It took a while, but the ole MMQ got around to figuring out how this entire collegiate football season is going to unfold.
With Michigan eeking its way into its first CFP!
Wow, I normally don’t jump ahead of myself like that, but nuts and gosh darn it, it’s hard to ignore all the other prognosticators that more or less have Alabama, Michigan, Pac 16 and ACC champion as their top 4 with the Big XXII just missing a bid once again!
If you’ve been listening to any sports talk radio (and you know you have), it’s almost boilerplate that Michigan and Alabama are in. Both Teams are the Odds on faves in Vegas and everyone keeps bringing up the magical 2nd or 3rd season for a turnaround coach in Harbaugh. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with any of it at this point. But I will, as always, do a complete analysis of the team (at least, complete by my standards) and then of course a game by game with insights as to why I’m thinking the way I am.
And when you add the latest Jimmy H Rap video into the mix, well….How can you NOT like Michigan???
So, without further ado, let’s get the show on the road!
Yeah, I know – I hear you out there. “Go ahead, MMQ, Take the easy one first!” And I do mean easy. Michigan returns a plethora of starters in key positions and SENIORS in the secondary! Hill, Thomas, Louis and Stribling are names you’re going to get used to hearing a lot. Not to mention that Peppers for Heisman makes the move to linebacker or safety. That kid likes to hit and he can cover ANYBODY coming out of the back field or on the short crossing route. While he’s giving up some Heisman glory, it’s for the good of the team. Add to ALL OF THAT: Michigan’s Defensive Men Up Front got a huge (and I do mean HUGE) injection of beef with the addition of Rashan Gary. His current FAKE times would have put him in the top 10 of this year’s NFL Defensive Linemen drafted. Maybe even top 5? That’s wicked good. The question isn’t if he gets playing time, it’s when.
Not to mention that through the first 6 games last season Michigan led the NCAA in defense – both scoring and total yards allowed. Things got worse for the D as Michigan’s offense was exposed and the defense got left on the field longer, but they were still for the most part a shut ‘em down group of Wolverines. Makes me proud to be a fan again! Not that I didn’t like the scores like 66-65 horse races that Rich Rod had us in, but the “Hurry up and score so we can get the ball back” mentality was getting to me.
I like this better. A LOT BETTER.
The question is can the new D-Coordinator Donny Brown carry on and continue to build on the foundation that DJ Durkin, who left for Maryland, laid down? I have a feeling it’ll be seemless, but sometimes my feelings aren’t 100%. Just sayin’……I like where the Defense is right now. I really do. This is an attack them and shut ‘em down Defense. A friggin’ scary defense that you wouldn’t want to have to face.
And when I think back to the seasons when Michigan had AWESOME Defenses:
2006 – One Suckeye loss away from the National Title Game….
1997 – ‘Nuff Said……
1988 – ’89 Rose Bowl Champs….
1983 – Fiesta Bowl Champs and #2 in the Nation….
So, Yeah, you can say this right now:
It’s Great To Be a Michigan Wolverine! (On Defense!)
The last 4 or 5 seasons (after the Robinson years) have been difficult for me to evaluate and gauge with respect to offense. Offense is a funny thing. You can have a great scheme and great players, but the offense can still have off days or simply not gel the way you want it to. (Hoke’s offenses were utterly abysmal, not to mention) Harbaugh is changing things and maybe he can change it in a big way in Season 2.
I will say that there were times under Rich Rod after Robinson arrived when I believed that there weren’t many teams that could stop Michigan, but Alabama did prove me wrong. (I know – that was Hoke, but he had a lot of Rich Rod’s guys). And yes, Michigan was pretty one-dimensional when Robinson wasn’t playing, so maybe it was me being faked out by pretty and shiny things….in the shape and form of D-Rob…
However, I saw a lot of things I liked last season on offense, mainly the tight-end returning to the tactical game-plan! That’s one more guy the defense has to worry about. Harbaugh knows exactly how to execute plays to eventually set-up and get the TE wide open. I love that. You ignore the guy until he kills you. Beautiful. And Jake Butt is going to really, REALLY open some eyes this season. Just a hunch….No, I’m not going there….Oh, who am I kidding - YES I AM!!!
