Thursday, September 21, 2023

Michigan Thursday: Big Ten Preview Week 4

This is the first traditional week for Big Ten openers but we still have a few non-conference stragglers including a big match-up between ND and OSU.  Also, the fighting FAU Owls heads to Illinois.  Let's see what else we got:

Friday Night Big Ten:

Wisconsin (-6) @ Purdue: Both teams have struggled this year so far, so this is an interesting Big Ten West match-up.  Wisconsin wanted to spread it out on offense but reverted back to the power run game.  Purdue is over matched in this one.   Wisconsin 21 Purdue 10

FAU @ Illinois (-15.5): The Owls just lost former Nebraska QB Casey Thompson to an ACL last weekend.  Now they are going to use a former CMU Chips QB.  Not a good sign for the Owls.  Illinois 24 FAU 7

Maryland (-7.5) @ MSU: One team has Tua 2 the other one is going through a head coaching scandal with a very public firing.  Rumor is Tua 2 turned down millions of dollars to transfer to another team in the off season.  Hat tip to him for staying at Maryland.  Terps 31 Spartans 13

LA Tech @ Nebraska (-21): The Cornhuskers get their 2nd win of the season and go to .500.  Nebraska 31 LAT 10

Akron @ Indiana (-17): IU gets a win over the MAC, IU 41 Akron 20

Minnesota (-11.5) @ Northwestern: The Wildcats are struggling with their own head coach issues and Minnesota looked pretty bad against North Carolina last weekend.  Still the Golden Gophers will row their boat to a win in Chicago.  Minnesota 28 NW 14

Ohio State (-3) @ ND: OSU has a high-powered offense but questions at the QB position.  ND has a QB that should be in his 3rd year in the NFL.  I think Ohio State is the better team but ND is going to be hard to beat at home at night.   ND 31 OSU 28

Iowa @ PSU (-15): Iowa still has a good defense and Cade is having a hard time throwing the ball down field.  Penn State is one of the best teams I have watched this season.  Being at home is a huge benefit.  I wish this was a 3:30 game.  PSU 24 Iowa 17

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Wolverine Wednesday: What Have We Learned Through 3 Weeks

Michigan has now completed its 3 game non-conference schedule with only a little scare from Bowling Green with an assist by multiple turnovers.  Now, they start the Big Ten portion of the schedule on Saturday as Wolverines welcome Rutgers to the Big House.   What have we learned about this team through 3 games?

  1. Teams watched the TCU tape: Many of us thought that Michigan would be able to line up against anyone and run the ball down their throats.   That has not been the case through 3 games and Michigan opponents are loading the box to shut down the run. 
  2. JJ Can Be Really Good: With opponents saying, "beat us by the pass" JJ has honored that request with 2-3 really good games.  Roman Wilson is always open and he needs to find more TE's.  If he makes the right reads and puts some air on the deep ball, Michigan will be in good shape. 
  3. Defense is playing well: Michigan has been beat up in the secondary and the defense has been playing great.  The starting defense has only given up field goals and hopefully Johnson and Moore will be back this week. 
  4. Special Teams can be special again:  Michigan had really good special teams the last few years with Moody the best kicker in the country and AJ returning punts.  Seems Turner is now more comfortable after a shaky first game. 
  5. Concerns? The depth in the secondary is a concern if Michigan gets more injuries there.  The pass rush has been good, but the 3 offensive lines were questionable.  Michigan needs to be more creative to get the running game going.  More Donovan Edwards please! How about a traditional screen pass?

I'm a bit concerned about Michigan on the road.  The Wolverines haven't played well at Nebraska and Penn State is one of the top teams in the league/country.  The teams and challenges are only going to increase from this point on.  

