Monday, October 3, 2022

Michigan Monday: On Wisconsin and Early Look at IU

I was going to start this Monday post with a small rant that Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Northwestern need to reconsider how they play football.   Each program is stuck in the 1970's and struggling to get out of it.   Then Wisconsin did something I wasn't expecting until the end of the season, they fired their head coach.  

One of Harbaugh's best traits is to be flexible with his style and his talent to win football games.  Jimmy and Paul Chryst are friends and have similar football sensibilities.  One guy is flexible and #4 in the country the other is at home counting his $16M buyout.   Sure $16M to not do a job sounds great to all of us, but not to guys like Paul Chryst. 

Fun Fact: Saw this on twitter: Wisconsin has not fired a football or men's basketball head coach since 1995.  That coach?  Stan Van Gundy.

Out of that list of 4 teams I mentioned above, 2 now have job openings.  Wisconsin is giving Jim Leonhard a 7-game interview before other teams "come a callin".   That leaves Iowa and Northwestern with decisions to make.  Kirk Frentz is so powerful at Iowa, that he put together a committee on the state of his program.  That committee came back and said that Kirk's program is racist and they need to move on from the head coach. Kirk fired the committee.  Pat Fitzgerald was once considered a top coach in college football and a name that would come up every time Michigan had an opening.  He is a former Northwestern star, now turned head coach.  Nebraska was in the exact same position and did the right thing.  Will Northwestern?  Probably not.  If you force 5 turnovers against PSU and that doesn't lead to any points, there is a problem.  

While teams like Illinois and Maryland seem to be building something, the 4 teams above seem to be heading in the wrong direction.   Golden Gophers, I haven't forgotten about you.  You are the Superstars of September every year.  As soon as the calendar changes, so does your record.   Minnesota reminds me a lot of the Detroit Lions, if you have all your starters, you're not a bad team.  If you have injuries, you're in trouble.  

Speaking of trouble, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the MSU Spartans who are leading the MAC right now with a 2-0 record.   In the PAC 12, they are 0-1, and in the Big Ten they're 0-2 with games against: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois in succession.  

A too early look at Indiana:

Record: 3-2 
Best Win: Illinois 
Last Week: Lost to Nebraska 35-21
Pass: 278 per (33rd in the country)
Run 105 per (115th)
Score: 27 per (146th)
Give up: 30 per (99th)

IU struggled against WKU and has a two-loss streak going with losses against Cincinnati and Nebraska.  That win for Nebraska was the 1st Power 5 win in a year.  Michigan does have a bit of motivation this week as the last time they played in Bloomington, they left with a loss.   I expect the Michigan coaches to talk about that about 100 times this week.  Michigan is over a 3 TD favorite at -21.5.  After Michigan, IU has: Maryland, Rutgers, PSU, OSU, MSU and Purdue. 

  • Gary's hit on former MSU QB, now New England QB Brian Hoyer knocked him out of the game on Sunday. 
  • I left an obvious Jeers out of Sunday's post: DJ's dropped pick 6
  • I hope we hear an injury report on Roman Wilson today during Jimmy Press Conference.  I won't hold my breath.  Update: Jim Harbaugh - on Roman Wilson- I’m not here to talk about everybody’s injury status
  • Other NCAA News: ESPN Gameday is going to Kansas for the 1st time, Kansas coach Lance Leipold will be the hottest name for all these openings, Colorado fired their coach as well.  The surprise of Saturday to me was GT upsetting Pitt after GT fired its head coach last week. 
We are entering Week 6 of the season and these are the programs with job openings:

Arizona State Colorado Georgia Tech Nebraska UAB Wisconsin

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Corn Pops

 Isaiah Hole at Wolverine Wire

Iowa - Michigan games in Iowa City always seem to follow one script.  It feels like Michigan should be blowing out the Hawkeyes but for some reason it's still too close a game.  Something will happen to Michigan and that 20-point lead will become a 20-21 loss. 

Raise your hand, if you saw the ball bouncing alone on the 5-yard line and you started to wonder if that was the first scene in that movie, we have seen too many times?  Or when Iowa is driving with 4 minutes left inside the 10-yard line to make it a one score game?  But Iowa's offense did the most Iowa thing ever, on 4th and 2 they threw a 1-yard pass that the TE had to go down to his knees to catch.  

Any win in Iowa City is a good win, but in the Cheers and Jeers, I will highlight why this wasn't an Indy type blow out.  

  • JJ played smarter this week, quicker decisions
  • Blake Corum for Heisman 
  • Roman Wilson is a really good WR
  • OL played well 
  • Dline stopped the run for the most part 
  • Moody was 100% on the day 
  • Edwards really gives the team a nice boost when he is in
  • Mike Morris might have saved the game with 2 sacks
  • There is something about Okie 
  • Michigan left Iowa City with a W 
  • Playing calling was better
  • JJ missed another long ball when Wilson was buck naked open 
  • At times a little too conservative on offense, I remember a 3rd down in the redzone where we ran a sweep to the short side.  Need a TD there. 
  • Lack of a pass rush kept the Hawkeyes in the game
  • Iowa converted a 3rd and 25 and got it to the 1-yard line? WTF?
  • Sainristil was getting his flowers from Klatt and Johnson prior to the game and then had a poor outing 
  • Everyone knows that Iowa is going to throw to the TE's, how in the hell can't we cover them?
  • How did they not review that JJ fumble?  I don't know the exact rule here but if you're trying to throw the pass forward and get hit and the ball goes backwards, isn't it still incomplete if your arm is going forward? or since it goes backwards is it automatically a fumble?
  • The play JJ gets his foot stepped on, looked to be a big play down the field
  • Did Brad Robbins have punter envy?
  • There was a report by Michigan radio that Roman Wilson was taken back to the locker room with an injury.
The game was not perfect and Michigan left Iowa City with a much-needed victory.  Michigan had zero turnovers and somehow the official's calls went the Wolverines way for a change.  Happy to see some banged up players back on the field but the pass rush and LB play still needs to improve with some big boys still left of the schedule.  

