Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Predictable, Like A Rainy Day In Late October

On a day best left to a detective novel, Michigan slogged through the rain, the sleet and Northwestern to earn its ninth win of the season.

I will say this to Michigan's nay-sayers and critics, the game plan was predictable.

They won.

Everyone present in the stands and watching more comfortably at home knows this wasn't a thing of beauty. Michigan passed for a paltry 116 yards. Mike Hart sat out long stretches of the game allowing Kevin Grady and Brandon Minor time to fumble away prime field position. Chad Henne, once declared the new hotness, has cooled managing only a single touchdown pitch against a woeful Northwestern secondary. Young and talented Carson Bulter botched several easy catches that would have resulted in first downs. Even the normally reliable Steve Breaston flubbed and fumbled away a punt he knew better than to get near. It was ugly.

Lost in this critique is the predictable outcome. Lost is the fact that 30 mph winds howled through Michigan Stadium all game. Lost was the fact that the turf and ball were as slippery as a greased pig from hours of rain. Lost is the fact that Michigan emerged without serious injury on a day that should've claimed more than its share of athletes. Lost is the fact that Michigan was never in danger of losing this game.

Michigan did what we expected them to do. While they did not hang 44 on a hapless Minnesota team at home, they did more than enough to win. The defense was nastier than the weather, sacking Northwestern three times despite their constant reliance on the three step drop. Michigan forced two fumbles and picked off three passes. Though Henne and the offense had middling numbers, they kept the game going, and scored enough points to win. Predictably, the game was closer than it should've been. But that is Michigan this year. They simply do what they need to win.

Two things mark this Michigan season. One, always putting enough offense on the board to win. Two, destroying the opposing offense.

With regard to the first, several players deserve accolades for their performances. Predictably, Mike Hart heads that list. With 95 yards rush, 23 of them on 4th and 2, and a touchdown he continues to be the engine that powers our offense. Next, an unlikely candidate, Jerome Jackson. Thrust into the game when Brandon Minor and Kevin Grady's allergies to pig skin resurfaced, Jackson was excellent at not only protecting the ball but gaining needed yards. His 59 yards on 9 carries were not of the spectacular variety, but the were crucial in salting away the game. Further, at 6.6 yards per carry, he showed he will be a reliable backup for the rest of the season. Third, Greg Mathews continues to emerge as a legitimate third receiver. When put in the game Mathews has done an excellent job of doing what he's supposed to, catch the ball. He has found holes in zone coverage and is progressing into a good downfield blocker. The thought of Manninham's return, coupled with Mathews, Breaston and Arrington, is enough to give me 4-wide goose bumps. Fourth, Zoltan Mesko. On a miserable day 4 of Zoltan's punts ended up inside the 20. While a number of his kicks were line drives that needed more hang time, he managed to put the ball where he was supposed to.

Finally, Chad Henne. Easily passed over due to his quiet numbers of 10-20 for 116 yards. Henne posted those numbers despite a 30 mph head wind and at least four drops of accurate passes. Critics will complain Henne didn't go down field and was too eager to check off and run. They will say he didn't move the chains.

They would be wrong.

As Northwestern so aptly proved, throwing the football on Saturday was a bad idea. Any ball that rose more than ten feet above the ground often fell victim to the indescriminate gusts of wind that blew through the stadium all day. Take Northwestern's second interception, lofting a pass toward the back of the endzone C.J. Bacher's pass caught one of those gusts. The wind, robbing the ball of its forward momentum, forced the ball back toward the earth. It was a play that without the wind likely would have resulted in an overthrow out of the end zone, instead turned into an interception 6 yards short of its intended target.

Henne was wise not to chance such passes. Instead he settled for what the game and elements dictated. When allowed to throw down field he did so well. Only drops by Butler and Breaston marred his day. Henne was his usual, efficient and predictable self. As always, good enough to win.

On defense, Lamar Woodley and Leon Hall stood out. Woodley recorded two sacks on the day, 3 TFL, forced and recovered a fumble. Leon Hall proved again that throwing at his side of the field is equivalent to taunting an unchained tiger, attempting to walk across lava with your bare feet, and racing a bullet in the pantheon of "Incredibly Stupid Things To Do." Three tackles, 2 pass breakups, an INT, and a fumble recovery marked one of his best games of the season. On the whole, the Defense posted 12 TFL and three sacks. Tim Jamison added to the Defense's now infamous collection of concussed QBs when he knocked Bacher out of the game in the fourth quarter. This marked the second straight game Michigan has not allowed a touchdown. Saturday also marked the lowest point total Michigan has allowed all year.

Since Notre Dame the Defense has allowed the following:
13, 14, 13, 10, 6, and 3.
This is partly why.

Perhaps the biggest thing that will be lost in the head scratching over Michigan's offensive performance is just how bad it was at field level.

With the temperature firmly in the low 40s, every drop of rain hit exposed skin like a little frozen needle. No part of the Stadium was dry. Even if you covered your seat, water somehow found its way into the seat of your pants. If you got up once, your seat immediately as covered in rain or run off. Despite several layers of waterproof clothing, rain drops or runoff seemed drawn to the insides of your shoes and socks. Leaving only after they'd delivered the head sinus cold they brought with them. The wind swirled around Michigan stadium with bad intentions. Every so often a gust would lift the stadium inhabitant's parkas and ponchos over their heads, spraying their watery exterior contents all over their neighbors and themselves. You sat there. Cold. Miserable. Waiting for the game to be over, lest frosbite, hypothermia or some other horrid malady befall you.

And we weren't on the field.

The players bore the brunt of the elements wearing nothing more than a Maize and Blue colored mesh sponge. While our shoes were wet they weren't slogged with enough water to double as an aquarium like Woodley's seemed to be. We weren't trying to cut away from a would-be tackler on a 100 yard slip 'n slide. We weren't trying to throw the hopes and dreams of a fan base into a 30 mph head wind without the ability to properly grip the ball. Michigan was. And they did it well.

This win was not glamerous. It wasn't pretty. It was simply a win. It was another predictable effort and outcome for Michigan.

A win.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Maize n Ballot: Week 8

Maize n Ballot Week 8

1Ohio State--
3Southern Cal--
10West Virginia--
11Notre Dame--
12Clemson 1
13Arkansas 1
14Wisconsin 1
15Boston College 2
16LSU 2
17Georgia Tech 5
18Rutgers 2
19Boise State 2
20Oklahoma 2
21Texas A&M 3
22Oregon 6
23Missouri 2
24Wake Forest 2
25Nebraska 6

Dropped Out: Pittsburgh (#23).
Not a whole hell of a lot to discuss. Lots of good teams played close games. It happens. they all win, they stay put. Maybe I should've given Clemson a little more of a boost, but they'll have plenty of time to make up ground
I still hate West Virginia. Untill they beat someone I'll keep them low. I think everyone of the defenses ahead of them would shut them down, and I don't believe they've got the defensive tools to stop anyone ahead of them either.
That's about it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Brief Moment of Sunshine on a Rainy Day, Michigan 20 Iowa 6

Photo Courtsey: Rashaun Rucker/DFP

When the alarm went off at 6am Saturday morning, even though I was excited about going to the game, I was not excited about getting out of my bed. A quick glance out the window didn't help my mood. Rain. Fog. Nastiness. In short "perfect" football weather.

As the seasons begin their gradual descent from autumn to fall to winter there is a fetid dampness that hangs in the air. The kind that reaches into your bones and chills you no matter how many layers of clothes you put on. "This," I told myself, "Is what you're willing to do to go to a football game."

The drive from Chicago to Ann Arbor was easier than the walk from my place to my friends car, but not by much. My buddy was equally as exhausted as I was and I submit to you that four tired, hung-over hours in a car are just as grueling as running a marathon.

Yet we persevered. Coffee and a Sausage Egg McMuffin as our fuel, we motored into Ann Arbor.

When we arrived at our tailgating destination the weather had improved slightly from the steady drizzle we faced rolling east on 94. Even so, the air was cold and the ether had palpable aura of rain. To hell with it. Mother Nature ain't spoiling my day. With that the first of many beers and laughs were shared friends old and new.

Over the next three hours we proceeded to backslap and laugh the rain away. Suddenly the clouds started to part, the sun shone through, and the dampness that was so prevalent earlier, disappeared. It was almost as if the gods were rewarding our stubborn devotion.

Saturday turned out to be a crystal clear afternoon to watch a talented Michigan team run up against its fiercest competition. Like the late afternoon and early evening it inhabited, the game was something the behold.

After a crippling loss to Indiana, Iowa appeared to show no aftereffects from the loss. For the majority of the first half Iowa stymied the Michigan offense, somehow forcing Michigan to settle for 3 points instead of 6 on a goal line stand late into the second quarter.

Even as the sky above stayed blue, the offense below remained grey. Zone blocking is effective against larger D lines, not smaller faster gap filling ones. Iowa's defenders made the first half miserable for the Michigan running game. Michigan's slow marches down the field, when not stopped prematurely, were the result of steady short throws by Chad Henne to a variety of receivers. With three catches in the first half, red shirt freshman Carson Bulter actually led Michigan in receptions.

Arrington appeared twice to have caught touchdown passes only to have them waived off by laziness or on review. So Michigan strode into the half nursing a three point lead.

However, it wasn't as though Iowa was doing much. To the contrary. Most of their drives were enveloped by the Mongol horde that is our Defense. There was the occasional 12 yard run or the 15 yard pass, but the majority of pass went for no or slight yardage. Of Iowa's six first half possessions only one drive lasted longer than 5 plays. That drive resulted in a Crable induced fumble that was recovered by Brandon Harrison.

