Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 1 Big Ten Saturday Preview

Obviously big news broke yesterday with all the divisions and stuff associated with that. I'll have all my thoughts on the matter on Tuesday in my College Football Ramblings post. Until then here is your Week 1 Big Ten Saturday Preview (with special Thursday games this week!) You won't find Michigan vs UConn in this post. That preview will come tomorrow in its own post.

Thursday, September 2nd
Towson at Indiana (7:30, BTN)
Even for Indiana 1-AA Towson is a cupcake. Towson is a team that Northwestern beat 47-7 last year. There's no analysis needed for this game.
The pick: Indiana

Marshall at #2 Ohio State (7:30, BTN)
Another cupcakes comes to town to take on a Big Ten opponent. The Bucks will roll over this team.
The pick: Ohio State

Minnesota at Middle Tennessee State (7:30, ESPNU)
My main question is why in the world Minnesota agreed to go on the road to Middle Tennessee State when they could easily find a 1-AA school to beat up at home.
The Pick: Minnesota

Saturday, September 4th
Western Michigan at Michigan State (Noon, ESPN2)
While some may remember Michigan State losing at home to Central Michigan last year, that was a fluke miracle-type win for the Chippewas. In addition, the Broncos don't nearly have the firepower that Central had. This game is no contest.
The pick: Michigan State

Youngstown State at #19 Penn State (Noon, BTN)
The Nittany Lions welcome in Ohio State's baby brother for a butt whooping.
The pick: Penn State

Eastern Illinois at #9 Iowa (12:05, BTN)
Don't sleep on this one. If you remember correctly, the Hawkeyes needed two blocked field goals to hold on 22-21 against Northern Iowa in their opener last year. They also beat 1-AA Arkansas State just 24-21. Eastern Illinois could keep this one close.
The pick: Iowa

Illinois at Missouri* (12:30)
Missouri has crunched Illinois every time they've played, including a 37-9 beatdown the year after the Illini went to the Rose Bowl. This year will be no different.
The pick: Missouri
*Game in St. Louis, MO

Purdue at Notre Dame (3:30, NBC)
Purdue lost a heart breaker at home last year 24-21 against Notre Dame. They will have revenge on their mind Saturday. But in a hostile environment against a talented team it won't be enough.
The pick: Notre Dame

Northwestern at Vanderbilt (7:30,
This is definitely the most intriguing match-up this weekend aside from the Michigan game. While Vanderbilt is not very good, the 'Cats have been known to stumble on the road (see: NU at Indiana, last year). Are these the same Wildcats of old? No.
The pick: Northwestern

#12 Wisconsin at UNLV (11:00, Versus)
This is a trap game for Wisconsin who is going to have to go full-effort to win this one comfortably. Expect UNLV to contend into the second half.
The pick: Wisconsin

My 2010 Big Ten Saturday Preview record: 0-0
Last week: 0-0

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Week 1 Big Ten Power Rankings and National Top 10

Here's my preseason Big Ten Power Rankings. Normally I'd have the previous week's ranking in parenthesis next to the teams but since this is the first week that will begin in Week 2's edition of the Big Ten Power Rankings. Without further ado off we go!

1. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Bucks return fifteen starters from a team that won the Rose Bowl 26-18 over Oregon last year. The Buckeyes figure to be even more dangerous this year as quarterback Terrell Pryor finally found his groove against the Ducks last year. Watch out Big Ten because the Buckeyes are going to be monsters this year.
2. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes return the majority of a team that was ranked fourth in the country at one point last season and won the Orange Bowl. Iowa's defense will shut down opponents this year but the key will be if quarterback Ricky Stanzi can stay healthy and show up earlier than the fourth quarter, which he struggled to do last year.
3. Wisconsin
The Badgers return the most talent out of any of the top three teams as seventeen starters are back. Running back John Clay is a Heisman dark horse and quarterback Scott Tolzien should be better than ever. The defense is also great so the Badgers should be a force to reckon with this season and contend for a Rose Bowl appearance.
4. Penn State
The Nittany Lions return fourteen starters but lost their most important one, quarterback Darryl Clark. Penn State now has slim pickings at the most important position on the field but a solid ground game with RB Evan Royster and a good defense should make up for some of the deficiencies at QB.
5. Michigan State
The loss of nine players last winter really hurt the Spartans as they could of contended for a Big Ten Championship this season. Instead, Michigan State is back in the middle of the pack with a good passing game, led by QB Kirk Cousins, and a great ground game. The defense is decent and should make for a good but not great season in East Lansing.
6. Michigan
The Wolverines return a Big Ten-high eighteen players (now technically seventeen because of the injury to Troy Woolfolk) and that should be enough to get them to a Bowl Game. The offense is decent and should put points on the board but the defense is a real concern. You can't win if the other team is putting up forty points every game no matter how good your offense is.
7. Northwestern
The Wildcats seem to have found their niche in the Big Ten and despite a relatively low ranking to open up the season they could climb. While they lost superstar QB Mike Kafka, Dan Persa should more than competently fill that role. The defense, though, should not be as good as it was last year and could hamper the team moving forward.
8. Purdue
Half of the starters return from a 5-7 squad last year that easily could have been 9-3 without some close losses to good teams. However, QB Joey Elliot is off to the NFL and transfer Robert Marve is left to fill the roll. Marve was okay in his rookie season at Miami FL but moved to West Lafayette after Jacory Harris took over. The defense should be decent for the Boilers, anchored by All-American DE Ryan Kerrigan.
9. Minnesota
Senior quarterback Adam Webber hopes to lead Minnesota to a respectable season but it doesn't look promising. The defense is in shambles, returning less than half of 2009's starters, and Webber himself is in competition with Sophomore Marquis Gray. That's right a sophomore is challenging the schools all-time leading passer for the starting job. Minnesota should win a few games but not be bowl eligible.
10. Indiana
A bad 2009 defense got worse with the loss of their best player, DE Jamey Kirlew to the NFL Draft. The defense is going to kill the Hoosiers in 2010. However, the pistol offense is a high-powered passing attack behind the laser arm of Ben Chapell and All-Big Ten receiver Tandon Doss. However, Indiana has no running game and the one-dimensionality of the team will likely come back to bite the team.
11. Illinois
A brutal 2009 season is going to be followed by a brutal 2010. With no QB or defense it's going to be a long season. The one bright spot for the Illini is probably junior RB Mikel LeShoure who has the potential to be a star this year.

National Top 10
1. Ohio State The Buckeyes have the countries best defense and a great offense to go along with it.
2. Boise State The Bronocs don't need tricks to beat you anymore. A stingy defense and video game like offense will propel the Broncos to their first BCS National Championship Game ever.
3. Alabama The defending National Champs return most of their offense but just one starter on defense. Defense wins in the SEC so Alabama will not go undefeated.
4. Oklahoma Though Sam Bradford is gone, the Sooners still have a great offense and a stellar defense to go along with it.
5. TCU An SEC-like defense to go along with an offense led by one of the nation's best quarterbacks makes the Horned Frogs the top team in Texas.
6. Texas The Longhorns return most of their defense and still have a good offense without Colt McCoy.
7. Florida The Gators lost most of their defense and one of the greatest college football players of all time in QB Tim Tebow. The Gators will still be good, but they're not National Title contenders.
8. Virginia Tech The Hokies have one of the best QB-RB combinations in the country with Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams. A solid defense complements the high powered attack.
9. Iowa The Hawkeyes have the second best defense in the Big Ten, behind #1 Ohio State, and the most clutch quarterback in the country in Ricky Stanzi.
10. Nebraska The Big Ten's soon-to-be newest member has a great team in its final year in the Big 12.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Big Ten Road Trip 2010

Special thanks to Mapquest for all the mileage.

Do you want to see the a lot of Big Ten football live this year? Well here's the solution: drop everything and go on the Big Ten Road Trip 2010. The trip will visit all eleven Big Ten stadiums as well as Notre Dame and Nebraska so you can get your fill of Big Ten football. Here's your itinerary for your thirteen week journey:

September 4
Your journey starts in South Bend, Ind. as you take in Notre Dame Stadium and watch the Fighting Irish host Purdue. Last year's game was an instant classic as Notre Dame pulled out a 24-21 win in West Lafayette on a 4th and goal touchdown with under a minute to play.

After the game head to Champaign, Ill.
Distance to Champaign: 199.9 miles
Total distance traveled: 199.9 miles

September 11
The Fighting Illini host Southern Illinois and you will be in attendance. One of the few games on the schedule that Illinois has a chance of winning!

After the game head to Minneapolis, Min.
Distance to Minneapolis: 511.88
Total distance traveled: 711.78

September 18
You watch while the Golden Gophers host the USC Trojans at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers are projected to struggle but a win over the troubled Trojans could spark a run for the Fighting Brewsters. And you would be there to see it.

After the game head to Bloomington, Ind.
Distance to Bloomington: 638.18 miles
Total distance traveled: 1,349.96 miles

September 25
You get to watch a night game in Bloomington, and the Hoosiers take on Akron in the Big Ten's final non-conference week. Get ready for conference play because you're about to head to some big games.

