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11/14/2018 - 2:50pm Will Grier seems solid, too…

Will Grier seems solid, too. After that you've got guys like Drew Lock and Ryan Finley. And by the time you get to #5 the conversation includes Clayton Thorson.

This is not a good QB year. Haskins could burnish the class a bit by coming out, but I would guess he comes back. Herbert and Grier seem like the first two QBs taken, but if you have three NFL teams looking to draft a starting QB, Shea has a chance to be in that conversation if he comes out.

11/14/2018 - 2:38pm Other than Kiper ranking him…

Other than Kiper ranking him high among guards, I don't see how Bredeson is a likely early entrant. He's good but not great. OL rarely leave early. He's not going to be a first-rounder. I'd be shocked if he left.

11/14/2018 - 2:37pm This is bigger than 2016…

This is bigger than 2016. 2016 was huge, but this (assuming victory over Indiana) is bigger.

It's not because the ceiling is higher--a playoff berth (possibly resulting in a loss) is the same for each. But the floor is lower now. In 2016 Harbaugh was new and fresh. The 2017 offensive disaster hadn't happened. Nobody was saying "Harbaugh can't win the big one" or sniffing at his record in road games. Coaches couldn't honestly argue that recruits under Harbaugh would underachieve.

Now all that negative stuff is on the table. It's quiet right now, but you can count on the fact that a loss in Columbus will bring all that stuff back up to the top again. In the national media, on this board, in the living rooms of recruits, everywhere.

If Michigan wants to be an elite team, it has to recruit like an elite team. People who say stars are everything and people who say they don't matter are both wrong. Stars aren't everything, but they DO matter. You need talented athletes to compete with the Clemsons and the Alabamas of the nation. 

OSU is rough right now but they do have those players and will continue to get them. And as long as they recruit like that, Michigan has to at least keep in the same ballpark, or we're looking at winning 1 out of every 4 years for the forseeable future (forget the fact that we've only won once since 2003, the future could be equally bleak). 

Michigan wins in Columbus and makes the playoff, we're an elite program. We close strong on the current class and restock the shelves for the coming years. Harbaugh has big wins under his belt, and the feeling in Ann Arbor is good.

Lose? Then James Franklin can legitimately go to a guy like Zach Harrison and tell him "at least I can beat Ohio State." Prospects in the South stop taking Harbaugh's phone calls. We have to revert to a "find the diamonds in the rough" strategy with few top prospects giving us a look. You know, Michigan State's strategy. Developing players and getting a couple of good athletes and hoping to beat the big boys on rare occasions. 9-3 as a typical year. Being a "little brother" to a clearly superior rival.

Lose a couple of times to finish the year and Michigan's ceiling is what Michigan State is now. 

This is the most important game of this century and it's not close. 

11/14/2018 - 2:27pm Promotion from within? Head…

Promotion from within? Head coach Mike Debord? Mallett and Boren stick around, but the rest of the team is... pretty much what we had in 2008, except instead of zone stretches for nothing you have power and counter runs for nothing. 

Basically, we're talking about being Tennessee instead of whatever it was we became. 

I think the program erosion had already plunged into critical mass territory, and one win (followed by a bad loss to Florida) wouldn't have changed it much. Still would have liked to win, mind you, but the problems were already festering.

11/14/2018 - 12:49pm Great post, great thread.

Great post, great thread.

11/14/2018 - 12:46pm Najee is a backup at Alabama…

Najee is a backup at Alabama who gets time on the field and makes some excellent runs. He's solidly behind Damien Harris (man...) at the moment. He'll emerge next season.

Weber is a backup that gets almost equal PT at OSU and OSU's running game is underperforming without a running QB. 

11/14/2018 - 12:45pm I'd be good with him rushing…

I'd be good with him rushing for 300 yards against OSU.

11/14/2018 - 12:43pm That's an error. Kiper isn't…

That's an error. Kiper isn't perfect and gets stuff wrong, of course, as does everybody. And Shea isn't the best QB prospect in the country right now.