This is a minor Jeers, but can we please stop giving up meaningless TD's at the end of the games?

Friday, September 30, 2022

Iowa Preview

This scares me

Time: Noon 
Location: Kinnick Stadium 
Weather: 68 Sunny
TV: Fox (Johnson & Klatt)
Line: Michigan -10.5

These teams played 10 months ago and it was very lopsided.  That was on a neutral field and the Wolverines were one of the hottest teams in the country at the time.   It will be interesting to see how the teams have changed from that match-up as Jimmy says, "Kinnick is the place Top 5 teams go to die".

Here is a quick list of how top 5 teams have fared at Kinnick since 2008:

2008 vs. 3. Penn State, W 24-23 2010 vs. 5. Michigan State, W 37-6 2016 vs. 2. Michigan, W 14-13 2017 vs. 4. Penn State, L 21-19 2017 vs. 3. Ohio State, W 55-24 2021 vs. 4. Penn State, W 23-20

Dear Jimmy,
Your team showed heart last weekend, winning a football game when they didn't have their A game. The LB's struggled and the DE's couldn't get enough pass rush. JJ's deep ball was off but thank goodness for Blake who ran wild. Now, it's time for another test. A road game to the pink locker rooms of Kinnick stadium.

This will not be the same team that you faced in Indy and won't be a blow out as this Iowa team gives up just over 5 points a game on defense. This is also one of those Black/Gold Games for Iowa, where the fan base will be wearing the specific color for its section. The Hawkeyes will be ready on Saturday as they will want to pull an upset and protect that nice record against visiting Top 5 teams.

Your team will need to play its best game of the year with fundamental football. Iowa is not going to trick you, but they will play fundamental ball. They also got tape from the Maryland game and know how to put Michigan's LB's on skates. Watch for Iowa TE's as they will try to match those guys up against Michigan's LB's. Michigan's Dline will need to shut down the run and force Iowa to pass, which they don't prefer. Michigan needs to win this game on defense by shutting down the struggling Iowa offense.

Michigan's offense needs to play clean (no turnovers) and find ways to get points. Field goals will be important in this game but the Wolverines also need to score a few touchdowns. Iowa's scores by having their defense score points or setting up its offense with a short field. Better play calling from the coordinators and clean offensive execution will be key. A strong run game always travels.

Jimmy, this year has gone pretty well for the Wolverines. You started with 3 easy games and got tested against Maryland. I hope Michigan gets back some dinged-up players and is ready to steal the energy in Kinnick. You have the best team but the team that plays smarter on Saturday will win. Test Iowa's secondary and keep JJ from taking too many risks (Iowa will try to knock him out due to injury). Let Blake run and Moody kick some field goals. Feed your TE's and lock down Iowa's offense. Play Michigan Football.

Michigan 20 Iowa 12

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Big Ten Preview Week 5

First weekend of the season where we have a full slate of Big Ten match-ups.  Not a ton of good games, but a few to keep an eye on. 

Purdue @ #21 Minnesota (-11): The Golden Gophers are for real and still not getting a ton of respect for the poll voters.  Purdue is struggling and struggled against the FAU Owls last weekend.   I like the boat to continue rowing this week: Minnesota 41 Purdue 20

Illinois @ Wisconsin (-7): Quick guess which team is 3-1?  Yes, it's Illinois over the 2-2 Badgers.  This is a get right game for the Badgers and Illinois doesn't have the talent yet.  Wisky 21 Ill 17

Rutgers @ #3 OSU (-40.5): Pain, lots of pain, points, and yards.  58-10

Northwestern @ #11 Penn State (-25.5): Did you know that Northwestern wants to build an 800 million 35,000-seat new football stadium? PSU 41 Northwestern 9

MSU @ Maryland (-8,5): MSU is struggling at the moment with back-to-back losses.  Maryland played well in the Big House but left with an L.  MSU has trouble defending the pass and Maryland likes to throw it around the yard.  Will it be Tua 2 or the back-up that looked good on the final drive? Maryland 28 MSU 17

IU @ Nebraska (-5): IU is a soft 3-1 after a loss to Cincinnati.  Nebraska is a dumpster fire right now.  This is the do not watch game of the week. Perfect for primetime.  IU 10 Nebraska 8

  • Brandon Graham was named the defensive player of the week for the first time in his career. 
  • RIP Coolio 
  • Basketball captains for this year include: Hunter, Jace, and Terrance.  Congrats to all 3! 

Ian Update: Tough night as the hurricane reached my area at level 1.  We lost power in the middle of the night with just damage to trees, etc.  Nothing major and the power came on this morning.  Florida is expected to have 2-2.5M without power, so we feel lucky.   The worst of the damage and flooding is south of Tampa.