Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michigan Preview 2008: Part 9-Top 10 Reasons Michigan will be TERRIBLE in 2008

I'm not very big on making predictions, especially this season when really everything is a big question mark. You can find predicitions anywhere else and can hear them on our first show of the year Friday from 7-10 PM on 88.3 WCBN or Generally the consensus has been 7-5 or 8-4 with some going well below that and predicting a 2007 NDesque year, and nobody seeming to go higher than 8-4. The next two days I'll give 10 reasons Michigan will be like ND in '07, and then 10 reasons Michigan will be decent to good and at least reach that 8 win plateau if not higher. I'm going to start with the bad news first and the top 10 reasons Michigan will stink this seasons. Alot of this is me playing the devil's advocate so don't bite my head off for saying some stuff. These are just the potential reasons Michigan will have the worst year ever and end their amazing bowl streak. Brace yourselves, after I finished writing this I was even getting depressed. I countdown from 10 to 1.

Top 10 Reasons Michigan Football will stink in 2008

10. Rich Rod’s offense won’t work in the Big Ten
I don’t buy into the whole offense not working in the Big Ten thing, but it’s something people are talking about. Rodriguez has only played one Big Ten team throughout his career. It so happens that team is the prototypical smashmouth run every play, find the biggest guys we can to be on the line team, Wisconsin. Rodriguez and WVU had a home and home with Wisconsin in Rodriguez’s second and third year. They lost both of them scoring only 17 points in each. Still, this was in Rodriguez’s second and third year, and in the third year the team had lost a boatload of talent. But that’s the position Michigan is in right now with no quarterback, losing their all-time leading rusher, and losing practically the whole O-line. This could be ugly.

9. Family Values
Hey Justin. How’s it going down there? The few insiders I’ve talked to at O-State say you may never get to start down there because of all the talent. Haha weird. Hope the snow-plow business does well this winter. Wouldn’t want to have to go to a practice and miss a big snow, right? Just like A.I. said, “We talkin’ ‘bout practice.” Yeah well at least you don’t have to get yelled at by Rodriguez anymore. He’s such an insensitive jerk and he must have caused you a lot of irreparable emotional damage. Doesn’t he know you have feelings too? I hope you’re doing better. And if Tressel does yell at you just come to me. Shh Shh little baby, don’t cry don’t cry. Everything will be ok.

8. Scott Shafer is too aggressive
While Shafer’s scheme excites many, there is a fear, a slight fear that has been creeping into my mind, that maybe he will be too aggressive. It seems like his blitz all the time policy is a big hit or miss thing. If it clicks, and everyone gets in the back field quick enough, it will be great and one of the top units in the nation. But there will be times when the defense blitzes, if they do it too much, and a handoff on a draw later all 11 defenders will be staring at the back of the opposing running backs jersey as he walks into the endzone. I don’t think this will be the case and I do believe Shafer’s defense will be great. But it’s something to watch for IMO.

7. Morgan Trent return to ’06 form
So Morgan Trent played pretty well last year. Not buying it? He had a decent year, didn’t make a whole lot of plays though. Maybe last year was just an aberration and we will watch get torched a ton this year. I wouldn’t count on it, as I think he will play great, but if he gets burned early it might be tough for him to get it out of his psyche. Again should be great, and I don’t think this is a problem, but I’m sure plenty of fans are worried.

6. Overrated D
If Trent does play like that, it will be one example of why the defense is overrated. Everyone is expecting big big things from this experienced defense that have to live through a summer with Mike Barwis, but maybe there is too much expected from them. They do need to be great for this team to win, but maybe they just simply aren’t that great. Will Johnson was overrated and played weak last season; the outside linebackers have no experience and are a question mark; Obi Ezeh started and played well, but wasn’t outstanding; fans’ memories of Stevie Brown are him getting torched against App. State; Brandon Harrison is a starting safety and fans have watched him get torched on too many occasions; Morgan Trent (see #7); and if the defense is blitzing all the time, who’s going to stop the run when we can’t get to the back in the backfield. Get the picture? Maybe the defense has too much expected from them. They weren’t very good against the run last year ranking 58th in the country in rush defense. There is a chance for disappointment here.

