Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An obligatory look at Michigan

About the University
The university was founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, about 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres of what is now known as Central Campus.
So Michigan (the university) was around before Michigan (the state)?!? You just blew my mind man.
The first classes in Ann Arbor were held in 1841, with six freshmen and a sophomore, taught by two professors. Eleven students graduated in the first commencement in 1845
Little known fact: those fist 7 students formed the school's first football team and won a game. To this day Michigan fans still consider that victory one of their 35 national championships before World War II. True story.

Cool Fact

The University of Michigan's fight song, The Victors, was written by student Louis Elbel in 1898 following the last-minute football victory over the University of Chicago that clinched a league championship. The song was declared by John Philip Sousa as "the greatest college fight song ever written."

You can argue fight songs until you're blue [pun intended] in the face but when John Philip Sousa says your fight song is great, you've got something there.

Football related datum

Current Record: 5 – 2
Last year's Record: 3 – 9 – feel free to snicker if you'd like

The scary side of things

Tate Forcier – DickRod was lacking the kind of quarterback for his spread system that he brought from West Virginia, but he's found one in Forcier. Forcier is more of a pass first spread QB who likes to throw on the run and when he's on, he can light up the scoreboard. For a true freshman Forcier has progressed quicker than a lot of people had anticipated and has already surpassed some of his Big Ten counterparts *cough Pryor cough* at least from a passing perspective. Forcier is completing almost 58% of his passes and is 4th in the conference in passing efficiency. Michigan is second to Penn State in total offense in the Big Ten and at just over 37 points per game they are first in the conference in scoring.

Rushing attack – I was shocked to see that Michigan leads the conference in rushing. They are averaging 235 yards per game on the ground and yet they don't have a single running back that averages more than 56 yards per game. Carlos Brown leads the team with 336 yards; he and Vincent Smith are averaging over 7.5+ yards per carry, but Michigan does it by committee. 7 running backs have 100 yards or more and 8 have scored touchdowns. Pretty much this entire team is a running machine with interchangeable parts. The same goes for the wideouts, no one receiver stands out but the ball has been spread around to a lot of different options.

Of course what would a Michigan preview be without mentioning interstellar overlord Zoltan Mesko who leads the conference and is 7th nationally in punting, averaging just over 45 yards per punt? Michigan as a team is 2nd in the nation in net punting so don't expect anything from the punt return department.

Michigan is 4-0 at home although the only notable victory came against Notre Shame.

The not-so-scary side of things

Tate Forcier – while we can say that Forcier has done an amazing job he still is a true freshman and makes an occasional throw like one (see: OT - Michigan State). In fact good Forcier/bad Forcier really showed in the Michigan State game: he torched Michigan State up and down the field even though he was visibly exhausted only to throw the soul sucking pick in the endzone.

Defense – while Michigan is scoring at will, Will is scoring back; they are giving up over 363 yards and almost 22 points per game on defense. In comparison, PSU is giving up 9. Michigan's front four are 10th in the conference in sacks and their turnover margin isn't spectacular. The Wolverines don't make a lot happen on defense and the games I've watched they've taken a page out of Penn State's "Bend and then Break our Hearts" defensive playbook.

Game Outlook

I said it last week and I'll say it again, if Penn State plays to their potential they should beat Michigan. Penn State's defense is heads above Michigan's and the offenses are at the very least a push. If Penn State doesn't turn the ball over (that's a big "if") and doesn't go into their road suck-ass conservative offensive they should win. Penn State has not allowed a first half touchdown on defense all season but that changes here. I think, just like last year, Michigan scores early but Penn State pulls away late when the offensive line starts to grind away at Michigan's front four. Time of Possession will be critical in this game if Michigan has the ball a lot more than Penn State it could be a bad sign for the good guys.

Also, did I mention the Big Ten officials suck?!? No? Well there you go.

TNL's Prediction
Penn State
DickRod 10


jd said...

stop forcier in the run option, and psu wins. gonna need sean lee for this one.

psu 35
stinkbears 17

M1EK said...

Close game, hopefully in our favor. No way we pull away in this one in their stadium against a team that's better than the one they brought to our stadium last year. Our OL looked good against Minny, which gives me optimism, but realism dictates that I point out that it's possible Minny just sucks.

Galen said...

Minnesota, bad or not, proved that our secondary can cover a very good WR, that's what gives me hope.

Mike Pettigano said...


He should have made a few of those catches along the sidelines, though. But one could argue that those passes were off, directly due to Penn State's pass rush.

Conclusion: Even if the receiver gets open on PSU's DBs, the pass rush will force a bad throw. End of threat.

M1EK said...

I've been a believer in our secondary all season - they've done just fine. The OL's ability to run-block was the big disaster waiting to happen going in to Iowa.