But there's no way he isn't at least borderline top five. 

11/14/2018 - 12:42pm Yes. This is a high-pressure…

Yes. This is a high-pressure year, and has been from the beginning. Prove we're elite on the field and we'll get recruits that can continue to keep us elite. Flunk out and we're more like MSU, trying to find hidden gems and occasionally beating better programs.

The good news is that Michigan has already been excellent on the field, so some things are already getting proven. A single setback still won't keep people from seeing the obvious improvement on the field and development of our athletes. 

But a setback is still a setback, and multiple setbacks would be crushing. Blah blah blah OSU is struggling this year, we've already proven a lot; we need to beat them. 

The OSU game is probably the most important game in the history of the program since 1997. 

Beat Ohio. 

11/14/2018 - 10:46am Their uniforms are…

Their uniforms are objectively good. Not as good as ours, but good. It's one of the things that's great about the rivalry--two great stadiums, two great bands, two great uniforms, two huge fanbases. (Only one ethical athletic department, but let's be positive for the time being). 

I've been quite annoyed by their alternate duds over the last decade or so. The classic Michigan-Ohio State look is as good as anything in the sport, and they've been messing with it. This year it will look good.

If the teams want to go radical, they should both wear their normal home jerseys. That would look great.

11/13/2018 - 3:59pm Nice seeing good reports on…

Nice seeing good reports on Higdon. Reading the linked article, though, I’m not sure they’re watching the same guy we’ve watched for four years. 

11/13/2018 - 1:39pm A nameless mod has adjusted…

A nameless mod has adjusted the title, it's now fine; to answer the OP's question about whether this is OT, no. Michigan alums in professional leagues are not OT, though it is helpful to identify obscure or confusing ones carefully (e.g. we all know who "Woodson" is if he's in a thread title, but there are several important players named "Robinson" so a first name or something is helpful to clarify).


11/13/2018 - 1:07pm It's not dirty if it's true…

It's not dirty if it's true. Separating truth from falsehood and acknowledging when someone, even an actor we consider bad in other cases, is important. If Dantonio and the department acted rightly in this situation, then it helps clarify what was done improperly in other situations. 


11/13/2018 - 1:05pm Hook 'em.

Hook 'em.

11/13/2018 - 1:04pm I'm surprised there are no…

I'm surprised there are no fractures. I'm glad to hear that the ligament damage is minor. Other than the absence of fractures, this isn't ridiculous given what we saw. The ligament damage was always the question--ankle fractures themselves can heal reasonably quickly if they're not too devastating.

Troy Woolfolk, some might recall, had a bad ankle break/dislocation that was more serious. The issue there was the ligament damage more than the bones themselves. 

11/13/2018 - 12:54pm It'd be nice to hang on to…

It'd be nice to hang on to both. I don't blame Gray for keeping his options open, given that there's a hot prospect already committed. And I appreciate that the staff seems to be up front about how things go. Everyone knows Gray is a soft commit, and everyone knows that they're both on the list and would compete for time, why pretend otherwise?

It's exciting to be in play for a strong class this year. Playing well has a real influence on this. Gotta finish strong.

Beat Indiana. Beat Ohio.

11/13/2018 - 12:36pm It's risky stuff doing this…

It's risky stuff doing this kind of aggressive journalism when a portion of the audience is openly hostile.

One of the risks is that, like Icarus, catastrophe can occur if you fly too close to the sun.

11/13/2018 - 12:25pm Excellent stuff.

I have two…

Excellent stuff.

I have two thoughts:

1. Reading the "Sunk Costs" post and following the link therein to the defense of RR running RR's offense as opposed to Debord's old offense is interesting. I can get snarky when people draw broad conclusions by supplying evidence that does not really understand the problem. I believe one of the problems with that is that by failing to understand the problem, you open yourself up to repeat it.