While the run defense turned in its usual spirit breaking performance, Michigan's oft maligned yeah-they're-good-but-are-they-good-enough secondary had an outstanding day. Pre-season super QB Drew Tate was held to 197 yards passing and no TDs. During the first half, as Michigan's offense sputtered, Hall, Trent & Co. made sure Iowa's came to a complete halt. Tate was held to 78 yards passing in the first half. his longest completion was for 18 yards, with the majority being surely tackled for 4 yards a piece. Iowa may not have the athleticism of an Ohio State, but the sure tackling and steady coverage of the secondary was a constant the entire game.

The second half got off to a poor start when Henne, truly forcing a pass for the first time in a long while, got picked off. It was a throw Henne knew better than to make. Not that anyone can blame Chad for being a little antsy at that moment. Late in the First Half, Reuben Riley injured his leg and attempted to start the second half (basically) without it. That effort, while admirable, resulted in a sack, fumble, and 10 yard loss. Two plays later Chad forced his bad throw and Iowa had the ball at the 26.

The turnover proved to be irrelevant. Gaining only 8 yards on a single completion, Iowa was forced to settle for a field goal. The Michigan defense quickly recovered any momentum that had been lost during that stand. They also proved it doesn't matter where you get the ball, you're not getting in the end zone.

With the game and momentum even, Steve Breaston firmly placed them both back in Michigan's corner. Breaking a solid kick off into a near touchdown return, Breaston deposited Michigan on the Hawkeye's 35 yard line. Starting on the 3 yard line in left corner of the field Breaston sprinted straight ahead through the Iowa coverage team. At the 30 he veered sharply to the right taking the ball across mid field and eventually being brought down at the 35.

Breaston stayed in the act, picking up a crucial first down on a bullet from Henne. Then following an Arrington first down completion almost identical to Breaston's, Mike Hart launched through three Iowa defenders, dragging the last one into the end zone. His stellar effort put Michigan up 10 to 3. At that point it was obvious the strategy upstairs had changed. Gone were the zone blocks. In were the we're-bigger-than-you pancake blocks that began to allow Mike Hart cavernous hole to operate in.

As the portable halogens began to replace the sunlight, Iowa tried to respond. Tate finally played like the quarterback we've heard so much about. 23 and 27 yard completions to Douglas and Chandler had Iowa poised to tie the game as the ball rested at the Michigan 11. They would get to the 5 before being forced to kick a field goal. The pass coverage, dormant in giving Tate a quarter of his game yards during the drive, awoke. After reaching the 11 only Albert Young could find a moment of freedom before getting flattened short of the goal line. Iowa's receivers found themselves locked down and helpless as Tate's third down pass fell to the ground with no one around it.

After that, Iowa would have only 6 more plays. Book ending those two possessions were a Garrett Rivas field goal and a Mike Hart touchdown which sealed the game. Tate would pass for 46 more yards during his final possession before turning the ball over on downs, but the game was over when Mike Hart walked into the end zone untouched.

Tate, like the quarterbacks before him this season, received a heavy dose of Michigan's new defensive elixir. Sean Crable planted Tate twice and force him out of bounds four yards short of the line of scrimage for his third sack. Woodley, Branch, Taylor and Biggs constantly brought pressure on Tate, resulting in the defenses fourth and fifth sacks. What was most rewarding in watching the defense play on Saturday was the contain the managed to keep, preventing a mobile Tate from hurting the offense with first down scrambles. The rest of Iowa's offense disappeared into the rushing abyss that lines up in Maize and Blue every Saturday. Michigan allowed only 41 yards rushing further cementing its position as the country's best run defense.

On a day where so much was wrong with simply getting out of bed, Michigan provided justification for our effort. Playing without its best receiver and against a fast violent defense, Michigan posted 20 points and its eighth victory on the year. There were ample reasons for Michigan not to show up on that dreary day. The impending distraction of Adrian Arrington's legal troubles, two tight ends out with serious injuries, their starting right tackle limping out of the game, rumors of injuries to both Hart and Breaston.

Michigan ignored those distractions. Single minded, they marched on and off of the field undefeated. Focused both before and after at the prize close enough to see but not close enough to touch.

That focus will again be tested this weekend as the most mentally challenging part of the season creeps up on them. Three games against teams Michigan should beat, on paper, by a minimum of 20 points. Three games Michigan knows it should win.

Despite those things other people "know" and the distractions they know all too well, Michigan remains focused on the task at hand. During the game you could sense no desperation, no fear. All you could sense was determination to complete the task at hand.

During the ride back to Chicago my friend and I discussed the game and life in general as a steady torrent of rain poured down on our car as it cruised westward on I-94. As we drove our conversation drifted towards what a beautiful afternoon and evening it was while Michigan was on the field. Jokingly, I asked my friend if it was worth it. You know. Getting up at 6 in the morning on a Saturday and driving through a monsoon just to watch a football game.

Concentrating on the road and not picking up my sarcasm, he answered simply and emphatically.

"Oh yeah."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thumbin' Through Michigan Iowa

As usual, the lines to get into the stadium sabotaged my chances of witnessing the kickoff. Alternatively it could have been the beer I consumed and continued to consume until ten minutes prior to the scheduled starting time, but that's neither here nor there.

What is here is...

Thumbin' Through Michigan Iowa

We Now Join The First Quarter Already In Progress...

(Michigan Ball after Iowa Punt- ed)
Hrt lft for 5
Hrt std up for -1
Hn on scrmbl rt for 0

Pnt to 26

Pass lf for 6
Fr 1dn
Douglas for 20
Hold on iowa. Chtrs

(Large people moving around, disrupting my typing. Don't they know who I am. Oh wait, probably not. I don't even know who I am...)

And Im back
Te pass rt for 4
2 & 11
Inc rt hall on cov
Hall on cv. Bltz. Tate thrw before cut on psr

Brstn back
Long kick brstn tckld early

Iowa chrldrs r fat
Brng back msu.
No Fat Chicks!

Sittint next to 81 on Iowa parents. Have to b nice bc they r physically able to brk me in hlf. (Really, really nice people. However, they were very, very large as well. They laughed when I made a joke or two, but every joke was carefully calculated not to get my head smashed in. - ed)

Hrt lf sid for nthng
brstn rt on for 8
Hrt rt nthn

zltn dp punt to 6
Iowa rtns to 23

Iowas d looks good. 9 guys in box tho. Need to pass
ovr top. Thnk dbord is softning thm up.

iowa ball at 23

Tate escapes with life. bad tckling as he gans 4 rt.
Crbl ovr ran
Rb pass to sims, harris on tckl for one on lft sd
Wr cut pass rt trnt on cv for 1dn and 7 yrds. Good cv and pass
Rb up mid rt for 1
Trnt no cast
Pass lft for 1dn fmbld oobs. Bshit. shldve been inc.
Iowa slashes rt for 1dn
Iowa are fired up. In iowa section. (My seats border the Iowa guest section. Have to say, they are the nicest of the visiting fans so far this year. Not as hot at MSU, but much nicer. Friendliest damn people I've met at the stadium. -ed)
Inc tate to douglas. Hall on cv.
Wrscn for 0 on lft side.
Complt to chndlr at mrk for 1dn. Dammit!
Sack by jamison and branch. tate almost got out of it.
Ovr pursuit. 2&22. Frst gd prsr
TO iowa

Our chrldrs are in rl chrldr outfits for once.
who knw they hv legs?

Tate gets poped by crbl. Harrison rcvrs! Prsr works!
Snd more

Pass rt to arngtn for 1dn fghts for it. Wt. 2nd &1
Arrngtn ovr midl on crs for 10.
Hrt lft off tckl for 3
Hold on butler. Hrt gts 1dn. Frst and 17. 000 on clock
arrington ovr midl for 5

End of 1st

Strt 2nd

Empty bck fld. No one got open. Hne gts poped but gts
rid of ball
PI on pass midl to arngton. Obvious. 1dn
Hnne sacked by prsr up midl. Line got beat bad. Arngton open on post
TE pass to lft to butler. Got 12. 3&11
Henne looks like shit today. Sacked again. Not a lot of time to thrw. Mking bad reads.

Zltn in

Pnt dned at 9. Best contrld kick of yr for zltn

Iowa is frd up rt now. Henne lks lk crap. Cnt run cant pass. Little worried rt now. Still. Is just the 2nd qrtr. But still.

Woodley=huge. jst pssd by. dude is gigntic. Good lord

Iowa 1&10
Gash midl for 5
Taylor wraps up rb for loss
Pass bttd into air, chndlr bats it dn inc
Brstn bk

Fc on good pnt. 1dn on 43 mich

Iowa fans. Evrwhr.

Butler on TE pass to lft for 12
Hrt up mid lft for 8 nvr stops drgs three for extra 4
Hrt brks contn rt for 3. 1dn

Iowa guy hrt. 19 hrt, Shda hrt.Hurt rt ankl. Poor kid.

1dn mich
Rvrs to brstn. Wdlv worked if there werent 10 guys in box
Brstn on moving scrn for 7
Mthws fights for 1dn midl. Grt conscntrtn
Butler drps sr td te cross 10 yrs shrt of ez. Bd drp
Bltr mks up for it frst dwn crs on sm ply. Good chcing
Iowa shd blks well.
Hrt fire midl
Arrgnton jgles. Almst td. Shld be rvwd. Pass bttd
3&3 gl
Hnne to arrngtn. Bk ez. Oobs.
Rvs to kick
Prv Ply bng rv.
Dammit. Ply stnds.
Why is this tm playing so tuff?
Rvs true. Mich 3-0

Iowa is playing above their heads rt now.