You read it here first: Jake Butt will be an upper first round draft pick next spring. And he might – MIGHT – get an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy. Yep – I’m calling it in July, but dammit, that kid is good. And he could have easily gone in the draft last season as high as the 2nd round, but decided to stay in Ann Arbor one more season. I’m not sure how many TE’s have won the Heisman, but I’m willing to bet that Jake may be knocking on that door this season. (I had to look it up: There have been 3 TE’s to win the Heisman – Larry Kelley, Yale. Leon Hart, Domers. Ted Kaliwick, Penn State)
Of course, assuming all that crap about Butt above (Jeez - Sorry about that pun…) that means that somebody is throwing him the ball. I’m also betting that O’Korn, like Ruddock, is going to get the “Jimmy Nod” to start as he’s the most experienced guy that has some playing time under his belt. Speight will be ready and able, but O’Korn seems like the logical pick. And you can bet he’s picked some stuff up from Harbs that he didn’t get from Sumlin at Texas A&M. And if O’Korn is smart, he’ll find Butt early and often…..
Okay, yeah, I know….you’re right. That last sentence didn’t sound good. Didn’t sound good in my head and I didn’t like typin’ it either… And I’m not sure I’m ready for, “O’Korn finds a wide open Butt and completes the pass!” all afternoon….
But I digress!
Newsome, Braden, Cole, Kalis, and Magnusson will be in the trenches and they’re all returning starters with a year of Har-Ball under their belts. The offensive line will show MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT – I promise you that as well.
Darboh and Chesson are back as Michigan’s receivers and are proven commodities. I’m hoping – HOPING – That O’Korn can throw more than 25 yards downfield with a little accuracy – unlike Ruddock. I, along with everybody else, was dying last season watching Ruddock miss those two on wide open routes. We’ll see what happens….
Running backs Smith and Johnson are serviceable and I’m thinking one of them can have that breakout season once the rest of the offense starts clicking. D’veon has impressed and I love the Drake, but again, we just have to be patient and see where it all goes….
This brings back nightmares that I’d rather not re-visit. Catch the ball and kick the ball. Put the Goddamn BALL through the damn up-rights. Catch the ball and return the ball.
Everything else is gravy….I’m so dull when it comes to Special Teams. I just take what I can get and keep my fingers crossed on the critical stuff like everybody else….
‘Nuff said….but let’s say a little more, anyway. I do believe that Jimmy is loading a freight train full of players onto the tracks in Ann Arbor. Furthermore, there’s very compelling evidence that the Defense has been woefully under coached - dare I say this - under the last three head coaches? I know, I liked Lloyd and I was a fan of his DC, but I’m starting to think he had a lot of luck. Rich Rod, I don’t want to go there. And while I liked Hoke, clearly Hoke was not a “Coach”. He kept guys around out of loyalty FIRST and not because they were good at their jobs. If a guy’s good at his job FIRST, yes, you can keep him around out of loyalty when he’s got a bad group of kids or a having a bad season. But he’s gotta prove himself initially. It’s my belief that Harbaugh gets this and you don’t even get through the door until you prove that you’re on board, capable of executing and getting the most out of players. Then, and only then, loyalty is easy.
The Second Season is usually that season where magic can happen. Even though I’m pretty sure that Jimmy wanted magic last season. He wanted it bad. Utah, Sparty and the Suckeyes screwed that up. I think Jimmy knows that 2 out of 3 of those games were winnable. Let’s face it: Sparty was a win until the last play and Ruddock throwing for two scores in the opposite direction doesn’t help against Utah. The Suckeyes proved to be more than Michigan could have handled in their best outing last year and you can bet that Jimmy is using that game as the motivational tool for this coming season. Yes, The Wolverines destroyed a weak Florida team, but it was the OSU loss that brought focus. Especially to the coaches.
I will give Michigan the coaching edge in every game they play this season…even that one down in Columbus.
So what does all that mean for the regular season schedule? Well, the simple analysis when you pull up the schedule is that 9 wins is kind of a no-brainer. Yep – it’s that soft. It’s those other three games that seem to present a problem. But, as always, I like to go in order as they laid out on the schedule. So let’s do that:
Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors ain’t what they used to be. Luckily, what might actually help Hawaii is that games played on Labor Day inside Michigan Stadium have been known to reach 154 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Rainbows are used to the heat. OK, I’m exaggerating…A little. Michigan will prove to be too much for Hawaii and the first NB (no brainer) game of the season is in the W column.
Michigan 52-Rainbows falling 0
Central Florida: Another train wreck of a program that seems to get some of the dregs from the bottomless Florida Talent Pool on occasion. It seems like WFU, CFU and Miami are all on equal footing right now with the talent they get. But CFU under head coach Frost just won’t be able to travel to Ann Arbor and be effective.
