Friday, November 1, 2013

Michigan's Second Season Begins Tomorrow

Michigan is 6-1 in the first 7 games of the season. Five games are left in the regular season. The second half, technically 5/12th, of the season remains. The Wolverines could easily have been 7-0, but were singularly unimpressive in almost snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against basketball power UConn and the zipless Zips of Akron. The attempts to play smash mouth football failed as stubbornness possessed the offensive play calling. Drive after drive up the middle stuffed. 28 yards on 30 rushes by the running backs in an ugly 4OT loss to Penn State, after blowing a 10 point lead with ten minutes to go. It was ugly. I’ve seen Michigan pull out victories in games it should have lost, and lost games it should have won. I even was at the Appalachian State loss. Penn State was ugly. Penn State was not Michigan football. The offensive line couldn’t get the job done. It’s been too short to rebuild it after the Rodriquez years. The twice revamped OL now consists of two senior tackles, a true freshman, a redshirt freshman, and a walkon. That is not Michigan football. Michigan lacks a true wide receiver and is still weak on the defensive line. That is not Michigan football. No slant or screen passes to break up the rush. That is not offensive football. The great Bo had his moments of stubbornness in the 10 Year War with Woody. Michigan had first and goal twice in a game against Ohio State. Bo did not believe in field goals. He was going to smash it in. Eight running plays – zero points. Ohio State won 12-10. Bo learned. Maybe Brady Hoke and Al Borges learned from the Penn State debacle. They played a spread, the dreaded offense, in a win against Indiana. Maybe they won’t play smash mouth against Michigan State, which has one of the best defenses in the country. Michigan State on the road Saturday, followed by Nebraska at home, Northwestern and Iowa on the road and Ohio State at home. Michigan could end up anywhere from 6-6 to 11-1. 8-4 could be the outcome. I’ll settle for 10-2. The Wolverine family was looking forward to a two game season finale against Ohio State, first in Ann Arbor and then in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game. Visions of roses with New Year in Pasadena were enchanting. The Wolverines are still two years away from greatness. Rebuilding takes time. Just ask Nebraska. Excessive exuberance does not win games. The Wolverines will find out how tough they are tomorrow. Michigan State plays tough, old time football - tough, down and dirty football – no holds barred, literally and figuratively smash mouth, smash hands, smash legs, smash fingers football. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State’s coach, coaches with a chip on his shoulder. He has transferred it to Little Brother, which has beaten Michigan 4 of the past 5 games. Sparrty is favored by 5 ½ points over Michigan. Michigan State only needs to beat Michigan to have a great season. Michigan has to defeat both Michigan State and Ohio State to have a great season. Just remember, Michigan beat Notre Dame, which then defeated Michigan State. Go figure.

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