Thursday, September 3, 2015

Welcome To Bizzarro World - The Utah Preview

Life is a strange thing, things can be completely opposite of what you thought they were.  Relationship and jobs can turn on the dime and be 100% different then they were the day before. Case in point is our beloved Michigan Football team: 

Last Year:
  • Michigan's head coach Brady Hoke looked like a deer in headlights in pretty much all aspects of coaching this great program. 
  •  Michigan AD, David Brandon was more interested in being the Jerry Jones of college football then listening to fans and students (aka his customers).
  • Michigan QB Devin Gardner (even though a great guy) lost his confidence in the position and continued to turn the ball over and over.
  • The Big House attendance was way down and the energy around the program was pretty much as low as anytime in my lifetime.
  • Michigan opened it's season on a Saturday
  • One of the best coaches in all of football and former Michigan QB is now the head coach of the Wolverines. 
  • Former Michigan AD David Brandon is in now the CEO of a near bankrupt toy company. 
  • Michigan has a 5th year transfer QB that is more Alex Smith then Colin Kaepernick
  • The excitement around the program is just incredible
  • Michigan is opening on Thursday night on the road on the first night of college football

This is a complete turnaround off the field, now it's time to see what we have on the field.  Welcome to the Utah Preview:

Time: 8:30 EST
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium
Weather: About 80 at kick - No Rain
TV: Fox Sports 1
Line:  Utah -5

The hype of this game has been more about Jimmy making his debut then Michigan vs. Utah on the field.   These teams are familiar with each other as the Utes beat the Wolverines in the Big House last year 26-10.  There was a big weather delay and the game was completed in front of about a thousand Utah fans.  A clear example of where the Michigan program was just a year ago. 

Tale of the Tape:

Michigan OL vs. Utah DL = Push
Utah Secondary vs. Michigan QB and WR's =  Michigan
Utah Special Teams vs. Michigan Special Teams = Utah
Michigan Coaches vs. Utah Coaches = Michigan
Utah Offense vs. Michigan Defense = Michigan

Trivia Question Fail:   Which current Michigan player beat Utah last year?    Wayne Lyons Utah beat Stanford at home in OT last year. 

If you take a look at both rosters and recruiting rankings, Michigan would be a huge favorite off the bus, but football is played on the field and Utah has been the better one of late.   Utah is no joke and will try to beat Michigan at it's own game.   They have a 1500+ yard rusher in Devontae Booker  and a senior QB in Travis Wilson that is 6'7 and 233 pounds.   Last year Travis passed 313 times and ran 114 times.  He threw for 18 TD's to only 5 picks.  

Utah lost players on the offensive line and in their defensive backfield.  It will be interesting to see how the replacements play.   Utah will try to be physical and take shots down field to get the crowd going crazy.   They have an All American punter and I expect they will have a big advantage in the kicking game.

As for the Wolverines, your guess is as good as mine?  I expect the offensive line to be much better and create some holes for the RB's.  I'm excited about the Michigan defense and think they could be the difference maker in this game.  I hope Utah continues to try to run the ball in Michigan's talent front line and linebackers.  Michigan is deep in the secondary and will need to limit or deny big plays.

Shout a huge Hell Yes! if..............................
  • Michigan's offensive line can push a talented Utah defensive front
  • Michigan's QB is accurate and doesn't turn the ball over
  • Michigan has a 100 yard rusher
  • Michigan scores TD's and doesn't kick field goals
  • The Michigan defense confuses the Utes all night
Scream I blame Brandon! if....................
  • If you have 10 Fox sports channels on your cable but can't find Fox Sports One
  • Michigan's road struggles continues
  • Michigan's going west struggles continues
  • The turnovers on offense continue
  • The defense wears down in the thin air
The first games of the year in college football are pretty ugly.   They don't get a pre-season like the NFL and there will be plenty of mistakes on both sides.   Utah will want to play well at home and will try to get up on Michigan early.  We will see how far this team has come and if they can take a punch on the road.   My concern for Michigan is in the red zone, they can't just try field goals, we need TD's to win the game.  I'm very concerned about the place kicking. 

Most insiders expect a close, low scoring win by Utah.  I agree and disagree, I think Michigan has a very good shot at winning this game as Utah has no idea what to expect from a Harbaugh - Durkin game plan.  I think this could be a special night.   

Michigan 24 Utah 13


Scott K said...

We looked horrible last year and lost by 16... Offensively we did NOTHING last year. Our Defense should be better this year than it was last, and it wasn't bad.
If we've improved at all over last year, which I have a hard time believing we didn't, it'll be Hail to the Victors.

The Wolverine Nation has suffered for long enough. The God of football is working thru Jimmy.... Peppers returns the opening kickoff past midfield (or maybe to the house!) and the Maize and Blue don't look back.

9 hours and 36 minutes.... tick tick tick

1UM_Fan said...

I am so pumped for tonight's game. I feel pretty good about the team as a whole. Not having Mone in there could hurt us initially, but I am fairly certain that Coach Durkin & Coach Mattison will be able to find the right combination to get the job done. I think that they will get the first W of the Harbaugh era tonight and the band playing Hail To The Victors will never sound so sweet. Until they beat Sparty and O$U that is.


Voice of Reason said...

The Utes are depending upon their high altitude to help them out with this game and betting that Michigan will not be able to catch their breath. Therefore, expect Utah to keep the pace moving on offense and to rotate players whenever they can, especially on defense. Some experts say that the short bursts of plays shouldn't hurt visitors at all as opposed to more marathon exertions, but other "experts" say differently. So this is potentially a real factor here.

In any case, I hope that Harbaugh has factored this into his game plan and is prepared. If that is the case I would expect more rotation of players and possibly slowing down the game on offense. Maybe they'll have more oxygen on the sideline, fluids to keep their electrolytes balanced and fans to cool off the players.

I believe Michigan has better and more overall talent, that they are experienced and is not intimidated on the road (think of osu) and that they feel prepared and confident. The field goal kickers are the only inexperienced position on this team without game experience coming in. Conventional thinking picks Utah to win this game and it is the "safe" bet, however, I'm going to bet that they have this altitude "trap" figured out and call this one for Michigan. IMHO!!!

Scott Winar said...

Bob Ufer said "football is a "game of emotion"...Michigan is going to be highly motivated and business like... 30-10 Michigan wins.

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