Michigan 42 – Knights are forever without you 0
Colorado: I remember beating the Buffaloes in 1997 and that was sweet. I also remember the “Darkest Day” in Michigan Stadium. Okay, one of the darkest days. Let’s just say a top 5 dark day and leave it at that. Regardless, Colorado is a shell of what McCartney built up through the 80’s and 90’s. And they haven’t done much to improve their worth to the Pac 16. I don’t see why this season is any different…
Michigan 54 – Beefalows 0
Penn State: I feel for Penn State and their fans. I really do. What happened there could literally have happened anywhere. The fans continue to pay and pay by having to listen to all the crap that’s come at them and their school for the last 6 years or so. And the University is stupid and simply won’t pay the $100M or so to the victims to make the issue go away and decide they have to try every case in court. (PSU only has $3.5B in endowment money….sheesh). Plus you have people that want to bring back Joe’s statue way too soon….Distractions, distractions. Anyway, Franklin struggles again this season amidst QB controversy and overall lousy play. It will be a game, but Michigan wins this game easy for its 4th NB game of the season.
Michigan 35 – Nothinny kitties 0
Wisconsin: Anyone paying attention to the “points against” column so far in the MMQ fantasy season? Okay, just checkin’. I can’t believe Wiscy has fallen as far as they have and I thought their domination of the B1G West would continue, but no. And the pundits have them not being too good this season, either. I’m glad we have them at home, but I respect them and they screw up a good thing by scoring and nullifying the season of shutouts. NB # 5 takes its place on the trophy wall.
Michigan 24 – Respectin’ Wiscy 7
At Rutgers: Another roadside disaster of a program that couldn’t actually make a dumpster fire with two matches (one already lit) and a gallon of gas. Yet somehow they beat Michigan under Hoke in their first try. I don’t think this year’s visit will be as pleasant for Jersey, the Scarlet Knights and their loyal fans….
Michigan 38 – Scarlett, “Hey, it looks good on you, though!” 0
Illinois: Why, oh why, are so many B1G teams a disaster and why can’t they get things fixed? Granted, not everyone can hire a Harbaugh, but cumon’….Have a little pride! The Fightin’ Illini they’re not and Homecoming will be a big W for the Wolverines!
Michigan 45 – chief leave me alone 0
At Sparty: I will be shocked – SHOCKED – if Michigan is somehow NOT undefeated at this point sitting at 7-0 heading into East Lansing with a #2 or #3 National Rank. Yep, October 29th and up to now it’s been no challenge. Michigan will have had some small “tests”. Sparty will be ready and they are not going to give up the “crown” so easily. Expect the dirtiest of dirty, the most dastardly of dastardliness, but Jimmy has a revenge game coming and some payback to dole out. I expect a clever tweet from Blake O’Neill about East Lansing not burning couches when Sparty loses. Michigan wins this first Non-No-Brainer walking away and strikes fear in the entire Collegiate Football Nation’s heart.
Michigan 35 – Sparty Green Eyes of Envy 14
Maryland: Okay. Remember how I said there were 9 no brainer wins? Wouldn’t you think I would have the lowly Terps as an NB’er on the schedule? I mean, I’m a man and a fan that knows things! But, just ‘cause you think you know something….In the words of the Great Lee Corso – NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS! This is the scariest game on the schedule for me, folks. One week after an emotional victory at East Lansing. DJ Durkin returning to Ann Arbor for the first time as the Head Coach on an opposing team. Student meets Master. Master meets Student. Who will prevail??? Thank GOD this game is home. I don’t like Maryland and this game has me terrified. (But maybe I’m reading too much into things…)
Michigan 31 – Terps 24 (If a guy can build a defense, he may know ways to score on it!)
At Iowa: Ferentz had a dream season last year and was in the CFP discussion leading up to the last weekend of regular season play! So while Iowa had a bit of a resurgence last year does that transfer over to this year? Uh…no. S-O-I. Same Ole Iowa…..Maybe. They probably will have lost a couple by now and a win at home vs. Michigan would go a long way towards making it a successful season. But Iowa is an NB’er win on my list because, as anyone can tell you that’s been around the B1G: You simply gotta’ beat the “I-Schools!!!” And I hate Kinnick Stadium….so many lousy memories…
Michigan 24 – Hawks 14 Instant Replay: Michgian 27 – Hawkeyes 28
Indiana: Another “I-School”. Somehow Michigan managed to get all three this year. Thanks Dave Brandon? Nah…He couldn’t have orchestrated that…This is another NB’er on my list, but at the same time, Michigan had difficulty last season and it took not one but TWO overtimes to put the Hoosiers away. I like the head coach and I really like the Hoosier offense. And if they ever get a defense…look out!