5. Simply lost too much offensive talent
Michigan lost the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft in tackle Jake Long. And, oh yeah, they lost 3 other O-line starters and a couple guys that provided depth. Lost the all-time leading passer in Michigan history in Chad Henne, and his heir apparent, Ryan Mallett. Lost Michigan’s all-time leading rusher in Mike Hart; and the big Blue lost their top two wide receivers, both of whom could have returned for another year. It would be tough, to impossible, for any team to succeed after that, let alone while undergoing a coaching transition. Not lookin’ too good.

4. Injuries
With the thin O-line, it was pretty clear that Michigan had to stay healthy at that spot. So much for that as a starter, Cory Zirbel, went down with a knee injury and is likely out for the season. His replacement, Mark Huyge, soon also decided to go down with an ankle injury and he is out for a few weeks at least. This line is seriously paper thin right now and if one more starter goes down, might as well throw that paper into the fire and watch it burn. This is looking scary. Please no more injuries.

3. O-line
Speaking of that O-line, even when healthy there is a combined 15 total starts of experience among those guys, 13 coming from one guy, Schilling. When starting a first year quarterback, you at least want to be able to say you have a solid offensive line that will make his life a little easier. Nope, sorry, this line could be just as big a liability as that walk-on, first year, 6’1” starting QB. There are some skill guys on the outside, but what does it matter if the QB doesn’t even have time to get him the ball. Oh yeah, and Michigan would like to run the ball too. How is any back supposed to run when the O-line collapses and lets the front seven into the backfield coming straight at him. OK it certainly won’t be that bad, but there are going to be some major difficulties running up the middle. Hopefully these guys gel together, but right now this O-line is one of the main reasons for Michigan to be dismal.

2. Quarterbacks
Oh the quarterbacks. Remember that time the four-star 6’6” quarterback who was almost handed the starting job found a way to lose out to the 6’1” walk-on who only has a spot on the team because his Dad used to coach here? Well, you can say that come Saturday, as all indications point to Sheridan being the starter. And having watched the bits of practice that I’ve seen Sheridan does seem better, not only because he’s a little mobile, but he actually seems to be a more accurate passer too. Regardless of who is playing, this will probably be ugly and there could be a couple of interceptions PER GAME. Yeah, it’s looking that bad. In Rodriguez’s first year at WVU, he used three quarterbacks, though one significantly more than the others, but the results were ugly, very ugly. How about a combined 9 touchdowns to 19 interceptions, for a grand whopping total of 1811 yards on 357 attempts and a completion percentage of 53%. Oh yeah, and the guy who played the most at quarterback was a returning starter and Senior who was a drop back guy and threw 13 TDs to just 8 INTs the year before. How will it be with a guy without any experience, both of whom are drop back passers? Don’t answer that question.

1. Rodriguez’s first year
Rodriguez’s first year’s have each been pretty bad. His first and only year at Salem as a 24 year old, Rodriguez was 2-8. His first year at NAIA Glenville State, a dismal 1-7-1. In his first year at West Virginia, he inherited a club that 7-5(3-4) the season before. He did not exactly lift that program up in year one going 3-8 and 1-6 in conference play. Sure he had great success after year one, but he’s in year one now. Please don’t let it be the same at Michigan. Unfortunately, it is a realistic possibility, especially if more injuries occur.

Now that I have thouroughly depressed you three days from game day, tomorrow I'll give 10 reasons why Michigan won't be so bad this year. It's always good to end things on a good note even if it'll be overly positive. I'm sick of talking about this and can't wait to watch them. As long as the above reasons don't all come true.


Andrew Seid said...

Have you forgotten that WCBN's own Andrew Seid has been predicting 9-3 consistently for quite some time?

Rushi said...

As was I when I was predicting, but I'm afraid we're the only ones.