Rvs to kick off

Pounded at 20.
1&10 @20
Brnch dstrys play. 1 yrd on rn lft
Rb scrn for 17. Dammit. Lrn the f-ing scrn pass!
Rn rt off tckl. Fr 2
FS on Iowa.
FS entire line announced by ref. So awesome.
528 left
Trnt mks stp on drw lft. Swt play. Loss of 2
Inc on bmb rt to douglas trnt w him strd fr strd. inc

Brtsn flds shnk for an extra 5. Mich at 39

Rn rt hrt. Fr 1
Brstn scrn lft for 4
Brstn on tuff ctch for excllnt 1dn. Hly crp. Legit route by brstn
Inc deep to brstn
73 on hld. Dmit
Hrt to lft for 4
Hrt dmp off middl for 7
Hnne ovr thrws arrngtn rt side inc
pnt zltn

Dnd @2
Up midl lft for 2. TO mich
Rn midl fr nthn
22 secons in half lft.
Pass. Tcl oos rt.

End hlf.
Iowa stcking box big time. Dont fear ovr the top. the
1 brstn dp rt db rn it btr thn brstn

End half
Mich has 7 yards rshin. 128 yrds passing. Iowa has
less thn 100 yrds total. 20 yrds rsh and 78 yrds in

Iowa woke up for this gm. D playing out of hds.

Start Second Half
Tabb & Minor bk on kckoff rtn
Minor dprs it at 3. Picks up gts to 5.

Nrt up midl fr 5
arngtn qk cross for 10.
Riley not in. Hurt.
Hrt out of bkfld on pass to lft. 7 yrds. Bnds ovr
hrt rt for 2
Clck prblm. Official to
73 @ rt tckl. 65 new rt grd.

Chrldrs now in sweats. Dammit!

FS by mich. Dammit. You jst hd a to! Butler fcks up agn.
Mthws to 30.
1dn. Mthwes goes lft rt on lng crs for shrt gn
Riley gts beat. Henne strpd. Riley rcvrs at 18.
Pass batted at ln of scrmg.
Bad pass ovr midl int by henne. Frcd bad thr and got
picked off. O looks bad

Iowa ball

Complt ovr rt mid for 9.
Rb up midl for 1dn
To fr msrmnt.
Wrng. 3dn
woodley frcs int by tate on pass call. 4 dn
Fg good.

Mich needs to wake up.


Jeebus. Gtn a ltl scrd here.

Brstn and tabb. No minor
Brstn on awsm rt for lft sd cts back midl at 40 gets
to iowa 35
Hrt brks contn on rn lft. Hld on arngtn. Dammit. 1&11.
Hn almst gts picked agn. Stp throwing it low ovr th fcking middl chd. Its like he cant see th lb today
Hrt fts for 6 to lft.
Brstn comp rt to lft for one dn on cross midl shrt comp
Hrt on misdirct lft cuts mid rt for 4. Shdlv kpt going lft
Hrt rns rt fr nothn. Keeps slamming on brks. Need to go strt ahead.
Arrngtn over midl on rt mid shrt crs for 1dn. @ 9

TD! Hrt powers ovr midl lft for td. 4 yrds aftr 1 contct.
So awesome.
Rvs fr pa

10-3 mich.

Iowa not respecting dp ball with zn. Playing off 6
yrds bt lots of help ovr top. Tuff d to play.

Grt kick rtn to 21
Rn to lft midl for 3.
Woodley getting into it w iowa ln
Awsm pass on timing rt to rt for 1dn. Mich brt house.
Too much time. Tate to douglas on long cross for 25 yrds.
Rb rn to lft fr 7 yrdrs
Gd prsr. Frcd tate to thr erly. Trnt on cv
Wide open ovr the midl for a 1dn at th f-ing 11
Rn crshed on lft.
TO iowa.

Jeezzus. Wtf is up w our pass cvrg? Secndry is giving
up big yrds on 3rd dns. Bad sign.

Pass comp on scrmbl for 4. Cls to td. On lft d gng
Pass dflctd for inc. Bnd dnt brk. Whw. bad pass rt.

Fg try good by bad guys.


Brstn and tabb back on kick off

Shnk kick to 31 yrd ln of mich. Weird. Almost planned.

Sdline warning on mich.

1&10 @ 31

Hrt rns rt midl to lft for 10
1dn mich
Hrt rns mid rt agn for 9
Hrt rns lft cuts qk rt for anthr 8. 1dn
Grdy in
Brstn gts 4 onlft side shrt comp
Arrngtn to rt sd to arrngtn for ten on rt side cut to

End 3rd qrtr.

Strt 4th

Mich 1dn @ 28
Hrt jukes rt to mid for 4
Hrt to lft on lng drw for 3
Hrt up midl lft fr 1
Rvs fg try
Rvs puts it thru.
13-6 mich

Game plan seems flawed. Not sure what the hell is
going on

110923 at game today.

Rvs kickoff. Tb! Iowa at 20

Finally! A sack by woodley! 2&1f
Tate scrmbls rt for a loss of 4
Frcd out by crbl
Inc to rt side dp. 4&19

Brstn bk dp
Iowa to

Iowa chlnging prv ply. Huh? Can they challenge it?
Ball popped out by grnd.


Brstn dp

Bad kick but takes iowa bounce to 41

1&10 mich
Hrt stutter stps midl for 2
4 wide. Arrington comp for close to 1dn
4 wide.
Bad play call. Inc ovr midl to arrngtn. henne under bad prsr from rt side of line. Iowa ovrlding that side.

Zltn pnts to 9. Downd there. No rtn

1&10 iowa @9
Fade to lft side on trnt oob and good cvrg.
Rb scrn. No yrds. Finally a good scrn red by d
Trnt locks up douglas. 4th down. Good cov

Brstn deep.

Fc at 43 of iowa.

Pas comp on rt sid to mathws for 3
Hrt powrs for 5 on lft side
Hrt fumbls ball. Rn to lft midl.
Ply bng rvd.

Nrvs. Lng rvw.

No fumbl! Hrt was down!

Ferentz is pissed! Looks like hes gonna have an anurism.
Challnging the spot.

Lngest rvw in histry. Sheesh!

1st dn aftr all

Iowa fans thring stff.

Hrt rns lft for -1.
Brst on nic adjst to rt sd pass. 1dn just othr sd of mrkr
Hrt mis direct rt fr 4. Line strting to gt psh
Hrt rns lft cts midl aftr hash mrks for extra 5
1dn @ 11
Hart horse collared at 10. Literally.
Hrt up midl on ply to rt whr line blows iowa away. Rns rt midl untouchd for TD.
Rvs good
20-6 mich

Rvs kickoff
TB again!
Iowa 1&10 at 20
Tate scrmbls for 20. Mks nervs for smith.
Mich puruit snuffs out rn to lft. Burgess.
Pass complt to chndlr for 12 to lft.

Pass into trfc on rt side. Harrison on ok covrg.
Pass comp to chandle at rt oobs mrkr. 1dn
Tate scmbls for frdom throws for 9 to lft side. 1dn
Tate stps up trys to avoid rush. Woodley brings him dn
Tate on qk thrw to rt for 3
Inc low rt hall on cv
Inc on almist inc by englmon.

Mich ball.
Hnne takes knee. TO iowa.
Hnne dn agn
Gm ovr

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Michigan 20 Iowa 6 Festival of Linkage

Photo Courtesy: John T. Greilick / The Detroit News

Blog Poll Ballot and recap up tonight and tomorrow.

On with the Festival of Linkage!


Michigan is #2 in the latest standings.


Standard game recap. Standard awesome photo gallery. Please review the stats on this one. Five different receivers caught balls from Henne. Arrington caught 8. Breaston caught 7. Adrian, Steve. You table is waiting.

The Michigan Daily

Poached? Considering game time was the only part of the day were the sun shone, I'd have to say it was sunny-side up. (har har). The game notes have a good look at Boren stepping into the right guard spot when Riley went down. Nice piece on Carson Butler's move into the starting TE spot with Ecker and Massey out.

Free Press

The Freep Press called it smooth sailing. Um. No. If by smooth sailing you mean going headlong into a tempest, then perhaps we're on the same page. They do have a nice little write up on Henne though.

The game notes point out a single awesome fact: When Riley went down and Mitchell shifted to Right Tackle, True Freshman Justin Boren entered the game and played the rest of the way. He's the first true freshman to offensive lineman to play a down during Carr's tenure at Michigan. Quothe Mike Hart "Boren's one of our best run blockers."

BTW: Arrington's problems were addressed, to some extent, by Carr. He said they looked into it "investigated the facts" and thought they were B.S. so Adrian was put back out there. Hope this is a bit of a wake up call to these guys. Message: Keep you damn nose clean.

Best Quote so far was from Tate talking about the D-Line: "I thought we did an unbelievable job against them. It probably could have been a lot worse." You do an unbeliveable job and you still get sacked five times. Awesome.

Game Balls and a UFR type substance. And Photo Gallery.

Finally, just so you know, this WILL BE the toughest pat of our season.

Detroit News

You gotta have Hart. Miles and miles of Hart. You must also remain focussed, grasshopper.

Photo gallery.

Ann Arbor News

Truly the only paper that understood that this wasn't a cake walk. Pressure cooker was the exactly wording I would've used, and they did. Jim Cary gets a little ahead of himself. There's also a nice look from the Grand Rapids Press.

Must read: Kick ass story on Leon Hall.

Fox Sports

Standard AP article. A little instant analysis.


Standard AP article, however there is quite a bit of video attached. Pat Forde likes us. I'm not sure if that's good.

Game Day Final has a load of stuff on Michigan, Mike Hart, and video.


Standard AP Article. Stewart Mandel's blog gives us this:

"The absence of star WR Mario Manningham has been glaring in Michigan's past two games. Just like last week's 17-10 win at Penn State, the Wolverines didn't play badly at all against Iowa on Saturday, and just like last week, the lack of a big plays made for an ugly, closer-than-expected outcome. But once again, Michigan's front seven was phenomenal, holding the Hawkeyes to 41 yards rushing."