Mike Rosenberg loathed RR. Even before the practice hour thing came up he was ripping RR for running the offense that RR had used to build WVU into a power. Rosenberg felt that RR was a fool for using that offense when the talent on the roster was assembled to run Mike Debord's offense (and, of course, because he thought the Debord/Carr offense was actually superior). Brian, of course, shredded this idea with basic facts, including analyses of the absolutely pitiful talent on the roster and the fact that the 2007 team, with lots of talent, was also mediocre.

But the general idea that many at Michigan had, that RR's offense was "unnatural," precipitated a fundamental misunderstanding of RRs problems. RR didn't fail because he ran the spread offense and used zone blocking. He failed because he did not pair his offensive coaching acumen with wise leadership of the program, particularly in his management of the defense and its staff.

As a result of this misunderstanding, many people (crucially including Dave Brandon) believed that many of Michigan's problems would be solved by hiring a coach whose offensive style was more like "Michigan" was supposed to be. "Manball" became a thing. Hoke spoke, probably following the prompting of Brandon, of how he was going to run power.

The result? Michigan never ran power well in Hoke's tenure. The program had a brief rise and then cratered again. Hoke was a Michigan Man and he ran power, unlike RR; however, he was, just like RR, unable to manage the program and unable to see the problems created by the staff he retained. In the critical ways he was just enough like RR to sink the program.

Because people were angry and falsely assumed they knew why things were bad under RR, they hired a man with weaknesses in the same crucial areas.

Now we have Harbaugh. He runs almost entirely from the gun. He runs zone stretches and zone read options. He runs RPOs. There are big stretches where Michigan's offense looks hauntingly similar to RR's. It wasn't the offense at all.

2. That OSU game was depressing; it was also a huge week for me, as I spent the weekend in Minnesota candidating to be an assistant at the church I now pastor. I saw very little of that football game and, for obvious reasons, don't regret that I missed most of it. The rest of life was much better than what happened on the football field. The team is better now, but life is still a blessing.

11/13/2018 - 11:28am Ok, this story doesn't sit…

Ok, this story doesn't sit well with me. Amazingly I seem to be on the same page as Section 1 and Ace (!) to some extent.

We have a couple of third-hand allegations that Smith used the n-word to address Grimes. In my reading of the article, Trevon Grimes never alleges that the n-word was used. What we have are a few people who say that Trevon told them it was used.

Elsewhere we have evidence that there was an altercation (Smith is a jerk, after all, and it is acknowledged by people denying the use of a racial slur that he swore at people in the process of coaching) and we have Trevon's transfer.

But then McMurphy hits a dead end, tries to connect the dots, and instead just starts collecting new dots to see if they connect. He digs into the not-so-clean pasts of Trevon's parents, thus proving... not much of anything.

At the beginning of the article, he says that the article is an attempt to discover the truth of the events that occurred between Smith and Trevon Grimes.

I understand why McMurphy is barking up this tree, but in my opinion, his attempt failed. I don't believe there is enough there to justify spilling all of the dirt about Trevon's parents that he spilled. 

Sometimes you just don't have the story. It's frustrating, and there's probably more to this than meets the eye, but I don't think McMurphy has the story.

11/12/2018 - 11:22pm Yeah they were way better…

Yeah they were way better under Hazell

 wait what 

11/12/2018 - 9:36pm Ugh. 

I’ve broken my ankle…


I’ve broken my ankle like that (bent the other way, but yeah). Hurts a lot, obviously. I hope that the ligament damage isn’t too severe; that’s harder to heal than the bones. 

The timing is awful. He is emerging, but hasn’t yet put up a full year to be established. 


11/12/2018 - 1:47pm Isn’t that the same slot…

Isn’t that the same slot that was occupied by that Pitt-WVU upset that landed us RR?

Edit: it’s a Friday game, biggest Black Friday game that I can remember in years. That also comes close to assuring us that Gameday will be in Columbus. 

Beat Indiana. Beat Ohio. 

11/12/2018 - 1:45pm True points about the SEC…

True points about the SEC and ACC; note also that the B1G often clears some space for Michigan and Ohio State. Wound up not being the case last year, but Indiana is theoretically lighter as these things go. We never play MSU or PSU this late. 

