Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Michigan-Virginia: B1G-mas in November

A brief departure from post-Ohio euphoria. 

Michigan 58, UVA 70

The Wolverines traveled to Charlottesville last night to face Tony Bennett's Cavaliers, hoping to build on the momentum of a 2-1 showing in Maui. The game was relatively even more than three quarters of the way in, but foul trouble and the inability to rebound killed Michigan in this one, as they fell 70-58 in the first game of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

This one was tough to lose on a number of fronts. For one, Michigan was yet again hampered by foul troubles, leaving you with the sense that we weren't even playing with a full deck for large segments of the game. This time it wasn't even Morgan, as Hardaway picked up two in the first six minutes of the game (leading him to miss the rest of the first half, ending it with 1 FG attempt and 0 points) and Smotrycz, who picked up a 4th about halfway through the second half. Michigan only had points from Burke, Morgan, Smotrycz, and The Gritty One in the first half. That's not good.

Of course, it also gives the conference a loss, but, you know, whatever. Sorry B1G. This doesn't kill Michigan's tournament chances or anything; UVA will at minimum be a bubble team, much like their in-state counterparts at Virginia Tech circa the entire Seth Greenberg era (seemingly). However, this could really hurt if Michigan is also a bubble team (which, I hope not, but it could definitely happen). They play solid defense and their offense is somewhat uninspiring but very B1G-like: tough defense; a big guy that manufactures some points of off grit-based rebounding, little post-moves, and the occasional mid-range shot, and your array of generic three-point bombers. You could say it was sort of a preview of what league play will be like, giving this one an added layer of disappointment.

The first half had a decidedly BIG TEN BASKETBALL feel to it: low scoring, tough defense, and offense that, if it was a person, would probably dress like somebody from Des Moines. Somewhere Bo Ryan was watching this game in a dark room going GOOD GOOD. Earlier I said that despite Burke's early season performance, UVA would be a solid test for him even after Maui. The Cavs got into Burke's face early and often. Evans was a quick little guy (who went to the same high school as Allen Iverson and therefore is subject to comparisons every time he crosses anybody over) and he disrupted Burke to a level that he had not been subjected to thus far this year. UVA mixed up it up occasionally, putting the bigger #22 on Burke. In any case, with Burke getting extreme pressure and Hardaway out most of the first half, you can understand why Michigan was pretty much unable to generate much going to the hoop. Thankfully, Novak hit a couple shots from outside, as he is wont to do.

The second half bumbled along at a similar pace until things started to pick up slightly; Michigan went up 5 at one point, but it was not to last. After having 1 shot in the first half, Hardaway took quite a while to get his second in the second half, and he ended the game with only five points. Michigan cannot really beat anybody of consequence if Hardaway produces so little in addition to not really getting to many good shots in the process.

Michigan hung in there for a while because the Cavs weren't exactly shooting the lights out either. Michigan actually shot a higher percentage from three and overall than UVA, but the game was lost on the boards and at the free throw line, where Michigan went 4/7 and the Cavs went 17/22. Likewise, Michigan got dominated on the boards 33 to 24: Harris, Scott, and Sene (off the bench) had no trouble going right over our undersized interior. As far as Michigan has come as a program, it's still painfully obvious that we lack athleticism or enough bodies, period, down low. Come on down Mr. McGary.

Some scattered thoughts in bullet form:

  • Hardaway--Probably one of the most frustrating games of his career. Foul trouble killed him in this one, and he never really got involved. He's obviously best when attacking the basket and going mid-range as opposed to outside the arc, but it was tough sledding with the way UVA was playing D. In short...a good learning experience on the road against a solid, well-coached team. 
  • Burke--Despite the start to the season (including a very impressive stint in Maui), the Burke hype train somewhat came down to earth. He had trouble making anything happen due to the pressure, which led to a lot of dribbling and a lot of late shot clock clunkers. He's definitely better than freshman Morris but for the people on the Internets saying he's already better than last year's Morris...let's just hold off that one for a second. It's hard to imagine last year's Morris not having success against a slot ninja-sized (okay, not quite) guy like Evans. 
  • Novak--A true hero, as usual. Making timely threes, taking charges, being awesome. Unfortunately, other than "being taller," there's only so much he can do. 
  • Smotrycz--A work in progress. He made some things happen (he did chip in 10), including a nice take in the first half after being left uncovered on the perimeter. He countered that in the second half by traveling while trying to make a post move. I like what he brings to the table and I think he'll be pretty good eventually, but right now he's still trying to figure out what he can and can't do. 
  • Douglass--Meh. Save for one three, limited impact in this one. 
  • Morgan--A pair of buckets and a trip to the free throw line. He did make a nice play on his second basket, sort of play-actioning his way away from the hand-off to Burke and shooting through the lane for a wide open dunk. 
  • Horford--Still just kind of a guy. He did attempt one little baby hook in the first half and it was all backboard and wide right like a Seminole field goal. It wasn't pretty but at least he has the green light to try these sorts of things; eventually he'll start making them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Sun Also Rises

Michigan 40, Ohio 34

The ball came and he went up for it like a whirling gyre amidst the chaos. He came down with it, assessed the situation, and said "I will go there." And he did. The sun shone as he reached that place once again, that place he once knew but had for a time forgotten, like a soldier in a faraway land holding a grainy picture of a girl or a dilapidated home that maintained only a tenuous mental existence, like a dream instantly forgotten upon awaking. He crossed the line and remembered it all. The obstacles around him twisted and stumbled and fell as he came through, unable to reconcile the reality with their worldviews that it disrupted the laws of physics as they knew it for a brief moment. Everything collapsed around him but each step forward ushered in a new civilization, a new idea, a new hope. Each step to that end was a tacit affirmation of everything that was good but hadn't been for so long. 

It was the first salvo of many in the second half, but Michigan never trailed again after that point. It was a tacit understanding that this was the end; this wasn't last time, or the other time or the other time. It was a time unto itself, flourishing in the culture of its newness. 

When the last pass fell into the arms of Courtney Avery like he was welcoming someone's long-awaited return, he sat on the sidelines and smiled. The sun seemed to have risen, like the rows upon rows of Michigan Stadium before a third down play. It was strong but not malevolent. It shone pure lucidity, a clarity that made all actions obvious so that the intermediaries of thought to action were obviated by the circumstances. Run to the student section. And they went. He jumped up for the last time and the world was upon him. Hands and faces and shouts: happiness. He held onto the moment because it would be the last time.