Chicago Tribune

Teddy Greenstein gives Hart some props.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Math, Bitches! Math!

I had to shamelessly steal and post this.

Russ at Football Outsiders ran the math on Michigan's run defense so far this year. The reason for this was a simple thought posed by an astute EBSBS commenter:

I gave a rough look at the rushing defense stats earlier. I’m pretty sure you could take Michigan’s sack yards out, allow every other defense in the nation to keep theirs, and Michigan still ranks in the top 10 in rushing defense.

Russ went to town. The entire conversation can be found at EDSBS, but here's the full response without editting:

"Officially, Michigan has allowed 228 yards on 166 carries in seven games, for an average of 1.37 per carry and 32.6 per game, both best in the nation.

But those totals include 24 sacks for -201 yards. Deducting the 24 carries but adding the 201 yards to the above totals means Michigan has allowed 429 yards on 142 carries this season, an average of 3.02 per carry and 61.3 yards per game.

The 61.3 ypg figure would place Michigan 4th in the nation even if everyone else got to keep their sack yardage.

Math bitches, math!"

Out. Friggin'. Standing.

Massive Hat Tips: FO and EDSBS

Michigan PSU Higlights

The total scoring Highlights from Michigan PSU courtesy of parkinggod over at You Tube. The man does some excellent work.

Offensive Highlights courtesy of parkinggod as well.

Maize n Ballot: Week 7

Ballot Time. Feel free to tell me how 1) wrong, 2) stupid, 3) insanely brilliant I am.

1Ohio State--
2Michigan 1
3Southern Cal 1
4Louisville 1
5Tennessee 1
6California 1
7Auburn 9
9Florida 7
10West Virginia 1
11Notre Dame 1
12Georgia Tech 1
13Clemson 1
14Arkansas 1
15Wisconsin 5
16Oregon 2
17Boston College 8
18LSU 6
19Nebraska 4
20Rutgers 1
21Boise State 5
23Pittsburgh 3
24Texas A&M 2
25Missouri 8

Dropped Out: Iowa (#15), Virginia Tech (#18), Georgia (#19).

1. Florida drops to #9. They lose a game they probably should've won. Chris Leak proved he can't handle pressure and seriously undermined what the Florida offense can do the rest of the way. From here out Florida will see nothing but blitzes and angry men chasing after Leak. This is not good.

2. Michigan. Um. They're good. Alan Branch wants your lunch money. Give it to him.

3. Auburn jumps back to 7. Good game. Won one they should've lost. It counts more when it's the #2 team in the country and you scare the bejeezus out of a good QB like Leak into a performance like that. They finally played the way everyone thought they were capable of playing. That's bad news for the rest of the SEC.

4. Speaking of which, what the hell am I supposed to do with Arkansas? I want to rank them higher but they're resume, save Auburn, is weak. Help!

5. Wisconsin and Boston College: Your table is ready. I still maintain that Wisconsin's record is more a reflection of their schedule, but you have to win regardless of who you play (i.e., FSU and Miami). They are just dominating teams, so I'll give them some props. BC, sheesh, you make a PAT and you're undefeated with a legit shot at the BCS. Didn't see that one coming. Still they have to win out. They do that, their Maize n Brew Cheese Plate (tm) will be in the mail.

6. OSU. A machine. Cold. Heartless. Killers. They look like they're on autopilot. Half asleep they could beat any team below the top 10 in a walk. Simply astonishing. Behold the power of the sweatervest.

7. Iowa, Virginia Tech, and Georgia. Be gone! You've wasted far too much of our time and energy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thumbin' Through Michigan v. PSU

Even though I didn't make the trip to Happy Valley, I thought I'd do my usual thumb notes on the game from my couch. Sadly, I was far more nervous for this game than any other this season, and it is readily apparent in reading the notes below. If you're like me, you've got a little ritual for every game. Same shirt. Same beer. Same spot on the couch.

On Saturday the rituals were a little off. Beer was gotten late. Lucky shirt was missing. Had to get ready for friends coming over to watch the game. But, the beer cooled, I found the shirt, and Michigan went on to win. I, in turn, went on to drink until 1. Good times.

I will warm my more sensitive readers that I swear A LOT more in this particular Thumbin' Through that ever before. Perhaps it was the ample supply of beer. Perhaps it was the disturbance of my game day rituals. Perhaps it was the testy (heh heh) nature of the game. regardless of what it was, be aware the f-bomb is dropped with impunity and regularity. Be aware of this.

(Children, you probably shouldn't be reading this. Leave this fould place. Click here (kids only) for Dora the Explorer. You like Dora don't you?)

Adults and foul minded teenagers, enjoy...

Thumbin' Through Michigan v. PSU

UM/PSU in the comfort of my living room. football, beer and a couch.
Life is good.

Mussssssssberger. A voice like the smoooove sound of Billy D Williams sellin Colt45

UM defers.
To kick off

Rvs kick off
Broken kick coverage.
Psu to 50
Hunt mid rt for 5
Morrelii off on bad pass lft
delayed blitz morelli dump pass ovr midl whr blitz came from fr 1dn
Mundy out gtting trtmnt on nk.
Gd prssr. Complt for 3 to hnt
Hnt brrows for 3 in mdl
Cvrg suck tonight. Inc lft. Norwood drops it at chains.
4 dn
Fg try wiiiiiiiiiiiiide lft.

Mich ball!

Hrt lft buried for lss of 1
hnne chgs ply. Fs on 83.
2nd and 15
Nkd btlg rt to 85 butler for 6
Hnne to massey for first, grt protection on te cross
Crn bltz, pass off arms of crn inc
Hrt midl for 3 bt FS on butler.
2nd & 15
Scrn rt to hrt for abt 10. Hrt brks bnch of tckls
Shrt pass to butler right shrt of mrk.
Zltn to pnt
Line drv pnt to abt 20. Crppy kick. Good coverage. No return

Hll gd stp on shrt pass
Inc to rt

Brstn bck
Pnt rtnable.
Dumass spns around and got nthn. 54 yrd line drv and brstn does nthn at 19

Hrt rt for nthn
Henne hit from behnd as he passes. Inc. Fb had to blck lb
3 & 10
Lots of pressure. Hnne rns for six
Good decsn
4 dn
Zltn pnts it. Shit kick
40 nks ball loose again!

Noise is bad.
Hrt trped up as he crosses lin
1 yrd
Hrt up midl for 4.
Inc rt lng to arrngtn
Pnt to 16

Hnt rt for nthn. Flg. Hld on psu hlf to gl 1 dn
Hnt on scrn rt gets bck to orig 1 dn line
2nd dwn
Hnt lft mdl for 1
Pass comp rt sid jst shrt of line
Abt an inch
Psu to kick

Brstn nailed on grt kick

Grt brstn catch! Lft side bullet!
1 dn
PSU in bckfld on every play
Hrt lft midl for 1
Greg matthews for 7 rt. ineliglbe rcvr. 2dn& 14
TO mich
Arrngtn on cross! 1dn! shks like a maraca for a first
Brstn wrscrn for lft 1dn
Henne rt side deep to brstn inc. No pass intfrnce caal bt shldve been
Butler TE roll out for 7. Rt
Hrt mid lft bhnd mitchell and long for 1dn
Fade to breaston lft ovr thrown gd cvrg
Henne sails in ovr opn brst on rt
Pass to arrington up midl for 30yrd TD! Fucking sweet!
arrngtn burn crnr and safty. pass btwn crnr and safty
The perfect pass frm henne. Laser beam to arrngtn

Kick off rvs.
Rtn to 20
Morelli to williams on rt for 1st
Hnt for 3 to lft midl

More crap on henne verbal to psu. Might as well add on kennedy assination, area 54, the gulf war, 2 seconds and everyother psu conspiracy. Jeeebus!

Taylor sacks morelli. So fat yet so fast. 9 yrd loss
Woodley crushes morelli on sack. Flg for hld. Haha! Cheating doesn't help u
Woodley tries to powr slam qb.
Brstn back. Fc @ 50.

Hrt lft mid huge hole for 7
Hrt midl for 2
Hrt lft midl for 1dn
arrngtn midl for lng 1dn. Laser agn
Hrt midl lft for 4
Deflection pass. Inc bad pass. Wldv been picked
3 dn
In and out of massey's hnds bck of endzn. Masseys gotta ctch that.
Rvs try
Rvs good! He gets sloppy kiss. Dnt ht him anymr.

Rvs to kck to 3
Mich on grt cvrg dn at 15

Woodley crushes morelli! nvr put rb on woodley he will eat your rb, the ply & yr soul!
Rn nwhr
dp pass lft. inc. Pass infrnc? Bullsht uncatch!
1dn bd gys
Pass lft for wrscn for 5
Hnt lft for 1dn 6 yrs
Hnt mid rt to 6
Biggs with anthr sack!

space bitches space rtns! Grtst commercial evr

Game resumes

Rb scrn for 30. Brnch only one to read it. Evrone else bought it.

Inc rt to norwood. Morelli rollout rt
Drped rt by te. Mndy on cv
1dn ovr midl! Mndy agn. Dammit
Soft cov ovr middl by mich. Pissing me off.
TO mich
English is pissssssed!!!!! Yelling at d. Can see veins in frhd.
hnt gts nthng mid lft
Anthr pass for 1dn
Why the fuck are we 5 yrds off?
Hnt nwhr up mid.
TO psu
Joe pa looks like a nome
Trnt on cv in back lft end zn
englmn brks up pass lft @ gl ln
Fg try
Good. 10-3

Good ply calling by psu to brk the d. Bad pass cov.