11/12/2018 - 12:01pm It’s not the money (honestly…

It’s not the money (honestly Michigan in the playoff will get better ratings than yet another Bama Clemson game) it’s the tendency of people to be overly impressed with the SEC. 

And yes, it is a worry. Bama is certainly a favorite against Georgia but that game is by no means a sure thing. 

11/12/2018 - 11:56am Against bad teams while…

Against bad teams while playing zero defense. 

They needed Oklahoma State to miss a 2-point conversion. Oklahoma State is 5-5. They squeaked by a bad Texas Tech team that played most of the game with its backup QB. And remember when they went to OT against Army?

In contrast, our one loss was a close road loss to a team currently in the playoff. And we’re killing everyone else. Wisconsin has looked kinda sad, and MSU and PSU aren’t awesome, but they’re all better than Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. 

I suppose if we look bad in wins against IU and hypothetically against NW, we might tug our collars a bit if OU starts killing people. But right now it’s not a serious threat. 

11/12/2018 - 11:51am Oakland is still in play. 

Oakland is still in play. 

11/12/2018 - 11:47am That’s true. Also true,…

That’s true. Also true, though, is that some guys emerge on different time tables. My recollection is that Rashan Gary and Josh Uche were in the same class, yet one looks like he’s about to go to the NFL and one is just starting to hit his prime with the team. So both can have great runs that don’t overlap that much. 

Still, the way Harbaugh manages the roster, there will be turnover. Some of it expected, some of it unexpected. 

11/12/2018 - 10:45am The last thing he should do…

The last thing he should do is get on a message board to troll and take shots at players for their social media habits, and then label people “sob sisters” for calling him out. 

So, whatever the merits of what he’s doing, at least he hasn’t done that. 

11/12/2018 - 10:42am DISAGREE

if we score that…


if we score that 7th TD with him, I’d go for two. 

And yeah I’d use him to do it. 

11/10/2018 - 10:12am The problem is that Rutgers…

The problem is that Rutgers is so bad he may not get a chance to break 100. Run for 15 on the first play? Great. The next play might be a PA pass or a run to Evans and go yard.

Come in the next drive. Runs for 20. Tru comes in. 2 plays later it's first and goal from the 3, in comes Mason.

Higdon could run for 250 in 10 carries. Or he could run for 70 in 7 carries and not see the field again because it's 42-0.

11/09/2018 - 12:34pm I got a good gaming headset…

I got a good gaming headset and play classical music to deal with the ambient noise on those occasions where I work from home. 

It usually works. Occasionally I am attacked by a 4-year-old pretending to be a dog and must address the situation.

11/09/2018 - 11:01am This thread has aged very…

This thread has aged very poorly.

Though some of the refutations of its premise are pretty good.

11/09/2018 - 9:40am This is correct. Evans does…

This is correct. Evans does not have Higdon’s speed. 

11/08/2018 - 11:27pm I feel like Higdon's speed…

I feel like Higdon's speed doesn't get properly recognized. I think we were all shocked when he turned in a 4.4 at that combine they did a couple of years ago, but it has certainly proven to be speed he brings to the field. That 50 yard run on the split zone that PSU busted, for example: The corner #4 has a great angle as Higdon charges into the defensive backfield.

um psu 27.PNG

But Higdon is so fast that #4 can't make the play until he pushes Higdon OOB 38 yards later.

Higdon's speed does all of that. Deveon Smith gets tackled at the 50 (maybe earlier). Evans might make a guy miss, but he can't outrun guys like that. Higdon's speed turns mistakes into BIG mistakes with some regularity.

As fast RBs do. But he's not just a speed back. He's an all-around quality back who blocks, makes tough YAC plays, and runs well between the tackles. His speed is just a part of his toolbox, but it has been significant this year. And, I would suggest, underappreciated.

11/08/2018 - 6:25pm They’re improving, thanks to…

They’re improving, thanks to a 5-star QB, a 5-star WR (with help from some 4-stars) and an OL anchored by high 4-stars on the interior. 

Stars don’t tell the whole story, but they help tell an important part of it. 

