BLUE

...the joy and despair of being a Wolverines fan.

 

August 29, 2008

WHERE'S MY STRAIGHTJACKET?


The college football world is Bearish on Michigan Football. Sports Illustrated has Michigan at 54, behind teams like Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa(!?!). I will bet my annual salary right here and right now that Michigan finishes vastly higher than Iowa.

The Bears are obviously fixated on Michiganís denuded offensive line and walk-on quarterback, areas of concern, certainly. But letís put Lloyd Carr back at the helm and add back Ryan Mallett and Justin Boren along with one or two other beefalo lineman who threw in the towel after their third Barwis sprint. SI and others would then be typically Bullish on Michigan, citing their seasoned defense and five-star QB before bestowing a top 25 ranking on the Wolverines. Excuse me? Boren, Mallett and Lloyd Carr do not elevate this current squad from 54th to the top 25. Yet, in the Lloyd Carr version of 2008, pundits would place Michigan in a more traditional pre-season slot citing better athletes, a stout defense and the simple fact that the schedule features largely inferior competition. They would grumble and mumble that Michigan is overrated, but they would never drop them down amongst the unwashed.

 

Letís look deeper. Is there anyone reading this who actually thinks Ryan Mallett Ė the whole package we came to know and love Ė would have been a leader and a very good QB in 2008 under Lloyd Carr?  I will take that deafening silence to mean no. And all you Boren-Is-A-Pussy haters surely canít believe he was worth wins all by himself.

To stick with the Wall Street lingo, what seems to have happened is that the market correctly started selling Michigan short upon seeing our QB and OL problems emerge and, like a run on a depression era bank, irrationality took over.

They have gone way too far. A Lloyd Carr 2008 team without the defections is not appreciably better than a Rich Rodriguez 2008 team with the defections, with Barwis and with the late speed recruits. Period. The deterioration in the OL and the presence of Nick Sheridan behind center are more than offset by having an offensive genius as a head coach, better conditioning and an emphasis on speed.

And the defense is substantially better. Setting the unknown of conditioning aside, the returning talent off of the 23rd rated defense is impressive with the bonus of addition by subtraction in the LB corps (yes, Personal Foul Crable included).  Examine the points allowed to last yearís Big 10 opponents:

If we accept the general premise that this yearís defense will be better, than projecting the same Big 10 scoring defense for 2008 is not unreasonable. Note that I did NOT say it was scientific or deeply analytical. This is a 30,000 foot analysis, not mgoblog. So the challenge is simple Ė score me three touchdowns a game in the Big 10 and that will probably be worth 6 wins. And Toledo?  Miami of Ohio? Notre Dame? One is hard-pressed to find a reason for the gloom that surrounds our beloved Wolverines.

I am predicting 10-2, with a loss early because of new-system errors and a loss in the meat of the season to either MSU or PSU (we canít keep beating them every year). Yes, this means I am predicting a victory over Ohio State.  That certainly isnít rational, but then neither was 1969.

Posted by Meeechigan Dan | Permalink | |