Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013 Pre-Season Spectacular!

25 days and counting to the Kick-Off in Ann Arbor! 

 I know, I know….the Pre-Season Spectacular that everyone looks forward to is a little later than usual this year…Work crap gets in the way of goofing off sometimes…

 I have to admit that this off season has been much, MUCH less tumultuous vs. what was going on at this point last off-season.  In fact, it’s been a relatively quiet off-season….maybe TOO QUIET….Except in Columbus….and College Station…

 Hyde will only get a 3 game suspension for his “assault” of a woman in a dance club because said victim has chosen to “drop the charges” for season tickets on the 50…Sorry, that was the MMQ ad libbing a little there at the end…But whatever, punch your woman and get a 3 game suspension…that’s the going rate in Columbus….

 For attending a non-paid autograph session and “getting paid”?  He’s the HEISMANN TROPHY winner fergodsakes…..Let him enjoy the moment.  THE NCAA NEEDS TO GO AWAY!  What a bunch of crap….And evenour own Desmond Howard has gotten involved and has stated that Johnny should pay the price if he was compensated (everyone is saying he wasn’t) and that Johnny should own his signature and likeness and choose to sell it if he wants….Where’s the line?  Michael Dell started his business in his college dorm room….NCAA GO AWAY!  Here’s a great link for more details….

 And THEN the University of Michigan has to go and do something….I hate to start with a rant, but I’ve been using a seat cushion at the Big House since I graduated and there’s never been an issue…until now.  Seat Cushions are NOW BANNED AT THE BIG HOUSE!  But you can fork over the $35 (per seat!) for the University installed ones…..I’m so ticked I could spit…In fact, if the day comes when I give up my season duckets…Well, this’ll be one of the many items on the list.

Okay….On to Football.  In case you are wondering who’s in what conference:  I have no friggin’ idea anymore….Who’s coaching who?  That’s an even TOUGHER question and it’s going to take a season to figure out who’s wearing what hat with which color on what sideline before I’ll be comfortable and have it all figured out……Tubberville in the Big East?  Bowden somewhere?  Bielema in the SEC???

 I do know that the B1G is going to re-align geographically and that’s a good thing….so we have ohio in our division starting in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers come into the fray.…Big deal.  You have to beat ohio sometime in order to win the conference, more than likely.  I will miss seeing the Cornhuskers on an annual basis as discussed with their number 1 fan that is a regular reader.  However, if the B1G can somehow get to a 9 game rotation, that helps the situation a lot…

 What to expect this year as far as what Michigan will put on the field?  I remember writing last year that Michigan could be better (I think they were) than the 2011 team that won 11 games and went to the Sugar.  In fact, if you are a regular reader of mgoblog.com, they have more or less offered evidence that supports that theory.  With the exception of Wins & Losses.  So, it boils down to how good can the defense be WITHOUT an injured Jake Ryan (And a graduated Kovacs) and how good will DG be when it comes down to filling the shoes (tied or untied) of De-Rob?  And can the team collectively put more W’s on the board than L’s?

 Me-thinks that the defense is going to be okay and that the bigger question mark is Devin.  I want to believe that getting put into the fire last year has to help him this year and he won’t be starting “cold” on opening day.  In fact, his starting game numbers were actually kind of extraordinary….And Michigan has an incredibly favorable schedule with all the most challenging games at home, eerily similar to 2011…and 1997.  (See the side bar) Also, with Funchess a year older and Lewan back, well, that’s a pretty experienced offense that Michigan will be putting on the field.  In addition, let’s not forget that this is Hoke’s 3rd season after more or less cleaning the slate of Dick Rods guys that weren’t so great, collectively.  And there’s “Something” about those magical 3rd season Head Coaches wherever you look in college football that makes this season worth paying attention to….

 What are you talking about MMQ?  Well, let’s list a couple of third season success stories for you right here…

  1.  Most recently, the team we love to hate, the Domers, were in their third season with Head Coach B. Kelly last year.  He got them to the National Championship.  Thank God they didn’t win…
  2. Urban Meyer, our new nemesis at ohio, won a National Title in his third season at Florida….
  3. Satan won a NC in his third season at LSU…and in his 3rd season at Bama…(Excuse the MMQ while he throws up in his trash can)
  4. Les Miles won the NC at LSU in his 3rd season….
  5. Michigan’s own Lloyd Carr won a NC in 1997 in his 3rd season…
  6. Kyle Wittingham won a claim to the share of the mythical title in 2008 in his third year at Utah…Okay – he didn’t win a NC, but he went undefeated.
  7. Larry Coker got Miami to the NC in his 1st season as head coach and won…but he was the offensive coordinator for the Canes for awhile before that…
  8. The SweaterVest got ohio into and won the NC in his 2nd year… ( 1 year off)
  9. Gene Chizik won a NC at Auburn in his 2nd (okay, this one is a year off)…
  10. In 2000, Bob Stoops won a NC at Oklahoma also in his 2nd year…(so, the 2nd season can be special, too…)
So….Yeah.  Those third and sometimes 2nd seasons are kind of a big deal.  I think it has to do with focus of the coach and the team.  The first kids you recruit are the ones you bond most closely with, so they say.  So, let’s see where this goes as the season develops….

