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GDT: Michigan at Utah 9/3/2015

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As long as UM doesn't embarrass itself on and off the field as it has over the past few seasons, I'll consider this season a success and a segway to bigger and better things to come.

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I see that the QB depth chart lists Rudock or Morris

I saw that earlier. This is not in keeping with reports out of camp.

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a segway to bigger and better things to come.

article-0-14787C8A000005DC-202_306x505.jpg

It's pretty much a given that Rudock is going to be the starter though, no? I thought throwing in the OR was what people expected Harbaugh to do because he is under no obligation to name one today.

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34-17 Michigan. Brady Hoke's laudable recruiting efforts finally pay off after the team receives their first bit of real coaching in many years.

Stars emerge. The methodical, precise Michigan offensive attack and the ever tenacious defense lead Michigan to victory in a game that never feels close.

The Ute faithful will be quieted shortly after the opening kick off.

Thus sayeth me.

Also, that conversation that happened up above, WWWWWWTF?????

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article-0-14787C8A000005DC-202_306x505.jpg

It's pretty much a given that Rudock is going to be the starter though, no? I thought throwing in the OR was what people expected Harbaugh to do because he is under no obligation to name one today.

That picture summarizes the hopes for this season pretty well. ;)

I'd be surprised if Rudock isn't starting on Thursday.

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Michigan will win going away. Laughable that anyone thinks they can lose.
34-17 Michigan. Brady Hoke's laudable recruiting efforts finally pay off after the team receives their first bit of real coaching in many years.

Stars emerge. The methodical, precise Michigan offensive attack and the ever tenacious defense lead Michigan to victory in a game that never feels close.

The Ute faithful will be quieted shortly after the opening kick off.

Thus sayeth me.

I'm curious why you are so confident? I heard Utah is returning 16 starters from last seasons 9-4 team. Just about every commentator I've listened to think that Michigan winning this game in Utah would be an upset.

Vegas has Michigan as a 6 point underdog from what I've read, so if you are a betting man, and really have hunch that Michigan wins big, you could really clean up by betting on the game.

I love Michigan, and expect great things from Harbaugh, but if Michigan wins this game "going away", Harbaugh should be at the top of the "Coach of the Year" polls after week 1 (although I don't think those polls exist). Or maybe Utah isn't as good as I've heard they could be this year.

My homer pick is Michigan 24 Utah 21, although I wouldn't bet on it. I can't wait to start the Harbaugh era at Michigan.

Edited by belcherboy

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I'm curious why you are so confident? I heard Utah is returning 16 starters from last seasons 9-4 team. Just about every commentator I've listened to think that Michigan winning this game in Utah would be an upset.

Vegas has Michigan as a 6 point underdog from what I've read, so if you are a betting man, and really have hunch that Michigan wins big, you could really clean up by betting on the game.

I love Michigan, and expect great things from Harbaugh, but if Michigan wins this game "going away", Harbaugh should be at the top of the "Coach of the Year" polls after week 1 (although I don't think those polls exist). Or maybe Utah isn't as good as I've heard they could be this year.

My homer pick is Michigan 24 Utah 21, although I wouldn't bet on it. I can't wait to start the Harbaugh era at Michigan.

I understand the source of the optimism though - it's all about the recruiting. Brady, for as manifest as his failure to coach guys once he had them was, brought a lot of highly prized athletes to the program. According to that school of thought the talent is there and all it's going to take is the coaching to utilize it. This may not be the way it works, and even if the talent is there one set of spring and fall drills may not be enough to make an immediate difference, but it's enough of a possibility for a lot of fans to hang their hat on.

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I understand the source of the optimism though - it's all about the recruiting. Brady, for as manifest as his failure to coach guys once he had them was, brought a lot of highly prized athletes to the program. According to that school of thought the talent is there and all it's going to take is the coaching to utilize it. This may not be the way it works, and even if the talent is there one set of spring and fall drills may not be enough to make an immediate difference, but it's enough of a possibility for a lot of fans to hang their hat on.