  • Top Pressure Rates in the NFL through 2 games: #1 Josh Uche: 25.0%
  • OSU AD Gene Smith is telling congress today that recruits are asking for $5000 just to do an official visit.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Michigan Tuesday: Stop, Tuck, and Roll

As you know by now, MSU gave Mel Tucker a notice of termination for cause and 7 days to respond to the action, with a dismissal date of 9/26.  This from ESPN's Pete Thamel's twitter post: In documents, Michigan State tells Tucker's attorney that the school has "amassed a body of undisputed evidence of misconduct that warrants termination for cause."

Firing Tucker for "cause" voids the remaining 79M on his contract. I'm sure there will be a legal battle at some point, but in a week, we can put this ordeal to rest. I did receive a few texts on where does MSU go now? My response is they need to find someone with as clean of an off the field record as possible. I would put the follow folks on top of my list:

1. Kansas Coach Lance Leipold. He has done wonders for Kansas Football.
2. David Shaw, former Stanford coach and had a long run after Harbaugh
3. Jeff Monken, Army head coach who just got an extension yesterday @ $2M a year
4. Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lions head coach
5. Eric Bieniemy, Washington OC and former Chiefs OC will be hard pull out of the NFL

  • Michigan @ Nebraska 3:30 kick on Fox 
  • Seems very unlikely that international recruit Lee Aaliya will be joining the basketball team this season, at least not to start the season. 
  • How about Chad Henne being in a Subway commercial!  Always great to have a friend in Patrick Mahomes. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Original Michigan Monday: Too Early Look at Rutgers and Smith Twins

We know recruiting is a dirty business.  Some of the dirt is now legal with new NIL rules and Michigan will be competitive sometimes and other times not.   I think Juwan is seeing that first hand in basketball recruiting.  Michigan Guard Trevor Keegan weighs in, "“I have a lot of friends from different schools and different programs where they’re getting promised money up front, whether it’s the [transfer] portal or in recruiting, and when they get to the program, they’re just not getting what they were told,” Keegan says. “That’s causing a lot of problems in other locker rooms.”

Which leads me to a story of the Smith Twins that were committed to Michigan and have been rumored to be a flip candidate to Kentucky.  That flip happened late on Friday.  The Smith twins are from Kentucky but transferred to Loomis Chaffe a private boarding school in CT for their junior year.  Both were rumored to be a lock to Notre Dame, before Jerod committed to Michigan in April and his brother Jacob did the same in July.   Jacob really needed to be sold on Michigan and in recruiting circles it seemed his heart wasn't always in Ann Arbor.   Shortly after Jacob's commitment to Michigan, both brothers decided to transfer back to Kentucky and play at Corbin HS.  Thier 3rd school in 3 years.

Is this a story of brothers taking advantage of the new recruiting system?  Or just following their heart to play at their state school?  Hard to know, but we wish them well at UK. 

Early Look:

Rutgers 3-0 best win VT (also NW and Temple)

Pass: 135.7 Yards Per (126th)
Run: 210.7 (20th)
Score: 31.7 points (59th)
Give up: 10 (7th)

No mystery on what the Wolverines will see on Saturday.  Rutgers wants to run the ball and play good defense to stay in games.  If you remember correctly, Michigan struggled with Rutgers for at least half last season.  I believe the Rutgers QB thought Michael Barrett played for Rutgers and kept throwing the ball at him.   Last season's halftime score was Michigan 14 Rutgers 17.   The final score was Michigan 52 Rutgers 17.
  • News Flash: Jake Moody is still really good 
  • Jake Schoonmaker got his first NFL TD on Sunday 
  • Chad Henne is staying retired and won't head to the Jets
  • The Bredeson family didn't have the best weekend as Ben suffered a concussion in a comeback win for the Giants.  Get well soon Ben! 
  • Juwan Howard had a scheduled heart surgery this weekend.  Reports are he is doing well and should be back with the team in about a month.  Get well soon coach! 
  • BGSU Demetrius Hardamon (the player that was carted off) is in stable condition and up and walking around, hopefully he will make a full recovery and will be released soon.
  • Joe Milton throws a nice deep ball.  He struggled this weekend in the swamp.