After the game head to Iowa City, Iowa.
Distance to Iowa City: 413.26 miles
Total distance traveled: 1,763.22 miles

October 2
The Hawkeyes will play host to Penn State in a likely national ABC game beginning at 8:05 pm. The place will be rocking (maybe even a blackout) and this is a huge game early in the Big Ten Season.

After the game head to Ann Arbor, Mich.
Distance to Ann Arbor: 452.01 miles
Total distance traveled: 2,215.23 miles

October 9

The Wolverines will host one of their bitter rivals, Michigan State, as the two teams battle it out for state supremacy with you in attendance. May the best Michigander win.

After the game head to Madison, Wisc.
Distance to Madison: 395.37 miles
Total distance traveled: 2,610.6 miles

October 16
Another huge conference match-up awaits you at Camp Randall Stadium as the Badgers welcome in the Ohio State Buckeyes. An upset win here for Wisconsin would likely shatter not just the conference picture but the BCS as well.

After the game head to Evanston, Ill.
Distance to Evanston: 114.14 miles
Total distance traveled: 2,724.74 miles

October 23
Your shortest drive of the road trip takes you a showdown between the happy-go-lucky Wildcats of Northwestern and the Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State set the NCAA record for biggest comeback in college football history at Ryan Field in 2006 in a 38-35 win.

After the game head to State College, Penn.
Distance to State College: 588.23 miles
Total distance traveled: 3,312.97 miles

October 30
Welcome to Happy Valley, home of the whiteout. The Nittany Lions will entertain Michigan, a team they have stomped two years in a row. The game will also be a nationally televised night game so buckle up.

After the game head to West Lafayette, Ind.
Distance to West Lafayette: 546.54 miles
Total distance traveled: 3,859.51 miles

November 6
Another long drive brings you to the campus of Purdue University where the Boilers will be looking to get revenge on Wisconsin, who whooped them 37-0 in Madison last season.

After the game head to
Lincoln, Neb.
Distance to Lincoln: 612.11 miles
Total distance traveled: 4,471.62

November 13

You get to a catch a preview of the Big Ten's soon-to-be newest member, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Kansas Jayhawks come to town to try to upset the Big Red.

After the game head to East Lansing, Mich.
Distance to East Lansing: 727.44 miles
Total distance traveled: 5,199.06

November 20
Your longest trip of the journey takes you to Spartan Stadium where Sparty battles Purdue. While you're there you can watch the Michigan State football players struggle to read first grade level books.

After the game head to Columbus, Ohio.
Distance to Columbus: 250.97 miles
Total distance traveled: 5,450.03 miles

November 27
What better way to finish your Big Ten Football road trip than sitting back and watching a new chapter unfold in the greatest rivalry in all of sports? Your last game of the trip is The Game. Hopefully Michigan will be able to keep it close for you.

So there's you itinerary, a 5,450 mile journey across Big Ten country. For perspective you could drive from New York City to Los Angeles nearly twice with that kind of mileage. Better save up for gas.

2010 Season Preview: Wrap Up

Now that my whirlwind of previews is over here's all of them in one easy access point:

2010 Season Preview: Schedule

First I want to apologize for the absence of a defense and special teams preview. I've been working on a couple of other posts that should be up soon. Anyway, here is Michigan's 2010 schedule with my predictions.

September 4th: Michigan 27, Connecticut 21 (1-0)
Connecticut puts up a good fight but Michigan squeaks it out in the fourth quarter.

September 11th: Notre Dame 34, Michigan 20 (1-1)
Michigan falls behind early and can't catch up.

September 18th: Michigan 41, Massachusetts 13 (2-1)
Michigan always goes to town against 1-AA opponents with the exception of one team that is not Massachusetts.

September 25th: Michigan 37, Bowling Green 20 (3-1)
Another inferior opponent, another win.

October 2nd: Michigan 31, Indiana 17 (4-1, 1-0)
Even at home Indiana is still hapless.

October 9th: Michigan 31, Michigan State 28 (5-1, 2-0)
Finally a win against Sparty! Michigan wins on a last second field goal.

October 16th: Iowa 34, Michigan 24 (5-2, 2-1)
The Hawkeyes are too much for the Wolverines and beat them on homecoming weekend.

October 30th: Penn State 24, Michigan 21 (5-3, 2-2)
A heartbreaking loss in the fourth quarter for the Wolverines in Happy Valley.

November 6th: Michigan 28, Illinois 20 (6-3, 3-2)
This is the point in the season where Michigan's downward spiral has accelerated the past two years. Not this year.

November 13th: Michigan 41, Purdue 34 (7-3, 4-2)
Michigan wins an offensive shootout in West Lafayette.

