Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The 2012 Cowboys Classic: Roll Tide

Almost all prognosticators predicted Alabama would defeat Michigan Saturday night in Jerry Jones’ Cowboy Classic. Few felt Michigan should be ranked in the Top 10 at this point in the season. The point spread was up to 14 for Bama.
Alabama won by 27. The game wasn’t that close. The 90,413 in attendance watched the defending national champions pick up where they left off in defeating the previously undefeated LSU 21 – 0 for the national title last January. Alabama may have lost 7 defensive starters, but it successfully reloaded.
Alabama outgained Michigan 428-261 yards with Michigan rushing for only 68 rushing yards. That says it all.
The SEC proved, once again, it is a better football conference than the Big Ten.
General Eisenhower prepared a letter prior to D Day accepting the blame for the Allies failure in the Normandy Invasion. Obviously, he never had to send it.
By the same token, I prepared a blog before the match in case the football gods smiled on the Wolverines. Maybe, just maybe, Michigan could win. That blog will remain unpublished now.
I have waited 3 days after the Saturday Night Massacre to objectively write this blog.
Michigan is not back yet. It still needs a year or two to compete with the Alabama’s, LSU’s and USC’s of the college football world.
Brady Hoke, in his second season at Michigan, proved a miracle worker last year. Alabama showed Michigan ‘It’s not there yet.” No excuses or explanations are necessary. Henry Ford II once said after an auto accident in which he was accompanied by a woman who was not his wife “Don’t explain; don’t complain.”
Don’t blame injuries, stupid penalties, dropped passes, or some bad officiating calls for the loss. They didn’t decide the game.

Don’t look for scapegoats. Alabama was by far the better team which Michigan could not match up to.
Michigan was not physically ready to play Alabama. Coach Hoke said after the game “We didn’t play Michigan football, and … that is bothersome to me.”
Nick Saban was 6-6 in his first year at Alabama and emerged 12-2 in 2008, his second season. He was 14-0 in 2009 and 12-1 in 2009, winning the national title in both years. Nick needed three years to fully restore the Tide to its glory. Brady needs at least three years.
Michigan was known to be weak on both its defensive and offensive lines. Football is won at the line of scrimmage, which Alabama dominated.
Nick Saban had tremendous respect for Michigan from 1995 – 1999 when he coached Little Brother. This Alabama team had little respect for the Block M entering the game. They knew from film they would dominate the Wolverines.
Three questions arise from the game. First, will the young Wolverines recover to have a 8-4 or 9-3 season?
Second, can Michigan offset the injuries so far this year? The Wolverines are short on depth on the lines, wide receivers, and defensive backs. The young, super sophomore cornerback, Blake Countress, left the game early with a season ending ACL. Can the secondary be patched to offset his loss?  The Maize and Blue left the field black and blue, incredibly banged up.
Third is will Michigan react to the defensive strategy used successfully by Michigan State and now Alabama to stop Denard Robinson, the explosive quarterback? They jammed the ends and stuffed the middle.
On the other hand one wit suggested “The Victors” should be renamed “The Victims.”
Not at all! This is still Michigan.

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