The streak is over but on this particular day the streak doesn't mean a thing. It was about Michigan and Michigan alone. It was their day in the sun, and they took it. When the adrenaline had subsided, the fans had left the stadium, and helmets were off and held in hand, only one thought remained, only one could rightly be had: Michigan had won. It was ironclad. 

They sang The Victors. The noise that rang out bellowed, each syllable pounded into the air like a fist. It could be heard from far away. I think I hear it now. Eyes all searched for something to say we won to, and the air was charged with something that carried the scent of momentum, a latent buildup of something. Plans were laid and a bridge was built. All that's left to do is marvel. The room buzzed and they marveled. 

The Offense

Like RVB said in the post-game presser, this probably wasn't Denard's "best" game if numbers alone are the determining factor, especially with the 2010 ND game in the not too distant past. With that said, as far as virtuoso quarterback performances go, this game reminded me of Chad Henne's Rose Bowl against Texas, Tom Brady against Alabama, Henne against the Gators, &c. For the first time this year, Denard looked like a complete quarterback, like a guy who truly could beat you with his arm the minute you thought it was okay to cheat on the run. That's not to say that past iterations of Denard weren't great, but I think this might be my favorite Denard performance of all time, and yes, that includes last year's ND game. 

His throws had zip and were on target, and although he didn't have as prolific a day as the aforementioned guys with respect to pure yardage, it was as efficient a day as you could have wanted. Denard was 14/17 for 167 yards and 3 TDs through the air, and he of course added 170 yards and 2 TDs on the ground just for fun. You could say that this was an example of a Denard-Borges offense at the height of its powers, except, you know, we get one more year of this. This was just a preview. 

At this point, any complaints about Borges are so minor as to be downright irrelevant if not absurd. Sure, you have to take into account subpar performances against MSU and Iowa, but if you survey the season on a macroscopic level it is astoundingly clear that this offense is much more dangerous than it was back in September, when the offense consisted of jump balls and a run offense that was 2010-esque in its inability to find production from anybody not named Denard Robinson. Denard's command of the offense and Borges's command of the circumstances have improved by leaps and bounds; there's a lot to be excited about for next year, not to mention the fact that the fires of an offseason QB "controversy" have been effectively extinguished. 

The numbers themselves don't even do the performance justice. The types of throws Denard made on Saturday were good throws for any quarterback, and plays that evinced the types of attributes that a good quarterback would have, let alone a spread quarterback trying to do something new. The touch pass to Koger up the middle, the 28-yarder to Dileo, the Hemingway touchdown, the patience on the Odoms touchdown: these are the manifestations of Denard's progression as a passer. I don't want to hear the word "regression" anymore. Life isn't a series of unflinching black and white. Bad and good things happen but that doesn't necessarily indicate a trend or even a trend that is doomed to stick if it's a bad one. 

Oh, and he was sort of alright running the ball too. Rich Rodriguez must've been watching those veer plays thinking "Really? COME ON." It was downright scary how reminiscent of White & Slaton some of those plays looked, but I guess the sledding gets much less tough when you have a talented back like Toussaint to pair up with Denard. On Twitter Brian noted that Denard needed to start keeping, and, as if on cue, he did just that. Perhaps most encouragingly--more than the actual output itself---is that he ran like 2010 Denard again. He looked as fast as he always was after leaving me wondering at various points this year if he had lost a half step. He was aggressive and his movements were purposeful: read and GO, and maybe embarrass some people in the process:

If Etienne Sabino is a Beatles fan, "Hello Goodbye" was probably playing in his head at that very moment in time. There are many more runs like that one. The fumble and the almost lost fumble were the only real blemishes on an otherwise tremendous day on the ground and through the air.

Elsewhere, Toussaint did what he does. Another year of Toussaint and Denard plus a group of solid wideouts (and a legitimate deep threat in Stonum) and an OL that returns more than enough folks should provide for a fun 2012 season on offense.

How perfect was it that seniors like Odoms, Hemingway, and Koger all scored touchdowns in their final games in the Big House? It was a perfect end to a trio of careers that had their fair share of setbacks, frustrations, and moments of doubt. It's hard to play favorites with any of these guys, but Steve Breaston: RBUAS::Odoms: me. I'm sad to see him go and it's hard to believe that this was his last game in the Big House. Listening to this past week's MGoPodcast's discussion about Odoms re: the weather during the '08 Northwestern game gave me laugh and then got me to thinking how quickly time can pass without your approval. I'm not sure what lies ahead for Odoms et al, but if this season is any indication then I'm sure it will only be the best of things.

And if you needed one more thing to smile about, I give you Denard, post-game: "I'm glad I stayed."

The Defense

Thomas Gordon breaks it down as others do things

Well, that didn't quite go as expected. The Buckeyes put up a number of big plays and 34 points on a Michigan defense that had risen meteorically from last year's level of unadulterated futility. The secondary breakdown on the long TD last week against Nebraska was an indicator that despite the improvement, this defense wasn't exactly immune to giving up the big play, but nobody thought that a Bollman offense could have come into Ann Arbor and performed like that. Yes, Michigan escaped with the win and that is definitively all that matters. Michigan's defensive renaissance isn't to be casually dismissed on the heels of one bad game, but it is a subtle (okay, not so subtle) reminder that scheme and coaching go a long way, but talent and experience need to be there as well. Michigan has the former set in spades, but the latter (i.e. talent, experience, and depth) still needs some work to say the least. 

With that said, credit is due to Ohio State, namely Braxton Miller, for coming into The Game with an aggressive gameplan as opposed to prior games where there was seemingly no gameplan at all. It was hard not to watch and have visions of 2004 Troy Smith run through your head but we got the win so those will be set aside until next year. I had a feeling that OSU would definitely do better than they had throughout the season because it's The Game fergosakes, but still...I don't think anybody expected to give up that many points or big plays. 

It seemed to me that, even late, Mattison wasn't really respecting Miller's ability to go downfield and it almost burned us there. Countess got his lunch taken a few times, and so did Floyd on the Miller overthrow in the last drive. The later was a little discouraging given the situation in the game as well as the fact that Floyd has defended moves like that before, particularly against AJ Jenkins of Illinois. 

