As in "ugly win." That game was painful to watch.
Although the running game managed to get on track this time around, the offense still hasn't fired on all cylinders. Threet pretty much threw away the starter's job with those lame duck passes. And the dirty little secret of this season so far is that the line has been underperforming to say the least. That's not going to improve any with left tackle Ortmann going out with an injury.
Again, it was a close game that the Wolverines could easily have lost if their opponent hadn't shot themselves in the foot. The RedHawks had several chances deep in Michigan's zone but couldn't get it done while UofM was struggling to move the ball before pulling away late. This time they won but it was a lot closer than tit should have been.
Especially because they were playing MIAMI OF FREAKING OHIO!
Sorry to get the Big Ten elitist flag out and all but there's a reason why Michigan hasn't lost to a MAC team since, roughly, Gerald Ford was still playing.
What happens next week when they roll into South Bend? Actually, maybe not so much different than this week given the difficulties the Irish seem to have had with lowly San Diego State - the only IA team to lose to a I-AA opponent so far and Cal Polytechnic isn't exactly Appy State, you know?
But the way they've been playing, they're not going to beat even a halfway decent team. Forget the OSUs and Wisconsins of the world, I'm worried that Michigan is going tits up against the MSUs...
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Professional football also kicks off this week, having already gotten underway with a perfectly timed Giants victory over the Redskins that led into McCain's convention speech. This Sunday is when my hometown team and perpetual embarrassment, the Lions first take the field after going unbeaten in a meaningless preseason.
Frankly, I don't see them doing much better than last year and will consider an 8-8 record an accomplishment. The passing game looks solid. Kitna's...well, Kitna's Kitna but the receiving corps looks pretty solid with the young guns looking to break out before free agency breaks them up (With both Johnson and Williams, they have two good threats to help stretch the field. Which is good. But that means two star receivers and that's not a situation that lasts very long once it comes time to pass around the contracts - one or the other is gone in the space of a few years, mark my words.). And the defense promises to be better, too, if only as a case of addition by subtraction. The question mark is the running game. And, no, the question isn't "Are you sure your property is properly labeled with your name and address and a in case of lost found, please contact sticker?" It's whether the green platoon of backs will be able to carry that load coaching staff's commitment to the run could or should waver, should it be proven they can't.
Even if everything goes right, the Lions are still suffering from a serious talent deficit. Which is amazing considering how long they've been bad and all the high draft picks they've gotten over the years (*cough*Millensucks*cough* and most of those were busts, of course.) but it means they really have to play above their potential if they want to compete. And, really, I don't think they can.
They get rather lucky this week, though, with a visit to the Atlanta Falcons who've cut Joey Harrington and are at the start of the Matt Ryan era. I expect that a rookie quarterback will struggle. And as woeful as the Lions are I expect that even that can capitalize on that.
No, I'm still not over the loss against Utah. It's not just that Michigan lost but that they looked so wretched doing so. They looked lost, confused, and overmatched out there on the field, like they were the team from the mid-major conference and they were the ones taking half the gate receipts for a ritualized slaughter in front of thousands. Despite the score, that game wasn't even close. More to the point, it wasn't even competitive. I don't like when the Wolverines lose, obviously, but I'm just not used to them not being able to compete.
Anyhow, after initially dismissing Utah last week before getting that funny gut feeling that I'd been a bit too hasty and then getting that funny gut feeling that I'd been my stomach had been smacked with a bag of wet concrete, I should probably just give up and mow the lawn or something. This week is, after all, Cupcake Saturday. A day devoid of big match-ups while the traditional powers feast on their scheduling record padding. Michigan's opponent, for instance, is Miami.
Not the Hurricanes but the RedHawks from Ohio.
And, sure, they might be known as the launching pad for Bo and Woody and Ara and a host of other coaches but they're not exactly known for being a winning program. So, I expect this week to be a tune-up game. Michigan will come out, look halfway decent, and hopes will be restored. But the real test will come next week with the trip to South Bend. If the Wolverines can beat Notre Dame then there's hope for them yet. If they can't then this season is going to get really ugly.
There is an outside possibility they lose this week's game, though, and that won't even matter. And that possibility is mainly because of their unsettled quarterback position. The word on the street is that it's going to be Threet getting the nod today. His stats weren't as good as Sheridan last week except for the all-important points produced. Sheridan put up 10 while behind the offense's steering wheel while Threet had 13 in the second half - including almost managing to bring the team back for an improbably victory. He just looked better and the team played better around him. He didn't, though, pull off that comeback and he didn't look great. And those two touchdowns he managed were as much gifts from Utah turnovers and penalties as the one Sheridan managed. It's not like he was marching up and down the field leading a revived passing attack or anything, he was opportunistic - which is good - but not exactly breathtaking.
And that's a problem because the spread option lives and dies by the quarterback. And, right now, Michigan doesn't have one.
The other cause for concern from last week was the defense. They did what they needed to do and stopped the Utes from running. Only to see the Utah quarterback rain passes all over the field and lead his team to a win. The defense really has to carry this team until the offense can gel and, even then, has to be the calling card that gives the other side of the ball a chance. But while they played stronger as the game wore on, even as they were kept on the field way too long and in bad position from an offense that couldn't stay on the field, they didn't exactly look worldbeating, either.
So, the offense looks wretched and the defense looks mediocre at best. Of course, I'm calling for the win today.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
So, I'm upset over yesterday's drubbing. It still stings. Michigan football this year is looking to be a painful ride this year. I'd like to say more and I've been trying to collect my thoughts but all I've got so far are variations on the theme of "f-f-f-f-fuuuuck".
But, now, it's Labor Day and I'm going to be taking the rest of the weekend off. See you on the other side.