Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 8 Big Ten Power Rankings

Last week's rankings

1. Iowa (7-0, 3-0): A win at Wisconsin proved that the Hawkeyes are for real. It's time to stop the contenders or pretenders talk: with only Ohio State remaining as a possible loss the Hawkeyes should get ready to stamp their ticket to Pasadena.
2. Penn State (6-1, 2-1): After shutting out a potent Minnesota offense the Lions looked like the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the year. However, they face a tough test as they go to Michigan who is undefeated at the Big House this year, including 1-0 against foes in the Top 20.
3. Ohio State (5-2, 3-1): Oh Buckeyes. After claiming the top spot in the rankings last week and truly looking like the future Big Ten champs after a 33-14 beatdown of Indiana, Terrell Pryor and company laid an egg at Purdue in a 26-18 loss to the Boilers that really wasn't even that close. They Buckeyes can still win the Big Ten though with a win over Iowa later this season.
4. Michigan (5-2, 1-2): The Wolverines got the equivalent of a bye week last Saturday against 1-AA Delaware State, who they slaughtered 63-6, giving Michigan a firm hold on the points leader of the Big Ten, scoring 261 total points, or 37.3 points per game (after 20.8 last year). Who's second in the Big Ten in points? Penn State with 207 and the two teams clash on Saturday in Ann Arbor.
5. Michigan State (4-3, 3-1): Look who's baaaaack. The Spartans have won three straight since stumbling out of the gates and falling to 1-3. After a dominating 24-14 win over Northwestern in which they scored 24 unanswered points and led 24-7 in the fourth quarter after trailing 7-0 at halftime, the upset-minded Spartans host #6 Iowa this weekend.
6. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2): Look how they fall. Two weeks ago Michigan had just fallen to Michigan State and the Badgers were undefeated up to #4 in the Power Rankings, but with some serious questions about their team. The past two weeks they have been answered, and not in the way the Badgers would have liked. After a 31-13 shellacking at the Horseshoe, Bucky was dominated by Iowa 20-10 for their first home loss of the season as the Badgers couldn't muster one point in the second half. At least it gets a little easier for Wisco this week: they have a bye.
7. Minnesota (4-3, 2-2): After hanging with then-top 10 Cal in the preseason, the Gophers looked good. Not so much anymore. A 20-0 loss at Penn State sent the Golden Gophers back home looking for answers. It doesn't get any easier this week: the Gophers travel to the Horseshoe this week to take on Ohio State.
8. Purdue (2-5, 1-2): After a series of heartbreaking losses the underachieving Boilermakers turned into overachievers last Saturday in a shocking 26-18 upset of then-#7 Ohio State that saw Ross-Ade storm the field after the game. The Boilers look to keep the ball rolling this week and there's no reason why they shouldn't as they take on hapless Illinois at home.
9. Northwestern (4-3, 1-2): The 'Cats have struggled and are not looking good. After getting romped against Michigan State, Northwestern faces a must-win against Indiana on Saturday.
10. Indiana (4-3, 1-2): Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers come in at #10 this week. This was an easy decision considering its pretty easy to tell who the bottom two teams in this conference are, and they played on Saturday. Indiana won, 27-14, to stay out of the cellar. However, Illinois was not so fortunate...
11. Illinois (1-5, 0-4): Now the only Big Ten team winless in conference, the Illini's have expectations have melted away faster than a snowball on a tailgate grill. The Illini hit rock bottom with a loss to aforementioned Indiana on Saturday and still have not beaten a real team this year with their only win coming in a 45-10 home win over Illinois State (who?). The Illini possibly have their best chance to avoid a winless Big Ten season this weekend as they head to Purdue, who will likely have their head in the clouds after a big upset win over Ohio State.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Michigan Madness Wrap

While the event only drew 3,500 fans (a small group in relation to Crysler's 14,000 seating capacity), Madness was full of, well, madness. Here's a brief recap:
-The three point challenge went to Manny Harris and Carmen Reynolds, as they posted 11 three points in one minute in the final round to win the tournament. Here's the final round video of Manny and Carmen.
-The dunk contest went to Zack Novak (wait what?). No, you don't need glasses. When you're done laughing, I'll tell you that Zack has major skills, and that's an understatement. His final round dunk was incredible. See it here.
-The scrimmage was really just an up and down jog, with players clearly just trying to not get injured. However, it showed us a little. Zack looked great, knocking down two threes, but his Maize team went down to the Blue team, 24-15. The scrimmage had two four-minute halves. See it for yourself here.
-Also, thanks to Dylan over at UMHoops for the video. For all of his Michigan Madness video, click here.
-For the MGoBlue wrap click here.

