pts, albeit against Mountain West competition. Against Michigan St in 2015 they lost 35-21 but had 428 yards in total offense (against a good MSU defense) but were done in by 3 turnovers. They only passed the ball 9 times that day. In 2012 against us they had 417 yards of offense and 0 turnovers and the game was somewhat close. We will move the ball on them and must avoid mistakes--hello Wilton Speight--to get a lead and then run the ball and dominate time of possession. I am confident that our defense will contain them when it counts and probably force them into turnovers, but if we let them hang close anything could happen.

09/13/2017 - 10:45pm Of course it's not

Of course it's not unreasonable. With Harbaugh as our coach it's more than possible, maybe even likely. I'm an optimist. But two games into year 2 these mistakes feel all too familiar and they make the likelihood that we've seen Speight's ceiling at least a little bit greater as well.

09/13/2017 - 7:55pm Speight under pressure

After reading Brian's analysis the headline for me is, "Our offense is slowly but surely improving and almost all extant problems are fixable with practice and experience...so it's mostly on Speight to get us beyond 10-3." On one hand OF COURSE b/c the QB is the most important player on the field. OTOH this is year 2 and that was the home opener against Cincinnati. "We're on the verge of a trend" may be the optimistic take?

09/11/2017 - 3:41pm Yes to "it's all about expectations"

Specifically our expectations of how Harbaugh could mold a solid but unspectacular QB into a consistent and occasionally spectacular winning QB. I think we all accept that Speight is not a 5* raw talent...but we expect him to be mostly over fundamental problems in Year 2 as a starter under Harbaugh. Of course he's going to have some overthrows, bad reads, and un-clutch moments--all college QBs do--but he appears to having more than his share at this point in his career and after his final three starts last season it's very surprising and frustrating to not see more progress.

08/29/2017 - 12:48pm After reading Brian's QB

After reading Brian's QB preview yesterday and watching Speight's highlights I was reminded how nimble afoot he can be. When combined with his "Harbaugh Speight" bouts of throwing accuracy he's a potential All B10 QB. Now we have these fine freshman WRs, including two out of this world freak athletes, both of whom could be the kind of break out freshmen we see on other teams but rarely on ours. Then there's Oliver Martin who happened to play at our local high school here in Iowa City, and all I have to add is "The hands, the hands, the hands." Might could our offense be the breakout story of this season? Here's hoping and trying to wait patiently for Saturday.

08/28/2017 - 2:36pm Well done Brian

I think Speight has all the makings of a gutsy, clutch, winning Michigan QB under Harbaugh. His performance last season was much better than it seemed although with several caveats and footnotes that make the main body of his work appear suspect in some ways. We should improve on the offensive line (!), be better at RB, and I think the young WRs will be better than the underperforming veteran group from last season. We'll miss Jake Butt for sure but overall the offense is in great shape for a breakout season. Bring on the Gators!

04/16/2017 - 8:07pm Yes indeed

I just checked the competition logs and we were at Wiscube last fall and both of the last two Indiana competitions where your son competed as well. Your son is clearly world class! My son's 3x3 single PB is 8.18. He's been competing for 2+ yrs.

04/14/2017 - 11:52am No boasting intended to my fellow MGoBlogers

...but my 14 year old son is a speed cubing expert (several state records) and he can't wait to visit Ann Arbor and solve that one! Here's a short clip of a 4x4 solve from his last competition if you're interested:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sgKmILzI8Ow

12/12/2016 - 5:57pm Completely agree with the above...

...he's just not tough. Ball security seemed to get better but almost all of Isaac's production is outside the tackles. When he runs inside he neither makes quick cuts into the hole nor accelerates to the second level (ever?). Pass blocking is poor as measured by the following empirical method: Can you think of one occasion when he made a decisive blitz pick-up? Whether or not he could be deployed more effectively with regard to play calls or using him as a receiver, lack of toughness and blocking ability put a ceiling on the # of snaps he gets from this coaching staff.

12/08/2016 - 8:35am Kiffin presumably grew up a lot working for Saban

But obviously it's still a big risk. His track record as a head coach is terrible. Maybe he'll do better this time around but it's a semi-desperate move on Houston's part. They are dying to stay relevant after sniffing the Big 12. The problem from my perspective is that hiring Kiffin is actually a lose-lose proposition: either he's much better than at USC or UT and gets hired away in 2-3 years or he remains a terrible head coach and Houston is stuck with a mess. Down vote on the decision from this corner of the woods.

12/05/2016 - 1:01pm The truth will come out

Although Wilson may have been a jerk--and it's rare that a successful head coach isn't that way some of the time--the abrupt and mysterious nature of his firing is weird. As the author points out IU is one of the harder places to win anywhere near half of your games. So Wilson wouldn't have been cut loose without a behind-the-scenes 2nd chance regarding a 'cause' issue. He had the program on its rightest track in many years--at least on the field. It's only a matter of time before we find out what was really going on.