Hrsshit call on pi gives psu 3.

15 secs. Sqib.

End Frst half.
Fcking nrvs

PSU's ad is the worst ad ever. Come to PSU, listen to lesbian rock, stalk girls in gym, asians in lab of some sort, aaaaaand Joe Pa! What the fuck are they thinking?

Crg james looks like grg bush

Start Second Half

Kck off brst, jst shrt of 20

-10 yrd rsh in 1st by hlf psu
Um. Wow.

Hrt for 2-3 mid lft
Hrt for 5 mid lft riley crshes blck to get hrt extra yrd
Qb sneek
Hrt lft midl. Hldng on mich
1& 15
Ovrthr midl to TE.
T0 mich.

Spilled beer evrywhr (at this point I was filling my plate with pizza while trying to type on my little key pad and mock a friend of mine. The result was spilling a perfectly good beer on new carpeting. My wife was not pleased. Cleaning up my mess took the remainder of this series. -ed)

Pnt zltn

Hnt nwhr loss 1
Sack jamison! 9 yrd loss
Soft zone completion. fuck!
Morelli gets destroyed by brnch.
Brnch just kills morelli drvs him into turf. ribs hrt jst wtching
Msbrgr being moron. Says lt ht, hlmt2hlmt. Davie & herb tl msbrgr hes a idiot.

Davie-ism usd in convrsatn "mid-momentum"

Morelli out clark in

Burgess kills end around
Qb drw midl nthn
Williams blows catch on rt side

Morelli looks like death with a big nose

Pnt goes to 31 oobs

Mich ball

Hrt for -1 midl
Henne midl to arrington for 6
Just off the hands of arringtn up midl. Prssr on hnne

Zlt pnt

Fc 21 yrd line

They are just ragging on herstriet. Davie fr sm resn is really fny tnite.

Sack by crable. Prsnl fl on mich for late hit. Dammmmit! Games not in hand yet
Taylor's a retard
Hall smashes wr on comp to rt.
2nd & 6
Sackish kind of thing. Inc by psu. Branch trying to kill agn
Biggs kills anthr qb. Sack!

7th sack of nite

Fc at 41

Henne rns out of sack for 2 yrds.
Psu gtting lots of prsr
Hrt middl for 4
Arrington diving catch lft for 1 dn!!
Henne pass midl off ply fk deflectd for 0 had butler opn
Henne find brst on awsm pass rt undr massv prssr. Thrws laseer off
back ft. Breastn shks for 1st
Hrt battles way for 20 yrds to 1 yrd line. God he's good!
Hrt untouched on rt for TD. Friggin sweet. Rvs good.


psu rtn to 30

End 3rd

Hnt lft for 5
Concussion for morelli
Brnch godzillad morelli
Poor kid
Hnt rn midl for 0
Pass rt. Inc. Flg. PI on psu. Trnt on gd cvrg
Pnt psu
Brstn dp

31 yrd ln
Hrt midl for nada
Hrt lft midl, bncs rt for 3
Brstn on shrt slnt lft trns 4 into 10
Brstn agn for 10
Loefler is best coach evr for qbs acrding to henne's hs coach. PA dude
tlling national audience tht. So friggin awsm.
Hrt lft for 2
First rl bad pass bhnd brstn
Plnty of time cvrg sack.
Florida losing to auburn

Ryan pnting
Into endzone.
Sfl pass midl.
Bc of 7 sack - 26
Williams beat trnt of lft side for first
Hnt middl. Nowhr
Clark gets killd too on qb scrmbl. He looks hurt. Slammed by woodley.
Anthr psu qb killd
Pass almost int by crbl
Psu to pnt

Psu chicks r ugly

Hrt to lft for 3

Florida lost! Orson out on ledge.

Grdy in strstp for 0. Grdy tntativ
Hnne slids down for 4
4 dn
Zltn bms it.
Psu to 40
Mndy on stp. Hnt for 5 lft
Hall mks stp shrt of 1dn lft sd
3rd 1
Hnt on a scrn pass for TD. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad tackling
Sooooo pisssed
Scrn pass. Yards aftr mndy.

Hunt outrns whl fcking d
So mad
Fcking d jst took a shit on fld

Mich on 20
Hrt rt for loss of 1
Psu TO
Hrt runs for 1f bhnd lng. Rns ovr 7.
Hrt jst rns midl lft for 5
Ovr 100
2nd &5
Hrt stpd by poslusny fr 0
Psu last TO
Rt in brstns hnds and he dps it. Rt in his fking hnds. Fking brstn
Ryan to kick
Chrls stwrt on awesome tckl at 21.

Adams blws easy pick midl
Pass in bnds to rt 6
Hall almst picks dp pass. Cls
Gm ovr.

No need for nrvs like that. Dammit

Too close for comfort, but only blown scrn pass made game cls.

fnl thought: Hall = awesome

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Pain Is Free

There are certain things you do in life that you do at your own peril. You throw rocks at a hornets' nest. You wave a red flag in front of a bull. You play in traffic.

You try to block Alan Branch with one man.

The only thing close about the game Saturday night was the score. Despite prevailing by a single touchdown, and some minor struggles on offense without Mario Manningham, Michigan's defense was in complete control of their 17-10 throttling of Penn State.

Michigan sacked PSU quarterbacks 7 times. There were 9 tackles for loss totaling an astonishing -67 yards. Michigan hurried or hit PSU's quarterbacks on almost every play. More importantly Michigan knocked out two PSU quarterbacks and scared the hell out of a third. Woodley, Biggs, Taylor, and Jamison took up residence in Penn State's huddle and attempted to take up residence inside the quarterbacks' helmets as well.

The evening could be summed up by Michigan's first sack of the game. Taylor blasted through his block with speed usually reserved for men two-thirds his size. In one motion he bulldozed his blocker and buried Morelli. Then, as if to underscore the talent advantage and before Morelli's legs had even met the ground again, Taylor had popped back into a standing position crossing and uncrossing his arms to signify that this was only the beginning. More pain was in store.

Woodley immediately re-emphasized this point. Throwing Levi Brown's replacement out of the way like a used kleenex, he enveloped Morelli for the second sack of the game. Unlike so many sacks at the college level, this was not a sack where the quarterback was tripped or simply wrapped up. No Woodley wanted to see if Morelli was full of candy, throwing him to the ground like a pinata up against a wall. For some reason, a series later, PSU tried to block Woodley with a running back. Why? Why in God's name would you do that? Do you hate your quarterback? Does he owe you money? You know the result. Woodley bounded over Hunt, arms outstreched for poor Morelli, grabbing him, and bringing the full force of Woodley's body weight down on Morelli for his second sack.

This was the way it would go for Penn State's young QB until early in the third quarter. On perhaps Morelli's best pass of the night, a over the middle soft zone completion to Williams he was knocked out of the game. On a five step drop, Branch forced his man to the carpet before Morelli even planted his feet. Williams hadn't made his cut as Branch exploded off his back foot, making up Morelli's drop space in the blink of an eye. Williams cut middle. Branch's arms extended. Morelli began his throwing motion. Branch launched himself at Morelli's chest. The ball was released.

First contact was made as Morelli's chest met Branch's. Morelli's follow through limply hit Branch's shoulders and back as the two left their feet together, propelled by the force of Branch's weight and speed toward the stratosphere. Gravity quickly took effect and the two began there speedy decent to the ground. From that point on it was best not to look. Branch's body weight simply crushed the poor Penn State QB as the two-backed beast met the hard Beaver Stadium turf. While the description here is lenghty, the play itself was not. The whole play, from snap to completion, lasted maybe 3 to 4 seconds. The speed at which everything happened was just mind boggling.

An important thing to note is that Morelli completed that pass knowing he was going to be hit on that play. I tip my cap to him and wish him a speedy recovery. He showed a pair of cajones I know I don't possess in making that pass and taking that hit. The kid's alright in my book.

Things did not get easier from there. Daryll Clark replaced Morelli and quickly suffered the same fate as his predecessor. Attempting to scramble on a second down, Clark was met by two Michigan players on an apparent stop. Struggling for extra yards Clark stayed vertical long enough for Woodley to finish the play and Clark's evening.

The PSU running game suffered a similar fate. On 25 carries, Penn State gained only 53 yards. This total is not subtracted from anything. 53 yards gained on the ground. Penn State's vaunted run game, 3rd in the Big Ten prior to Saturday's game, lost 67 yards on sacks and TFLs. Michigan continually brought Hunt down for little or no gain on first contact. Taylor and Alan Branch simply decided that no one would leave the backfield, each pushing two blockers into New Jersey on any given play. There was no second level blocking, just Harris, Burgess, Crable, Adams and Mundy waiting unmolested to pound Hunt.

Despite my earlier panic about Penn State seeming to be able to move the football through the air, in hindsight I was greatly mistaken. Before being concussed, Morelli was only 11 of 18 for 133 yards. Before being knocked silly, his first replacement Daryll Clark was 3 of 6 for 16 yards. take away a blown 41 yard screen pass TD, Penn State only managed 159 passing yards.

There were plenty of dropped balls by Penn State receivers. There were plenty of short completions. There was one decent Morelli completion for 31 yards. However, there was (for the most part) sure tackling. There were hard hits when the ball was caught. There were not (save Hunt's TD scamper) blown tackles.

A sideline scene during the that served to underscore the difference between the now departed Jim Herrmann and Ron English occurred late in the second quarter with Penn State driving deep into Michigan territory. With a minute a change left on the clock, English called timeout to bring his defense to the sidelines. As soon as his group had gathered 'round English exploded on them. Though the mic's were turned off, it was not difficult to discern the content of his tirade. The passion and intensity of this man were on display for all to see. He knows this group. He knows how they react to being challenged, and that was what he did. Despite a first and goal, Penn State walked away with only 3 points. The challenge was made and accepted. Again, two things that emphasize the difference between this year and last.