The numbers are actually not that bad. Michigan gave up 372 total yards (with my mind still sort of expecting RR era results, less then 400 yards=GOLD JERRY GOLD), and the Buckeyes racked up only 137 rushing yards on 31 carries, good for 4.4 ypc. That's not terrible. Michigan held Dan Herron to 43 yards on 15 carries, and he is pretty good even if OSU's 2011 OL hasn't been the best in recent memory. Of course, where Michigan got beat was when Braxton Miller decided to turn into a jazz musician in cleats and improvise all over the place. There's a reason he was a highly-touted recruit; the guy can play. He's not there yet, but given Michigan's lack of defensive speed and relative inexperience in spots, it's not hard to see why Miller had the game that he did, even if other lesser teams held him in check. Did I expect it? No, but I'm not exactly surprised. In any case, despite the points, Michigan notched 7 TFLs, including 4 sacks. Even when Michigan is getting 34 dropped on them, they're still doing some good things. That, and Demens and Morgan lead the team in tackles with 10 and 8 respectively. That's what you want. 

It will be interesting to see how Michigan responds in the bowl game, particularly if they face a team like Houston that will throw and throw and throw some more. Despite the defensive turnaround by the numbers, I would caution people to not get too excited just yet. I know, thanks Cornelious Buzzkillington...but it's true. Giving up plays of 36, 43, and 54 yards does not bode well if we are to face a team like Houston, unless we can get pressure with the front four (and I think it's a reasonable assumption to say that we will). I won't lie and say that the defensive performance wasn't a little disappointing, but (WE) BEAT OHIO. Michigan will spend the next month or so getting some invaluable coaching; guys like Morgan, Ryan, and Countess will basically have a second fall camp to get ALL THE MATTISON COACHING. 

Special Teams



Gibbons has quietly put together a fine season (10/14 on the year and 48/48 on extra points), and has become, dare I say it, "reliable." That 43-yarder was about as clutch as you can get without being a straight up "if you don't make this we lose" situation. Hagerup had his derp moment (I'd put it here but you've all seen it already). I like that Hoke always dismisses these occurrences as a product of "probability." It's: a) true and b) serves to not completely destroy a kid's confidence. I like it.

Otherwise, Hagerup did well with his other 2 punts, returns were average as usual, and OSU's returns teams were generally a non-factor save for one 31-yard kick return from Jordan Hall. 2011 special teams, I love you so much.

Miscellaneous Minutiae 

  • Make no mistake about it, OSU will be back. That team has talent--quite frankly, the talent gap is still pretty wide--and all it will take is some coaching. OSU will have the offensive side covered; if Urban can make a good DC hire then the Buckeyes will likely get back to being pretty good on defense again. Injuries didn't help and some guys (Travis Howard) turned out to be nowhere near as good as anybody expected, but they will be fine next year. 
  • Michigan went undefeated at home for the first time since 2006. Clearly Pop Evil is having some sort of adverse effects on our opponents as well. 
  • I wonder how many wins in a row it will take for OSU fans to stop talking about the 7-game streak? It seems like talk of Michigan's ownage of PSU pretty much came to an end last year. I'd say two more and we're good.
  • Brady Hoke unleashed his inner 7 year old by utilizing the word "funner" post-game. Brady, if you keep winning you can continue to pepper your coachspeak with non-words as much as you please. 
  • Martavious Odoms doubled his previous career TD output throughout the last three games, scoring one in each game. PAHOKEE UBER ALLES. 
  • Notes, always full of interesting trivia that you may or may not want to know. Did you know that Brady Hoke is the fifth Big Ten coach ever to win 10+ in his first season? Well, now you do. 
  • Michigan is now 58-44-6 against Ohio. I bid you adieu, 57.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Weekly Who Are You?: November 28 - December 3

Now that the College Football season is coming to a close, I'm going to start spending some more time on Basketball and Hockey. Rather than doing a single Who Are You and Why Do We Care post for each game, I will do a rundown of the week in Basketball and Hockey.

November 29th: Michigan Basketball at Virginia Cavaliers
So far this season, the Cavaliers are 5-1 with wins over South Carolina State, Winthrop, Drexler, Drake, and Green Bay and a loss to TCU. Michigan will be their fist real test. The Virginia Cavaliers basketball team is coached by Tony Bennett (Not That Tony Bennett). Bennett was previously the head coach of the Washington State Cougars. The Cavaliers' official colors are Orange and Navy Blue, and they have three jerseys: home, away, and alternate. They have a mascot named Cavman, who also has a real life form. The game will be played at John Paul Jones Arena, which opened in 2006, and holds 14,593 people. They run an eight-man rotation, and have had the same starting five for every game so far. In their history they have five conference regular season championships and one conference tournament championship. Although the "Hoo Crew" will be decently loud, the Cavaliers are not a very good team, and Michigan should win this game for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

December 3rd: Michigan Basketball vs. Iowa Cyclones
The Cyclones are 5-1 with victories over Lehigh, Western Carolina, Northern Colorado, Providence, and Rice and a loss against Drake. The Cyclones coach is Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg played four seasons at Iowa State, and lead Iowa State to a 16-16 record last season in his first year as a head coach. Iowa State plays their home games at the Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones official colors are Cardinal and Gold. They have a cardinal jersey for away games and a white jersey for games at home. Their mascot is Cy the Cardinal. In their history, they have six conference regular season championships and four conference tournament championships. Maybe I'm just getting spoiled, but after losing to Drake, this looks like another guaranteed Michigan victory.

December 2nd and 3rd: Michigan Hockey vs. Alaska Nanooks
The University of Alaska-Fairbanks started playing hockey in 1925. In 1992, the Nanooks joined the CCHA, and have remained a member since. Their head coach is Dallas Ferguson, who has lead the Nanooks to a 51-45-20 record over the past four seasons. This year, Fairbanks is 5-4-1 and had not won a game on the road until this weekend when they blanked Bowling Green in back-to-back nights.The Nanooks play their home games at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Their official colors are Blue and Gold, and they have three uniform sets. The Nanook mascot is a polar bear called the Honeybear. The bear is used in many ways including their pump up video: 

(This may be the best video ever created)
As I mentioned, Alaska is not a very good team (although Michigan isn't either), and Michigan should sweep the weekend. 

Weekly Win Prediction: Michigan 4 - Opponents 0

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Breath After Coma

I was fourteen years old in 2003. I was a freshman in high school in Huntsville, AL, in the heart of SEC territory after recently been moved from the suburbs of Chicago. It was a foreign land, a strange land, where my raiment stuck out like a southern drawl in the heart of New York City; absurdly, a forced Latin phrase in an otherwise ordinary sentence. I remember talking to a friend about college football on my first day of school, and he was adamant that this was Auburn’s year. Auburn had gone 9-4 the season before with a bowl victory against Penn State. I had no idea what Auburn was, though, truly. I remember thinking, like Michael Bluth: Auburn? Her? Auburn stumbled to an 8-5 record that year before going undefeated in 2004. Michigan won back-to-back conference titles in those two first years in that new land, and I didn’t realize that that was to be the end of everything that was good. I couldn’t have known.