November 20th: Wisconsin 38, Michigan 23 (7-4, 4-3)
John Clay and the Badgers offense torch Michigan's defense at the Big House.

November 27th: Ohio State 28, Michigan 17 (7-5, 4-4)
Michigan will beat Ohio State sometime in the near future. Just not this year.

December 28th (Insight Bowl): Michigan 34, Kansas State 30 (8-5, 4-4)
Michigan comes out inspired and wins their first bowl game since 2008. Rich Rodriguez hailed as a hero in Ann Arbor.

I went with the favorite in most of these games because I fully expect that to happen. Beating Michigan State is what I believe is going to be the highlight of this season next to the bowl win. This is a fairly optimistic look but there are some games I had as losses that could go Michigan's way such as the Notre Dame game. A season like this should definitely allow Rich Rod to keep his job. The only team on the schedule I believe Michigan can't beat is Ohio State. That leaves eleven possible wins on the board. Let's get 'em. Go Blue.

Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 Season Preview: Offense

Michigan's 2010 football season is now just over a week away and competitions at the three offensive skill positions are wrapping up with the end of preseason practice. Here's a breakdown of the competitions at QB, RB, and WR with my projected starters for the three positions as well as the rest of them.

The candidates: Devin Gardner, Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson
Gardner (Freshman):
Devoin, a highly touted freshman, came into spring practice with a red shirt season almost inevitable. However, Gardner has played so well for a freshman that he's likely going to avoid the red shirt and probably even see the field a tiny amount in 2010 even though a red shirt is not out of the realm of possibility at his point. Devin has great speed and explosiveness and a strong arm. However, he is just a freshman and his lack of experience has hurt him in camp. Devin should see the field for at least a handful of plays this year but he's not far along enough to grab the starting job.
Forcier (Sophomore, 2009 stats: Passing 58.7 comp.%, 2,050 yds, 13 TDs, 10 INTs; Rushing 118 att, 240 yds, 2.0 avg, 3 TDs):
Tate grabbed the starting job by the horns last year after stellar performances in the first two games of the season against Western Michigan (a 31-7 win) and Notre Dame (win 38-34). After some more heroics he became a legend on campus. However, late in the season Tate unraveled hitting rock bottom in the Ohio State game. This summer senior corner Troy Woolfolk called Tate out for a lack of work put in during the off season and Tate was forced to practice without wings on his helmet because Rich Rod didn't believe he had earned them (Tate has since received his wings). Tate has pretty good speed for a quarterback and a stellar arm when throwing on the run. He does struggle as a pocket passer and needs to make better decisions in general as he forced way too many passes last year.
Robinson (Sophomore, 2009 stats: Passing 45.2 comp.%, 188 yds, 2 TDs, 4 INTs; Rushing 69 att, 351 yds, 5.1 avg, 5 TDs):
The passing stats last year were ugly to say the least, but Shoelace's seemingly joystick controlled runs electrified the offense last year. Robinson easily has the best speed of any player on the roster and probably in the Big Ten. It's not even much of a stretch to say he is one of college football's fastest players. Last year his wild arm and poor decisions throwing the ball held him back. However from what I've heard (and saw in the spring game), Denard is a much improved passer. If Denard is indeed as good as advertised with his arm he could be not just the next Pat White, but even better.
Projected starter: Robinson
Tate and Devon will also see the field briefly but expect Denard to grab the bull by the horns after a few games.

The candidates: Michael Cox, Michael Shaw, Vincent Smith
Cox (Sophomore, 2009 stats: Rushing 13 att, 113 yds, 8.7 avg, 2 TDs; Receiving 1 rec, 11 yds, 11.0 avg):
We didn't see much of Cox last year but he's a promising young player. His high yards per carry average is impressive but slightly distorted considering he carried the ball the 13 times. To his credit he didn't fumble on 14 touches so he can hold on to the ball, a problem for one of the other candidates. Cox will definitely see the field in 2010 but he will not be the starter.
Shaw (Junior, 2009 stats: Rushing 42 att, 185 yds, 4.4 avg, 2 TDs; Recieving 2 rec, 5 yds, 2.5 avg):
Shaw is the most explosive of the three backs and probably the most speedy. Because Brandon Minor was the feature back last year, Shaw didn't get too much of a chance to showcase his talent but he did a decent job when an opportunity presented itself. One problem with Shaw has been his fumbles. Shaw coughs up the ball a lot and needs to improve that aspect of his game if he wants extended playing time.
Smith (Sophomore, 2009 stats: Rushing 48 att, 276 yds, 5.8 avg, 1 TD; Receiving 10 rec, 82 yds, 8.2 avg, 2 TDs):
Vincent battled injury for most of spring practice but has looked great in fall camp and says he's 100% healthy with no after effects of the injury. The coaches and trainers agree so the sky is the limit for Smith this year. Smith can slip and break through tackles better than any of the other running backs and his acceleration and agility is unmatched on the Wolverine squad. Vincent has a great chance to be a star this year.
Projected starter: Smith
Even though Smith will be the main back all three should see the field for extended periods of time with Shaw likely getting the second-most carries.

