Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Outback Re-Cap, Bowls, MMPG and Stuff

SH#$%tty Way To Start 2018..

The B1G Was Poised For Greatness…

To be the first conference to go undefeated in Bowl Season and win 8 Games.  And then Michigan Gagged.  No other way to say it, really.  In what has become a mystery surrounded by an enigma wrapped up in a riddle, Michigan’s play-calling and decision making have killed them in Big Games.  But more on that in a minute…

A Tale of Two Halfs

I was cautiously optimistic going into half-time of the Outback Bowl.  Yeah, Michigan looked anemic on offense in the first half.  I’m not even sure that’s fair word.  They flat out sucked for the first 3 or 4 series and I’m not sure they had a first down until the 1st quarter had nearly expired. 

But Peters appeared to be easing into the passing roll and Harbaugh & Co. was giving him lots of opportunities as South Carolina was really stacked to stop the run.  The field goals didn’t bother me and as long as it appeared that South Carolina was going to dick-trip their way through this bowl making mistake after mistake, even though Michigan couldn’t capitalize on every opportunity, it was looking more and more like Michigan could play lousy and get out with a W.
Only one problem:  The 2nd Half.
Somebody once said that if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse.  And you could feel one team “Getting Better” and you could feel the other team “Getting Worse”.  IMHO, it all started with the Higdon fumble and ensuing challenge. 
Harbaugh seems to indiscriminately use Timeouts like they’re Kleenex and he just sneezed, but doesn’t have a runny nose.  I was pretty sure that Higdon wasn’t down when the ball had come out.  But Michigan Challenged.  I’m not sure who makes that call and who was looking at what replay in the booth in order to make the call, but the call was made.  I get that it was a crucial possession at a critical point in the game, but the middle of the 3rd quarter is a bad time to lose your challenge AND a Timeout
But that’s what Jimmy did. 
You could feel the whirlpool beginning as the defense couldn’t get off the field on the ensuing USC drive.  When they scored, I was pissed, but not yet at a point yet where despair had set in.  Michigan took the ensuing kick-off and then FRESHMEN QB Peters did something very freshmen-like:  He got himself into trouble behind the line of scrimmage, got tackled, and fumbled.  TO # 2.
Still, all was not yet lost.  However, USC managed to find an easy way to beat the Michigan Defense:  Attack the shorter corners and DB’s over the top.  Which they did.  With fantastic results. USC TD #2. 
Michigan got the ball back.  And Peters marched them down the field only to commit another very fresh-men mistake:  Throwing across his body into coverage for a USC INT.  TO #3
Then, trepidation set in.  I was frustrated and could almost feel the sense of dread wash across my body as the already shaky DPJ who’d dropped some balls that were catchable tried to get under a punt…and muffed it.  TO#4
Michigan looked EXACTLY as bad as USC had looked in the 1st half.  But Michigan’s seemed so much more self-inflicted.  Lousy play calling (Anyone watch the Rose Bowl and see how a “Good” offense can look in either Oklahoma or Georgia?) was extremely costly and Harbaugh is going to have to stand up and answer for that at some point.
I simply can’t agree with the decision to go for it on 4th down with 3:00 and change left as you have to assume your defense can get a stop with field position.  Of course they just had given up 3 scores albeit on short fields for two of them.  Still, assume USC is going to play “Not to lose” and they’re going to try to run it and you shut them down and get the ball back.  It worked out with the missed Figgie by USC, but then Peters decided that 2 turnovers on his own personal stat line wasn’t enough and tossed a game sealer to end the misery.
Where does this leave us?  Peters, it would appear, is not the answer.  However, I can’t say for sure as I hated this ESPN2 telecast as you didn’t get to see the receivers downfield so I couldn’t tell if guys were or were not getting open.  I just know that we had open guys all over the place against OSU that O’Korn couldn’t hit.  It’s hard to grade Peters on guys he might have missed that were open. 
Still, the mistakes Peters made cost him more than a starting job.  Game confidence is a big deal and right now, he doesn’t have it. 
Bring on Patterson and McCaffery. 
Sickening Stats of the Day
277 total yards
77 yards Rushing….77 YARDS RUSHING against a lousy defense!!!   After averaging over 200 in last 6 games…
No points scored in 2nd half
USC scored 14 points on 7 plays and 21 points in 6 minutes of game time.  
Dateline November 2nd 2016:
Michigan was ranked #2 in the country and was undefeated at that point in time.  13 months later, Michigan is 9-8, including 2 Bowl losses.  Granted, 3 QB’s playing in one season usually isn’t a recipe for success.  Oh wait, the suckeyes in 2013-14
Is There Anything To Look Forward To?? 
Basketball Anyone?
With respect to football:  I think so, yes.  But the offense has to take a big step in the right direction in 2018, which, I know, duh.  Which may mean that Drevno isn’t the answer and Harbaugh may need to sever that long-time tie and move on.  I don’t know what else to say at this point but Michigan’s offense simply doesn’t function when its needed.  And that’s a problem I’m putting on the coaches.  Michigan looks befuddled and confused at times.  Actually, often.  And Michigan is wasting what has been two-season of stellar defensive performances.    
This is the most disheartening issue right now as I think about the Denard Robinson offenses that were wasted because Michigan couldn’t stop anyone and every Michigan Fan prayed for a defesnse and now Michigan has one.   Unfortunately, we forgot to say a small prayer to keep the offense around. 
This loss will linger as anyone you meet when you have a Michigan shirt on is going to remind you that Michigan screwed it up for the B1G in the Bowls.  Just nod and take it.  We deserve the ridicule. 
The Other Bowls – In No Particular Order…
The Rose Bowl – Had to be the game of the day.  The majesty of the Rose Bowl, the setting, everything.  Double OT that ends in a heart breaker for Riley’s Laters.  Seriously interested in seeing how good/bad Oklahoma is next season without Baker Mayfield.  Lincoln Riley could end up looking like an “OK” coach 3 seasons from now unless another Baker walks on somewhere along the way. 
 And to all the Pilots in the Distribution:   Get a load of this guy in a Cessna getting a pic of the B2 that did the Fly-Over:

From the Pilot:
He uses the burst setting on his hand-held Canon camera that captures images at a rate of roughly a thousandth of a second. This gives him several images of the bomber, which is important because Holtzman's preference is for the plane not to block the American flag or either of the team names in the end zones.
Private aircrafts are restricted from flying below 3,000 feet at a radius of five miles around the Rose Bowl, according to Holtzman, and he said everything he does is coordinated in advance and that he remains in touch with air traffic control and the Pasadena Police Department.
"I'm above the restricted area," he said, "but they want to know what's going on."
The Sugar BowlThanks Bama.  I got to go to bed early.  And yes, we have 2 SEC teams in the National Title Game!  Ain’t that great!???!!!  I’ll explain in a minute that this happening sooner rather than later is a good thing…
Peach Bowl:  UCF pulls off the impossible and beats Auburn, who is the only team that’s beaten BOTH TEAMS in the CFP Final!  AIN’T THAT GREAT!!!???    Congrats to Scott Frost and the classy way he hung around to coach the Knights to the win before traipsing off to Nebraska…It will be interesting to see how high the Knights “Jump” in the National Rankings after the win.  Can they get all the way up to #7?
Citrus Bowl:  How fickle a state Florida can be in December and January.  The fans at the Citrus got to sit in high 40’s low 50’s rain while watching the Domers take down LSU.  Orgeron hire is looking more suspect after every loss.  Domers going into 2018 on a bit of a roll.
Cotton BowlSuckeyes looked very impressive in the dismantling of Pac 12 Champ USC.  Urban Meyer seems to figure out a way to win games that are meaningless…
Fiesta:   Another B1G team in PSU that looked very, very impressive in its dismantling of an overmatched Pac 12 team. 
Orange:  Wiscy vs. Miami was kind of a nail biter, but not really?  I felt like Wiscy was in charge this entire game.  Mark Richt was not happy at all and let a ref know it.  And got slapped with a 15-yarders, which yes.  Legal and legit. 
Music City:  Wildcats on Wildcats with an awesome finish and an ejection that shouldn’t have been.  Here’s a clip, if you didn’t see it:
The baffling part?  The referee later stated that refusing “assistance” from a referee is unsportsmanlike conduct and can result in an ejection!  I didn’t know that rule was anywhere in the NCAA Football Rule book.
With respect to the rest – I either didn’t watch enough or didn’t see anything extraordinary happen that’s worth a comment.
The NC Game
So, are we all happy?  We have two schools that are approximately 300 miles apart, one playing in it’s home state and the other in an adjoining state.  Both from the hated SEC.  Yet, this is what we wanted.   Or SOME of us wanted. 
I’m not saying either team is non-deserving.  Georgia handled a tough Oklahoma team and Bama is healthy and was able to do Bama things to Clemson.  Which I thought Dabo would see coming, but whatever.
Be happy.  For those of us looking for a 6-8 team play-off, this should accelerate that process.  There are too many that weren’t at the trough this season and they will make their voices heard. 