Michigan 63, Delaware State 6

Not much to be said here. For this game I predicted a 52-10 score which was not all that much off, but not as close as last week. Overall I thought we did a good job obliterating a terrible team even in 1-AA and not letting them in the game for even one second. This wasn't like Appalachain in 2007. Appalachain State is a good 1-AA team that wins championships. Delaware State is just god-awful and it showed on Saturday. Here are a few of my thoughts.
1. I really liked Denard in this game. Granted, he played Delaware State, but he looked good passing the football and we call know he can run.
2. Michigan ground game got back on track today, but again, not much to judge from Delaware State.
3. Defense did well, but SPECIAL TEAMS KICK COVERAGE!! We can't give other teams great kickoff returns because good teams will turn those into touchdowns.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Send your questions to the Mailbag!

Have questions about Michigan Football or Basketball? Shoot me an email( If I get enough questions the Mailbag will become a regular feature of the site, hopefully coming out every Friday or maybe Sunday.

Anyway, lots to talk about this week:
-Michigan Basketball Preseason
-Michigan Football Struggling After Strong Start

If you have any questions at all or comments on the blog, hit me up at

Michigan Madness Tomorrow Night

While I will not be able to head down the Crysler tomorrow night basketball season is almost upon us and Michigan Madness is tomorrow night. The event is free and open to the public, beginning at 8:00 pm. Gates A and E will be open at Crysler. Here is the schedule:

7:00-Borseth's BBQ (UM Students Only): Hot dogs and burgers for students from Famous Dave's.
8:15-John Beilein Greek Shootout: A bracket-style shooting tournament featuring teams of three from UM fraternities and sororities.
9:00-UM Men's and Women's Teams introduced on the floor.
9:15-John Beilein and Kevin Borseth introduced, official welcome given.
9:20-Skills Competition: Six teams of three (one men's player, one women's player, one Maize Rage member) compete in various drills.
9:40-Three Point Competition: Duos of one men's player and one women's player have 60 seconds to shoot and the top two duos advance.
10:00-Dunk Competition: Manny Harris, DeShawn Simms, Darius Morris, and Zach Novak (Zach Novak?) compete. Four women's players serve as judges.
10:20-Women's Scrimmage: Two halves, four minutes each.
10:30-Men's Scrimmage: Two halves, four minutes each.
10:40-Singing of "The Victors"

Should be a great event and I wish I could be there. Basketball season starts on November 6th at 7:00 eastern at Crysler as Michigan takes on Wayne State on The full schedule is on the front page of the blog or here. Go Blue!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 7 Big Ten Power Rankings

Last week's rankings

1. #7 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0): It's about time the Buckeyes claimed the top spot. After Iowa struggled at home with Michigan and the Bucks put a 31-13 pounding on previously undefeated Wisconsin, the Bucks are looking like the cream of the crop.
2. #11 Iowa (6-0, 2-0): The only remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes squeaked by Michigan 30-28, setting up a showdown with 5-1 Wisconsin in Madison this weekend.
3. #14 Penn State (5-1, 1-1): Joe Pa's team impressed this week, winning 52-3. Wow, you say? They were playing Eastern Illinois. We'll learn more about the Lions when they host Minnesota on national TV this week.
4-6. Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: I really have no idea who's the best of these three, and they're listed in no order, just alphabetically. If I had to pick on of these teams I think I'd go with Wisconsin, but it's all up in the air. While Michigan plays D1-AA Delaware State this week, we'll find out a lot about both the Gophers and the Badgers: Minnesota travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State while Wisconsin hosts undefeated Iowa.
7. Michigan State (3-3, 2-1): One week after saving their season against Michigan, the Spartans lead 17-0 at the half at Illinois and cruised to a 24-14 victory from there. Next up for Sparty? Northwestern in a huge game for both teams.
8. Northwestern (4-2, 1-1): After a rather unimpressive 16-6 win over win less Miami Ohio the Wildcats travel to Spartan Stadium this week in a big game for both teams. NU will try to avenge last year's painful 37-21 loss at home to the Spartans.
9. Purdue (1-5, 0-2): After losing four straight games by an average of four points per game the Boilers got a break this week: they lost by fifteen. Purdue needs to find a way to right the ship and avoid their sixth straight loss on Saturday.
10. Indiana (3-3, 0-2): After starting 3-0, everything has gone downhill for the underdog Hoosiers. They hit rock bottom on Saturday with a 47-7 loss at Virginia. The only good news right now for Indiana: at least they're not Illinois.
11. Illinois (1-4, 0-3): With their only win coming against Illinois State, the Illini have not won a real game this year. After benching their starting QB only to have to put him back in after the backup threw a pick six in the fourth quarter to make the game 24-0 MSU, Illinois is in shambles. At least this week they have a small chance of winning: they play Indiana.