The candidates: Kelvin Grady, Junior Hemingway, Martavius Odoms, Roy Roundtree, Darryl Stonum
Grady (Junior, 2009 stats: 10 rec, 102 yds, 10.2 avg, 1 TD):
Grady, a former Michigan basketball point guard, is trying to work his way into the slot receiver spot in 2010. Grady's long arms allow him to reach up and grab errant screen passes and his quick speed and feet (his basketball upbringing likely helped him with this) allow him to run precise routes and break away from defenders. That said his small stature is an issue although not too much for a slot receiver. He also doesn't have great hands and that will limit him going forward.
Hemingway (Junior, 2009 stats: 16 rec, 268 yds, 16.8 avg, 2 TDs):
Hemingway was the Wolverines best deep threat early in the season last year and was Tate Forcier's go-to receiver against Western Michigan making both of his touchdown receptions in that game. However, he tailed off with the rest of the team towards the end of the season. He needs to work on his consistency and his 6'1'' stature certainly is not big. However, Junior has breakaway speed and good hands and will contribute this year.
Odoms (Junior, 2009 stats: 22 rec, 272 yds, 12.4 avg, 1 TD):
Despite Martavius's small stature (5'8'', 175 lbs) he has some serious speed and great route running skills. Odoms has a fantastic freshman season in 2008 but slipped a bit last year. He has great potential, much more than he showed in 2009. Odoms is at his best over the middle of the field and is also a good deep threat. Whoever ends up quarterback this year will be looking his way frequently. Odoms will also likely contribute on special teams but I'll have more on that Saturday.
Roundtree (Sophomore, 2009 stats: 32 rec, 434 yds, 13.6 avg, 3 TDs):
Roy became Tate Forcier's go-to receiver in the slot last season and had a huge part in the comeback against State, catching the game tying touchdown with just two seconds on the clock. Roy has the best hands of any of the receivers and can slip through tackles. His lack of breakaway speed is a concern (remember the Illinois game last year?) but as he matures and gains leg strength that will solve itself.
Stonum (Junior, 2009 stats: 13 rec, 199 yds, 15.3 avg, 1 TD):
Stonum probably has the best sheer speed of any Michigan receiver and definitely the best acceleration. Stonum is great at making catches over the middle and then making things happen in the open field. He also will be a big special teams contributor. However, Stonum does have problems with drops and fumbles, something he'll really need to focus on fixing this season if he wants to start at receiver.
Projected starters: Hemingway (Outside), Odoms (Outside), Roundtree (Slot)
Just like the running backs all of the receivers will see the field at one point or another but these three will play the most. Stonum will also get a lot of time on the field however so he is not out of the mix by any standpoint. The unfortunate banana in the bunch is probably Grady who's skills are just not up with the other receivers. Grady will get some playing time but it will be limited.

FB: Mark Moundros (SR)
TE: Kevin Koger (JR)
LT: Dan O'Neill (SO)
LG: Steve Schilling (SR)
C: David Molk (JR)
RG: John Ferrara (SR)
RT: Patrick Omaneh (JR)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Season Preview: Head Coach

Rich Rodriguez is probably most on the hot seat of any coach in the entire country this season. Posting just an 8-16 record has not helped him, especially noting he is just 3-13 in the Big Ten and 1-5 against rivals (0-2 vs MSU and OSU, 1-1 vs ND). Unless Michigan has a solid season it will be hard to imagine a fourth year for Rich Rod. Here are some goals I believe Michigan needs to accomplish this season if Rich Rod wants to please the Michigan faithful and keep his job:

1. Get to a middle-tier bowl game.
This one is pretty simple. After Lloyd Carr's final season in 2007 Michigan owned college football's longest bowl appearance streak. The streak ended in 2008 after a 3-9 season and now Michigan's bowl-less streak sits at two after a fruitless 2009 campaign. Just six wins would get Michigan into a lower-tier bowl but I honestly don't think that the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl is enough to save Rich Rod's job. It would take at least a 7-5 season to get to a modest bowl and that's where Rich Rod needs to get.

