What does mid-summer bring? It brings us Fireworks and the MMQ Pre-Season Spectacular!!!!
54 Days till Michigan and Florida tee it up!!!
And what will I be predicting this season that’s different from every other one that I’ve ever predicted where Michigan wins the National Championship?
Errrr...Not much, I guess!
I do think a lot of the prognosticators have it wrong this season and Michigan may actually be as good if not a little better than last season. Not to mention that Michigan has an ideal home schedule with two tricky games on the road at Happy Valley and up in Madison. Yes, I guess you can say in Dallas against Florida will be no cake walk, either – but that’s a “Losable” game that shouldn’t hurt either team’s CFP chances that much, even though I don’t think Michigan will lose that one. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We’ll breakdown the games and the entire season in a minute….
First, let’s analyze what’s happening on Defense.
Every show you listen to that starts a discussion about Michigan Football always starts with, “They lost so much talent, I just don’t see how they can be as good…” I’d like to think of it this way: There’s Michigan Men that backed up all that talent that left for the NFL and they want a chance to prove that they actually learned something and are ready to play. And all that talk about those guys getting ready not being “as good” as the guys they are replacing is motivational. And if I know caoch Harbaugh and Brown, they’re using that motivation in very clever ways.
So let’s focus on who’s coming back and what we should be excited about. Gary and Hurst are going to be a 1-2 combination that is going to result in one of them having a GREAT Season because you can’t double team both of them.
Mone and Winovich will probably round out the other starters on the D-Line, but Ron Johnson and Aubrey Solomon may have things to say regarding playing time. Corey Malone Hatcher retired from football due to health reasons and won’t be a frosh sensation. All that being said, the Defensive line is refreshingly full and will be the “first line of defense” for any team that thinks they’re going to run the ball.
Moving to the LB position has me a little more concerned. Peppers and Gedeon are going to be difficult players to replace, but McCray is a long time player and is returning along side Devin bush and Khaleke Hudson, who will probably get the nod to fill Peppers position in the Brown Defense. While I’m nervous, I think the line will allow this unit to develop a little and gel more quickly as they see guys making plays in front of them.
Michigan has enjoyed more than its fair share of defensive backfield stars lately. Lewis, Stribling and Clark are all going to be hard to replace, but Michigan has talent coming back. David Long, Lavert Hill, Keith Washington and incoming Frosh Ambry Thomas will all contribute. Not saying I know who’s going to start, but I expect those 4 names will be called a lot.
Safety is another hole with some talent (Glasgow) returning. Again, with Brown’s tutelage, I’m not too concerned here.
Overall Defensive Take: I look at it this way – before Brown showed up the Defense was good. Last year’s defense led EVERY STATISTICAL CATEGORY going into the Iowa game. That’s a pretty tough accomplishment and it tells me that Coach Brown knows what he’s doing. He’ll build around what he has and get them to execute.
In short…Not too many worries.
I absolutely love the fact that Harbaugh brings a Senior QB back that’s ready to establish himself amongst the “elite” of CF QB’s. Speight is as close to an Andrew Luck Prototype as you’re ever gonna get. I have a feeling that Michigan airs it out a BUNCH this season and Harbaugh let’s the dogs out a lot. Why? Why Not. More on those reasons in a minute.
At running back, Chris Evans is back as a sophomore and will more than likely carry the ball the entire game with the exception of garbage minutes.
At full back, Khalid Hill, the Hammering Panda will be back knocking pretty much everyone on their butts. No worries here with Poggi as a back-up…
Wide Receiver is going to be fun as new names will be out on the receiving end of those Speight passes. Crawford, Peoples-Jones and McDOOM are names we should become accustomed to.
Michigan just lost one of the best tight ends it ever had in Jake Butt, but Wheatley and Bunting should be able to gap some of that talent loss.
The offensive line comes back with a lot of returners (yet another reason why I think Michigan will be looking to score early and often) in Cole, Bredeson, Kugler, Onwenu, and Runyan as your starters. A solid group that has played together for awhile….
Offensive Summary: If the College QB is the most important cog in the offensive machine, Michigan has that in a senior with one of the best QB Head Coaches in the business. I also think Michigan has a tail-back in Evans that can finally take Michigan back to the days of handing the ball to someone that can create yards on his own. Finally, a solid line anchors this entire unit and I get a warm tingly feeling when I think about how this season could play out.
In short: Extremely, perhaps overly confident.