No doubt there is a lot of talent at Michigan, and I'm optimistic that there is a good chance that Michigan will win this game. But I'm trying to figure out how people are seriously predicting a blowout win for Michigan on the road against a team that is returning 16 starters, beat Michigan by more than 2 TD's last year in AA, and went 9-4 in the Pac 12 last year. Maybe I'm missing something, but Vegas odds and most commentators aren't predicting a Michigan win. The few that are predicting a Michigan win, are picking it by just a few points.

I was just wondering why some on the MB are confident enough to pick a Michigan win by more than 2 TD's. Either way I hope they are right. It would be nice to scare the mess out of the rest of the B10 in game #1!

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No doubt there is a lot of talent at Michigan, and I'm optimistic that there is a good chance that Michigan will win this game. But I'm trying to figure out how people are seriously predicting a blowout win for Michigan on the road against a team that is returning 16 starters, beat Michigan by more than 2 TD's last year in AA, and went 9-4 in the Pac 12 last year. Maybe I'm missing something, but Vegas odds and most commentators aren't predicting a Michigan win. The few that are predicting a Michigan win, are picking it by just a few points.

I was just wondering why they are so confident. Either way I hope they are right. It would be nice to scare the mess out of the rest of the B10 in game #1!

Analysts are notoriously conservative when it comes to predicting games, so it's no surprise that most are predicting a loss or at best a close win.

The first data point against Michigan is that they just haven't been a good team recently. Recent performance is always the first thing people look at. Michigan has nothing going for them in that department.

You listed a lot of other obvious reasons that makes it easy to pick Utah. But I would say the result of last year's game shouldn't carry a lot of weight. No single game should for that matter.

16 returning starters from a team that went 9-4 seems impressive at first glance. But they also were 5-4 in the conference. They played a lot of close games too. A one point loss to Washington state (which was a terrible football team). A two point win over a good ucla team. A double ot win over Oregon state. Three point win over USC. OT loss to asu. Blowout loss to Oregon. Double OT win over Stanford. Blowout loss to Arizona. Four point win over Colorado. Seven out of nine conference games were decided by four points or fewer or in OT. They went 5-2 in those close games.

So were they really even that good last year? I'm not so sure.

The question really becomes whether you think Michigan has better talent and potential that what they showed last year. Recruiting rankings provide a bit of a hint in that regard. It's also fair to think that the coaching is improved.

Michigan returns a large amount of starters, too. And that doesn't include peppers, who might be their best player on defense. It also doesn't include rudock, even though he was a starter last year for his former team and very likely represents an upgrade at the most important position on the field.

The defensive side of the ball is in very good hands. The interior lineman, linebackers, and secondary are all very good. The defensive ends are the probably the weak spot.

On offense, the entire line returns. Running back and wr are a bit of a question mark, wr especially. QB will be at least adequate.

To me, this looks like a team that can play with almost anyone. I don't know enough about Utah, but I think the biggest thing is that I'm not sure they were all that good last year either.

At the very least, Utah is a solid team and they will provide an excellent early season measuring stick for this Michigan team.

I don't get any satisfaction from predicting doom and gloom when there appear to be legitimate reasons for optimism, so I'll go ahead and say that I think Michigan will win, and that it won't be particularly close. I don't think it will be a blowout though.

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No doubt there is a lot of talent at Michigan, and I'm optimistic that there is a good chance that Michigan will win this game. But I'm trying to figure out how people are seriously predicting a blowout win for Michigan on the road against a team that is returning 16 starters, beat Michigan by more than 2 TD's last year in AA, and went 9-4 in the Pac 12 last year. Maybe I'm missing something, but Vegas odds and most commentators aren't predicting a Michigan win. The few that are predicting a Michigan win, are picking it by just a few points.

