Thursday, December 2, 2021

Iowa and The B1G Championship

Let's move on to Iowa because this is really big (no pun).  Michigan has reached an incredible #2 in the CFP.  What a massive accomplishment.  It doesn't have to end there.

Iowa is good but lucky to be 10-2.  Their biggest win is against Minnesota.  (EDIT:  That is what I read but they also beat Penn State and looked good doing it.)  I don't think they can stop Michigan's running attack and M's defense should be able to handle the Hawkeye offense.

Iowa does not have the explosive playmakers--Hutchinson, Haskins, D. Hill, C. Johnson, et al.--that Michigan does. That is why they have looked worse at the end of the season than they did in the beginning.  Their primary weapon is "solidness."  They win through attrition.

This is Michigan's chance and this one is going to easier than anything that may follow.  Michigan is peaking and I don't see them blowing it now.  They are not going to be attritted and that is not a word.

For fans and yours truly, it is a bonus game.  It's gonna be a great Saturday night.  It is is like the bowl games of years past--a celebration of the season and a competitive game too.  

Even Michigan-Georgia, if all the stars align, won't be as fun as this one.  Wherever it is played it will be away and tense too.  That game may not end as well.

Michigan 35 Iowa 17


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

MBB

Tonight we are watching Michigan basketball for the first time this season.

So far Juwan hasn't punched anyone.  And Dick Vitale is older than 100.

North Carolina doesn't look very good.  Michigan looks awful.

The two players I wanted most to see before it were Devante Jones and Caleb Houstan.  Vitale is repeating himself.  I had read some fan reactions and they are not positive.

Devante lived up, or down, as it were.  He is terrible; I have never seen anyone put their head down like that, dribble around in circles, and accomplish nothing.  He provides nothing.  He is not a ballhandler--even a 5-year old is taught to keep his or her head up when dribbling.  He does not rebound or create shots and he doesn't pass unless he circles around to your chest to hand you the ball.  He has no jump shot and if he tried I would look away; it would be a paraplegic nightmare.  Someone wrote that he looks as if he was in a car wreck--heaven forbid--and he sustained two severe knee injuries.  He has this floater, but it looks tortured--he doesn't look at the basket, or the defender, or the court, or his teammates--and it doesn't go in.

I read Moussa is good and he is.  But he and everyone else on the team is playing one-on-one.  I haven't seen a pass yet.

Houstan--someone hit a pretty nice jump shot and I think it was him..  Then he fell down shooting a free throw.

Johns doesn't start anymore.

Earlier Houstan looked...  remember that woman on Seinfeld who couldn't swing her arms when she walked?  Vitale is babbling incoherently.  I remember from recruiting that he has a large torso.  He looks too pumped up on weights, steroids, or both.

Frankie Collins made a pass and could have gained an assist.  Michigan has no perimeter shooters, a la Beilein at all.  Can Juwan coach?  (Not saying Beilein with walk-ons and stubborn benching is the standard.)  If  this team doesn't learn what a pass is it is going to be a very long season.  They look like an ad hoc pick-up team.

Which is why Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks are barely contributing.  Dickinson has expanded his repertoire (small jump shot, trying 3's); he may regret coming back because he could have done that in the NBA with a million dollar paycheck.  He is not being utilized and he is not the player he was last year because of it.  He is still young and he cannot lead the whole team from the center position.  At the moment, he is a wasted talent.

This was commented on by others too:  Collins helps form the offense.  Did I mention, Devante Jones is awful.  But yeah, he removed himself from the NBA draft.  Anyway, Frankie is one of those hair flowing, fast running, energy guys.  

Diabate is good and he is the reason Michigan is ahead, but he just got chewed-up in the low post.  Dickinson is out and North Carolina is, almost, will they...

Oh God, Jones is dribbling the ball up court now.  That was the worst offensive set and shot by Brooks I have seen.

Frankie looks like a Cheech and Chong movie.  

They did it North Carolina 29 Michigan 27 at the half.

Vitale, if you don't hit the cough button I will.  The guy from Duke was really good in the State game.