Every year I just want two things: Kick the damn ball straight and catch the damn ball. That’s it. Kenny Allen did that nicely as punter and kicker and I’m sure there will come a point in time this season that we’re gonna miss him. Snapping the ball to said kickers or holders is pretty important too. Harbaugh gets the gap that special teams can create and will have decent units looking to make things happen.
Expect receiving duties to be split between McDoom and Hudson for now….
I’ve done my fair share of Harbaugh praising but I think it’s time for a little pre-season bashing and introspective. IF Jimmy has gone back and looked at last season, in particular Iowa and the suckeyes games, he should have stumbled across the fact that one more 1st down in the 4th quarter of either of those games would have won the game!
So what am I saying? 1st downs late are important? Yes, but what if Michigan was just up a couple of extra scores? I got the sense last season that Michigan was relying on its defense to make stops. The coaching staff knew the defense was that good when it needed to be and the staff got the defensive reads right. I’m not sure the Coaching staff has that luxury this season. I think they know that and they will be looking to capitalize offensively way more a lot earlier. Just a hunch…...
In short: Jimmy, it’s your 3rd season back. The great ones find a way to win the whole enchilada in their 3rd season. I’m not saying you have to, but I think a B1G Championship with a CFP Appearance is a must.
As always, I’ll walk through this season game by game to see how Michigan ends up. While I expect that 10 wins is the floor for this team, I think 11 regular season wins is very doable. Meaning Michigan finally achieves one goal of making the Championship game in Indy. So here goes:
Michigan, their opponent with date and time of game:
Florida (GATORLAND) Sep2. 2, 2:30 CST: This game will be a great barometer for both teams. However, if Florida announces that Malik Zaire is the starter for this game, I expect the line to jump a couple of points in Michigan’s favor. I’m not saying Zaire isn’t that good, but if you get benched in Brian Kelly’s offense, well, you’re not great. A real test on the road in Jerry World for both teams. I like Michigan in a close one, or Michigan and the Offense could win this thing walking away because “Florida lost so much on defense to the NFL…”
Michigan 31-Gator-Bites 24
Cincinnati Bearcats Sept. 9, NOON EDT: Not the same powerhouse they once were in the Kelly days, former suckeye head coach Luke Fickell has this team playing well. But the Big House and a fired up opening day crowd should be too much for the Bearcats and Michigan wins running away. .
Michigan 42 – Cub Kittens 17
Air Force Sept 16, NOON: I believe I say this every time it happens, but why schedule Air Force? This game is a tricky game as it is a bit of a tweener and Air Force has a gimmicky offense that could give the defense fits. I don’t care how many kids you put on the field during practice week, there’s nothing that gets you ready for how this offence comes at you. Never the less, Michigan should win this
Michigan 28 – Wild Blue Yonder 13
@ Purdon’t Sept. 23, 3:30 PM EDT: Michigan leaves the state early this season with a B1G cross over game in West Lafayette. The Boilers will have a new coach on display this time around. With the nutty scheduling and the lack of a round robin in the B1G, this game almost doesn’t even feel like a conference game. I had to look up the last time Michigan and Purdue played. It was 2012 and Michigan won and is currently on a 3 game winning streak. Brohm will get a taste of what B1G football is all about. I’d love to make this a road game and visit the “Purdue Patio” in the end zone, complete with boilermakers and other cocktails…What do you mean Season Ticket holders and
students over 21 ONLY???
Michigan 35 – boilerdonters 10
Sparty Oct 7, Game Time TBD: A “Throwback” game of sorts and Sparty is back on the schedule in early October! With all of the off-field shenanigans, Sparty is threatening to go 3-9 again this season and will more than likely already have a loss or two on its record by this point. Sparty is kind of falling apart as a program and I’m not totally sure that MD has it in him to right the ship one more time. This may be a night game in the Big House and that could make it even worse for Sparty.
Michigan 35 – no revenge Sparty 7
At Indiana Oct 14, NOON: Another new Head Coach on the roster this season and it’ll be tough for IU to be the same team CHAOS that they’ve been over the years. I see rebuilding coming for IU Football. A lot of Re-Building.
Michigan 38 – Hoosier Daddy 0
@ Penn State Oct. 21, Game Time TBD (Oh who are they kidding, of COURSE it’s going to be a Night Game WHITE OUT!!): Did you hear the latest? Rumors and some of the PSU Bloggers are talking about the Leftist Agenda attacking the PSU “White Out” games and how they’re “Racist”! Gotta love the liberal left, doncha’? One more stupid, idiotic thing to bring politics and whatever into. White Outs are a PSU tradition that I actually like and appreciate as the PSU fans completely buy into it. I do think Michigan should lose the White Road Uni’s and bring out the Blue pants and Yellow Jerseys for this game, however. Revenge will be on the mind of every Lion fan out there after last year’s 50-point humiliation in Ann Arbor. It won’ be enough, mind you, but they will definitely have their game faces on in Happy Valley.