Michigan had always been good, and at the very least they had always been decidedly Michigan. When they lost, they lost in September, then once but usually twice to generally overmatched Big Ten foes. The offenses were plodding even when Michigan was at the top of the college football world, and the defenses were stout so long as the opposing quarterback didn’t have blocks of granite for legs. If anything, Michigan was consistent. It was always frustrating but it was always the same and so you could never be truly surprised when Michigan lost on the road out west or lost in South Bend or lost to some Big Ten foe that had no business being on the same field. Jim Tressel showed up and everything changed; consistency no longer meant what it once did.

In 2001, Michigan fielded an okay squad that included a wholly unready John Navarre and lost at home to a decidedly mediocre Buckeye squad. In 2002, Michigan gave the eventual national champions a tight game before eventually bowing out in the final minutes. In 2003 we got redemption, and in 2004 we had a chance to continue that on the backs of an incredible freshman seasons from Chad Henne and Mike Hart. It didn’t happen but the future was bright. Then 2005 slipped away. Then Bo died, and Michigan was on the losing end of the Game of the Century. Then I was a freshman at Michigan, and I watched those aforementioned freshmen—now seniors---end their final years with a whimper, as Ohio State and Beanie Wells ground the Wolverines into dust en route to a victory that was never really close despite its appearances. I traveled to Columbus for the first time the next year to watch Michigan intercept Terrelle Pryor on their first drive, then proceed to implode, go ceaselessly backward, and miss a field goal. Despite the close first half, I knew it was over right then and there. Tate Forcier came onto the scene and Michigan hoped to secure a bowl bid after missing out after the disastrous 2008 campaign. It was the height of masochism; 60 minutes and five turnovers later and Michigan had lost again. It was 2007 all over again. Then last year happened. Rich Rodriguez was a lame duck, Denard got hurt and Michigan floundered like a ship without a rudder, not that a rudder would have assured safe passage through the house of horror that was Ohio Stadium.

Now we are here. I’ve reached the point where I can type the last paragraph and look at it and say that’s what happened. I am at peace as much as any man can be at peace. And yet, it has been like life as a dog with an abusive owner, cowering in fear upon his arrival, a conditioned response to a physical actuality. Michigan has been beaten and beaten and beaten, and it is not so much okay as it is a statement of reality. I see Scarlet and Gray clad people in New York, in Alabama, in the airport in Detroit, and I can do nothing but extricate myself from the circumstances, to physically move myself as if a computerized thumb and forefinger picked me up from the sky and dropped me somewhere else, anywhere else. It’s conditioned and pathetic and wanting of something.

Michigan is 9-2 and Ohio State has been gutted of everything it once held so dearly. Its beloved coach, its star quarterback, its patina of Midwestern invincibility have all been extirpated, and yet their premises still exist, as much as seven wins in a row can be categorized as mere premises and not unadulterated salting of the earth. Ohio State now has their own lame duck, and in a week full of unequivocal hate, spleen, and obdurate dismissal of the other’s raison d’etre, I find myself sort of feeling some sort of distant cousin of empathy for Luke Fickell, who just wants to coach a game, and not just a game but The Game. Then I remember why I shouldn’t feel so kind; the body of history is enough. It sits there like a reminder, an old man whistling, rocking away on his front porch laughing at you as you drag back into town, saying "I knew you’d fall back into these small town parts again." I knew you’d fail because that’s who you are and what you do. He laughs and laughs.


I’ve been told many times, back when I still played sports competitively, that you have to imagine what winning is like before you actually go out and make it happen. It seems quixotic, detached from reality, and maybe that itself is a cynical thing to say. Then again, if you are no longer cynical then you are a better person than I.

I imagined what it would be like in 2004, and 2005, and then in 2006 when it seemed like the world was precariously balanced on the shoulder of Chad Henne and the brunt force of each hit from LaMarr Woodley, Alan Branch, and David Harris would be enough to shake the world into a dimension where Michigan won and every Ohio State week thereafter wouldn’t exclusively remind me of the fact that Bo had died and I remembered where I was when I heard it and how I felt and the deep-seated uneasiness that no matter what happened things would be off in that way that you wake up on certain days and know that it won’t be your day. No faculties of imagination could have done a thing that day. Of course, it is absurd to say that my imagination of victory has any bearing on the outcome, but if my imagination hold a certain weight of verisimilitude than one can only imagine what things would be floating around the player’s head. Each imagined outcome, it’s path to an end—an interception, a fumble pounced upon as if it was not a tangible thing but an embodiment of Fate, the looks on the faces of the enemy when they sensed the exact moment that the battle had been lost and retreat was an inevitability—bouncing gloriously and unseen, an opportunity caged and waited to be executed with passion and aggression and faith in the rightness of their doing. I imagined in 2007 too, and 2008 and 2009 and even 2010; wouldn’t it be great if we were the spoiler, the one to ruin another’s machinations? It wasn’t to be.

If 2011 has taught me anything, it’s that no dream is too far away, no imagined happening too far-fetched as long as you can dream it and mold it into an actionable concept. Who could have thought that the defense would turn into what it has seemingly overnight, as if Greg Mattison came on and fashioned an organized, quality unit out of thin air, a Mack truck of a defense from the dilapidated spare parts of a Prius. Who could’ve thought that Brady Hoke could have convinced so many to come to Michigan in spite of the pall of malaise seeping into every crevice and previously unoccupied corner of Ann Arbor like a malignant fog. Who would’ve thought that freshmen, walk-ons, and receivers that haven’t grown since before they were allowed to drive could come together and say to the world: this is what we are and that is more than enough.

Who would’ve thought? It came from somewhere.

Denard Robinson steps up and throws. He does not throw off of his back foot and the throw leaps powerfully from his arm, spiraling through the air as if it wishes to tunnel into the very heart of the last seven years and vanquish it.

Junior Hemingway remembers being hurt, remembers that this is the last time. He straps his gloves on and looks at his legs and understands that he will soar higher than anyone else on the field, that this, even if this isn’t true he will make it true on this day.

Martavious Odoms will remember that he is small, forget it, and play like he is the biggest player on the field out of spite. He will block without concern, without lamentations of time lost and an uncertain future and he will proceed like a British fellow building a bridge in a strange place, illogically and so in line with convention that it is extraordinary in its execution.