I don't know, Zeb Jackson is injured.  Terrance Williams, haven't seen or noticed him yet.  From the box score:  Brandon Johns has 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 0 points.  Jace Howard?  Don't get me started.  Whatshisname, checks roster, Adrien "I want to graduate" Nunez has played in four games and averages 4.5 minutes; if I see him in this one I will turn it off.

Who is the halftime talking head.  Diabate all one-on-one.  Spacing.  Dickinson 3 shots.  "Michigan:  they just don't have it."

Actually, I'm pretty bored by the whole thing.  Carolina and their new coach, maybe they are on the upswing; they get recruits and they should be a top 20 team every year.  They're playing and they'll win.

Big news, checks ESPN...

He doesn't look like an athlete, or skilled basketball player, to me.


I agree with Vitale in that Dickinson (on the bench with 4 fouls) looks out of it because he needs a team to support him.  Michigan shouldn't have been ranked; they should not have been favored, and Brooks--smash a guy his off hand--looks lost without a team too.

41-33 UNC.

What are they saying?  Carolina doesn't have great big men but they have talent.  Hubert Davis looks intellectual; Howard looks like the screaming father-coach of a middle school team.  Wait.  He is the father-coach of a pick-up team.

46-35.  Brandon Johns--in your face!  (In his face.)

Devante Jones:  1/7 with one assist.  Dickinson is sulking.  Michigan seven deep only.  It is very weird; it is as if Juwan Howard is not coaching at all.  The young players are trying but they need coaching!  

Let's think here.  Jones is not a D1 basketball player; Eli is not going to the NBA; Johns is a role player if you can find a role for him.  Dickinson is on the way to becoming a head case.  

Diabate is showing the biggest motor and skill.  He set screens.  He is trying to be court-aware.  He has a ways to go in terms of strength, defense, and post play.  He is Michigan's best player but not a Big Ten game winner by himself.

T. Williams is in, 53-38 eight minutes to go.

I missed it:  Jones with the reach in foul.  Did you see the one in the Seton Hall game where he...  That is not reaching-in.  It is never going to work.

Last year's Michigan basketball team was this year's Michigan State football team.  Transfers and they were really lucky it worked.

Back to the roster.  Houstan and Collins can probably play in time as average Big Ten players.

56-40.  

Devante Jones plays basketball with his shoulders.  Three times he has put his head down and banged someone with his shoulder.  That is, when he is not reaching in.  Eli Brooks is kind of a clod too.  He just knocked someone else to the floor, from behind, while he was shooting?  From what I read he has been doing it all year.  He has added 3 more turnovers too.

Michigan is now getting creamed (68-43).  Gotta get a coach, Coach!

Geez, Jaron Faulds is playing now.  Kobe Bufkin (long, thin, wild) is in too.  

It is embarrassing.  Most of the players played hard.  As a team they never even tried to win.

---

What I remember most is Dick Vitale screaming "He was a big-time scorer at Coastal Carolina!"  That was the last straw for both of them.

I am not onboard with Juwan Howard as head coach yet.  It is not going to change anytime soon--the coach or the team--so I will have plenty of time to observe.  

As I read on Mgoblog just yesterday (game day) Big Ten teams are going to see this and salivate.  I didn't look but I don't remember seeing any BLM patches this time around.  I think Howard should provide Michigan scholarships to deserving recruits outside his family.  I don't know what this collection was doing (trying to) play in Las Vegas at midnight.  I would have to do some research (which I am not going to do) but I don't think top recruiting classes necessarily translate into great teams; look at Kentucky and now everyone will transfer anyway.  Finally, I think a one-year extension to whatever contract he had would have been more appropriate.

In terms of the team, the one brightspot was a double post with Dickinson and Diabate.  Due to all kinds of other problems, they only did it for a few minutes, but they were getting shots and rebounds.  It didn't actually work, but it looked promising.

The stars are gone from last year and the year before that.  What is left is a collection of bit- or role-players.  The transfer-in market this year looks to be a total failure.  What else could Howard do?  He recruited the best class he or just about anyone could get.  In all reality it will take another one, maybe transfer help, hard decisions and a lot of coaching to get anywhere.

And yeah, the fans, the bloggers, and the very intelligent alumni are going to tear it apart.  The biggest thing I learned from Michigan football this year is that Harbaugh wanted tough guys over ones with extraordinary talent or rankings.  Sainristil and AJ Henning are under the radar examples; Haskins and Ojabo are blatant ones.  You need to want to play in Michigan Stadium.  And you have to weather it when it rains down like it does on me (i.e., Jim Harbaugh).