Another of the differences was the resilience of the Offensive line and Mike Hart. Playing the toughest defense they have seen all year, in one of the most hostile environments in the Big Ten, they played a solid game. Mike Hart cracked 100 yards for the sixth time in seven games and added a touchdown. Faced with serious pressure from Penn State's front seven, the offensive line cleared the way for Hart and allowed only two sacks on Henne (one of which was a coverage sack). Michigan was committed to the run and showed they can run successfully on talented defenses, even when they stack the box against it.

For the passing game it was apparent Mario Manningham's absence was a torn in the Michigan game plan. Even so, Chad Henne directed the offense with poise and control. He showed a veteran savvy, changing the plays and walking to each lineman to let them know the play. Despite completing only 50% of his passes, at least 5 of his INC's were drops. Two drops in particular stand out. PatMike Massey's melted butter fingers on Henne's perfect lob into the back of the endzone. The drop was unfortunate because Massey is quickly being passed over by Butler as a pass catching TE. And Steve Breaston's drop on 3rd and short marred an otherwise excellent day for him. Henne placed the ball exactly where it had to be during a crucial point in the game and Breaston couldn't make the catch. It's tought to be critical of Steve because he has had an excellent year and made some excellent catches during the game, but he has to make that catch if Michigan is to play in bigger games.

Despite the drop, Breaston had an excellent day. 5 catches for 79 yards. He was crisp out of his breaks and ran routes like a receiver should. Arrington's emergence continued as he grabed five passes for 83 yards and a TD. He keeps getting better.

On a day where upsets seemed the rule rather than the exception, Michigan won a tough game against it's toughest opponent so far. Fire and emotion were on display from the defense, while calm, deadly efficency was displayed by the offense.

It was an uneasy game to watch. Players left the game woozy with an unseemly regularity. There was a vemon with which Michigan played defense. An anger. They appeared upset people doubted their ability to play on the road. Mad that people would compare what Penn State did to Minnesota to what they could do to Michigan. Furious at the implication that they would give up yards and scores.

Michigan served notice on Saturday that the only thing it is willing to give its opponents is pain.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Quick and Uninformed Preview of Michigan v. Penn State University

Ah yes. Penn State weekend. One of three big games circled by everyone in the Big Ten as make or break.

Last year it turned out to be a last gasp at what was possible for Michigan. A kiss before dying a miserable death in the [Bowl Redacted]. A lone triumph which equated to a knock out body on the ugliest girl in town. Taken by itself it was spectacular. As a whole, a crime against nature.

For Penn State it was the opposite. Their loss was merely a mole on a supermodel of a season, capped with an Orange Bowl win on (now hapless) Florida State. While she would've been prettier without it, PSU fans sure as hell wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers.

This year the roles are reversed, though not exactly. Last year, Michigan was an underperforming disaster in spiffy uniforms, while Penn State was a Senior heavy team finally living up to its own expectations. This year Penn State is in the process of reloading after three quarters of its 11-1 squad graduated or left for the NFL and Michigan is being the team its supporters have always thought it could be.

In both cases the higher ranked team is on the road. Last year the home team was unranked Michigan. Michigan was 3-3 and coming off a season saving victory over Michigan State. This year the home team is unranked Penn State. PSU is 4-2 and coming off a controversial-yet-still-a-win-so-get-over-it-already-it-kept-us-from-being-3-3 victory over Minnesota.

At that point the similarities end. Last year's Michigan squad couldn't count on its defense, this year's PSU squad has no idea what its offense will do. Penn State is loaded with underclassmen still finding their footing, where Michigan is full of Sophmores and Juniors who already have two years playing time under their belts. Senior leadership is another issue. On offense PSU has but one senior starter. Michigan, while not top heavy, has a lineup sprinkled with senior leadership on both sides of the ball.

Still this is a scary game for Michigan. This is the type of game Michigan more often than not finds itself in a life and death struggle. A simple thought:

Bear Trap

This is going to be an exceedingly difficult game to win for a number a reasons:

1. Student Housing - Things have gotten bad at Penn State recently. Too many students not enough housing. This has forced the administration to cut corners for incoming freshmen.

Students are forced to huddle together for warmth in shabily constructed Coleman Tents. The only thing that seems to keep hope alive is the football team. Students can be heard chanting "We Are" "Penn State" late into the night. The chorus is only interupted by the sounds of sobbing and the groans of the dying. This is not new to Penn State. In fact it's been going on for years. The Administration however has cleverly found a way to deflect the blame for their students' misery, A conspiracy between the Big Ten Referees and Michigan. If not for this secret pentaverite, housing would be available for all. Unfortunately, as winter approaches, conditions quickly turn dire and the army is usually brought in to wipe the Paternoville off the face of the earth.

2. It's Up To Luigi - With Mario out it's up to his pals Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad to save the day. Arrington, Breaston and Matthews will have to come up big for Michigan to win.

3. Beyond Tunderdome - It's gonna be loud in Happy Valley on Saturday Night, and romancing Tina Turner ain't helping us out of there alive. The locals, starved of food and shelter (as discussed above), will be out for blood. The raw meat thrown into the stand will only rile their blood lust. Michigan will have to withstand the chants, the thrown severed heads, and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to escape back to Bartertown alive.

Happy Valley during a Noon game in 1980
Michael Jackson's "Bad" Plays On A Enternal Loop

4. Night Is When The Zombies Feed - You knew a BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS! joke was coming. Michigan has hired several zombie killing experts to patrol the sidelines should Paterno naw through his chains and attempt chow down on the sweet suculent brains of Michigan's starting players. The fear that their brains may be eaten from their skulls is something Michigan will have to play through.

Those are My Thoughts of Great Importance (TM) regarding the game. Now, on to the preview.


Tony Tone Toni - Anthony Morelli. He has his last name tatooed on his arm in case he forgets it. While he ranks 4th in passing yards he also ranks 8th in QB rating in the conference. His 6 TD/5 INT ratio is another reason for pause. When Tony faced Ohio State I'm fairly certain he made brown in his pants. That's the only way to describe the turd he left on the Ohio Stadium field in tossing 3 INTs, no TDs and going for only 107 passing yards.

Since then he has improved. Morelli is coming off his best game of the year against Minnesota. Against the Gophers' pass defense Tony passed for almost 300 yards and tossed 2 TD's without and INT.

Take the Minnesota game out and Morelli has been underwhelming this year. He has a tendency to throw long looping ducks into heavy traffic. Despite his arm strength, which is on full display for seven yard crossing routes, Morelli tends to underthrow everything past 15 yards. He'll get better at that with time, but right now it's not his strong suit. Tony has the tools to be a good Big Ten QB, but will need and offensive line to be able to do it.

You can't take Morelli lightly because of his talent. However, waves of defenders planting him into the field turff seems to shake him up a tad (not that I enjoy it either). Blitzes and pressure do not bring out his best atributes. Hammer him early and often and the ball will be taken out of his hands by the coaching staff.


The highly unheralded Tony Hunt is the Penn State offenses' main weapon. For all the talk that he's just an undersized fullback he's having a pretty damn good year. Hunt ranks 3rd in the Big Ten in rushing, about 100 yards behind Mike Hart. He's gone over 100 yards each of his last 4 games. On the season he's got 7 rushing TDs and one receiving TD.

Penn State like to try to get the ball in his hands about 30 times a game. He'll average about 25-28 rushes a game and catch 2-3 balls out of the backfield. Like Mike Hart, Hunt is not a burner. His longest run of the season is 34 yards, and it didn't result in a touchdown. One thing Hunt is is consistent. He averages a little over four yards a carry. He hits his holes and doesn't screw around in the backfield. He's a north south guy capable of doing some damage of his own to would be tacklers. At 6'2" 230 you want to hit him before he works up a head of steam. tackles or hits in the backfield will be crucial to stopping him. Basically he's MSU's Jehuu Caulcrick in a Penn State Uniform.

Hunt isn't a home run hitter, but he will wear you down. Stops in the backfield and gang tackles will be required to keep him at bay.

The three headed monster of Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood, and Derrick Williams represent PSU's reeiving corps. Combined they have 4 TDs between them.

Sophomore Deon Butler has emerged as one of Morelli's favorite targets in the last two games. He had a monster game against Northwestern, hauling in 11 catches for 216 yards. He followed it up with 6 more catches against Minnesota. All this after catching 8 total balls in the first 4 games. Another of these super soph's is Jordan Norwood. Norwood has averaged about 70 yards and 6 catches a game. However, his only TD came against Akron. Finally there is the supremely talented Derrick Williams, who, to date, is still looking for his breakout game. Williams hauled in a 56 yarder against Minnesota but prior to that had never broken 30 total yards in a game all year.

Like Morelli, all of these players have the ability to burn you but haven't put it together. In their only game against a legitimate secondary, Penn State was completely shut down. Even though they beat Minnesota, it seemed pretty clear the Gophers had a decent read on how to defend PSU's wide outs, just not the speed. At this point there isn't a "Calvin Johnson" or even a "Quarter of a Calvin Johnson" on the wings. Penn State will have to clear their jams quickly and find the soft spots in the Michigan zone to be effective. All they have to do is look at the game film of Michigan Minnesota for a clue. One caveat. They don't have two 6'5" receivers.


Surprisingly, despite the youth of the Penn State line they have only given up 4 sacks all year. That is impressive until you take a look at who they've played. Akron, Youngstown State, Minnesota and Northwestern do not posess a pass rush. Notre Dame does not either, yet they still got to Morelli once. The only team that Penn State has played with an actual defense is Ohio State. Ohio State spent the second half in Morelli's face, picking him thrice and planting him twice. Pass defense is not their specialty.