2. Beat Michigan State.
The battle for the state is normally a football game that the Maize and Blue win but not since Rich Rod came to town. An extra painful loss at Spartan Stadium last year was the start of a tailspin that saw Michigan lose seven of their last eight games to ruin an outstanding 4-0 start. This year the Wolverines have Sparty at home and another loss to Michigan State might just see Rich Rod chased out of town even earlier than expected. It's time. If Rich Rod wants to keep his job his team must beat the Spartans to claim the state.

3. Finish the season strong.
In 2008 after an average 2-2 start the Wolverines plummeted, dropping 7 of their final 8 games to finish the season 3-9. A similar thing happened in 2009, just worse as a 4-0 Michigan team quickly lost steam and finished 5-7, their only win coming against a team that was barely in Division I. For Rich Rodriguez to keep his job it will be important to gain some steam early but far more important to finish the season strong, something his Michigan teams have been unable to do. The opportunity is there, with November bringing a tilt at Purdue and then against Illinois at the Big House, two extremely winnable games. November 20th is an outstanding chance at home against Wisconsin where the Wolverines could really build momentum into the Ohio State game the next week. Michigan has a great chance to finish strong, they just need to take advantage of it.

I truly believe that all three of these goals are extremely attainable for this Michigan team, but it will still be a challenge. My predictions will come later, but it certainly will not be impossible for Michigan to save their coach's job.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 Season Previews

In the next few days I will post previews for the 2011 season. All previews will post at 12:00 pm eastern time. Here are the previews coming up:

Thursday: Rich Rodriguez and the head coaching position
Friday: Offense
Saturday: Defense/Special Teams
Sunday: Schedule and final prediction

Big Ten Preview

Big Ten football is just days away, officially beginning on September 2nd. In honor of the near start of college football season I picked every game of the season for all the Big Ten teams and came out with my final standings with bowl game projections. They are as follows:

1. Ohio State 8-0 (12-0) BCS National Championship
2. Iowa 7-1 (11-1) Rose Bowl
3. Wisconsin 6-2 (10-2) Capital One Bowl
4. Penn State 6-2 (9-3) Outback Bowl
5. Michigan State 4-4 (8-4) Gator Bowl
6. Michigan 4-4 (7-5) Insight Bowl
7. Northwestern 3-5 (7-5) Texas Bowl
8. Purdue 3-5 (6-6) Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl
9. Illinois 2-6 (4-8) None
10. Minnesota 1-7 (4-8) None
11. Indiana 0-8 (4-8) None

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Getting the Blog Back on Track

It's August and I'm stopping in again with a couple updates. I will be out of town from August 7-16 and then again from August 18-23 with some exciting trips. However once I return I will head right to the posting as there will be a lot to cover with just eleven days till the season opener! Can you believe we are so close?

Anyway over at Spawn of MZone they have been making some fantastic desktop wallpaper. Here is a link to a collection of great ones of this year's schedule. This one is my personal favorite:

Enjoy the rest of your summer and get ready for Michigan football in just 31 days!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Been Quiet In These Parts

Just here to say hi because I haven't posted in a while. It's tough in the off season to find things worth posting that you won't find on another site so I abstain. I'll be here in august with season previews and predictions and to reiterate here is what we'll have every week of the football season here on UMGameday (with a couple revisions from last time around):

Monday*: Wrap up of weekend's Big Ten Action
Tuesday: Random thoughts on Michigan and College Football
Wednesday: My Big Ten Power Rankings and National Top 10
Thursday: Upcoming Big Ten Weekend Preview
Friday: Upcoming Michigan Game Preview
Saturday: Game Thread/Live Blog**
Sunday: Michigan Game Wrap up

*The first Monday of every month will be a mailbag, in which I answer all of the questions sent to me in the past month (to send a question to the mailbag send it to This feature will be dependent on your questions.
**I'm sure I'll be able to do maybe a few Liveblogs but these will be rare (maybe twice this year). I'll post a game thread each game, posting at the start time of the game.

I want to make the site as interactive as possible so comment to your heart's desire on every post. While I'm not going to impose restrictions on comments (language, slurs etc.) please use common sense so I don't have to. Also if you would like to become a contributor to the site shoot me an email ( Thanks to all for reading and let the countdown to September begin. Go Blue!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Football Game Basic Information

With under a week to go with until the Spring Game I have a couple of things written that I will post in the coming week. My second half of the insanely early preview of the 2010 football season will post after the spring game. That said, here's some basic spring game info straight from mgoblue.