Mike Martin will remember what it was like to be a freshman. He will remember how he thought he was strong once; that, then, was nothing.

Darryl Stonum will watch, pining for redemption, needing it, helplessly but undeniably with a purpose. His time will come again.

David Molk will grimace with disdain and secretly, somewhere within him where things like joy resides in some underdeveloped shanty town, smile at the concept of a job well done, of a purpose and an action and an end and the trickle down effect of all these things. He will move like a chess piece; deliberately and calmly, with a quickness and precision that gives the opponent but a split second before realizing: oh.

Ryan Van Bergen will wonder where they all were until he realizes that they were always there, all around him. The people that mattered.

Brady Hoke will nod, stoic in his understanding. He doesn’t know more than you, he just knows the right things. Worry is obviated by the historical body of necessity. This is how things were meant to be, and so shall they be.

Defeat upon defeat accrues and congeals into a ghastly knowledge of a stark reality, a bitter medicine resting upon the tongue and in the throat waiting to be swallowed--a simple truth. It is the kind that sits within like a cancerous lump that can either be left or excised...your choice.

 It’s time to start anew. I’ll watch. It will be like breathing for the first time. I’ll wake up from it all and know that I was sleeping. I’ll look around and everything will be brand new.

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: THE Ohio State Buckeyes


Is there a rivalry here?
Its only the greatest rivalry in sports. When these two colleges face off it is called "The Game," and it has been the regular season finale all but three times since 1935. Michigan and OSU have met 107 times. Michigan leads to series 57-44-6. The Big Ten Championship has been decided by The Game 22 times. 

The numbers do not say the whole story in this rivalry. Michigan and Ohio are natural rivals akin to cats and dogs. Starting in 1934, any time Ohio State beats Michigan every OSU player receives a gold pants pendant. In 1950, Ohio State had the option to cancel the game against Michigan due to weather, but they refused. Even though Michigan didn't complete a pass or a first down, they blocked two punts (one for a touchdown and one for a safety), and Michigan won the Snow Bowl 9-3. The "Snow Bowl" lead to Woody Hayes being hired as Ohio State's head coach. In 1968, Ohio State was winning 50-14 late in the fourth quarter, and they decided to go for a two-point conversion. Woody Hayes supposedly said that he went for two points "Because [he] couldn't go for three."Bump Elliott resigned after the game, and Bo Schembechler was hired. Riding a 22 game winning streak, Ohio State came into Ann Arbor to play against Bo's first Michigan team. The Wolverines won 24-12. During this decade, Woody Hayes coined phrases such as "That team up north" so he would not have to say Michigan. Once Hayes retired, the rivalry became less about the coaches feud, and more about play on the field. Both teams have had long win streaks back and forth including the current seven* game win streak for OSU. 

When did we see them last?
The 2010 game is a difficult one even to think about, so I'll keep this short. Terrelle Pryor threw for 220 yards, ran for 49, and scored 2 touchdowns. Dan Herron ran for 175 yards on 22 carries for a touchdown. On the Michigan side, both Denard and Tate struggled to throw the ball as they combined to throw 16/33 for 169 yards and an interception. Denard did reach 105 yards on the ground, but it was not nearly enough. Ohio State won 37-3. 

When did we last win?
To find the last Michigan win, we have to go all the way back to 2003, John Navarre's senior year. In the 100th game between Michigan and Ohio State, Navarre, Chris Perry, and Braylon Edwards lead Michigan to a 35-21 victory. Navarre threw for 278 yards and 2 touchdown. Braylon was on the receiving end of both touchdowns and 130 of those yards. Chris Perry had quite a game on the ground, running 31 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Breaston also scored a rushing touchdown as he took the snap with Navarre lined up at wide receiver. Craig Krenzel and Scott McMullen had good days throwing to Michael Jenkins and Santonio Holmes, but after going down 21-0 in the first half, OSU was in a hole to big to crawl out of. 

What do they look like?
When I typed "Ohio State Uniforms" into Google, I saw this: 
Of the twenty pictures on that page, only four show Ohio State's "classic" uniforms. Ohio State's colors are Scarlet and Grey.  Their home uniform is scarlet with grey pants and their away uniform is white with grey pants. Their helmet is grey with a red stripe. A very boring helmet early in the year, but slightly more exciting at the end. That is unless Nike decided to mess with their uniforms that week. The last two times Michigan has faced OSU, we have seen some variations with Nike's Pro Combat Uniforms. Last year, they wore this at home, and the year before they wore this in the Big House. Luckily, this year, Nike decided to have Ohio State wear their new atrocities against Wisconsin

Have they won any Big Ten or National Championships?
Ohio State has seven recognized National Championships. Five of the championships came between 1954 and 1970 under Woody Hayes. They won most recently in 2002 under Jim Tressel in a controversial victory over Miami (YTM). They also have won 34 Big Ten Championships, including all of the last six years (Although last year's was vacated). 

Have they had good coaches? Do they have a good coach now? How close are we to having to play Urban Meyer once a year?
Since I discussed Hayes earlier, I'll focus on the 2000s here. Jim Tressel was hired as head coach by Ohio State in 2001. Previously he worked at Miami (NTM), Syracuse, and Ohio State as an offensive position coach. From 1986-2000 he was the head coach at Youngstown State. As coach for the Youngstown State Penguins, Tressel had a 135-57-2 record. He was then hired by Ohio State after John Cooper was fired. At Ohio State he went 94-22 including six conference championships and one National Championship. Amongst violations (which I will not be getting into now) Tressel resigned as head coach on May 30, 2011. Ohio State needed a new coach quickly, so they hired Co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Luke Fickell. Fickell is almost definitely not Ohio State's Coach of the future. According to ESPN, Urban Meyer will be the head coach of Ohio State last year. There are even claims of a 7-year $40 Million contract. I wouldn't be surprised if this is true and Urban is just tempering the claims until after the game. 

Where do they play?
The Buckeyes play at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. It has a capacity of 102,329, which makes it the fourth largest football stadium in the country. The Horseshoe was built in 1921, and it hosted its first game on October 7, 1922. 