 Who do I like this year?  Well, let’s not waste any time and get right to it.

My Top 10

 Instead of a pre-season Top 10, you all know I try to figure out who’s going to be in the top 10 at the END of the season.  Who I like, without rhyme or reason.  Okay, maybe a little reason:

  1. Alabama – You finish number 1 and you bring back that defense and a starting QB and you are still number 1.
  2. Stanford! – Yep….I’m going with the Cardinal to be in the BCS Championship against BAMA….Is it crazy?  Maybe…I thought they kinda got hosed last year.  Shoulda beat the Domers…
  3. Michigan – Surprise Big 10 Champions!  The National Title will be out of reach with two or more undefeated teams above (or below)….Michigan will have started much lower in the polls this season than anyone else here…But if someone above stumbles…Well, I reserve the right to put Michigan in the title game when the time comes!  A weak B1G may hurt whoever comes out on top of the B1G…as far as the National Championship goes…
  4. South Carolina – Yeah, I have to give these guys a nod.  Michigan played them as well as anybody on its schedule and couldn’t beat them.  I also think that this team has a shot at the Bama slot if they can beat them, but that’s a tall order…And they will be young on offense…But they have a “Clowney” on Defense, and we all know that helps….
  5. Texas A&M – I wouldn’t be the MMQ without feeling a little love for the Heismann Trophy winner…But can he do it again?  IF yes, A&M gets a much higher slot at the end…maybe even a look at the title if they beat Bama and can pull off the SEC championship????  Of course…this is all pending the NCAA ruling on Johnny Football being able to sign his name for free…
  6. Louisville – Proved to me last year that Beast football isn’t dead!  With a weak schedule and Charlie Strong hitting his stride…anything is possible.  In fact, I will be disappointed if they aren’t undefeated in the regular season…
  7. Oregon – Chip Kelly is gone, but Oregon is forever at this point….
  8. Ohio – yeah….they’re gonna finish up here somewhere…schedule is too soft with the exception of one team…And their colors are Maize and Blue…
  9. Florida – Something about head coaches in their 3rd season…
  10. Texas – this is a do or die season for Mack…If he doesn’t finish in the top 10, I’m afraid it’ll be time to hang up the whistle….
Dark horses to infiltrate the Top 10 with a bit of Luck:  Okie State, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Nebraska, and Georgia….But not necessarily in that order.

 So, with all that being said, how does Michigan in fact win the B1G and potentially get a shot at the National Title Game?  Here’s the entire season, game by game!

 8-31-13  CMU:  Michigan should be a heavy favorite in this game as they are bringing experience and talent into the Big House and the Chips are coming off a successful season and bowl game.  However, that doesn’t mean that Dan Enos will have a good team this season….In fact, it’s a question mark and opening with Michigan probably isn’t a great way to figure out what kind of team you have…but I doubt we really learn much about Michigan in this game.  Stats galore and we’ll be drinking Maize and Blue kool-aid…. 
Michigan 51-Chippies 13

 9-7-13  DOMERS:  In come the National Championship qualifying Domers for the last time in the Big House – and the last time under the lights.  This is so bittersweet that I’m really torn as to how to feel about it.  I honestly believe that the Domers will be far worse off not playing Michigan (and the teams in the B1G) than the B1G will be for not having the Domers…But that could be sour grapes. Some day in the future maybe cooler heads prevail and figure out a way to get this game back on the schedule.  Anyway, with everything in Domerland upside down and with Reese coming into the Big House as the starting QB, and his last nightmarish appearance that he put in here…well, it’s kind of hard to go AGAINST Michigan at night in the Big House….
Michigan 27- Afraid of the Dark Domers 24

 9-14-13   AKRON:  I never say that any team is a push over any more.  Coming off the Domer win, Michigan will be poised for the classic trap/let down game that teams can fall into.  And guess what?  Guess what?  Guess what?  Terry Bowden is the coach at Akron….Scary….However, I believe overall talent carries them through and Michigan figures out a way to beat the Zips.
Michigan 42 – little ohio 10

 9-21-13   @ U Conn: ….I can’t believe Michigan is going to play out east in a stadium with a capacity of 40,000 that the university can barely keep half full.  It should be full for this game, however.  This is a basketball school and I think the momentum will be on Michigan’s side heading into this one…
Michigan 35 – UCAN’T 13