Michigan 24 – Nittany Kitties 20
Rutgers Oct. 28th, NOON: I will be a little surprised if Michigan comes into this game less than perfect. No, really. I know that doesn’t surprise some of you, but there’s only been two “tests” on the schedule up to this point in Florida and PSU. And Michigan should beat them. Why am I not saying anything about Rutgers? It’s homecoming and Michigan hung 80 points on the exact same team that’s coming to the Big House this year. This game should not be on the schedule.
Michigan 69 – knights in scarlet satin 0
Minnesota Nov 4, Game Time TBD: Here he comes rowing his dinghy all the way from the Twin Cities! PJ Fleck and the Gophers find their way to Ann Arbor in an attempt to re-claim The Jug. It’ll be fun, but I have a feeling that PJ’s magic, while it’ll work in some games in the B1G this season, won’t find a way to win the oldest trophy in all of college football. That will have to wait until a different season. If ever.
Michigan 27 – Fleck’s Golden Rowers 13
@ Maryland Nov 18, Game Time TBD: This game always irks me for some reason. I wish DJ Derkin would get a little better and someone would hire him away from Maryland and out of conference. I have this sick feeling that at some point, Maryland is going to find a way to beat the Wolverines. They’re bringing back some talent and you can bet that DJ regularly talks to Harbaugh. And why are we always playing them so late in the season?
Michigan 28 – Turtles 14
@ Wiscy Nov 18, Game Time TBD: Madison in November! In another crossover home and home that started last season, Michigan has to travel into Cheesehead land. Last season was a tight game and I expect nothing different in Madison with the exception of the outcome. And since Michigan has to play up there, I expect revenge. And a blemish on the record….
Michigan 14 – Cheesy Heads 21
The Suckeyes: So Michigan essentially lost last season due to the poor refereeing. I mean, we can all agree on that, right? AMIRITE???!!! Anyway, enough about what could have been last year and wake up to the fact that you have to start beating Brutus again if you want to go anywhere significant or do anything that means anything in the post season. I really don’t see Michigan and Harbaugh losing 3 in a row, even if the suckeyes are bringing everyone back and will more than likely be undefeated coming into the Big House. Who cares? Michigan almost beat them last season and the suckeyes were pounded by Clemson 34-0.
Michigan 24 – We may never win in Ann Arbor again 20
With 1 blemish on the schedule to a Western division team, Michigan will earn the right to play in Indy. The question becomes: Who are they gonna play? Iowa and Nebraska will both be in the hunt but there’s another perennial B1G West Team I like. If you’ve been following along, you know that I think Wiscy is going to have a pretty good team and I expect a re-match between the Cheeseheads and Michigan. Michigan prevails and it’s on to the CFP!!.
So Mr. MMQ, you think you’re pretty good at this prognostication stuff?
Well, yes. I think I see things a little more clearly and objectively than some other people do.
Who else will be in the CFP?
Well, let’s take a look at
The Rest of the Mess!!
I have a feeling the CFP is in for a shake-up this season! And I don’t mean as to who’s in or who’s out. I just think it’s going to provide more drama in the two opening games over what we’ve had the last couple of seasons. Two of the teams last season (Washington and OSU) were only in because of record and weren’t the best teams playing from the Pac and the B1G. Their stats didn’t necessarily support their inclusion. Michigan and USC were statistically in to top 3 of the nation at the end of the season. If the CFP is paying attention, there’s better ways to do this stuff…
Anyway, let’s take a look at
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 again has a coooshy schedule and doesn’t even leave Alabama (for a real game) till mid-October. They play at Vandy in September…Still looks like Bama will be sitting at 1 or close to 1 going into the CFP.
2. FSU – Jimbo Fisher had the injury bug hit him mid-season last year. Can’t predict stuff like that, but it happens. Assuming they stay healthy, the ACC is a little less daunting now than it was last season with Clemson beating everyone. No reason Fisher can’t run the table especially with Louisville home.
3. USC – Clay Helton is getting some things figured out and whenever I hear him interviewed, you know he’s a football coach. The Trojans also have a very favorable schedule with the only difficult (Ha-ha) game on the schedule in South Bend against the depleted Domers. I’ll jump on this bandwagon early and take the Rubbers in the CFP.
4. Michigan – Yep, I’m putting them here. 12-1 (if 13-0, switch with USC) is a good enough record in the B1G to get you in.