Do they really have the "Best Damn Band in the Land"?
The Ohio State Marching Band was created in 1878 as a way to provide music for army cadets in military training. The OSU Marching Band is the only all brass and percussion marching band in the country. The band's largest tradition is the Script Ohio, which was actually first performed by Michigan in 1932. A fourth or fifth year sousaphone player gets the privilege of dotting the i, then bowing

Do they have a goofy mascot?
People from the state of Ohio are called Buckeyes. This is related to the Ohio State tree, the Buckeye. Brutus the Buckeye first appeared in 1965 as a papier-mache chocolate constructed by students. Its gotten slightly upgraded over the years, and is now in its most human form. Videos of Brutus: 
  • Getting Beat Up by Rufus the Bobcat: 
  • Not Handling Richard Simmons Workout Routine: 

For the first time since 2006, Michigan has a real chance to win this game, and end the seven year losing streak. Braxton Miller seems to hate having a successful offense even more than Denard does. Miller has not thrown the ball more than 18 times in a game yet this season. Against Miami he went 2/4 for 22 yards and against Illinois he went 1/4 for 17 (This was OSUs only complete pass of a game that they WON!!!). Ohio State does have a very good defense, and they did beat Wisconsin, yet I cannot imagine a loss in this game for Michigan. Prediction based on everything but football: Michigan 24 - Ohio State 10. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Rude Welcoming

I'm a little bit late with the recap this week due to being in Ann Arbor/traveling for Thanksgiving (I know you've all been waiting with bated breath). So, here it is. Due to the nature of this week, I'm going to just go with bullets for this one. The threshold has been crossed; no longer should surprise or amazement be our most abundant response to anything that happens. We are good, and at minimum much better than we'd thought we'd be. What a concept.

  • In MGoPodcast style, I'll start with the complaints, of which there are very few. First...student section. Why are you all so terrible? I spent my four years complaining to everyone that our student section was pretty lackluster in a number of ways, but I feel like this year they've* taken it to a whole new level. Saturday was the first time I've ever thought "Hey, maybe sitting with a down-in-fronter wouldn't be so bad." Yeah...that's how bad it was. It's almost as if Under The Lights happened and all the students assumed they had fulfilled their giving a crap quota for the season. The student section  had way too many empty seats around kickoff once again, for a big conference game that would net us our 9th win and assure our best regular season record since 2006. If I never see another brah waltz into the student section halfway through the second quarter only to complain that YOU'RE IN HIS SEATS BRAH COME AT ME AND MY BACKWARDS FITTED HAT THAT IS ASSUREDLY LIMITING THE BLOOD FLOW TO MY BRAIN...I'll be pretty happy. It's going to be strange not sitting in the student section starting next year, but I just can't deal with key-jingling morons anymore. I get that there's a pretty huge number of out-of-staters, international students, and other assorted folks that might not be hardcore fans, but guys are terrible, and I thought you were bad before (2007-2011...ah, memories). 
          In short, you're not a student section, YOU JUST SUCK.
  •   Other complaints, are, well...not existent? Well, the halftime show was weird, I guess. There's something to be said for trying new things but that was not really something that I would've wanted
    to see, but you know whatever. 
  • Denard Robinson not throwing off of his back foot? Check? Putting the 2-QB set on ice for the game, thus allowing him to get in a rhythm? Check. Denard realizing that scrambling is a thing that he is allowed to do? Check. He has obviously had more prolific performances in the past but this game was one of my favorite performances of his just because of the fact that it represents a step toward the type of quarterback we know he can be. A day of 11/18 passing for 180 yards, 83 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns, and only 1 turnover...I can get behind that and so should everyone else. 
  • Bo Jackson said that he felt like Cam Newton dropped down on Auburn from outer space...while the same can't exactly be said for Fitz Toussaint, his emergence on the field has been equally critical,especially vis a vis Denard's progression as a quarterback. He has now put up three superb games out of the last four, and with only Molk and Huyge departing after this season, the prospects for the running game are bright for 2012.
  • Brady Hoke is secretly Les Miles without the absurdist flair. Don't fool yourself, the man is diabolical. That fake field goal was unbelievably perfect in its execution and timing. Let's hope this continues to be SOP.
  • Odoms! I'm going to miss his play on the field. He's now scored in back to back weeks, and a touchdown against the Buckeyes would go a long way toward a fulfilling end to a great career. After that long touchdown I immediately thought back to the game-winning touchdown against Indiana in 2009 and smiled. 
  • So apparently Mattison's slightly disturbing manboob jiggle is an exhortation to burninate whatever lays before the defense because that was amazing. Okay, Floyd got beat once deep. It was the first one all year and it happens. The second touchdown was on a very short field after Michigan went three and out starting from their own four yard line. Even Nebraska's field goal come on the heels of a Denard interception that led to the Huskers starting from the Michigan 34. After that they: 1) lost five on first down 2) incomplete pass on second 3) 6-yard pass on 3rd and 15. Otherwise, Michigan's defense throttled the Huskers when they weren't asked to defend a short field. This "happiness" feeling re: the defense is foreign but I like it. 
  • Michigan's 2011 Takeaway Tour continues, with Jake Ryan, Terrence Robinson, and Cam Gordon all forcing fumbles. All were legitimate forced fumbles and not the cheap kind, only further underscoring the newfound commitment to special teams and tackling in general. A hat on the ball equals fumble a good amount of the time; Michigan's 2011 special teams is a testament to that fact. Michigan will need to continue that and kick/punt returners will have to keep holding onto the ball in order to prevent the Buckeyes from having a chance at some cheap short field points. 
  • Another defensive note: Michigan held the Huskers to 3/13 on third down. The takeaways are great, but this is one of the more underrated points of improvement in this team. Try to think of all the times Michigan could not stop somebody on third down in the last several years; all those drives that once continued all the way to the end zone are now ending with a pathetic whimper.
  • Gibbons? 
 Oh yeah. He was 1 for 2 on 42-yarders, which I will take any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I'm still conditioned to cross my fingers every time we attempt a field goal, but Gibbons has quietly had a very nice season. He's not Robbie Gould or anything, but as long as he can continue to hit most things inside 40 and do okay with the 40-45 range then we could consider him our most dependable kicker since Rivas...which, isn't saying much but dependable is dependable.
  • Time of possession: Michigan 41:13, Nebraska 18:39. Okay, TOP doesn't mean anything in and of itself, and it's more a product of defensive and offensive efficiency than a directly causative relationship. In the five-course meal that is GOOD FOOTBAW, dominating TOP is a side like mac and cheese or mashed potatoes compared the entrees of takeaways, third down percentages, and rushing yards. Sides don't make a meal but they can certainly detract from it if they're not very good at all. Given Kovacs's comments on the subject after the game, it's obvious that the defense has in part improved because of the change in tempo, although how significant the effect has been is somewhat nebulous and unquantifiable.
Speaking of food...Maize and Blue victory sandwich
  •   Nebraska fans seemed pretty cool. I didn't really actively interact with any of them but I didn't notice a single negative interaction between them and other Michigan fans all day. Their fans traveled well as expected, and while this will likely never become a bigger game than the triumvirate of evil that is aOSU, ND, and MSU, it will be a game to look forward to each and every year. Welcome to the Big Ten.
  • Here are some more random stats if you need more random pieces of delightful information to make you feel happy. 
  • I could say more, but frankly there's only one thing that matters right now...enough Nebraska talk. Beat Ohio.You may continue your regularly scheduled HATE WEEK programs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: Nebraska Cornhuskers