After a slow start that included Beilein hair removing TO’s and fouls, Michigan fended off the not so good Iowa Hawkeyes last night to go to 13-3 on the seasonSimpson finally showed some of the offensive prowess that he has and hopefully Beilein finds a way to keep him in the line-up and get him more minutes in spite of his “defensive” issues.  MAAR and Matthews were key down the stretch and it would seem that the team is coming together – Sort of.  The win won’t do much for the RPI other than it should hold them in their current spot. 
I know it’s early to speculate, but with the early B1G Season Start, believe it or not, HALF OF THE REGULAR COLLEGE HOOPS SEASON IS IN THE BOOKS WITH ONLY 15 GAMES LEFT!!!  Let’s all thank Jim Delaney for totally hosing the B1G teams with tight schedules and very little down time (Lots of 3-day turnarounds….)
Games Remaining – Dates – Time
Illinois(H)                  January 6th               Noon
Purdue (H)                January 9th               9:00 PM
Sparty (A)                   January 13th              Noon
Maryland (H)            January 15th            6:30 PM
Nebraska (A)             January 18th              8:00 PM
Rutgers (H)              January 21st             Noon
Purdue (A)                 January 25th              7:00 PM
Northwestern (H)    January 29th            7:00 PM
Minnesota (H)          February 3rd             2:30 PM
Northwestern (A)      February 6th              6:00PM
Wiscy (A)                   February 11th            Noon
Iowa   (H)                   February 14th           6:30 PM
Suckeyes (H)           February 18th           1:00 PM
PSU (A)                      February 21st            7:00 PM
Maryland (A)             February 24th            Noon
Traditionally, in the B1G (or any conference) we all know that winning on the road is particularly difficult.  So last night’s win was big.
Counting all the H’s above, there’s only another 8 wins on the schedule for The Maize and Blue, which probably won’t be enough for an NCAA Tourney bid, so they will need to steal a couple on the road.   3 should be enough.  4 would be friggin’ awesome.  2 or fewer and I’m thinking Michigan’s chances of getting in will be iffy…. And there’s always a potential of a home court upset.
And somehow Michigan’s 1 and done Road Games (no home & home) are against Wiscy and Sparty, two of the most difficult places to win on the road.  THANKS A F@#$%@#$%%KING LOT JIM DELANEY!  Minnesota has to suffer at Crisler without a chance at retribution in the Twin Cities. 
Possible Road Steals?   Nebraska and PSU should be locks, but hey, Basketball.  Northwestern is probably the next logical game Michigan could steal, but they’re playing a lot better and Michigan won on a last second bucket in Evanston last season.  So, I dunno. 
Maryland and Purdue are probably coin flips and the afore mentioned Wiscy and Sparty, well, let’s play loose and see what happens.  Maybe Michigan can have a spectacular shooting day against each?  Anything’s possible!!!!
First GREAT News of 2018!
Not that anyone really thought this was going to happen – Winnovich was never making noise about leaving... 
Winnovich will be another anchor in what will probably be a top 5 Defense next Season.  Please, PLEASE let’s get a serviceable Offense
Rich Rod Canned For Sexual Harassment in the Workplace???
Arizona was looking for a reason, and they used the flimsiest one they could find.  Rodriguez passed polygraph and in the end, the complainant wouldn’t come forward with her “Evidence”.  Say what you want about Rich, but I don’t believe a word of what the accuser is saying about him.  There was an extramarital affair, yes.  But not harassment. 

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