Iowa 30, Michigan 28

One shout-out for myself here: my predicted score was Iowa 30-27, just one point off the actual final. While we all wanted Michigan to win, still not a bad prediction.

Here are a few thoughts about the game:
1. Great game from Zoltan, his best performance of the season by far. Although five punts is way more than any of us would have liked, Zoltan shined, booting the five for an average of 53.8 yards per kick and a long of 61 yards, leading to him being named Big Ten Special Teams player of the week. Great game for Zoltan after a tough one against MSU.
2. A lot of controversy has surrounded the final drive which saw Tate warming the bench as Denard through the game ending interception. While it was clear that Tate had been struggling and Denard had the hot hand, Tate needs to be in there in that situation. Before the Iowa game, Michigan had trailed in the fourth quarter three times, and Tate brought us back three times. Unless there's something going on between Rich Rod and Tate that I don't know about, I'm not sure what Denard was doing in there on the final drive.
3. The defense needs to step up and make some players. Giving up that 3rd and 25 was huge and their first TD came on a 3rd and 10. 28 points at night in the cold should win a Big Ten football game. While the offense was responsible for six of the points because of turnovers and the defense did produce seven with the pick six, it's still inexcusable. It's time for someone to step up and make some plays. The failure to sack Stanzi when they had him in their grasp is infuriating.
4. Also, special teams, just play mistake free football. We don't need miraculous punt returns. That one Iowa punt in the fourth quarter we had a roughing the punter penalty that would have kept the drive alive even if Greg hadn't muffed the punt and lost it in our own red zone. We need to cut down on the mistakes.
5. Speaking of mistakes, I really feel like we should have won this football game. We beat ourselves. Losing the turnover battle by four and giving the ball away five times just can't happen.
6. Finally, this loss really was big. Now, looking at the schedule, there are probably just three wins left (against Delaware State, Illinois, and Purdue). Unless we somehow upset Penn State, Wisconsin, or Ohio State, we're looking at 7-5, 3-5 in conference. So much for contending for the Big Ten title. Michigan is going to need to get a big upset in one of those three games to keep modest bowl hopes alive.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

E60: Elliott Mealer - ESPN Video

E:60: Elliott Mealer

Hey, this is Matt! This is my first post post on UMGameday, and I hope I can continue to contribute articles and posts to this blog.

My first post is concerning Elliott Mealer, a redshirt freshman backup left guard at the U of M. He had a truly tragic moment on Christmas Eve, 2007. He and his family were driving to Midnight Mass with his girlfriend, Hollis Richer, and got into a terrible car crash. Watch this E:60 clip to hear the rest of the story.

I think Zoltan Mesko puts my feelings about Mealer into words better than I ever could at about 10 minutes into the clip. You gotta watch it though!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Michigan at Iowa Preview

This is a huge game for Michigan, to say the least. With a loss, we drop to 1-2, effectively ending realistic chances of competing for a New Years Day Bowl (although we play Penn State and Ohio State at home I have a tough time imagining we'll win both those games or even one of them). Here is a brief breakdown of the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes.

Despite the Hawkeyes being an eight-point favorite, I think this game is going to come right down to the wire. With a quarterback with ice in his veins like Tate, no game is ever over (except for the other team). Many experts are picking Iowa and few Michigan and the reasons why are pretty obvious. Let's look at three of them, with counter points from me.

1. Iowa is ranked #12, while Michigan is unranked.
This is an obvious reason that sticks out right away, but rankings are just what people think. Don't forget that Iowa wasn't even ranked before they beat Penn State. They jumped from not ranked to 13th in one week. Also Michigan was just ranked, but a loss at MSU ruined that.

2. Iowa is undefeated and playing at home.
Sure Iowa is undefeated, but they've only played one good team, and it was in a rain-soaked game in which they put up five points in the first half. Iowa also defeated 1-AA opponents Northern Iowa and Arkansas State by a combined four points. That's not very impressive. Iowa won their four preseason games by a combined 46 points while Michigan has only played three of their four and have won those by a combined 56, with 1-AA Delaware State still to come. Also, Michigan has won 6 of their last 8 at Kinnick Stadium.

3. Michigan has a freshman quarterback in a big game.
Please. Hasn't Tate proved enough? Three fourth quarter comebacks in the three games that Michigan has trailed in the fourth this season. And Saturday's MSU comeback rivals the comeback against Wisconsin last year. Tate will show up and play well. He has proved that he is Big Game Tate over and over.