Date/Time: Saturday, April 17th, 1:00 pm (doors open at 10:00 am)
Location: The Big House (obviously)
Admission Price: Free

Additionally, the university has announced that PNC Bank will be making a donation to Mott's Children's Hospital and will be sponsoring locker room tours. These locker room tours will be:
-Friday, April 16 at 6:30-8 pm
-Saturday, April 17 at 7-9:30 am

If you want live outside of the Ann Arbor area (like yours truly) and want to watch the spring game it will stream live on for a reasonable $2.99. Also it will be shown on tape delay at 8 pm on BTN.

Coming later this week on UMGameday Spring Game Coverage:
-What to watch for: Offense
-What to watch for: Defense
-What to watch for: Special Teams

I can't commit completely but if I get some support I'd be happy to do a live blog for the 8 pm showing of the spring game on BTN. I'll provide some play by play and analysis and anyone who wants to will be free to put in their two cents (I'd love to do it at 1:00 but I have a conflict and this way you don't have to pay $3 to watch, unless you don't get BTN).

Go Blue!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Denard Robinson: Your 2010 Starting QB?

After the end of the 2009 season, it seemed a sure thing that Tate Forcier was going to be the starting quarterback once again. Thing again folks. Obviously none of this is final and it is just spring practice but Denard Robinson is really impressing and pushing Tate. Here's my analysis.

First of all, we can't read all too much into this and jump to conclusions (hence the question marks after the headline). However, there is something to this. Tate has a strong arm and quick feet, but he is no match for the cheetah-like speed of Denard Robinson. And while Tate has better mechanics, he has been getting high level coaching for years and is much closer to his "ceiling". Denard is just starting to explore his potential and is making major strides in Spring camp.

I, for one, would be thrilled to give Denard Robinson a chance. Obviously he was not a good passing quarterback last season, finishing 14 for 31 passing (45%) with no TDs against a D-1 team (he did have a couple in a 63-6 win over Delaware State) and four interceptions. By the end of the season Denard was relegated to coming in and running nothing but predictable QB sweeps which got quite frustrating to watch as teams knew what was coming. However, one thing to keep in mind was that he did not enroll early like Tate and come to Spring Practice so he was essentially learning on the fly. He did have some flashes with his arm though, and we all know what his legs are capable of.

Rich Rod has commented that Denard and Tate will likely split time but I still anticipate Tate getting the bulk of the time and the starting job. He has proven his potential and Denard still has a long way to go. One wild card in this could be the after affects of Tate's shoulder injury from last year and that could play a factor, though most experts believe he is close to 100% now and will be ready for the season perfectly healthy.

Either way it's just spring so we can't read too much into this stuff. However, I would love to give Denard a chance at QB (especially because he's been performing so well in camp). If he can learn to use his legs as a supplementary tool to his passing (i.e. throwing on the run, which he is still struggling with and Tate is great at) he could become a dangerous weapon in the future. However for the upcoming season I still see Tate as the main quarterback.

Rich Rod said that he and the coaching staff are working Denard into other positions (!) that he could play during the year to get his speed on the field. This has been a long time coming and is a great idea. I'm really excited to see what comes of this...With Denard performing so well in camp it's becoming more and more inevitable that freshman phenom and QB of the future Devon Gardner will take a redshirt. I actually really like this idea because it maximizes his time as a starter. He has also been shaky in spring practice as any freshman getting his reps would. The future is extremely bright for Devon...We will be able to see how all three of the quarterbacks do in a game setting a week from Saturday in Michigan's third spring game under Rich Rodriguez. Spring game material will be posted next week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coming soon to UMGameday

Once the season starts the blog will be revamped with a lot of interactive content. I cannot speak for Matt (but I'm sure he'll have posts) but I will begin the 2010 season's coverage in August with season previews and predictions. Once we reach the regular season I will post this content weekly:

Tuesday: Mailbag*
Wednesday: Big Ten Power Rankings and My National Top 10
Thursday: Random thoughts on Michigan and all things College Football
Friday: Preview of the weekend's game with my thoughts and prediction
Saturday: Game thread/Liveblog**
Sunday: Recap of the weekend's game and Big Ten action

*This will be dependent on your questions. If I can get a steady flow of questions I would be really excited to make this a weekly feature but it will most likely be an every-other-week thing or once a month thing. It's all dependent on reader's questions.
**I'm sure I'll be able to do maybe a few Liveblogs but these will be rare (maybe twice this year). I'll post a game thread each game, posting at the start time of the game.

I want to make the site as interactive as possible so comment to your heart's desire on every post. While I'm not going to impose restrictions on comments (language, slurs etc.) please use common sense so I don't have to. Also if you would like to become a contributor to the site shoot me an email ( Thanks to all for reading and let the countdown to September begin. Go Blue!