I was just wondering why some on the MB are confident enough to pick a Michigan win by more than 2 TD's. Either way I hope they are right. It would be nice to scare the mess out of the rest of the B10 in game #1!

We got the best damn coach in the country. We upgraded significantly at QB and Jabril Peppers is getting massive hype.

Plus, it's a helluva lot funner for most to get over-hyped for a game/season than it is to be doom and gloom. The fact that the line is heavy Utah maybe means that we're not willing to put our money where our mouth is.

I'm pretty confident in Ruddock, our TEs, and the back 7 of our defense. RB should be solid, WRs meh, but they don't need to be great. The key to the season will be the trenches on each side of the ball. The DL just has to break even, which they can, I think. But the OL has to be genuinely good, IMO. They will be helped by coaching/scheme/experience, but they will have the farthest to go from last year.

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Analysts are notoriously conservative when it comes to predicting games, so it's no surprise that most are predicting a loss or at best a close win.

I agree with this, but I also like to look at what people are betting on. It seems by the betting lines I've seen that most people believe that Michigan is about a TD behind Utah in terms of this game. That may not be an accurate predictor of things, but most often the money seems to be correct. At least from the limited things I've seen in the past few years.

You listed a lot of other obvious reasons that makes it easy to pick Utah. But I would say the result of last year's game shouldn't carry a lot of weight. No single game should for that matter.

I partially agree with you on this. When the team that beat you by more than 2 TD's at your home field the previous seasons is returning the vast majority of its players, I would think that would be a pretty good indicator of whom is likely to win a game. Especially when that team has home field advantage. Obviously I don't think that makes it impossible for Michigan to win, but I also disagree that it shouldn't carry a good bit of weight. Especially throwing in the fact that Utah is returning all it's coaches, while Michigan has a brand new system, with a new QB, and this is game #1 for this new system.

16 returning starters from a team that went 9-4 seems impressive at first glance. But they also were 5-4 in the conference. They played a lot of close games too. A one point loss to Washington state (which was a terrible football team). A two point win over a good ucla team. A double ot win over Oregon state. Three point win over USC. OT loss to asu. Blowout loss to Oregon. Double OT win over Stanford. Blowout loss to Arizona. Four point win over Colorado. Seven out of nine conference games were decided by four points or fewer or in OT. They went 5-2 in those close games.

From what I've read (The only game of Utah's I watched was the Michigan game last year), they had their fair share of injuries last year that some said kept them from winning the Pac 12 South. Although they lost the South by 2 games, and were blown out by Arizona who won it, so who knows how accurate that statement is.

The question really becomes whether you think Michigan has better talent and potential that what they showed last year. Recruiting rankings provide a bit of a hint in that regard. It's also fair to think that the coaching is improved.

Michigan returns a large amount of starters, too. And that doesn't include peppers, who might be their best player on defense. It also doesn't include rudock, even though he was a starter last year for his former team and very likely represents an upgrade at the most important position on the field.

I agree that Michigan has a lot of talent on paper, but how much of it do you believe will translate onto the field in the first game? Those starters were on a 5-7 team last year. No doubt, poorly coached and poorly developed talent, but why are so many Michigan fans confident in the development of these players when Harbaugh and his staff haven't even had 6 months to work his new system with them?

The defensive side of the ball is in very good hands. The interior lineman, linebackers, and secondary are all very good. The defensive ends are the probably the weak spot.

If the defense hadn't been so good last year, I'd say that Michigan had NO chance at winning in Utah on Thursday. Because of the defense, I think I would slightly favor Michigan.

On offense, the entire line returns. Running back and wr are a bit of a question mark, wr especially. QB will be at least adequate.

To me, this looks like a team that can play with almost anyone.

I'm just not confident in the OL. With a brand new QB, and no real stand out on WR or RB, I just don't see how anyone can have any confidence in the offense yet. At least not enough confidence that they can blow out a Pac 12 team that will likely be one of the top 4-5 teams in the conference this year.