We saw it with the very-experienced former coach:  the best teams ever at Michigan and some really rotten ones too.  It is like a writer with a blank page; can you do it, Coach Howard?  It is a completely open question right now.

In the meantime, or for a long time, it will be ugly.


Musing

Internet works for a spell--a fully cellular solution will arrive later today--and it is important to start.  Forget about BLM, Coaches Against Racism, and nepotism.  This week is as good as it gets in football.

Warde, long 'e' but we don't make fun of names here, did the right thing in extending Jim Harbaugh.  It was never in question in that he wasn't going to get fired or go anywhere else, but however it was done worked.  I stopped looking into coach's contracts long ago.  In a number of ways, I think Harbaugh and everyone else realized enough is enough.  Obviously, it isn't always sincere, but Coach himself said "this is where I want to be."

Everyone speculated, including

Internet works for a spell--a fully cellular solution will arrive later today--and it is important to start.  Forget about BLM, Coaches Against Racism, and nepotism.  This week is as good as it gets in football.

Warde, long 'e' but we don't make fun of names here, did the right thing in extending Jim Harbaugh.  It was never in question in that he wasn't going to get fired or go anywhere else, but however it was done worked.  I stopped looking into coach's contracts long ago.  In a number of ways, I think Harbaugh and everyone else realized enough is enough.  Obviously, it isn't always sincere, but Coach himself said "this is where I want to be."

Everyone speculated, including (caugh) mental health experts.  We all know Harbaugh does not like to lose.  It ate at him.  And it got worse.  He didn't know how to react, and it got worse still.

He was trying of course, but he was not fully engaged.  Winning cannot be the only difference--this year he is engaged.  In the past he stood alone on the sideline and this year he is part of a group.  You can see people whispering or yelling in his ear.  He is after the referees and he is jumping up and down when someone gets their helmet ripped off.

You can tell he is happy.  Once he smiled!  Leadership absolutely starts from the top.  Everything is different this year; Harbaugh deserves credit.

Internet doesn't work and that is just fine.  Just need to get used to writing offline again.

I've seen Iowa play and Kirk Ferentz is rejuvenated too.  Writing a game preview will be fun because Michigan will have to flop to lose.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Ohio State (aka, The Game)

I have to write this now because I am pretty sure my internet will not work again for The Game.  CenturyLink sucks.

I don't think Michigan can do it.  I am certain they will try.  And, unless I am wrong, it will be another season of losing to both Michigan State and Ohio State.  Nonetheless, it has been a strong, rejuvenated  season so far.

In the meantime, Michigan beat Penn State and Penn State never really puts it all together.  Almost never.  Maryland doesn't put it together either.  Michigan's wins have come against some mediocre competition:  the Big Ten East isn't so great.

You never know.  Turnovers, sacks, or just a great match-up for Michigan, it could happen.

I don't think so.

Before it happens again and I am forced to join those who are disconnected, two things are important to remember:  Michigan is described as the epicenter of wave four and, remember, it is about the showcase.

Insert picture of Michigan Stadium here.

 

Editing is allowed but you never delete in blogging.  My excuse:  the weather and I had no idea Ohio State would become so rattled.

For Michigan it was a dramatic showing of their strengths all season.  Hassan Haskins was fantastic.  Grit:  Cade McNamara made a bad play (interception), and Michigan went from 14-0 to 7-3, and the team responded.  This one includes leadership.  Speaking of, the Michigan defensive ends were game-changers AND the defensive tackles played great.  The defense was excellent.

Michigan won because they didn't play prevent, they scored more.

Field position, weather, crowd...  The Buckeyes were not at their best.  Michigan caused it an won.

They get to play another game!  Who is the opponent, Nebrsaska?  That is huge. 

There is a legitimate path to the CFP.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Win Over Penn State

Michigan won because of Hassan Haskins, Aiden Hutchinson and David Ojabo, Erick All's 49-yard touchdown, and because Penn State is not very good.

Michigan won and that is not an easy thing to do in Happy Valley.  The real story is James Franklin.

