Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shameless Self-Promotion Time

We're almost there, guys. A few things:

A couple other unrelated but useful links: 

--Bill C. finally makes it to Alabama in his offseason preview series. Read it. 

--Hinton on Michigan
Consider the bar raised. That's not the case with Michigan, the team I like least compared to its lofty rankings elsewhere, in large part because of the schedule: The Wolverines open up Saturday as double-digit underdogs to Alabama, which is only the first and most notable example of how this year's schedule figures to be much harsher on Michigan than last year's. The other obvious example is at the end of the schedule, against a dramatically improved Ohio State outfit in Columbus, which figures to look nothing like the beleaguered Buckeyes that came to Ann Arbor last November; in between, two of the Wolverines' toughest home wins in 2011, over Notre Dame and Nebraska, are both road games in 2012. For a team that may have played a little bit above its head last year to begin with, another 10-win regular season would be a feat.
Nothing too controversial here. I disagree with he notion that Michigan played "above its head", unless he means that Michigan was simply lucky, which they were against ND and VT. I agree with that, but I don't see any other instances of Michigan playing "above" their heads, especially since deciding where some's "head" is in this context is a subjective thing. Michigan smashed its way to 8 wins then made a trip to the luck store against ND and VT. Add in a close win against OSU and two rough losses and that just sounds like a team that significantly raised its baseline level of play and got lucky a couple of times.

Can they do it again? That is the question.

--Alabama released its depth chart yesterday. Nothing is too surprising there, although there are three things that ended up differing from what I wrote about Alabama's personnel in my preview posts:
  • Kelly Johnson, a walk-on, got the starting nod at the H-back position. I honestly didn't know who he was before this week. That could either be a good or a bad thing re: the quality of Alabama's H-back, but we'll see. 
  • DeAndrew White won a starting role at wideout. I figured that Kenny Bell would surely be a starter considering that he is Alabama's leading returning receiver, but I guess not. It's White, a a redshirt sophomore who made 2 starts last season, Kevin Norwood (who, if you'll remember, came up big in the national title game), and slot Christion Jones. In the end, though, the starter designation is not that important. Alabama will rotate these four players, and probably one or two others as well. 
  • Ed Stinson won the end spot opposite from Damion Square. Stinson was a former "Jack" LB, for what it's worth. He was in a battle with Quinton Dial, a JUCO guy, for the spot. Again, this is another "doesn't really matter" designation, as the indication is that both of these guys might as well be called starters. 

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