Running is.

The offensive line is showing signs of being a dominant running group. 4 straight 100 games for Hunt, including one of those game against OSU, demostrate that they're getting their collective asses in gear on the ground. Hunt is a between the blockers runner, and for that to happen it requires holes for him to squirt through. The line does look to be healthy, but like all young units they are prone to penalties and missed assignments at crucial times.

Again, this is a good developing group that will be dangerous in a year or two. However, for now, they are still young and prone to mistakes.


The middle of the Penn State d-line has turned out to be its strength. With little pressure coming from the DE's, Ed Johnson and Jay Alford have been wrecking havoc straight up the middle. At this point the front four has 10 sacks on the year, with 7 of them split between Johnson and Alford. Running up the middle on them is tough but doable. Running to the ends however seems to be far simpler. Michigan's Guards will have their hands full as the majority of the pressure will come from the middle of the pocket.

The Linebacking corps is among the best in the Big Ten. Erasing the Notre Dame debacle (where they were exposed in coverage), this group has been excellent so far. they are very difficult to run against and possess better than average speed.

the Corners and Safeties are at best inconsistent. Like the rest of the team, there is considerable talent at the DB/S posititions, it's just still being harness. Minus a blown coverage during Troy Smith's fabled scramble, they played excellent defense against Ohio State's outstanding wideouts. Big wideouts tend to give them trouble. Notre Dame and Minnesota used size to their advantage and pounded the ball at them. This group can be exposed underneath, but due to the fact they'll be in nickle for most of the game, don't expect huge looping bombs like the ones we've seen earlier this year. PSU plays to prevent those things.

It's gonna be a good one.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Top 5 Basketball Prospect Makes Second UM Visit

5 Star power forward Delvon Roe made his second visit to Ann Arbor last weekend to take in the Michigan/Michigan State game.

You read that right. Second visit.

Roe made his initial visit to Ann Arbor over Labor Day weekend when Vanderbilt was in town along with several other high 4 Star and 5 Star talent (which included Ohio 7'0" Center Kenny Freese). After his first visit Roe was more than happy to talk with reporters. During that time he publicly mulled a second visit.

And then he followed up on it.

Roe came into town last weekend on another unofficial visit to hit up one of Michigan's "open gyms" with the current Michigan team. Making things more interesting was the official visit taken by Alex Legion over that same weekend. Legion apparently not only took in the game and the open gym, but spent some time selling Roe on Michigan. BTW, Alex Legion is climbing up my list of favorite recruits along with Mallett. He's selling everyone on Michigan that gets within earshot. (No word on whether Harris made an appearance.) Regardless, I'm sure playing around with guys like Legion, Petway and Abram made an impression.

I know it's early, but two visits by the #5 recruit in the country in two month's time is an impressive recruiting job by Amaker. You may commence overhyping your expectations. HOWEVER, please also bear in mind Roe is just a junior with an impressive list of suitors.

His prospects list reads like a who's who of college basketball: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, and... um... Michigan. Rivals has everyone listed at medium interest, but Scout has Michigan and Illinois listed as his favorites. Roe has already taken unofficial visits to OSU, MSU and is scheduled for a UNC visit in the near future. Even so, Michigan is the only school he's visited twice.

And that's pretty cool.

Gather Round the Belated Round Table

It's Roundtable time again and, thankfully, I'm not responsible for it! Woo!

This week's questions are courtesy of Cross Cyed, the web's only Iowa State blogger. What Iowa State lacks in quantity, they make up for in quality. Cyed is always a good read.

1. We're about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team's chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?

At this point, honestly, dunno. As I've pointed out to anyone who will read/listen, my brain will not accept what is going on so far this year.

I've watched every game. I've tried to evaluate the team honestly and with some perspective. This is a really, really good team. It's well coached. They play hard and fast. They can make noise at not only at the conference level, but also on the national level.

Still, in the back of my mind there's that ongoing conflict with what I know about this Michigan team and what I know about Michigan football. I know that this is a well rounded team, fully capable of winning any game they play in. I also know that this is a team fully capable of falling asleep at the wheel and dropping games they shouldn't.

On Offense, Chad Henne has been a sniper good. He hits almost everything he throws at, yet somehow manages fade away or blend into the woodwork after he takes out another team. Mike Hart has been everything we thought he'd be, and more. And then there's the receiving corps. Manningham took the next into the elite this year. Unfortunately he took an extra step onto the injured list and will miss the PSU game. Now the Offense must rely a pair of uncertain hands in Steve Breaston, but an emerging playmaker in Adrian Arrington. The line is strong but not overwhelming.

On Defense Michigan's front seven are as good as anyone's in the land. Branch, Woodley, Burgess, Crable, Harris & Co. have been excellent. Leon Hall has been a standout at corner. Michigan's run defense is among the tops in the country. Their pass defense is not. On one end Michigan has been up by several touchdowns late in games forcing teams to pass to make up the difference. On another, Michigan is allowing too many gimme first downs on soft coverage or blown assignments.

To answer the question, yes, I've got a pretty good gauge of the team. It is an excellent team. It has shortcomings, but its positives far outweigh its negatives.

I've got a read. But my own fears make it impossible to say whether that read is correct.

2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?

I sorta like the Big Ten's current set up. I'm not a proponent of conference championships. I don't like separate division schedules. Ideally I'd like 10 team conferences, 9 conference games and 3 non-confs. Everyone plays everyone. Everyone gets three tune up games. You're welcome to disagree. What we have now is simply a product of too many teams in a conference. The rotating schedule provides us with endless amounts of debate as to whom would do better with whose schedule. Personally I think rotating schedules suck. If you're in a conference, you should play everyone in that conference. If there are too many crappy teams in your conference, drop 'em. Go down to 10.

The argument against seems to be that you end up with a rotating Rose Bowl bids when two teams finish with the same record. Yeah, it's not the best, but it's not enough for me to get too angry about. In the Big Ten, if two teams finish with identical records then the Big Ten gets two BCS bids. That's cool.

The Big Ten's current system works. It's not the best in the world, but I can't complain. The Big Ten rotates out two teams a year off of every team's schedule. Two teams are constant "rivaly" games. This year Michigan got the partial shaft. No snacky Purdue and Illinois, but Michigan does get Indiana before Ohio State.

3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?

I watch it all. It's a problem. CBS, ABC, Fox, ESPN Plus. Whether its a horrid Baylor/Tech Big XII matchup, ESPN's Tuesday MAC at Noon match-up, or the SEC game of the Week, the TV's on.

Somehow I'm still married.

4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?

Love it. Wouldn't change a thing.

5. During last Saturday's game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don't Stop Believing" are not to be considered.

My initial thought was The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army." Solid. Funky. A little pissed off. But it occurred to me that most of the Michigan team probably doesn't listen to them. Plus, this team needs something angrier. It needs more swagger. More funk. More bass.


Wu-Tang Clan: "Ain't Nuthin Ta Fuck Wit!"


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thumbin' Through Michigan v. Michigan State


On Time For Once... Game on

MSU qk pnt

Breaston rcv @ 40.
3 wd
Hrt lt for 10
Hrt lft for -1
2nd dn
Hne rt to brdt for 5
Offsd 99 d
Brst lft fr 1dn. Wr scn
Hrt lft cut bk rt. Ded play for 5.
Hrt lft for 1d
OS msu.
1dn & 5
Hrt to 7 mid.
Hrt mid lft for 1 dn @ 3
Hrt left for td. Hold wipes out td. 1dn & 13
Fmbl on hnd off
1 10 msu
undr rvw
Ws it tuck rule?
rld inc bitches!
TD back rt ez for 6 to arrington! Awsomeness!
rvs good

Rvs to kick off
Rvs kick off? Wht wrong with ryan?
Msu @ 20
Run rt hrsclrd for 2
Pass lft for 1 dn to trnnon for 1dn nice pass
Rn mid for 4
Stntn for 1 dn. Brk contn
Wrsc inc.
2nd 10
Inc to tckl? Wtf? 3 dn
Brnch & crbl on sack.
Brst dp. Touch back

Lets go soccr moms! Good god wear somthing sexy!

Msu chrldrs so hot. can cnt abs on stmchs frm our seats. imprsv.

1 & 10 Mich lets go tgrs erupts frm stdm. 3grs up 3

FS mich. 1 & 15
Hrt mid for 6
Mk hrt scrn for 1 dn. Awsm
Grdy tip toes for 1
Mnghm esy drp.
Brst on crs wr scn lft to rt. Shks tckl for 1 dn
Mk hrt cls TO
Hne undr thrwn to arrgntn. Hd db bt lft
Manham for 3 &3 dn rt wr scn
Hrt midl for 0. 4 dn

Zltn for hiesman. pnts bll to cambodia.

MSU fc @ 5 yrd ln

Zltns pnts scrp moon. Mks clouds cry.

Msu mid lft for 7. Hes lrg
Msu mid lft for 0
3 & 3
Stpd for loss by mndy and brgs

Brstn dp

end of 1 qrt

Strt 2dn qrtr

Out pnt cvrg for brst to rtn to 46 of mich

Huge hole midlft fr hrt fr 11
1 dn
Hrt lft fr 2
New math bitches! Rt in frnt of me.
Manham off fk inside thn right blws past cb bts sfty for td. So sweet.
Rvs gd
No words shldv snt a poet.
Mich 14 msu 0

Kck off rvs to 5. Rtn to 25

Ply fk lft comp to rt to scott for 15
Zn cvrg
Stnt to mid to trnrn for 1dn
3 stp drps
Rn lft to lft for 6. 2 & 4
Hall almost picks one. 3 dn
Rl out rt. Pass cmplt to williams for 1dn rr sd
FS MSU for 5
1 & 15
Rl lft inc to trnon. Hldng on Msu. 1&25
3 wd
Hall swt open fld tckl. Gn 2
Inc ovr trnt. Shldve been 6. Trnt misrd. Bad bad bad.
4 dn to lft. Comp pass in sft zn.
Fg attmp. Missd lft.
No soup for you!