I think maybe Allen Bowman could have guided Penn State to a win.  (Harbaugh was smart to go get him.)  Sean Clifford looked like Shane Morris out there.  Penn State was lucky to succeed on all those 4th downs and then they tried once too often. The Cade McNamara sack and fumble could have won the game for Penn State.  Bigger picture:  Penn State has had better recruiting classes than Michigan for about the last five years; also, they have had a ton of transfers out.

Up until this season they were about even in trouble winning.  

What did you do today?  I looked-up Pennsylvania city populations.  I thought Philly was bigger- it is just one large urban area and tough to tell.  Pittsburgh isn't huge either.  12.8 million as a state is big.

And there is no discernible difference between a crowd of 110,00 and one of 109,000.  Penn State football is huge.  James Franklin to USC?  (I believe that is as top of a top job as you can get.)  It makes no sense for anyone, health aside, to voluntarily leave the Penn State job.

Despite the power of Penn State, Franklin presents a beatable image on the sideline.  The team has tough, mean, elite players but Franklin is meek.  He was as gracious as anyone after the Michigan game.  He clearly is an excellent overall manager and recruiter.  Penn State's record of failure is worse than Michigan's.

For Michigan, all eyes are on Michigan State.  I still don't think Michigan can beat Ohio State, but it is certainly worth going-for.  If that game really means something, Michigan could win it.

I think Michigan State will beat Penn State because no matter where they stand, Sparty will not let up; the Nittany Lions will finish 6-6 or 7-5.  They were number four in the country.  How can you fire James Franklin, or would he choose to leave?  A lot of people will be saying that Penn State should be better than around .500.

Michigan is in a good place football-wise this year. They're on an even keel, whatever that means for a football team.  On the other hand, it will be worth keeping an eye on what happens with Penn State.

 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Two of the Biggest Head Coaches in College Football

Hassan Haskins has a point:  legs cannot get CTE.  In every other respect, I wish him the best because he is indispensable on the field.  He would also be a major positive even if he were not on the field, but if that is what he chooses, I hope he has a short and hugely-successful career.

The other thing about Michigan football at this stage of the season is Aiden Hutchinson.  First he impressed by rolling through and over others in the backfield, now he is dancing?  I cannot explain it but that is the visual.  If you run at him, you will be clobbered.  If you do it somewhere else, somehow he will have an impact too.

No one can tell what they will get with Penn State; James Franklin is as close in terms of college football to Jim Harbaugh as you can get.  Black Shoes Diary includes a piece saying the home, overtime, loss to Illinois was the worst of the Franklin era.  Harbaugh and Michigan have already had a number of those.  Like Wisconsin, when Penn State is on they are as good as anyone.

James Franklin will no longer be a household name if Penn State loses.

Last year didn't exactly happen as expected for Michigan fans.  Michigan was relatively healthy Covid-wise.  Penn State was 0-5.

Michigan did not look inspired, by the Michigan State loss or otherwise, against Indiana and, as good as Haskins is, he cannot do it all on every play.  More to the point, Michigan did not look like a team ready to win the Big Ten East.

It is futile to try and predict a nonexistent injury report.  Others can analyze Michigan's path to the championship, but I think if Penn State wins, it will all be for dreamers.  

Both teams have the tools to do it even with a  depleted line-up.  It doesn't take a statistician or blogger to see that at 3-3 in the Big Ten, Penn State is out of it.  I still do not think Michigan will beat Ohio State at home, but if Michigan wants it badly enough, they can beat Penn State.

Please, don't play McCarthy  unless you are 20 points up or he has orders not to pass.  Macdonald, hold a stopwatch in your hand as a mental reminder if you have to!  Just like against Michigan State, if Michigan loses, it will be on the coaches.

Fool me once...  Penn State 31 Michigan 15+6+6=27


Thursday, November 4, 2021

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Sunday, October 31, 2021

MSU 37 UM 33

It was a great win, if you are a Michigan State fan.  Kenneth Walker's 200 yards and 5 touchdowns was too much.  Up-tempo was smart and effective.  Confidence helps.  Run defense does too.

Michigan State turned the ball over too and overcame it.  Michigan is a solid team and in this one they were beaten.