5. The Suckeyes – They will only have lost to Michigan, but that loss will hurt and Urban is looking at a meaningless bowl…
6. Okie State – Gundy is pissed after last season and I think he’s bringing back a lot of starters from last season’s squad. Expect big things from the Hokies, but the Big iiX is again on the outside looking into the CFP. They’ll also have a conference blemish that will keep them from qualifying…
7. LSU – Coach Ogeron could be the fly in this year’s SEC Ointment assuming he can get past Satan. Only problem is that game is in Tuscaloosa.
8. Penn State: Franklin can’t quite get it done this season, but look out next year! Of course, they could also repeat as B1G Champs….So a flip-flop with Michigan is entirely possible.
9. Laters –Just isn’t going to be the same without Stoops on the sidelines. But Lincoln’s Laters can’t get by some of the other first year head coaches in the Big iiX.
10. Clemson – Dabo has to be in the top 10 just because they won a National Championship last year.
So that’s that. Meaning that the CFP would look like
Alabama vs. Michigan
FSU vs. USC
And this is the part where I predict that Jimmy and Satan try to meet at midfield for a pre-game handshake and they come to blows as one accuses the other of recruitin’ his territory and the other yells nobodies got it better than us!!!
I’ll also take USC over FSU. And then, finally, could it really happen?
It’s Great TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!!
And just as a double check, here’s the latest odds of teams winning a National Title as of 7-10-17:
The Hot Seat
I normally don’t do a Hot Seat Mascot in the Pre-Season Spectacular but I couldn’t help but notice some nice pics of a throwback nominee to… I’m not even sure what season (2009 perhaps?) and I wanted to give 37 year old Jessica Simpson a nod and the Pre-Season Hot Seat all to herself!!!
All I ever really seem to know when going into a football season is that someone, we don’t know who, is going to win a National Title. And we also know that some coaches are going to get canned! I liked what I did last season with the Electric Chair of Death and I think I will continue to use that. With respect to where everyone ranks? Let’s go!
“Electric Chair of Death!!!”
1. Sumlin – Texas A&M. Kevin has one of the worst November records ever at Teas A&M. It’s bad. Kevin’s seat is toasty all the time as a result, even when he’s winning. I believe the only thing keeping Sumlin employed is the life left on his contract (thru 2019) and what Texas A&M has to pay if they decide to part ways…
2. Kelly – Domers. Kelly has worn out his welcome with so many different fans that when you go over to the blogs it’s not if but when… I see the domers finishing anywhere from 5-7 to 8-4. According to the poll conducted over at NDNation, all of those records get Kelly canned. Of course, the pollsters are not Jack $warbuck$, who just handed Kelly an undisclosed raise two seasons ago…
3. Freeze – Ole Miss. Someone needs to explain to me why Hugh is getting so much protection from, well, everyone in the wake of the latest Ole Miss Scandal? Hugh had to know that things were fishy when he landed 3 recruits that he had no business in landing. Whatever…When he starts losing regularly, he’ll be gone.
4. Malzhan – Auburn. The Teflon Don at Auburn. They fired Tubberville with a better record. Yet somehow Malzhan hangs on. I don’t get it nor do I care. But Gus may be on a short rope this season.
5. Adazzio – Boston College. This one also has me stumped. With the exception that maybe the BC AD figured there’s nobody better he could get anyway with what he’s paying Adazzio.
6. Leach – Wazzu. The Pirate needs a winning season or OSU might be looking to trade up. Les Miles is STILL AVAILABLE!
7. Jones – Tennessee. Volunteer fans have suffered a long time under Jones and he needs to prove he can win the SEC East. CONVINCINGLY! And then at least be competitive in the SEC Championship Game.
8. Mora - UCLA. I really don’t think Mora is actually on the Hot Seat, but he needs to do something this season or he will be.
9. Graham - ASU Graham’s schtick has worn thin in Tempe (as has Rich Rod’s in Tucson) and he needs a new gig fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something happen to him mid-season if the record is bad enough.
10. Kingsbury – Texas Tech. I know he played there. But jeez TT really has sucked for the last couple of seasons. They need a winning season and a decent Bowl Game.
Coaches I thought about but didn’t make the top 10: Bret Bielema – Arkansas, Lovie Smith – Illinois, Chris Ash – Rutgers, Rich Rod – Arizona, Dantonio – Sparty.
Lovie can probably coach another 3 seasons at Illinois and be fine. Dantonio gets a 1 year reprieve from the seat but if he goes 3-9 or 4-8 this season, look out!
The FMQ Will Return!!!!