Current top 3 possibilities (total speculation obviously): 1. Sleeping with an intern/secretary/booster's wife, 2. Alcohol issues that led to something like threatening a cop who pulled him over for DUI, 3. Jealous rage at the fact that IU football 'never gets the credit it deserves' compared to the b-ball program and/or Tom Crean's special ability to pull up his big boy pants in just the right way to convince a ref the Hoosiers are getting screwed.

 

12/05/2016 - 12:14pm You beat me to it but...

...you can't take Dignity and have the points too. You gotta take Dignity and lay the 35 to MSU. Me personally I'll double down and take the Over. No way Dignity doesn't take Sparty behind the proverbial woodshed and beat em till they squeal.

11/28/2016 - 2:50pm I stand corrected...

...and must have meant after the '73 10-10 tie for the (Jan. 1st) 1974 Rose Bowl. Mike Lantry was the kicker and that FG sure looked good from my seat near the press box. In any event maybe I'm not as a far along toward recovering from this loss as I thought I was. Or something. But this one still hurts worse, recency bias duly noted.

11/28/2016 - 2:07pm Excellent Analysis Brian

I am 53+ years old, lived through the 10 year war and attended all of the home games during that period, and was devastated as an 11 year old when the Big 10 AD's voted OSU to the Rose Bowl over us in 1974. This was the most painful loss I've ever been through. Others were very painful but this one had the biggest implications and consequences. My f-bombs didn't count toward the total on The State of Our Open Threads but they were heard VERY LOUDly by my kids as I stood no more than 5 feet from the big screen TV in our living room, by myself, acting crazy, way too over-invested for a mature guy, needing and wanting this win more than any other before.

In the light of the grey day that is two days after those bad things happened what stands out for me are not the woulda' coulda' shoulda's caused by refs from Ohio or mistakes that we made in executing a pretty amazing gameplan against the #2 team in the country on the road with a wounded QB. What stands out is the fact that Jim Harbaugh is committed to running the ball and we simply could not. Our line developed this year but not enough. Our backs and the rotation were better this year but not better enough. As Brian said on the podcast we are still paying the price for Hoke's poor recruiting decisions and poor OL development as well as bad luck and zero depth with experience. Just like we couldn't run the ball successfully enough to make 1st downs and burn clock in the 4th quarter against Iowa, the same deficiencies cost us this brutal game.

I am confident those problems are getting solved and will get solved sooner rather than later. This was a bitter f-ing pill to swallow, no doubt about it. But the reality is that while we could have won, perhaps should have won, we weren't quite good enough to win. It was very close and very painful and it still hurts. But it wasn't to be and we aren't ready to win a championship. Yet. But it's coming. Go Blue. Always and F-ever!

11/28/2016 - 1:54pm JH is committed to running the ball

The issue isn't predictability IMHO--Michigan's offensive identity under Harbaugh is to control the line of scrimmage and establish the run first and foremost before building on that in any given game depending on the opponent and situation. If anything we are predictable on purpose. That having been said, I was actually very pleased at the number of 1st down passes we threw, at least in the first half. We just don't yet have the horses on the OL to make 1st downs against quality defenses, especially in crucial situations where we need to burn clock. But we will have them soon, perhaps sooner than many of us think.

11/26/2016 - 5:04pm Excellent gamer Ace

You captured the gist. That spot was highly questionable as a 1st down but probably too close to overturn. I don't know what to say about the refs calling only 2 penalties on OSU all day. We played solid football for one half and the D held up through regulation. Clutch 4th down throw by Speight and catch by Darboh to tie it in OT. But in the end we didn't take advantage of golden opportunities and made crucial mistakes too. In a game of inches we couldn't afford that many mistakes, bad refs or not.

11/26/2016 - 9:52am Coach O has learned a lot since his days at Ole Miss

But that doesn't mean he'll be more successful than Les Miles at LSU. He'll get some great recruits and build a family-type program down there but will they really contend for SEC West titles? Conference championships? Playoff spots? The truly great coaches are foundational program builders: they have an identity for the program in mind, they are amazing recruiters, they size up coaching and player talent, they are organized and respected enough to get buy-in from all interested parties, and they are also excellent game/clock/X&O managers. Oh and they can keep the media and boosters at bay (smile and wink as needed) while not getting distracted or imploding. It's rarified air indeed these days. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Jim Harbaugh set the bar so high that everyone is looking for their own version--and there just aren't many to be found. So what are the other big-time programs with $$$ to spend supposed to do? Try to poach someone else's coach? Go for a hot-shot coordinator? Stick with someone they have and already know? It's called a carousel for a reason. I am just grateful that we got Ours--Go Blue! Beat OSU!

11/25/2016 - 3:39pm Impossible to predict the outcome but...