Notes: Part 2 of my insanely early look at the 2010 season should be up in a few days...the 2010 Spring Game is on April 18. I'll have a few posts leading up to that as well as a full-blown recap.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Insanely Early Look at the 2010 Football Season: Part 1

With spring practice in full swing and the spring game fast approaching, football is in the air. Before of course it disappears again over the summer. While we wait out these few months until September, I'm going to take a brief look over the schedule and do some previewing, just based on knowledge and really no research. So, without further ado, a ridiculously early 2010 football preview. Today, I'll be previewing the first half of the season.
9/4- vs UConn
The theme last year for UConn for close, but no cigar as the Huskies lost countless games by excruciatingly close margins. UConn has most of its core coming back and is certainly a contender in the Big East and a good opponent. However, UConn's inability to win the close ones is going to haunt them, especially because on paper at least this looks like a very close game. It's really too early to tell, but I'm going to go ahead and try anyway. Likely result: Win
9/11- at Notre Dame
Out with the old in with the new. Notre Dame has completely changed from last year to now. They have a new coach, a new QB, and new wide recievers. However, many of the teams core remains the same as the one that battled Michigan down to the very last play of the game at the Big House. This game will be another barn burner. Likely result: Loss
9/18- vs UMass
Really not much to say here. From what I think I know, UMass is a sold 1-AA team that won some games last year. However, I don't think they can compete with the athletes at Michigan. Likely result: Win
9/25- vs Bowling Green
Also not too much necessary. The Eagles were not atrocious last year but they just don't have the athletes to play with Michigan. Likely result: Win
10/2- at Indiana
Indiana returns most of their starters from a team that went 1-7 in the Big Ten last year, including a loss to Michigan, the Wolverines only win of the Big Ten season. It's going to be another rough year in Bloomington so the Hoosier faithful better hope their basketball gets back on track if they want a good rooting interest. Likely result: Win
10/9- vs Michigan State
It's time folks. Yes, the last time Michigan beat Sparty in football OR basketball was in 2007, when Chad Henne and the football team completed a wild comeback to pull off a shocking 28-24 victory at Spartan Stadium. This lead Mike Hart to smugly state his infamous "little brother" quote. And Michigan hasn't beaten the Spartans in a major two sport (basketball and football) game since. This will change. Although Michigan is still not a great football team, Michigan State lost nine players from last year who were involved in a bar fight that led to expulsion from the team. Two former players are in jail right now. Likely result: Win

So there you have the first half of the year. After a quick glance: 5-1 (2-0). The Notre Dame game I expect to be close so maybe even 6-0. This is extremely optimistic but not impossible. Let's hear your thoughts in the comments. The second half of the preview will come probably later this week and I'll have a real preview closer to the season with an actual projected record (this is just for fun). Thanks for reading!

Off-Season Update: Football Game at Wrigley Field?!?!

Just to keep the site somewhat active here's some offseason fluff to munch on. Included in this post: some other sports (hockey, basketball); Brandom Graham NFL draft update; football spring practice update; football game at Wrigley?!?!

-Quick shoutout to the UM Hockey team. After struggling through a tough regular season that saw the team lose any chances of an at large bid into the NCAA tournament, the guys (especially former walk-on goalie Shawn Hunwick) came through in the CCHA tournament, going 6-0-0 and winning the conference. After a 5-1 first round win over Bemidji State, the Wolverines went into OT in a 2-2 game against No. 1 seeded Miami (OH). A lose puck goal appeared to give UM the win in OT, but it was waved off on a brutal early whistle. Miami went on to win 3-2 in the second OT.

-The basketball season had a couple bright spots, but it was mainly lowlights and it ended fittingly on the most painful loss of the season. Not much else to say here. Good luck to Manny Harris and DeShawn Simms going on in professional basketball (Manny is expected to be a late second round pick, DeShawn most likely undrafted and go through either Europe or the D-League).

-With the NFL draft fast approaching, Michigan's best draft prospect, DE Brandon Graham has been ramping up with workload. Brandon is expected to go early in the draft, likely in the Top 10. Good luck to Brandon.

-In football spring practice Michigan's defense is installing a new 3-3-5 system that is risky but anything should be better than last years defense. Also star freshman quarterback Devon Gardner seems likely to be heading for a redshirt in order to get him as many starting years possible (likely two with Tate being around until 2012).

-Also rumors are being tossed around that the Michigan at Northwestern game in 2011 could be played at Wrigley Field, most likely at a 12:00 pm or 3:30 pm start. Nothing is official yet, just something to note.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Long Time No See

Yes, it's been a long time since I've posted anything and it may seem this blog is dormant. But don't worry, this blog will be back and strong once Football season starts, but this blog will concentrate on football and only football. See you in the fall.