11/08/2018 - 6:21pm Resume wise both PSU and…

Resume wise both PSU and Wisconsin are compromised, but roughly the same amounts. PSU winning out is good for us and seems more probable, so they might as well do it. Wisconsin has a worse loss; PSU has just been beaten up by the B1G East, which remains a great division despite being put to the sword by Don Brown. 

11/08/2018 - 6:18pm That’s good. Warinner would…

That’s good. Warinner would be a great fit if they were trying to hit on a position-type guy given his credentials and previous experience there. But if they want a HC guy Michigan isn’t a factor here. 

Hard to get a guy with HC experience to go to KU, though. It’s kinda Miles or a castoff that failed somewhere else. Miles, at least, has some success. Most guys with his credentials can still get good P5 jobs. 

Come to think of it, RR is available. 

11/08/2018 - 5:56pm That’s as wrong-headed as…

That’s as wrong-headed as the “stars are all that matter” viewpoint. The top five guys on that list are 4* players. And this defense isn’t nearly what it is without them. 

Stars don’t tell the whole story, but they are an important piece of data. Development matters too, but you need players that can develop. 

Our defense has developed well. We also started with some terrific, well-rated athletes. 

11/08/2018 - 10:52am ND could beat them handily…

ND could beat them handily. But Syracuse has, in two years, beaten Clemson and played them down to the last drive. They've won games. They aren't the disaster that USC is. 

They are not, as someone has said, Indiana. They have performed more consistently than Purdue. They're more analogous to a Mike Leach team; not going to win a title, but they can do some damage every so often.

11/08/2018 - 10:47am He didn't start against PSU…

He didn't start against PSU. He's right there in the rotation, but Kemp and Mone got the first series. I don't think Solomon has started a single game--I don't remember what the lineup was for MSU, but he didn't start against Wisconsin or ND, the only other games he played.

It's not anything to worry about. Uche and Paye and Watson aren't up there, either, and they... are pretty key guys.

11/08/2018 - 10:45am My usual comment on these…

My usual comment on these posts is something discussing how the things that they do well make me nervous and what my reasons for worry are for a game.

I don't want to sound overconfident, but if Michigan were to lose this game, it would be the worst loss in program history, and probably the biggest upset in the history of college football. And we know what we're talking about.

I mean: Nice RB they've got there. Meet Devin Bush.

Nice true freshman QB you've got there. He throws inaccurately and drops back too far in the pocket, protected by a baaad OL.

Meet Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary and Josh Uche. Or, you know, Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson. 

The worry is injuries. Devin Bush will probably play three quarters, because Brown keeps him out there. Stay healthy, Devin. 

11/08/2018 - 9:04am Why are people so confident…

Why are people so confident that ND will struggle against USC? USC is pitiful this year. 

Syracuse is dangerous. USC not so much. 

11/08/2018 - 9:01am Yeah I’d feel better about…

Yeah I’d feel better about this if he weren’t the QB when we lost to them. 

Also FSU isnt “bad.” They’re terrible. 

11/07/2018 - 10:23pm I’m down with this. 

I’m down with this. 

11/07/2018 - 7:28pm There was a basketball…

There was a basketball player wearing a Michigan hat today after practice. Still a couple of years to go before he can sign his LOI, but it's a promising sign.

Of course he's currently 5'6 and he's a role-player for a jr. high team in a school of less than 300 students, so it might not get the staff's attention right away.

11/07/2018 - 5:36pm the CFP architects were…

the CFP architects were required to write the criteria in such a way that the SEC could qualify as many of its members as possible - one things [sic] was the SEC would not sign up unless the league title criteria meant virtually nothing.

So, here is an actual document outlining the criteria used to determine playoff inclusion.

The only real concession to the SEC is the absence of a one-team-per-conference limitation. While I suppose that technically means that they can "qualify as many members as possible," it also means that the Big Ten and the Big 12 and the ACC can do so, as well. 

The criteria for evaluating the teams has no structural bias whatsoever. 