...as I wrote on another thread I have a strong suspicion that we will play well enough on defense and special teams to give us a real opportunity to win, even on the road with a <100% QB. We are more experienced and, dare I say, more rabidly hungry bc we've lost so often to OSU in the last 10+ years. Meyer is a great coach and they have great talent but they are young and have played beyond above expectations this year. I think Speight's game at Iowa was an aberration and he's had 2 weeks (or more) to prepare for this. I like our chances. Michigan 28, OSU 21. Go Blue!

11/24/2016 - 10:45am Placebo vs. Medicine

We can't know if it's true intel but what really matters for NOW is that I feel better. My intuition says Speight is practicing and will play if at all possible. He's the starter with true game experience and the QB everyone else on offense trusts. The ol' saying about the prom applies here: Gotta dance with the one who brung ya. Between now and Saturday at 11:00 CST I'll be biding my time, drinking my placebo beverages, and hoping for the best. I really wanna see #3 run out on that field to face the Buckeyes. With our defense putting more pressure on Barrett than he knows what to do with I am confident we will win this one. In 1978 we went down there and blasted them 22-0. I'll be the first to predict a similarly surprising but ecstasy-producing outcome this year. Go Blue!

11/23/2016 - 2:36pm Oliver Martin

We live 5 mins from Iowa City West High and my 2 older kids are students there (neither know Martin). It's a large public school--more or less like AA Pioneer. They started slowly this season but then came on and made the State finals before losing to multiple-time champs Dowling from Des Moines. Anyway I saw about half of Martin's games this year and he has really made himself into a player--the feature article linked to below came out less than a week ago and highlights his work ethic and level-headedness. I don't know the family but have no reason to believe he isn't the quality kid he's made out to be in the article.

Martin has been notably non-commital about his college decision. I haven't heard anything about early entry either--and I think that would probably be known by now. Iowa would LOVE to get him but most of the talk is that he'll be going out of state. From what I've seen he has incredible hands--catches everything near him--and that's what caught Dylan McCaffrey's eye last summer and led him to put the Michigan coaches onto Martin as a summer camp invitee and subsequently a kid who holds a Michigan offer. I have no idea where he'll end up and I know nothing about the other receivers we are recruiting but Martin would be a quality kid and a great on-field addition to our program. I hope he's not looking elsewhere--let alone ND!

 

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/sports/high-school/football/2016/11/…

11/21/2016 - 2:12pm Grasping for Straws

We won last Saturday, onward. Brian says wind and weather were mostly not responsible for O'Korn's poor performance. But couldn't he simply have been nervous? I know he played before but that was garbage time. I know he started before but that was at Houston. I know he repped as the starter all week but that was practice. He is taking control of a high-powered and complex offense for the #3 team in the country with nothing but EVERYTHING on the line. Maybe he settled himself in the 2nd half last week or at least after his 30 yard run. Hopefully it won't take him as long to get in the zone this coming Saturday. It's been a great season. It simply can't end with 1st half Indiana O'Korn showing up in Columbus. It just can't.

11/07/2016 - 11:08am Stewart Mandel said the same thing...

...in his Immediate Recovery column this am on foxsports.com--his take is that the few teams that have beaten Alabama in the last several years have all been spread offense teams. He says 'you're not going to out-Bama Bama,' meaning that pro-style/traditional offenses like ours play into Alabama's strengths. He says OSU is the better candidate to beat Alabama--should they get the chance--because they run a spread offense.

It goes without saying this all premature with 3-4 games left before we even find out who makes the CFP and who matches up with who. Clemson gave Bama quite a game in the championship last year and we all know that none of these teams are unbeatable.

For all the talk about spread offenses vs. traditional power, 5* recruits and the like, I'll take Jim Harbaugh's ability to game plan and put his players in position to create and exploit opportunities offered by the opponent up against anyone. We are improving every week and our coaching staff builds on what we're doing in each phase of the game based on each opponent and what they see on film.

I'm confident that our coach would embrace the chance to match up with anyone out there and do the unexpected--just like his Stanford team did against overwhelming favorite and 'untouchable' USC in 2009. 55-21 Stanford victory if I recall correctly?!?

11/05/2016 - 10:29pm Coach O has great passion but...

...not knowing whether or not to call time out in time to avoid that penalty tells you all you need to know about him not being head coach material.

10/29/2016 - 8:22am Immodest Expectations

I've been looking forward to this carthartic beatdown of MSU for ~10 years. I have no fear today--drinking java #2 now, cheering for my 10 y.o. son's undefeated team to win the flag football championship game later this morning, and then settling in front of the big telly to watch the Blue put the choke hold on Sparty. Harbaugh is so mature and expresses nothing but respect for the opponent--and then we take the field. I loved Brian's prediction of a blowout shutout in the Game Preview. Let's make it so. And scorch the earth with ugly green shrapnel.