 10-5-13    MINNESOTA:  Wow…A game at home for the Little Brown Jug.  Kill has not materialized into the head coach that everyone thought he could be at Minnesota.  In addition, I’m not sure he’s taking the team in the right direction when it comes to what needs to happen at Minnesota for the future of the program.  I won’t say this is a must win game for Kill, but I will say that it would be good for his career if he could figure out a way to get the Jug back.  I don’t think he will….not in a Homecoming game in the Big House…
Michigan 45 – Road Kill 17

 10-12-13  @ PSU:  Michigan hasn’t played PSU in awhile and I do think this will be a very good test of sorts as O’Brien has the PSU players that he is able to get playing well and believing that a small squad can pull off miracles.   Not to mention that Happy Valley is a screwy place to play and it’s a night game….
Michigan 28 – Probation Cats  23

 10-19-13 INDIANA:  Should this university be allowed to field a team in the B1G?  I know they are good in Basketball, but jeez….Figure out a way to get some kids to that school that want to play B1G Football….I’m not even looking them up for lack of time, but suffice it to say that Michigan ROLLS at home…..
Michigan 49 – Who’s There?  3
11-2-13  @ MSU:   After last year’s close victory with a Figgie that was the difference (Thank you B. Gibbons  - btw – CHECK OUT THE SIDE BAR AND THE LINK TO THE WOLVERNE HISTORIAN’S COMPILATION OF GAME WINNING KICKS!  AWESOME!), I’m sure the jolly green giants will be hell bent on revenge and thinking that they are gonna “payback” the Wolverines on their home turf.  See, here’s the thing about history and “regression to the mean”….Michigan has to win at least 11 more in a row to make up for that 3 in a row that you won…So, expect a lot of hype, but this will mark the traditional demise of the Sparty football season as they sweat about whether or not they will play in the Little Ceasar’s Pizza Bowl….
Michigan 38 – Little Brother 24

 11-9-13  NEBRASKA:   If the Children of the Corn North are undefeated at this point, I’m really, really happy….because their nuts are gonna be in their throats coming to the Big House.  And there’s a really good chance that they will be undefeated as The Huskers don’t even leave Nebraska till mid October.  Purdue and Minnesota will not be tests for them.  Michigan owes them a little payback for what happened last year in Lincoln….sorry Huskers.  Winning at “Good” schools in the B1G is tough.
Michigan 35 – Candy Corn 27

 11-16-13 @ Northwestern:  THIS is the trap game on the schedule for all of you that have been paying attention at home.  Coming off a potentially close game at home against the Huskers and going into Ryan Field with an emotionally charged Wildcat team that had Michigan beat until Roundtree did his thing last year…Well, let’s just say this game is always closer than anyone thinks….And it’s scary for the MMQ to pick this one.
Michigan 27 – Kitty Kats 24 (OT – maybe)

 11-23-13 @ Iowa:  I can remember when they used to play football in Iowa…Anyone else remember that?  Ferentz can’t….And the Children of the Corn South certainly can’t seem to field a B1G team anymore…I did a quick read over at Black Heart Gold Pants and they are not optimistic about this season.  In fact, they don’t seem optimistic about…well, anything.
Michigan 56 – Corn Cobs 35

 11-30-13  ohio (HOME):  So, if you’ve been paying attention and I know you have, right now, Michigan is undefeated.  However, I do believe that this is where things get a little east of Telegraph/south of 10 Mile….you know…Sketchy….I am hoping that the suckeyes are also undefeated coming into the Big House and Michigan can beat them on home turf.  However, ohio will also be more than likely undefeated and that means that Michigan would have to re-match them in the B1G Championship a week later…..The one and only time in Big 10 Football History that this can happen now that Maryland and Rutgers are in the mix in 2014….Make it so
Michigan 27– Suckeyes 17

 Big 10 Championship:  Michigan gets a 2nd victory over the suckeyes in 1 season thus bringing the Michigan program full circle from where it was in 2008!
Michigan 38 – ohio 35 (OT)

 Wow…An undefeated season and shot at the BCS Mythical National Championship.  But with Bama and Stanford on potential cruise control, Michigan will need a lot of help to actually get into that game….