(Aww, a bicycle built for two)

Okay, where did the name Cornhusker come from?
The University of Nebraska was chartered in 1869. They started playing football in 1890. They tried out many team names before settling on the Cornhuskers: Bugeaters, Tree Planters, Nebraskans, The Rattlesnake Boys, Antelopes, and Old Gold Knights. The University of Iowa was referred to as the Cornhuskers at the time, and Cy Sherman - a Lincoln sportswriter - liked the name and started calling Nebraska the same thing. Iowa chose Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers became the permanent name.

Yeesh, they've been in a lot of conferences haven't they?
From 1892 to 1897, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri were in the Western Interstate University Football Association (gee I wonder why that name didn't stick). Then those schools joined with Washington St. Louis to create the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907. In 1908, Drake and Iowa State joined, followed by Kansas State, Grinnell (WHO?!) Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado. The name changed to the Big Eight. In 1996, the state of Texas merged with the Big Eight to create the Big 12. Finally this past year, Nebraska decided they didn't want to be controlled by Texas, and became the twelfth member of the Big 10.

Have we ever played them? Did we win?
Michigan and Nebraska have faced off 6 times. Michigan holds the slight edge with a 3-2-1 record. The most recent game was in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. In a game where Chad Henne came to play, much of the rest of the team did not. Henne threw for three touchdown, one to each of Tyler Ecker, Mike Massey, and Mario Manningham, and ran for one himself. The rushing touchdown would put Michigan up 28-17 with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter. Zac Taylor and Cody Ross put together an impressive fourth quarter, and Nebraska scored two TDs including a 2-point conversion to put the Cornhuskers up 32-28. Michigan had one more chance with no time left, and put together a rather impressive hook and lateral.

What do they look like?
Well, Wisconsin. They look a lot like Wisconsin. If there is something you can give the Cornhuskers credit for, it is sticking to tradition. They have looked the same forever (throwbacks modeled by "The Dirtiest Player in the NFL" Ndamukong Suh). Oh yeah, their official colors are Scarlet and Cream.

Well its impossible for them to have won a Big Ten Championship so far, but have they won other conference championships or National Championships?
Nebraska has five National Championship seasons. The first two were back to back in 1970 and 1971 under coach Tom Devaney. The next three were in 1994, 1995, and 1997 under Tom Osborne. If that 1997 number either confuses you or makes you angry, there is a reason. Michigan and Nebraska both went undefeated. Since there was no BCS at the time, and the Big Ten was tied to the Rose Bowl, Michigan did not get an opportunity to play Nebraska to see who the real champion would be. The only thing we can look at is similar opponents. Both teams played Colorado and Baylor. While Nebraska beat Colorado 27-24 and Baylor 49-21, Michigan won 27-3 and 38-3.

Do they have a good coach?
Their current coach is Bo Pelini, and I could not find a picture of him where he was a combination of aware of the camera and happy (Maayybe this one). Although he is a ridiculous picture taker, he is actually a pretty good coach. He played Free Safety at Ohio State (So we should hate him) from 1987-1990. He was a starter for his last two seasons, and was a Captain for his senior year. Pelini went on to coach pretty much everywhere, with short stints at Iowa and Cardinal Mooney High School before jumping to the NFL to coach Defensive Backs and Linebackers for the 49ers, Patriots, and Packers. In 2003, he became the Nebraska Defensive Coordinator, and the next year jumped to Oklahoma, where he was Co-DC. Then he was hired by Les Miles to be the Defensive Coordinator at LSU, where they beat Ohio State in the National Championship (So we should hate him less?). After that game, Tom Osborne (who had just been named Interim Athletic Coordinator) hired Bo Pelini as Nebraska's new Head Coach. Since becoming the coach, Nebraska has gone 38-14 and won the North Division all three years he was in the Big 12.

Where do they play?
Nebraska plays at Memorial Stadium, not to be confused with Memorial Stadium or Memorial Stadium. Miscellaneous pictures of the stadium from a ton of angles. The stadium holds the current, ongoing, record for consecutive sell outs at 317. The 81,067 person capacity would make Memorial Stadium the third most populated city in the state of Nebraska.

Do they have a goofy mascot?
They have TWO goofy mascots!! Herbie Husker and Lil' Red. AND they have had more: Corn Cob and Mr. Cornhead (Super clever names). Herbie Husker first appeared on the cover of the 1974 Nebraska Media Guide, and he has had many different looks over the years. Lil' Red (the original Lil, I suppose Wayne, Kim, and Jon are posers) was created in 1993 after a state wide contest to create a new mascot. The body of the mascot is super light and the wearer needs to be strapped to a "powerbelt," which brings in outside air. I assume the powerbelt looks more like this than like this (Although 71% more calories?! AWESOME!!).  So since they have two mascots, they probably get to do awesome things like dance-offs right? Video? Yep...

Nebraska is an interesting team. They have beaten a bunch of mediocre teams (yes Penn State is still mediocre no matter what their record says) and Michigan State. They are 101st in Passing Yards and 13th in Rushing Yards. Taylor Martinez is soo much like Denard (with less dilithium) its eerie. He's a very middle of the road thrower and a very good runner. He often gets early Heisman Hype just like Denard too. The bottom line though is that our Running Quarterback is better. These teams in general are incredibly similar. They both lost a game they should have lost, and they both lost a game they shouldn't have. Its a battle of two top-25 ranked teams separated only by a few spots. These two offenses will both try to lose the game, and sadly Michigan's may do a better job. Prediction on everything other than football: Nebraska 24 - Michigan 21. 

Casus Belli

Michigan Vs. Washington State


*       *        *

UM vs. Nebraska

UM vs. Nebraska

UM vs. Nebraska

UM vs. Nebraska

UM vs. Nebraska

UM vs. Nebraska

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is A Tribute, 11/16/11

Hoke Exhorts You To Do Something: In addition to the card stunt that is going down this Saturday, Coach Hoke wants YOU to get to your seat fifteen minutes early for a tribute to Lloyd Carr.