10/25/2016 - 5:49pm Shoes vs. Cleats

The road uni's are sharp as they are--no change needed, including shoes. Howeva, cleats are a different matter altogether. Gotta match the surface which can be more complicated than it seems. After McCaffery ran all around and through Iowa in the Rose Bowl some Hawkeye fans actually blamed it on having the wrong cleats.

https://iowa.forums.rivals.com/threads/did-we-bring-the-wrong-shoes.791…

10/23/2016 - 1:00pm The Bo Era

Another obvious team trait from the Bo era, and not seen enough since then, is overall toughness and focus. Find the opponent's weak spots and attack them relentlessly. Wear them down, break their will, win the game and then on to the next opponent. What differs from the Bo era IMHO is Harbaugh's resourcefulness. Bo was too stubborn to mix it up or try new things when the usual option runs and the like weren't working against stronger opponents. He really only opened things up much more when Anthony Carter arrived in 1979. Harbaugh on the other hand makes creative and efficient use of the talent on the roster. Still focuses on hard-nosed football up front and fundamentals like gang tackling and ball security but adds new wrinkles almost every week. That's what makes him such an incredible coach. And I'm over the moon ecstatic that he's OUR coach. Let's go up to Sparty-ville and take them behind the woodshed next Saturday Coach--for this year and for old times' sake!

10/12/2016 - 8:37pm One more food recommendation...

I 'second' the motion of one of the early responders to OP's post re: Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack on the east side. If you're looking for BBQ (ribs, chicken) or wings you just gotta head this way. I've eaten BBQ all over the midwest (KC, Chicago, Memphis) and maybe I'm just a homer but I promise you won't regret it. Best BBQ around for my money. And the smoked wings are simply awesome.

10/12/2016 - 2:00pm Detroit born, Ann Arbor bred, lived in Iowa City for 22 years

Ped mall is for college students and the like so if that suits you then you'll be happy hanging out there. For those of us over 30, I recommend the following:

1. Burgers: Shorts/Stella (same owners, one on east side, one west side, one downtown).

2. Pizza: Wig and Pen or Monica's (both in Coralville) have great pizza and other game-day type food. Both are likely to be mobbed so be prepared to wait.

3. Beer: Big Grove in Solon (20-30 min. drive northeast) and Kalona Brewing (20 min. drive south) have great beers and are worth the trip. 30Hop is ok but not my fave by a longshot.

4. Hawk fans will be drunk and happy regardless of how their team does. If you're not obnoxious they will accept you and even offer you a beer!

09/16/2016 - 7:18am +2 for the DL and +1 for Tatum power rushing her Pa!

+2 for the DL and +1 for Tatum power rushing her Pa!

09/04/2016 - 12:27pm There are a lot of factors in

There are a lot of factors in deciding to play a true freshman, obviously, but I really like sending the message that if you come to Michigan you won't be redshirted by default. If you can contribute then you will play rather than sitting out. For better or worse, young players want the instant gratification of playing and we don't want them to look elsewhere because it's unlikely they'll play soon after arriving.

02/08/2016 - 1:28pm Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting

Beilein's winning % is surprisingly low for a coach at his level. He's at an elite institution and has the resources and infrastructure to win big. His X's and O's can be debated but personally I like his offensive system--it's fun to watch and difficult to defend. Defense under Beilein has had its moments but generally is not a strong suit. I think it comes down to recruiting, which has suffered the past 2 years. Outperforming your talent level is very hard to do consistently in a conference like the Big 10. Bo Ryan was a true marvel. Izzo gets better talent than us and typically gets the most out of it. Matta is a good coach when he recruits great talent but his record without the Oden class or the Sullinger/Craft classes is much worse. I for one like Beilein a lot and would give him more than another year or two because he does things the right way. We know what it's like to be in the news for wrongdoing--it sucks bad. And despite his winning % I think Beilein is probably the best basketball coach we've ever had. Frieder was slimey (although he recruited well and won his share of games). I think Fisher did an incredible job in the 1989 tournament (made all the right moves) but I can't overlook whatever responsibility he deserves for the violations that occurred later in his tenure.

02/01/2016 - 12:29pm Excellent update as always,

Excellent update as always, Brian. You know you're deep diving in the 'crootin muck when you get money quotes like this,

"...He is an athlete that has all the tools to be a special long snapper."

12/07/2015 - 12:42pm Educated speculation

After just reading Brian's attrition post I'm once again clear that the Recruiting-Development-Program/Game Management cycle is the key. I believe Harbaugh is here for at least several more years (as John Bacon has repeatedly opined). It is clear after this season that Harbaugh is a clear upgrade in the areas listed above. He has already changed the culture. All signs point to OP's scenario A, with the obviously huge caveat that predicting the future is always a fool's errand.