Maybe they could have won if not for the failure to change defensive substitutions, the two fumbles, and better tackling against Walker.

37 points is too many.

Michigan had chances and they lost.  Andrel Anthony, Erick All, and Cade McNamara led a gallant effort, but the passing game was not enough.

Walker's breakaway runs in particular,  Michigan could not stop them. 

Michigan was ahead by two scores and cruising, yet they lost again to Michigan State.

This is a woke, or aware, football game review.  It is dull and boring.  It doesn't contain any Twitter screenshots or incendiary click bait.  There are no derogatory jokes about Michigan State either.

Michigan could have and should have won this game, and they didn't.  

Dantonio is gone.  Don't blame Mel Tucker.

 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Michigan State

As if it matters.  Clicks off because Finebaum is ugly and on.  It doesn't.

ESPN says 56% chance of a Michigan win on the road against a lesser-ranked team.  May as well just call it 50-50.

I watched Michigan State a few times this year (see below) and they did not impress me much, even though they have not lost or folded completely.  Walker can be stopped and he does not have unusual moves, strength, or speed.  (He ran 94 yards just fine, though.)  They commit a lot of penalties, especially in the defensive backfield.  They play with the same dirty edge they always have.  

 

State's quarterback--I had to look up his name--is a rookie and an amateur among amateurs; he was not much as a recruit, he is not a runner, and he does not have a strong arm.  In some games the receivers have gone wild but in others they have disappeared, mostly because the quarterback is not delivering the ball.  There's the one experienced defensive end, but I do not recall anything stand-out in either line, the linebackers, or their kicking game.

First, I will backtrack to the slow-starting but blowout win against Northwestern.  Michigan won because of the same strengths:  two outstanding running backs, good offensive and defensive lines, and an elite kicking game.  Despite allowing big plays that have not cost games, the defense includes stars and a shut-down capability.  

Another memory from Northwestern:  Cade McNamara cannot run and sometimes he isn't a very good passer either.  Games like this in East Lansing, though, are the reason he starts and wins.

There is an ulterior benefit to the dink Michigan passing game in that it keeps drives alive.  Ball control, time of possession, or keeping the defense off the field, call it what you will.  If you score too quickly, the other team could do the same.

In this game, the Michigan defense is poised to make things very difficult for Payton Thorne.  It is likely Michigan will bottle-up Walker III too, because no team has dominated on the ground against Michigan this year.  That, or if, the Spartan receivers will break free is the million dollar question.  My answer is Michigan has seen better and way more experienced quarterbacks so far this year.  

Cade McNamara is the perfect quarterback for Michigan in this game.  You have to let them play.  I think Michigan will sack Thorne and limit Walker's yards.  With no turnovers (i.e., less Donovan Edwards and Mike Sainristil), Michigan and McNamara will drive the ball and, when necessary, the kicking game will score.

Whenever possible and especially, when safe, JJ McCarthy.  This year we have seen the big throws and his running is the best thing on the ground Michigan has outside of the Big Two.

In this game, I know how Michigan plays.  And I think they can handle the stadium.  I am eager to see Michigan State.  They will have at least a couple big plays, but overall, starting with Payton Thorne, I think they will show cracks.  They may even become rattled.

Michigan by 10.  Around 27-17.



Nick Rolovich

"Aware" is a better word than "woke."  But this is really about self expression..

Every day I am grateful that all I have to do is sit here and watch the leaves turn.  Or grass grow,.  You get the picture.

It is all while I plot my resurfacing, and for those who don't or shouldn't think that way, Nick Rolovich is a failure.  Maybe he will eventually get a job as a position coach, then become coordinator, and at some point even become a head coach again.  Bigger failures than he have done it.

Someone had to take Mike Leach's place.  Rolovich had a bit of an ostentatious flair, with the surfer shirts and frequent flyer miles.  It is hard to imagine Hawaii as a stepping stone--is it more of a destination--but the extra, off the mainland games help, and he was able to parlay solid seasons into a promotion.  The run and shoot was...

.

.

.

I thought the way he did it was the right way if you are a bonehead and insist you know something the whole world does not.  Quick, what are the top 10 vaccines in history?  Polio is my top of mind answer.  

Rolovich went away and said almost nothing.