Michigan 34 – Doogie Hoosier MD 28
At Ohio State: So, the new 10 Year War (or however many it’s going to be or however many years that Urban’s heart holds out) has begun. The first battle did not go Michigan’s way. However,
I believe in Jimmy Harbaugh
I believe in Jimmy Harbaugh
I believe in Jimmy Harbaugh….and he captured a lot of Maize and Blue magic down in the toilet bowl when he played in Columbus. Guarantees and big plays – Jimmy had it all. He won’t guarantee it, but when that suckeye crowd boos the Wolverines coming on the field prior to kick-off, everyone is going to be PUMPED. The biggest Non-No-Brainer game of the season comes down to a final drive with Michigan punching it in for the winning score!
Michigan 24 – You ruined our perfect decade 20
So there you have it! Michigan goes 12-0 (11-1 because undefeated is just so HARD) and heads to the B1G Championship. I’ll believe they’ll face off against an uppity Nebraska team that they will easily defeat (sorry Cornhusker Nation) and at 13-0 (12-1), they’ll either be the 2 or 3 seed in the CFP.
Mr. MMQ! Question!!! Question!!!!!
Who else will be in the CFP?
I’m glad you asked!!!!
The Rest of the Mess
As usual, many of the returning suspects have been here or been close before. There’s going to a load of SEC teams at or near the top and they’ll be an ACC team or two knocking on the door as well. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
The MMQ Pre-Season Final Poll Prediction
Remember: This is how I see the final poll at the end of the regular season. Pre –CFP if you will…..
1. Alabama – Satan has a cushy schedule that’s looks so easy on paper its not even funny. 12 returning starters. Scary. No QB of course, so rumor is they’re thinking about removing Satan’s brain in between plays and just let a player carry it out to the huddle. Problem is they can’t figure out what to do with Nick’s hair when his skull is open….
2. Michigan – Yep, I’m putting them here. 13-0 (if 12-1, switch with FSU) is nothing to sneeze at even if it’s not a schedule from hell. Michigan will be in the mix somewhere….
3. FSU – 17 returning starters, boys and girls. SEVEN-TEEN. As the MMQ, I can put that into football terms that everyone can easily understand: “It’s a Shit-load.” Jimbo Fisher may be sniffing around for another NC, but he’ll have the toughest road as he’ll have to beat another Jim (Harbaugh) and Satan. No easy task….
4. Stanford – Nobody is giving Shaw a whole lot of credit this season, but it’s hard for me not to like Stanford in a weak Pac 16. Even with doubts at QB, I have a feeling this could be a Cardinal kind of year…
5. LSU – The Mad Hatter will have maybe one loss at the end of the regular season, and that loss will be to Bama….Stanford may have one loss but will have played and won the “extra game” and nobody will want to see a Bama – LSU Tiger rematch. NOBODY….
6. The Suckeyes – They will only have lost to Michigan, but that loss will hurt.
7. Clemson – Couldn’t handle FSU and its Clemson fergodsakes…They can’t be that good for that long….Sorry Dabo…
8. Sooners – The Big XII ends up destroying itself and an emerging Texas Team throws monkey wrenches all over the place beating teams they shouldn’t, but a 10-2 Laters team is the best the Big XXII can offer….and a Big XII Championship Game in 2017 isn’t a great idea, either.
9. Tennessee – It’s now or never. Either the Volunteers prove that they’re actually back or they can curl up and die. They lose to Bama in the SEC Title game, but at least they make it to said title game…However if they pull off the SEC Title Game upset….Look out! SEC could be “frozen out” of the CFP!!! Just a hunch…
10. Sparty – Two losses on the schedule to top 10 teams is still two losses
11. Georgia – I actually think Kirby Smart can win the entire SEC in his first season, but its GEORGIA and until he does, well, the curse lives on.
12. Domers – I know. I’m giving them a lot of credit, but their schedule is a little soft….
13. USC-The Rubbers are like the Volunteers. It’s now or never with the talent that’s there.
14. Baylor – First mention of Baylor: the firing of Briles is going to hurt them….Big XXII is a disaster and this may force the conference’s hand to expand, finally….or push harder to expand the CFP to at least give the Power 5 schools auto-bids…
15. Texas – Strong is going to find a way and I like him as a dark-horse to win the BigXII this season! 9 Wins or Strong is Gone…
16. Okie State – Gotta get Big T. Boone Picken’s team in here somewhere!
17. Ole Miss – whatever….College of Women Beaters….
18. North Carolina – see Ole Miss…Except for they cheat….
19. Oregon – I heard Chip Kelly might be coming back?
20. Washington – I want to put Chris Petersen so much higher on this list…but I just can’t… Not until he proves it to me.
So that’s that. Meaning that the CFP would look like
Alabama vs. Stanford
Michigan vs. FSU
I’m going to say that the Michigan Magic is too much for the Seminoles to overcome and Michigan wins in a tight game.