The criteria to be provided to the selection committee must be aligned with the ideals of the commissioners, Presidents, athletic directors and coaches to honor regular season success while at the same time providing enough flexibility and discretion to select a non-champion or independent under circumstances where that particular non-champion or independent is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country.

When circumstances at the margins indicate that teams are comparable, then the following criteria must be considered:

  • Championships won
  • Strength of schedule
  • Head-to-head competition (if it occurred)
  • Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory)

That seems reasonably fair. Whether the committees have always held to these (margin of victory may not be directly incentivized but it sure does help the metrics that are used), the criteria are pretty fair. And, for what it's worth, they appear to be demonstrating fealty to the head-to-head clause in keeping us below ND despite what appears to be an otherwise superior resume.

Strength of schedule is supposed to benefit big non-conference games, which is why there was a flurry of them scheduled after the playoff system was adopted. The clause requiring the evaluation of championships makes conference titles important. Later in the document, they say this:

Strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar 

That's pretty clear.

This is not something that is structurally built to favor the SEC. It may favor them in practice, but it isn't designed that way. And, FWIW, there are some elements here that may speak well for Michigan should things break in a difficult direction.  

11/07/2018 - 4:43pm Pass? Fail?

Pass? Fail?

11/07/2018 - 2:05pm I find the idea that the…

I find the idea that the committee's reasoning behind ranking LSU and Kentucky in their respective positions is an attempt to communicate to fans that the SEC will get two teams in the playoff to be preposterous. 

That doesn't mean that there won't be potential problems as a result. You appear to claim that I am refusing to acknowledge something because it's bad for Michigan. I assume that what is "bad for Michigan" is the possibility of being left out of the playoff. I have not refused to acknowledge any such thing. 

Is there a scenario where we could be unjustly left out of the playoff in favor of 2 SEC teams? It's possible. My fandom has nothing to do with it.

What I refuse to acknowledge is the superstition that the committee is somehow deliberately manipulating facts to achieve an anti-Michigan or pro-SEC result. 

Imputing motives to individuals that don't exist is a great way to ensure that the bad results one is actually upset about continue to happen. When one fails to understand WHY something unfavorable occurs, one cannot make efforts to correct it. If we rail on the committee for engaging in a conspiracy to freeze Michigan out of the playoff, we are almost certainly wrong--and the committee can just wave it off as tinfoil hat fever swamp stuff, which it is. If we, instead, address the circular-reasoning issues that may factor into the high rankings of the mid-level SEC teams, we have a better chance to influence current and future committee deliberations by encouraging them to address reasoning flaws that they actually suffer from.

If they overvalue the SEC, it is likely due to the SEC's insular records and the committee's sub-conscious belief in the SEC's relative quality. Those are things that they can recognize and counteract. But accusations of conspiracy cannot be addressed, as there is none.

11/07/2018 - 1:38pm Doesn't take much. Eastern…

Doesn't take much. Eastern Michigan > Purdue, Purdue > OSU, therefore Eastern Michigan > OSU.

It's not complicated. 

11/07/2018 - 1:37pm C'mon, friend. Is there a…

C'mon, friend. Is there a possibility Michigan could get jumped in the wrong scenario? Sure. Is your description of the process that gets there accurate? I don't think so.

The idea that the committee, together, has a preconceived idea that they want to get 2 SEC teams into the playoff is... rather unlikely. We're talking about a pretty diverse group of people that is trying to compare teams with each other. It's not the staff of the Paul Finebaum show smoking cigars in a dark room.

There is, of course, quite a possibility that there is some poor methodology and perhaps even subconscious bias at work.

But it is a pretty simplistic view of the committee that they are going to pay attention to how many slots they drop a team that loses. Why did Kentucky only drop two slots? Maybe it's because the committee thinks they're better than UCF, Syracuse, and NC State. Maybe they're wrong, but that's not exactly absurd. Who's next on the list below them? Florida, which has one more loss... and lost to Kentucky earlier in the year.

"It will help them stay #4" doesn't seem like a meaningful quote at all.