Remember, he knows something the rest of us don't understand, including the governor of the state that employed him.

Now he claims he has a lawsuit.  We won't be hearing much about Nick Rolovich for a while, because...

Nick, it is not about you.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

DPJ and Sparty Too

Penix this, Penix that.  Michigan State and Indiana could be a decent game.  How could a coach be so dumb as to put his career in an injured quarterback's hands? Michigan State with a pick six.

I say, once they are gone they are gone.  Donovan Peoples-Jones is one of the very few I check.

Time explains everything.  In law it is a concept and there are rules around it.  I understand that at times it can be considered a science.

How is Nico Collins doing?  I was not optimistic about looking-up Tarik Black but I did it anyway.  How can you be a rookie for two years?  I still cannot figure it out.  DPJ popped-up.

Why was his departure from Michigan so acrimonious?  

One thing to remember is that if you are a running back and insist on doing it professionally, you go pro when you can.  Probably that is true for receivers and punt returners too.

The other is Michigan does not utilize receivers and all-purpose back types well.

Oh to be Sparty.  ESPN doesn't even have the game on the front page even though they are ranked #10.  

Walker--the whole name is too long to type--has 18 yards on 7 carries.  Indiana had a week off to fix their...  They are focusing on him and it is working.

Why did Rocky Lombardi leave and Payton Thorne take over?  Time may never answer that one.  

Thorne is 2/6 for 17 yards.  Indiana does have a defensive coach for when it is broken.

Thorne is a 2 3/8-star with some MAC offers.  It is hard to tell if he was recruited by by the previous coach or the current one.  Maybe it is having a legacy in the backfield, but he doesn't look very dual threat.

Take the money and run Dantonio was the coach and Mel Tucker is just as ambitious and angry.  His scowl is even worse.  Boy was he in the wrong place in Boulder.  Take it from someone who lives in Colorado:  the whole state isn't that upset.

Indiana is outgaining them 153 to 37.  How can they be in the top 10?  More unimportantly, when do they play Penn State?  Not until the last game of the season. 

Now Indiana is ahead 9-7 because Michigan State hasn't done a thing on offense or defense.  Interesting game, sure but only if...  A top 10 team losing is usually news and it is still not there.

Michigan State has great receivers!  Who is that star receiver?  Is he a transfer?  I'll look him up when he makes the team, I mean, makes a play.

Sometimes the receivers disappear.

My God, Sparty is just self-destructing.  Each play is a lesson on how to commit a penalty.  Right, Bloomington is just such a tough place to play.  It is not like Madison or that corn state.

In Columbus or at Penn State, those are hard places to play and both Michigan teams have them coming.

We'll check in later, but for now, Mel is going to be mad at halftime.

"Don't look ahead to Michigan!.  It is still two weeks away!!"

Tuttle is terrible.  Payton Thorne is not all that much better, and that is one reason the receivers can be contained.  Michigan State is a frequently-penalized team and against good teams there are consequences for that.  Walker III can be stopped and the players around him are not elite.

Mel Tucker is a fortunate man. Time will tell if you can win in the Big Ten East with transfers.  Some of the plugs look unstable.

Next week we can look forward to Northwestern getting creamed by Michigan at home.  After that, Michigan looks to be far better than Michigan State.  Looking even farther ahead to November 6, Indiana at home looks to be easier than expected too.

Against Penn State and Ohio State, Michigan may have a chance.  Michigan State will not (have a chance).


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Michigan 32 Nebraska 29

It was not pretty.  All those people in red, the governor, and you can just imagine the full week of angst.  Whether they are good or bad, Michigan brings primetime coverage and a living, breathing example of the hurdle to climb in order to be recognized.  For those with a sense of entitlement rooted in the past and a different college football world, it is the game of the season.

For Nebraska, Michigan, and even Rutgers, you belong.  You have a good football team.  You are back, if you have to put it that way.

The taunting penalty and a few lucky breaks for Michigan are all part of it.  They go both ways and are always a whinny excuse.  Michigan won.

Areas of strength:  running back, kicking, safety.

Weaknesses:  receivers, cornerback, possibly linebacker.

Middle of the Road with Upside:  defensive line, offensive line, quarterback.