Some final notes:
-Iowa will attempt a "Blackout" on Saturday night. I'm interested to see how that goes, but I expect good stuff. Iowa City is always a tough place to play.
-Michigan is 6-2 in their last eight games at Iowa
-Iowa has not started 6-0 since 1985

A close, hard fought game, but Iowa is too much.
Iowa 30, Michigan 27

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Notes

-I've got some help with the blogging now. Matt will be checking in from time to time with some posts. While we differ on our NFL allegiances (Go Pack!) he's a knowledgeable Wolverines fan.
-Tate Forcier sent an email out saying that he was sorry and that he "took full responisbility" for the loss Saturday at Michigan State. While he did put the "Force" in Forcier with that throw in OT, without him the game would have not even come close to overtime. How many freshman, let alone college QBs in general can lead their team on a 92-yard drive with under three minutes to go and no timeouts to tie the game. Not to mention how clearly gassed he was. Tate played awesome on Saturday and is a true class act.
-I'll put a UM-Iowa preview up Thursday. If you want a good audio podcast preview head over to MGoTalk. They do a great job over there and also have weekly wrap-ups on Mondays. The previews are posted on the website and iTunes every Friday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

UM-Iowa Slated for Saturday Night Football

ABC announced that the Michigan-Iowa game on Saturday night will be ABC's national "Saturday Night Football". There will be no other games on, just this Big Ten showdown across the country. Think you're jacked up? Iowa is staging a blackout, and it's their homecoming. It should be an excellent game, starting at 8:12 on Saturday night. A preview should come later this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 6 Big Ten Rankings

1. #12 Iowa (5-0 (1-0), won versus Arkansas State 24-21): Despite the close win against FCS Arkansas State the Hawks are still the team to beat. They take on Michigan this week on a Nationally televised "Blackout" night game.
2. #11 Ohio State (4-1 (2-0), won at Indiana 33-14): While the Buckeye's shutout streak ended their winning streak did not and they are looking better and better every week as evidenced by their beat down of Indiana who gave Michigan fits last week. Watch out for the Bucks.
3. #14 Penn State (4-1 (1-1), won at Illinois 35-17): Penn State is still the class of the Big Ten. Even though the Illini hung with them for a half, they showed their clear superiority in the second half.
4. Wisconsin (5-0 (2-0), won at Minnesota 31-28): A tough rivalry road victory in front of a jacked-up crowd at a rumbling stadium proved the Badgers are for real.
5. Minnesota (3-2 (1-1), lost versus Wisconsin 31-28): Despite their mediocre record the Gophers are good. Eric Decker is the best receiver in the country and if the defense can step up, Minnesota could play with anyone.
6. Michigan (4-1 (1-1), lost at Michigan State 26-20 in OT): Michigan showed that their not as good as people really thought, but don't close the book yet on the Wolverines. A big weekend game against Iowa on Saturday could make or break their season.
7. Michigan State (2-3 (1-1), won versus Michigan 26-20 in OT): The Spartans proved they can win with their backs against the wall. Now will the be too high in the clouds after their win over the Wolverines?
8. Northwestern (3-2 (1-1), won at Purdue 27-21): Welcome back to respectability Wildcats. After falling down 21-3 at Purdue, the 'Cats rallied in front of a homecoming crowd and stole one from the Boilers. NU's offense can beat anyone.
9. Purdue (1-4, (0-1), lost versus Northwestern 27-21): Oh Boilers. A fourth straight loss by seven points or less sent a homecoming crowd home sad after Purdon't gave up a 21-3 lead. While the Boilers are 1-4, they've lost 4 straight games by a combined 18 points (that's an average of 4.5 points) and are heading for another non-bowl year.
10. Indiana (3-2 (0-2), lost versus Ohio State 33-14): After an undefeated pre-season Hoosier fans were thinking bowl. After an 0-2 Big Ten start Indiana reminded their fans this is football, not basketball (although even that hasn't been going so well lately).
11. Illinois (1-4 (0-2), lost versus Penn State 35-17): The good news: The Illini have already played both Ohio State and Penn State and their schedule is considerably easier the rest of the way. The bad news: They lost those games by a combined 65-17 and got shutout at OSU. Doesn't bode well for the rest of their season.

National Picture

After our loss to MSU we dropped out of the AP Poll, with the coaches poll yet to come out (although it's a fair assumption that we will drop out of that as well). While we did receive 25 points in votes we're still a far way away, as the #25 team, South Carolina, got 200. Overall, the Big Ten has just three teams in the Top 25 (#11 Ohio State, #12 Iowa, #14 Penn State), but Wisconsin is #26, as they received the most votes of any team left out of the Top 25. Michigan has a great opportunity this weekend when they travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes with a return to the Top 25 hanging in the balance. Here's the Week 6 Top 25.

MSU 26, Michigan 20 (OT)

Not much I want to talk about in this game other than Tate Forcier. Despite the loss I think Tate played his best Fourth Quarter of the year and I'm really proud of this team. Without that lucky bounce off of the MSU defender's facemask in OT on Tate's pass who knows what could have happened.