So that's happening and it won't be slightly awkward for everyone that has read Three and Out. Nope, not at all.

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Regression is Progression: In actual football-related news, Hoke gives Denard the ol' vote of confidence:

"I think he’s gotten better every week, within the offense," Hoke said Tuesday during his weekly conference call with reporters. "I think the way he goes out every day, and his work ethic every day, his leadership and his real attention to detail, whether it be in the pro-game or carrying it, (helps him adjust)."

Wait, he's getting better? If following Michigan football the past several years has taught me anything, it's that every individual mistake or bad game is reason to sound the OMG REGRESSION alarms.  Coach Hoke, are you saying that there are certain things we can't necessarily see, and that the world isn't a black and white caricature of regression and progression? My God, this changes everything. I guess we can all breathe easy and stop presaging the fall of empires every time Denard throws an incomplete pass.

Opponents, They Watchin' Us: The straightforwardly named Corn Nation takes a look at the Wolverines. Most of it actually seems to be a pre-season preview, but I only mention it to include this part:

Throughout Rich Rodriguez's three year run at Michigan, we've repeatedly noted the similarities between Rodriguez and Bill Callahan's career at Nebraska. Granted, they were mirror images, taking teams in opposite directions philosophically, but the result was the same: square peg, round hole.


Job Huntin': Rich Rodriguez talks to Tim Brando about his job prospects. The only noteworthy parts--other than RR's declaration of still having the "hunger to coach"--are: a) Houston Nutt said something sort of intelligent and b) RR's legal issues with both WVU and Michigan are over and should not present a problem for future employers (per RR, at least).

To the first point, Nutt, the SEC's Zook, explained who I thought would be a good fit at a place like Ole Miss, mentioning Mike Leach in the process. Basically, Ole Miss needs somebody with a "different" (see: "spread") approach in order to mitigate the talent, facilities, and tradition gaps. Despite recruiting enough people per class to fill CHEM 1800, things haven't worked out for Coach Nutt, but that doesn't mean that nobody can do it. Nutt is just a bad coach; RR is not. However, as long as Miles and Saban are chilling in the SEC West (and even Petrino, I guess), it'll be hard for anybody to really be successful*.

He says we'll see what happens in the next three or four weeks, so whether or not that is an actual've got to think that things should start to move in the near future once certain guys get fired and ADs fire up the university jets.

*Dan Mullen says "Hey, remember me!"

Early Season Hoops: Michigan defeated Towson on Monday, 64-47 (UMHoops, as always, has it covered with a phenomenal recap). This means very little in the grand scheme of things. The fact that Michigan got outscored after a 21-0 run to start the game? Not really too worrisome given the protean nature of the lineups at this point, not to mention the fact that the team is still fairly young.

The only thing that really matter is that Michigan got the win, which teams like UCLA and Vandy can't say. I'm pretty sure nobody is going to remember Duke's one point win against Belmont come tourney time. That said, winning each and every one of these games is critical because you don't want to see a cupcake under the 'Bad Losses' line of the ESPN bubble team graphic. In any case, a few meaningless observations:

  • Horford looks pretty solid so far. The added weight is definitely a plus...where as he was sort of useless on the offensive end and was just sort of a tall noodly guy on the defensive end last year, he could be a contributor this year, especially if Morgan continues to suffer from the departure of his benefactor Darius Morris. 
  • Smotrycz also looks like a guy who will see the added weight pay off once the conference schedule begins. He caught a lot of flak from some people last year but I'm pretty excited to see him develop. 
  • Burke will be a good one. It's refreshing to see the outside shooting coming from that spot on the floor (one of Morris's few flaws as a player), but it's hard to gather much else given the limited serious pressure he got in this game against a severely overmatched opponent. Let's see how he does against an athletic Memphis team, Duke/Tennessee, and even UVA on the road in Charlottesville. 
  • 3-point shooting was pretty terrible, which should generally be pretty scary but especially for a Beilein-coached team. But, like I said, it's early in the season and everything will come in time. These games are basically practice, man. 
Michigan looks to go 3-0 on Thursday against Western Illinois (8:30 ET, ESPN3). I won't be coming in for the Nebraska game until the following morning so I won't be able to make it but, Ann Arborites: can we sort of try to fill up Crisler this year? This team is exciting and for the first time in a while we have a guy that can evaluate talent and get his players to confidently execute a system. I know these early season games aren't the most exciting but it's pretty sad to see Crisler look so empty outside of the Maize Rage. 

More? As much as I made fun of Zook...reporters, they are annoying. Lot's of guys that run the ball well in the Big House this Saturday...that's BIG TEN FOOTBAW right there. Butch Davis is like "hey guys that wasn't my fault." Urban Meyer's response to Arizona's job offer: HALOL

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HTR's Top 25: Week 12

Oklahoma State 
Boise State
Virginia Tech 
South Carolina
Michigan State
Kansas State
Penn State
Florida State
Southern Miss
Notre Dame

  • The Big Ten is almost over, guys. Two more regular season weeks of this before the conference hits the road during bowl season, hoping to infect their opponents with the derp virus just enough to maybe scrape together a 3-6 bowl record. It's important to set lofty goals in life, B1G. 
  • Please please please no rematch. Mike Gundy, just go ahead and win these last two games and make this easy for everybody. You're a man plus four years now so it shouldn't be too hard. 
  • Georgia gives one more beating to the boys from Auburn, who are ready to be done with the "SEC Revenge Tour" known as the 2011 season. Auburn is not very good but beating a rival like that is nothing to scoff at. UGA is definitely an order of magnitude or two below LSU/Bama in quality, but I will say it again: they definitely stand a chance. Assuming they beat Kentucky and GT, a 10-2 finish would be pretty amazing given the way that they started, getting embarrassed in their own back yard by a team from Boise, Idaho. 
  • If Marcus Coker is the Dollar Tree version of Beanie Wells then Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas is the Dollar Tree version of Cam Newton (there's a Cam joke in there somewhere). Good thing for the Hokies, he's only a sophomore. Virginia Tech looked good in Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, no small feat given the short week to prepare for that often frustrating to defend option attack. Like Georgia, the Hokies are currently riding the silent waves of non-recognition, a fact that comes with the territory of losing early in the season. 
  • Stanford confirmed my suspicion that they were severely overrated, thus ending a brief run in the national spotlight. Greater Palo Alto: you may go back to not caring about football instead of kind of pretending to care.