And while the Cardinal give Satan and company all that they can handle, they don’t have enough.
Meaning we have Michigan vs. Alabama for the National Championship!
Who’s gonna win that one?
Cumon’!!!!! Repeat after the MMQ:
It’s Great TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!!
It’s Great TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!!
It’s Great TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!!
The Hot Seat
So many have been fired recently I’ve got to think about who’s coaching where….But before we go there, we need to re-institute everyone’s favorite poll: The Weekly Hot Seat Mascot! And seeing as how I’m one to start off with someone that I think will make the finals, we’re going to put a summer movie cutie in as the pre-season mascot. Gal Gadot looked pretty good as Wonder Woman and I’m betting that the MMQ constituency can come to a consensus on that pick!
As far as the coaches go, I’m going to stay rather conservative here as I believe schools have figured out its better to hire the right guy and stick with him….That’s not to say that there aren’t coaches starting this season on with warm posteriors…on the contrary, some are downright hot before the ball has even been snapped!
1. Sumlin – Texas A&M. Kevin was much loved when Johnny Football was there and the hate and vitriol on the blogs and the internet has grown by the day since Johnny left. Sumlin should have looked harder at the NFL offers he was getting when he had the chance. Needs 9 wins BAD to survive the season….
2. Muschamp –Flor-, errrrr…. wait a minute…..South Carolina. What a hire this was or what a complete and utter screw up this was. One thing we do know: We’re going to find out which one of those two items – Brilliance or Idiocy – this hire is! I’m curious to see how it develops, but we’ve seen this guy in action and we pretty much know what Muschamp is…and we also know that SC fans are not the patient type…
3. Malzhan – Auburn. Could have easily been #1 on the list, but Sumlin and Muschamp don’t have National Titles helping them hang around. Auburn Nation has been seething with Auburn’s lack of performance on the field since Cam Newton left. Malzhan needs 9 or 10 wins and a victory over Alabama to ward off the circling vultures. Let’s not forget that Auburn fired Tommy Tubberville after a 12 win season…I think?
4. Strong – Texas. Another #1 candidate. I do believe Charlie is in his make or break season at Texas. If he can win 9 and beat Oklahoma (but don’t put the Golden Hat on) and also up end TCU and Baylor, he’ll stay. But Texas has seen enough of his process and the Longhorns need to start coming together on the field on Saturday.
5. Hazell – Purdue. Everybody can’t be #1…But you could make an argument for this guy. Hazell is an enigma surrounded by a mystery wrapped up in a riddle. Purdue is throwing money at its program like crazy and Hazell has somehow convinced everyone that he’s the deal and can get them back to the top of the B1G. I dunno….but I think he needs 7-8 wins this season to keep the ax from falling…
6. Adazzio – Boston College. For all the BC Fans and those in the know that wanted New Michigan DC Donny Brown to take over as Head Coach at Boston College, the Sword of Damocles that is hanging over Addazzio’s head just broke another string….He needs 8 to 9 wins and an appearance in the ACC title game.
7. Riley – Nebraska. Riley and Nebraska suffered what can only be described as the “Season of Bad Luck” last year losing so many close games on the final play of the game that it defies my “gambler’s mind” logic. By sheer numbers, if you’re in 6 coin-toss games, you should win 3, or at least 1. But somehow, the Cornhuskers lost them all but found a way to beat Sparty. Riley’s seat is warm, but he could cool it off considerably with 9-10 W’s this season and a trip to the B1G Championship….
8. Miles – LSU. I know, I always put the Hatter on the list and he probably has the safest job in the SEC. But, you never know. Another 4 loss or - god forbid- 5 loss season with a loss to Bama making it 6 in a row to Satan and the Hatter could be looking at early retirement….
9. Whoever’s coaching USC – I’m not even going to bother looking it up. He needs to win and win bad. 9 or less will be grounds for new AD Lynn Swann to swing the Death Scythe of doom…
10. Leach – Wazzu. Washington State took a chance on Leach, but that chance has not paid dividends - yet. I also think Leach might, just MIGHT, get an offer from some other school that’s not in the middle of nowhere. I believe Leach might take a look at that offer and move on. Either way, 8-9 wins for Wazzu and each party might say, enough. What and who’s next?
Coaches I thought about but didn’t make the top 10: Jones – Tennessee, Richt – Miami, Kelly – Domers, Mullen - Miss State, Freeze – Ole Miss, Johnson – Georgia Tech
Ever notice how some of these coaches never get off the hot seat list???
So, is that enough of a pre-season spectacular for everyone ? 5,000 words of pure gibberish….