Friday, November 20, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Penn State

November is often a magical time for college football fans. Two weeks in and it has yet to disappoint.

Moreover, it’s nice, as a Michigan fan, to be relevant again and back in the conversation; feeling the intensity of every snap. Last weekend’s game against Indiana was gut wrenching and euphoric all at the same time. The fact it was an afternoon game that went to two overtimes forced me to watch the game on my phone while negotiating car repairs at the local Honda dealership. On a side note, I should negotiate all car repairs while Michigan is in double overtime with the season on the line.

Let’s hope this week is less stressful.

(14) Michigan Wolverines (8-2, 5-1 B1G) @ Penn State Nittany Lions (7-3, 4-2 B1G)
Beaver Stadium, Saturday 11/21, 12:30 ET, ABC

If I told you during the Utah game that Jake Rudock would win a game by throwing 6 TDs and running for another, you would have laughed me out of the stadium. Fast forward three months and it looks like Jake has settled down and really gotten a grasp of the offense. It couldn’t have come at a better time as Michigan needs him down the stretch with the run game continuing to struggle.

Penn State has its usually stout defensive line so Michigan’s offensive line needs to up its game if the offense is going to succeed. Jake should continue to spray the ball around to this talented receiver corps to open some running lanes for Smith and Johnson.

Last week I stated I was nervous about Indiana, and the game justified my emotions just not in the way I feared. Indiana was surprisingly adept at running all over the normally good Michigan rush defense.

The good news? Penn State doesn’t run much of the same offense, nor nearly as fast, as Indiana. This is a game where Michigan’s defense can get back to solid play shutting down the run game and forcing Christian Hackenberg to beat you with his arm. That is the formula for success against this Penn State team.

Special Teams
I expect we’ll see the return to solid special team play this week. Last weekend, the guys looked gassed, Indiana has that effect on people. On the 51 yard punt return Indiana returned for a touchdown, Channing Stribbling tried tackling Mitchell Paige’s halo instead of the returner himself. That is a sign of a worn out player.

Let’s see if Coach Baxter can dial up something special for this game.

There is a threat of nasty weather for the Midwest this weekend, but it looks like it may not reach Pennsylvania before this game. That’s good news for Michigan. The last time the Wolverines won in Happy Valley was in 2006.

Harbaugh and his staff are obviously good and they were always going to give Michigan a distinct advantage in certain games. This is one of those games as Penn State’s head man, James Franklin, isn’t exactly a master tactician.

Michigan’s defense will get back to normal this week and flex its muscles in the process. Rudock continues to look like the NFL QB that Harbaugh says he is.

Michigan 24 - 13

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quick Buck Thursday: Keeping on Trying

Oh but I'll keep on trying!

Hey, guess who is worse at picking the College Football Playoff teams than the committee…This guy!!

I do sincerely apologize for the complete and total ass kicking that took place last week and promise this week will be an improvement.

With no changes to the top five teams, we essentially get another shot at this thing. Alright, shitty committee picks round 2, here we go!

Bank Roll: 65 units
Season record: 23-27
Bonus record: 12-12

Purdue @ (5) Iowa -22 – 5 units
I’ll give Iowa this much, at least they are taking full advantage of their cross-divisional schedule this season. It’s not their fault that Jim Delany is a money-grubbing whore who diluted his product for a short term gain in a dying medium.

God job Jimmy!

Anyway, everyone needs to chill out about Iowa right now. If they win out, including the B1G Championship game, they will have beaten three ranked opponents, including a top ten (or five) team. That would be no different than Clemson or, say, Oklahoma State, and one less ranked team than Alabama and Notre Dame. So just chill already.

Purdue is terrible. And worse on the road.

Boston College +16 @ (4) Notre Dame – 5 units
This is more or less a home game for Boston College as it is being played inside Fenway Park, which, of course, is in Boston. Not that it will matter, at all.

BC is not great at the football either, but at least they play some nasty defense. And with Stanford on the horizon for the Irish, I think the Eagles could make this game a little uncomfortable for Notre Dame.

(9) Michigan State @ (3) Ohio State -13.5 – 5 units
Hey! Two ranked teams playing! This should be a good…13.5?

Ah hell.

Ohio State QB, JT Barrett, is going to carve that secondary into minced meat pie. And with quarterback, Conner Cook, dinged up a bit, Michigan State doesn’t stand a chance.

The Spartan’s luck ran out in Lincoln two weeks ago. This could get ugly.

Charleston Southern @ (2) Alabama -38.5 – 5 Units
Wait, what?

This is really a game?

In November?

I guess you gotta gear up for the Iron Bowl somehow. The grueling SEC conference everyone.

Wake Forest +29 @ (1) Clemson – 5 units
Well it looks like we’re really going to learn a lot about the top five this week.