Um takes ovr @ 20

Offsds msu. 1 & 5
Hrt mid rt fr 6
hrt rt for 15-20
1 dn
Hrt md rt fr 2
Minor mid rt for 1
3 & 7
Brstn cross rt to lft fr 1 dn just past mrkrs.
Hrt rt for 3. Flg. Facemsk. 5 yrd incidental.
Hrt squirts for 3 whb he had 0
Grdy mid lft for 1.
Grdy has regressed bad
Grdy gets trpd up in bck fld.
Rvs fld gl try. Gooooood. Off sds msu. Play stnds.
Wrng. Prsnl foul!!!! Hlf dist to gl. 1 dn!

Hrt bk in
Hrt rt mid for 3
Hrt lft for 1

TO Mich.
Inc lft to man ham. Rvs fg attmp. Im scrd. Blckd but

Kckoff rvs
Msu rtn to 30. Yuck cvrg

3 wd
Frst dn pass rt to reed on ply fk by trnt
Grt rn d. Msu lft on 3 & 1. 1 dn
Wrscn. Crable on sweet stp. Only 2 yrds on wr scn
Stntn inc to scott. Englm on cvrg.
Inc agn to rt! Pass deflected at line by rush.

Brstn dp. Fc at 9 yrd line.

1dn & 9
Hrt for 3 mid rt.
Hne dnws it

end of hlf.

Strt 2nd hlf

Hrt rt for 5
Hrt mid for 15
Hne on rl out lt manham ovr thrn. Nic play. Frst bd
thr out of hne
Carl tabb sighting. Boooo.
3 dn
Bad thr henne to manham.two bad thrws. Bailed out by
pers foul on lt hit.
1 dn.
Gradys best run mid rt for 6 no hes
Grdy lft for 3 ct bk for 4 more. He lks good all of a
Man ham middl TD. Ball tippppped by cov rt into his
hands. TD. Msu playd bad but got tip for highlites.
Henne a little behind on throw. Not sharp today. An
inch or two behind today. Not sure whts wrng.
Rvs gd

Rvs kck off rt side. Exclnt. At 25

Crable wraps up msu rb mid lft no gn.
Inc rt mid. Hall on cv. Gd cv.
Ply fk, lng comp ovr adams to 22
1 dn
Brnch eats msu rb up middl w/burges

Brk due to phn call.

Rn rt met fr no gn
4 dn
Wnt for it. Option rt stuffd. Fs offns bf snap. 4 dn
TO mich.
Pass comp lft to bad guys. Flg. Blwn cv. Off sides
dclnd. Lkd like trnt.
Lft mid run for 7
Gang tckld lft for loss by whole team, and ultimatly
Stanton carries whn no one open up rt mid for 4.
Run rt mid. Turned back by hrs and adams
2&2 gl
Rt mid run. Fmbl csd by adams on 1
3 dn on 1
TO msu

Msu chrldrs are hot

MSU TD up middle.

Brstn rtrns kckoff to 40. Flg. Hld on us. 1dn from 22
Hrt rt for 11
Hrt drgd down going right side. Hrt limping off.
Grdy in
Grady right mid. Explosive!!!!!! blew threw line like
sneeze thrw kleenez. 20 yrd gain.
Grdy right mid for 1
Grdy agn. Lft midl. Rn for 9.
1 dn
Minor in
Holy shit biatch!!!!!!!
Minor rips a right left cut back run for a 40 yrd TD.
Arrington had a fcking awsm block!
Best run Out of a non- hart back this year

MSU pass inc left
No time
Dump pass scrn for 7 in mid

End of 3 qrt

Comp pass to rt. Long gn.
Pass mid for 5
Penis in student section. Awsm
Giant penis evrwhr
MSU bowl ahd for 1dn mid
Good covrg. Inc ovr mid. Bad pass bt iff good rcvr
Hall on singl cov. Bump. Excellence
Inc to rt. Good pass bad catch.4&10.
Jamar adams on the inc. Midl rt. Pass was bad.mich
ball @ 3.

Grdy lft mid nthn
Grdy gts tatooed mid rt. Bad blocking
Grady to 5 yrd line.
Pnt. Rffing kcker. 5 yrd.

Zltn booms it. Dear god. His leg is the new U.S. first strike weapon

Trnon left for 40
Trnon rt. Rolls ankl. Fuck hes hurt. Poor kid. I know
exactly wht hes going thru. (Trannon was carted off after rolling his ankle. I was sitting by his family. They were on the phone with the doctors but didn't have any information at game time. No word yet on his condition that I've found.-ed)

Stanton to 1 yrd line on delayed sneak

Nothn on rb up midl.
Burgess in the back fld stuffs msu. Like he was in on
thw play.
Stanton in on delayed run. Td bad guys.
Play under review. Knee down early? Vid rv says TD.
Msu to go for 2
Qb draw stuffed by harrison.

Hall recvrs onsides kick. Mich 1 dn

Grady right for 3
Greg mathews siting. For 6
Minor stopped in backfld. No gn.
Zltn into nzone

1 & 10 msu at 20

Stanton runs like gerbil for 9
Hall picks stanton on shitty wrsrn.

So sweet. Review. Play stands as called. Sweetness

Jerome jackson. 8th floor crew in the house measly penny
C brown in.
State fans pissed @ me.
think Im asshole, raised wrong.
I rmind thm I graduated from Michigan. my flks did smthng rt. (ed note - this was not Trannon's family. They were very very cool. This is the soccer mom sitting next to me.)
Bad pass. Inc rt side.

4 dn
Game ovr

Maize n Ballot: Week 6

For the record, Minnesota got hosed. But thems the breaks in college football. One minute you think you've won the game of a lifetime, the next Nebraska catches a kicked ball to ruin your season. It ain't fair, but then again, neither is life.

Speaking of not fair, it's Ballot Time!

1Ohio State--
2Florida 3
3Michigan 1
4Southern Cal 2
5Louisville 1
6Tennessee 6
7California 3
8Texas 3
9West Virginia 1
10Notre Dame 3
11Georgia Tech 4
12Clemson 5
13Arkansas 13
14Oregon 7
15Iowa 9
16Auburn 13
17Missouri 2
18Virginia Tech--
19Georgia 5
20Wisconsin 6
22Oklahoma 6
23Nebraska 3
24LSU 15
25Boston College 1

Dropped Out: Wake Forest (#20), Washington (#22), Florida State (#23), Boise State (#25).

Yes. Shiney objects are a constant distraction to me.

1. Ohio State is still the best team in the country, but Florida is a close second. Orson and Stranko want to make sweet man-love to Tebow. I honestly thought LSU was a good team heading into the game. The Gators are either insanely better than I thought or LSU is insanely worse. Based on whuppin' handed down, I gotta go with the former with a helping hand from the latter (more on this in a minute). Florida is good. Damn good. Good enough to get from Atlanta to Texarkanas and back in 28 hours loaded down with cold Coors beer. As Bandit, Frog and Cledus were west bound and down, Arizona is too. Just food for thought.

2. Michigan gets leap frogged by Florida. However the Maize and Blue jump USC for 3rd on the Poll after dismantling MSU. This matched with USC's third straight lackluster performance means Michigan moves into the No.3 slot. I am concerned about Mannigham's injury, but as long as the Hemi that powers the Michigan offense (aka: Mike Hart) is still around Michigan stays near the top.

3. Louisville moves up one with Auburn's bed wetting.

4. Tennesse, Cal, and Texas all had convincing wins. These three spots are interchangeable. My reasons for ranking them this way are thus: Tennessee had the biggest win over a conference opponent that was as yet unbeaten. Though Cal did the same thing, I just think Tennessee is a better team and head-to-head Tennessee proved that earlier. Texas still gets punished for an embarassment of a schedule. though they took it to OU (who greatly disappointed me, btw) they haven't show me enough yet to move back into the front couple of rows of teams.

5. West Virginia. You still here? Go away. Please.

6. Domers. Everywhere. Trophies of great importance are to be handed out to Notre Dame regardless of the creamy soft underbelly of a schedule they currently inhabit. Still, since their shellacking by Michigan and the first 3 quarters in East Lansing this has been a different team. They are playing much better and Quinn is picking apart the teams he should pick apart. I don't think they've got the horses to gallop away from USC with a win, but if they keep playing this way I may change my mind.

7. Georgia Tech. My man crush on Calvin Johnson continues to grow.

8. Arkansas and Clemson. Um... Phil Steele was right.

9. Iowa rebounded quite nicely this weekend. Now with two week to prepare for the season defining/ruining game against Michigan, Ann Arborites are getting a tad bit nervous. They'll show absolutely nothing against Indiana this weekend and come into Michigan with a bag full of new plays. Gonna be a cat fight.

10. Auburn, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia, no soup for you. Georgia wasn't that good, even as an undefeated. No offense great defense. Then they finally get some scoring and their defense of awesomeness turns into a dandelion patch upon which Tennessee was free to stomp on. Auburn got torched on the ground. Please remember this was a Arkansas team that was gutted, sent to a taxidermist, stuffed and mounted by USC. No offense, no legit defense. Seems like LSU was a bit more of a fraud than I thought.

11. Quack Quack Croak. Attention Oregon: Your ass was left at lost and found. Please see the representative from the University of California to claim it.

12. Wisconsin. Welcome back. Your schedule is still a joke.

Let me know what you think.