 Idle Thoughts From the Pre-Season

-Compared to last year?  Quiet….Real quiet…
-Then came Hyde in Columbus.
-Don’t hit girls…I think I learned that in like…Kindergarten?
-And of course Johnny Football signing his name….He should have known that was illegal….
- Does the Cushion banning in the Big House thing feel a little Big Brotherish? Or are they just chasing a buck…Both?
-OR - Are they TRYING to piss me off?
-Is anyone else pissed?
-I hope so….
-Hoke is a funny guy.
-But you have to listen.
-I love the B1G 10 Network….
-B1G media days were pretty good…
-SEC is unusually quiet this year…
-Even with Bielema there at Arkansas…
-Is everyone figuring Bama wins again and it’s a race for 2nd?
-Is the Bama freight train ready to get de-railed?
-Can Johnny Football beat them two years in a row?
-What about LSU?
-Is this the beginning of the end for several coaches in the country?
-This is the last year for “lobbying” yourself into the title game…
-Next year is the 4 team play-off….
-I certainly hope that Michigan isn’t one of those teams wishing there had been a play-off this year…
-That would suck.
-Does it seem like this season is sneaking up on us compared to last year?
-No one likes Michigan this year…Kind of like 1997
-Michigan was ranked 15 or 16 pre-season that year….
-This year everyone has them in the low teens….
-I like that!
-Except at the end and there’s more than 2 undefeated…then it will take a miracle…
-Will the Domers make any kind of run this year or was last year a fluke?
-I think it was a fluke…but I will give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise…
-John Falk is retiring….
-He’s the equipment guy at Michigan….
-Ask any player about how John used to get comfortable in his office….It wasn’t pretty.
-But he will be missed.

 The Hot Seat

 What would the Pre-Season Spectacular be without a Hot Seat Mascot!  And as I said when I first saw her in the stands at the National Championship game, “There’s are pre-season Hot Seat Mascot Nominee!”  Katherine Webb might have used up her 15 minutes of fame, but the MMQ will honor her with the first spot of the season!  As always, anyone with suggestions for the Hot Seat Mascot are more than welcome to send them in. 

 Without further ado, a few shots of Ms. Webb!


Hot Seat Rank

  1. Mack Brown:  I know, I know.  But until Mack gets a big game under his belt and a BCS bowl behind him, well…It’s gotta be getting warm in Texas…
  2. Lane Kiffin:  After last year’s fiasco of a season and without a defense and with UCLA getting better….I have to believe that the USC fan base is fondly remembering the Pete Carroll years…
  3. Weiss:  Why not?  
  4. Ferentz:  I can’t believe the Iowa fan base isn’t screaming louder for his head…
  5. Randy Edsall:  He might not make a game in the B1G….
  6. Steve Sarkisian:  Washington is starting to think they made a bad deal….
  7. Terry Bowden:  Akron….They expect more there….
  8. Ron English:  Eastern Expects More and thought they were getting more….But maybe he turns a corner this year?
  9. Kill:  I’m not sure why I have him here, but it can’t be pleasant in Minnesota right now…
  10. Spaziani:  OR Maybe BC just doesn’t care???

 Well, the FMQ was in the RED for the first time in a long time and it had a lot to do with getting in the hole early and not being able to dig out…We did get close to the black in week 11 only to be followed by an incredibly dismal result in week 12.  We finished the season and the bowl betting with $695 to our name of the original $1,000 we started with.  Not so good….I got off system and I promise not to do that again this year. 

 As I get into the season, I’m going to re-visit my spreadsheet calculator that handicapped teams that I was betting on.   I will say that the sheet worked incredibly well with Stanford in 2011…but there wasn’t a Stanford (or rather more importantly – Stanford’s STATS) in 2012 and things got tricky….I will try to use the calculator religiously this year and see what we can produce. 

 Remember – start with a $1,000 clams and double our dough is the goal!  Win is the original bet less 10% for the Vig….Damn House….


MNSkinny said...

It’s great to be approaching that special time of year known as football season!

My two cents -

ND - last year was a complete fluke, they should have lost 2-3 games and their bowl appearance is more than ample evidence they were not ready for prime time. They will struggle to get over 9 wins in the regular season.

MSU - This year will be similar to last year for Sparty. (two years ago was their fluke year winning every close one they were in). Although, in re-watching some of their games from last year, I would look for an improved Maxwell at QB. Last year he suffered from his recievers dropping many nice throws, but its hard to replace Mr. Bell.

Ohio - similar story to ND, could have easily lost 2-3 games last year. They will not be what Urban's buddies at ESPN are trying hype them as ~ #2 ha! Since they have a soft schedule they will probably get to 10 or 11 wins.

Michigan - Yes every game on their schedule is winnable but will they be able to stay focused for all 12? I am ready to find out.

Michigan Ticket Prices, fees etc - yes they have push it past the brink of what many people can stand. They "gave" out seat cushions for your $20 donation at the spring game only to ban them a few months later?

Paul V. Lioon said...

Not sure if it made much noise there... but Meyer tried to stick it to Muschamp and Gators by reporting an alleged recruiting violation for a suckeye sought after recruit. Urban first denied it then fessed up. Turns out he was wrong. NCAA found no violation... I know you aren't a Gators fan but Trust me when I say Muschamp is a suckeye - Meyer hater... plus isn't this Muschamp's 3rd year... I can tell you from my brother's perspective who works for U of Texas in Austin they wish Muschamp was There!!