I don't know enough about Utah, but I think the biggest thing is that I'm not sure they were all that good last year either.

At the very least, Utah is a solid team and they will provide an excellent early season measuring stick for this Michigan team.

I don't know enough about them either. I'm merely speculating by what I saw of them last year against Michigan, various commentators predictions for this year, and the stats that I'm look at from last years season. I too think that they are a GREAT early season test for this newly coached Michigan team.

I don't get any satisfaction from predicting doom and gloom when there appear to be legitimate reasons for optimism, so I'll go ahead and say that I think Michigan will win, and that it won't be particularly close. I don't think it will be a blowout though.

I don't think you have to predict doom and gloom, but I'm just trying to figure out why optimism is so high on a dominating performance from Michigan on Thursday. Maybe I'm just setting the bar low so that when Michigan does dominate the game that I'll be pleasantly surprised, but I can't seem to find anyone outside of Michigan fans that seem to think that Michigan isn't the underdog in this game, or at best a few points better than Utah.

Harbaugh hasn't let people down at every job he has had, so I believe this team will be as prepared for this game as they possibly can be. Let's hope the recruiting rankings that Hoke had the past few years prove to be accurate with these guys on the field on Thursday.

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No doubt there is a lot of talent at Michigan, and I'm optimistic that there is a good chance that Michigan will win this game. But I'm trying to figure out how people are seriously predicting a blowout win for Michigan on the road against a team that is returning 16 starters, beat Michigan by more than 2 TD's last year in AA, and went 9-4 in the Pac 12 last year. Maybe I'm missing something, but Vegas odds and most commentators aren't predicting a Michigan win. The few that are predicting a Michigan win, are picking it by just a few points.

I was just wondering why some on the MB are confident enough to pick a Michigan win by more than 2 TD's. Either way I hope they are right. It would be nice to scare the mess out of the rest of the B10 in game #1!

As you note though, the spread tells the real story. The M fans may be exuberant but they aren't putting their money down. :laugh:

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We got the best damn coach in the country. We upgraded significantly at QB and Jabril Peppers is getting massive hype.

I think the bolded part is why I'm optimistic of us beating Utah (and having a great year). I have guy that I hang out with down here in Georgia that is a HUGE Iowa fan. He keeps telling me how Iowa didn't use Rudock as well as they should of used him and he feels that Harbaugh will get A LOT out of him. I'm excited to see how he does. Looking at his stats from last year, he did pretty well.

Plus, it's a helluva lot funner for most to get over-hyped for a game/season than it is to be doom and gloom. The fact that the line is heavy Utah maybe means that we're not willing to put our money where our mouth is.

That's true! Although I don't think predicting a close win is "doom and gloom". I live near Athens and I get tired of how Georgia Bulldog fans predict big wins each week during the season. I've already heard more than a few fans that feel if Georgia doesn't win at least 11-12 games this year that they should fire Richt. I laughed at them when I ask them how they expect to win 5 out of these game against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, SCal, Tennessee, and Missouri this year, with a transfer QB. I tire of hearing about how they will blowout teams, and if they don't, than Richt is to blame....but I digress.

I'm pretty confident in Ruddock, our TEs, and the back 7 of our defense. RB should be solid, WRs meh, but they don't need to be great. The key to the season will be the trenches on each side of the ball. The DL just has to break even, which they can, I think. But the OL has to be genuinely good, IMO. They will be helped by coaching/scheme/experience, but they will have the farthest to go from last year.

OL is what worries me too.

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...

OL is what worries me too.

The interview with Kallis where he basically says that the prior staff never taught them how to play the position is at the same time troubling and a source of hope. :ponder:

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I still think that the rebuilding dues were paid by Hoke. Harbaugh will have a roster that has played a lot of football. By itself that was going to pay dividends in terms of consistency and guys able to play more instinctively.

Hoke wasn't as bad as many have said. He also isn't Harbaugh who has two extra gears when it comes to motivation. What burned out his players in SF won't get old in college.