That is the status at the mid-season mark.  Undefeated but some real holes that will not change a lot this year.  It is tempting to revel in the success, but it is possible Michigan will end the season losing three of its last five.  Different this year?  Bowls have generally gone poorly.

MVP:  Hassan Haskins.  I just looked again, what is his draft status?  Wins over Aiden Hutchinson only because there is depth on the d-line.  Also, he is picked only to stress everything he does and how important he is.  Admittedly, the defensive line would not be the saime without Hutchinson.

Best Kicking Combo:  Jake Moody and Brad Robbins.

Rookie of the Half-Year:  David Ojabo.

Worst Injury/Lost Player:  Ronnie Bell.

The biggest disappointment so far this year has been the receiving corps.  It is no surprise in that it did not look good on paper going in and things are worse-off now.  Bell has had shining moments in his career but he has not had a lot of catches and he is not really a go-to guy.  But that is Michigan's offense--runs and boring stuff until the time and formations are right.  If I see this everyone else does too, and this year Bell played as if he is a go-to receiver and punt returner.  (Recently Cornelius Johnson has acted like a #1 receiver but that has not been the case on the field.)  Anyway, this was Bell's year and it did not work out that way.

Roman Wilson had a breakout game against Wisconsin, and again, the door is open for stars to shine.  Daylen Baldwin is getting a quick education but he still has drops and misreads.  Mike Sainristil:  one great catch, but he is more of a cheerleader.  AJ Henning cannot seem to run a route and Cristian Dixon appears to fall into that category too.  Recruiting (some help is coming; 24/7 is unfriendly to adblockers) at wide receiver is not a strength given Michigan's awful use of the position.  That is it, there is nothing else there.  The tight ends are modest threats too.

Michigan is desperate and smart to try Donovan Edwards at receiver.  Same goes for a need to pass to Blake Corum.

Folks have said it is great that Michigan is a top-10 team again and that is wrong because, just like all the other teams and schools, Michigan is not entitled to it.  What is surprising and a treat too is that Jim Harbaugh has finally woken-up, no pun intended.  Something changed or someone got to him.  He is the beneficiary of two excellent running backs, but still.

In marketing they call it positioning, and Michigan has that.  We can finally see Harbaugh's vision, and everyone is onboard with it, of the RPO (run pas option).  It is an improvement over, but still it is completely complementary to, traditional smash-mouth football.  And the big plays come from that.

The defense too is better--not an improvement over the best of the best, but steadier and just fine so far.  More players are doing more and a few in particular are, well, having a season worth coming back for.



Friday, October 8, 2021

Nebraska

I am really looking forward to this game.  See the post below.

Adrian Martinez has improved since this one; he is bigger, stronger, and he throws with more confidence in the pocket.  There is a chance he will thrive and an equal chance he will be intercepted, fumble, or get injured.  I don't think one player can do it all against the Michigan defense.

Still, he reminds me of Deondre Francois and Scott Frost is Jimbo Fisher, who would send him out there if he was still breathing.  There are times when dual-threat quarterbacks do not look so threatening too.

It was an inglorious and humiliating departure from Florida State for Francois, and all he did for them was get battered game after game until he could barely stand.  It reminded me of the injury Jake Butt sustained in the bowl game against FSU,  The situations are, of course, are not the same.

On offense, Michigan will score.  Everyone says the Nebraska offense is good so give them a few too.  The scene in Lincoln will be perfect, and even better that they are two teams not favored to win the conference.  It counts for sure, but it is more about showing sustained improvement, and preparing for a championship game.  If Michigan can do it in Madison, they can do it there.

Some people are predicting Nebraska will win.  A Top 10 team against a 3-3 team that lost to Illinois?  I don't see it.

Michigan 38 Nebraska 24.


Monday, October 4, 2021

Stunning: Michigan 38 Wisconsin 17

Michigan's thrashing of Wisconsin is every bit as impressive as demolishing Northern Illinois.  It was the best Michigan coaching job since Jedd Fisch and Jake Rudock.  Probably good players is more important than good coaching.  Everyone played with a jump in their step.

 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Michigan 20 Rutgers 13

Take Wisconsin and the negative points.

Cade McNamara to Mike Sainristil and Erick All is a fool's game.

Josh Ross alone cannot save the defense.