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As you note though, the spread tells the real story. The M fans may be exuberant but they aren't putting their money down. :laugh:

First week spreads in football are notoriously inaccurate, at least from what I remember reading a while back. The reason seems obvious, given the amount of turnover that occurs every year and the difficulty in projecting performance from new players in new systems.

I'm sure there are a lot of M fans putting the money where their mouth is. But I would submit that M fans only make up a tiny fraction of the betting public that drives these lines, and the public at large hasn't seen Michigan as a team capable of winning any game of substance in the last 7 seasons, so it's easy to see why Utah is the betting favorite when there is little data available at this early stage.

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I'll also respond to the issue of how much weight to give last year's game.

I still think it means little to nothing. But if we really want to parse that game out, we can first start with talking about Devon Gardner (who obviously isn't here anymore).

Michigan threw three interceptions in that game and also gave up a special teams touchdown. Is that the type of thing that is repeatable or predictable in this year's game? Of course not.

Utah kicked 4 field goals in that game.

Michigan won the yardage battle. But that gets wiped away pretty quick when you turn the ball over that much.

Both teams punted five times.

Michigan did benefit from an interception return for a touchdown.

I guess what I'm trying to illustrate is that the game was not lost by being dominated by Utah, even though the score line seems to show that. Utah clearly deserved to win the game. I'm not calling it a fluke loss. I'm just saying that the reasons for the loss are easily identified in the form of turnovers.

If you put two evenly matched teams against each other and give one of them that edge in the turnovers, they are going to win handily almost every time.

But that's all just another way of saying that pointing to a single game a year ago with different personnel at a key position doesn't mean a whole lot to me.

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I am more optimistic after looking at last years game.

UM held Utes runner in check, had more yards more TOP etc. The second half UM had 3 turnovers and turned the ball over on downs once. They have the talent on defense to hold the Utes. I think they will get better QB play and finally coaching, better coaching in all areas. Better in game adjustments and much more physical play from UM.

Hoping to see:

OL be physical punishing

RB be decisive and hit the holes

A WR step up: Harris??

Smart QB play

DL physical and attacking

Defense to create turnovers.

Cautiously optimistic on this one.

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Dude, I helped you get what you told me was your 'dream job' and then you just up and left barely three months after you were hired. You shot my professional credibility in the head. And you never had the decency to even address me about it.

If someone questions your credibility over that then it says more about you than him. This is lame.

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College football week 1 upset alerts: Ohio State, Alabama, TCU

Michigan (+5) upsets Utah

Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

The impact:

“Not this year, but maybe next” was the narrative at Auburn when Gus Malzahn took over for Gene Chizik, but an upgrade at head coach put the Tigers in the national championship game in year one. I’m not saying Michigan is going to contend for the Big Ten East title, much less the national title. But the Wolverines recruited at a top 10 level up until the final year of Brady Hoke’s tenure. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world if Jim Harbaugh was able to shape this into an eight- or nine-win team.

The way Michigan’s schedule is set up, the Wolverines might not lose until mid-October if they can come away with a win in Salt Lake City.

Why it could happen:

Because Michigan’s offense was so bad, you might not have realized they had a top 15 defense last year, but they did. Harbaugh might have just enough to work with on the offensive line and at running back to get away with not really having a quarterback to speak of. If the Wolverines can muster any kind of offense at all against a Utes defense that’s missing sack-monster Nate Orchard and transitioning to a new coordinator, Big Blue could come out on top in a pitchers’ duel.

Why it might not:

Utah sacked opposing quarterbacks more often than any other team in the country last year, and Michigan’s offensive line was not especially good at protecting theirs. That’s not the best situation for the winner of the Jake Rudock/Shane Morris quarterback battle to step into at the helm of a new offense on the road.

Another interesting read from this website:

Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain look to lift Michigan and Florida

How crazy would things get if Michigan beats Utah, and goes into mid October undefeated???

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