6 - 10 Quick Hits
Since the top five games are stupid and a waste of all of our collective times, let’s see how the second tier look this week.

(10) Baylor PK @ (6) Oklahoma St – Taking Baylor, but just because I want nothing more than a repeat of the One True Champion.

(18) TCU @ (7) Oklahoma – No line. Looks like we’re waiting to see if Boykin is playing? Either way, no way OU loses this game. If Boykin goes I’m thinking its OU -7.5. If it’s the backup, OU -13. Either way, I’m taking the Sooners.

FAU @ (8) Florida -31 – ESSS EEEE CEEEEE. Christ, do I hate that conference.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Texas A&M @ Vanderbilt – Under 43
Believe it or not A&M is only 4-6 against the total. Let’s ride Vandy one more week, shall we?

The Bob Drake “I need another team for my 21-team teaser” Double Bonus
Indiana @ Maryland – Over 64
As a shout out to Chaos Team, I’m going with Indiana and the over. Maryland isn’t good, but Indiana’s defense is really bad. Points, points and more points!

The Best Bet of the Week Triple Bonus
(10) Baylor -110 @ (6) Oklahoma State
This week, the cannibalization of the Big XII continues. This collars are getting tight in Stillwater and Baylor is pissed. Ruin it for everyone Baylor. Do it!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Indiana


Nebraska pulled through and made our dreams a little closer to becoming reality last weekend with their upset of Michigan State. If Ohio State takes care of the Spartans next week, and Michigan handles its business, it’ll be on to Indianapolis to face the Hawkeyes in the B1G Championship game.

But first, Indiana…

(14) Michigan Wolverines (7-2, 4-1 B1G) @ Indiana Hoosiers (4-5, 0-5 B1G)
Memorial Stadium, Saturday 11/14, 12:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2

Good Jake Rudock came to play last week. Could it be that things have finally clicked for Michigan’s QB? I’m going to stay optimistic and say, “yes”.

Not that this week will tell us anything; the Hoosier defense is terrible at football. Michigan should stay in rhythm this week and maybe even bolster its running stats against the porous Indiana run defense.

Here is where I get a little nervous.

Indiana’s offense is actually really good. According to FEI, it is the best offense Michigan has faced so far this season and should be a good test for the Michigan secondary. Quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, may not be the same NFL caliber as Conner Cook, but he still slings the ball around pretty well.

That said; Iowa, Michigan State, Penn state and Ohio State all held the Hoosiers under 27 points and Michigan’s defense has shown it is better than theirs. I expect the Hoosiers to move the ball on some big plays, but hopefully safeties Dymonte Thomas, Jarrod Wilson and Delano Hill will keep those plays in front of them to prevent any long touchdowns.

Special Teams
With Jabrill Peppers getting so many snaps on offense and defense, we’ve seen some new faces in the return game and CB Jourdan Lewis showed some promise as a returner last week. Michigan should continue to dominate with special teams play this week.

Indiana is a completely one-sided football team. Michigan has dominated teams that are not well-rounded. This should be a game in which their offense has a field day. However, I do think Indiana will show some flashes when they have the ball, which will keep Michigan from shutting it down too early.

At the end of the day, Michigan’s defense is good enough to prevent a shoot-out and the Wolverines win comfortably on the road.

Michigan 48 - 20

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quick Buck Thursday: Getting in the Race

Yes, Jim, we're talking about the Playoffs. 

Since the College Football Playoff Committee is a thing, and frankly I am getting bored picking games each week, I’ve decided to give myself a new challenge. Starting today, I will make my picks using only games involving the top 5 teams in the CFB rankings.

Hey look at me getting into the hot CFB playoff action!

Bank Roll: 85 units
Season record: 22-23
Bonus record: 10-12

Minnesota @ (5) Iowa -12 – 5 units
Floyd the Pig is at stake in this B1G West battle and Minnesota actually matches up pretty well with Iowa. While they continue to struggle offensively, their defense is geared to stop the run and force you to throw.

Will newly anointed Gopher head coach, Tracy Claeys, provide his team enough to snuff out the Hawkeyes final four dreams? I don’t think so. This one may be tight for the Hawkeyes early but they pull away and cover late in the game.

Wake Forest @ (4) Notre Dame -27 – 5 units
This one should be fun.

Notre Dame is basically up against themselves in this game - Wake shouldn’t offer much opposition. Giving 27 does concern me a bit, but the Irish are 5-0 ATS at home so my worries are lessened.

(3) Ohio State @ Illinois +16.5 – 5 units
This is a bit of a trap game for the Buckeyes. With Michigan State and Michigan on the horizon, it will be easy for Ohio State to overlook an underrated Illini team on the road. Add in the JT Barrett DUI distraction and this could be a recipe for disaster the defending national champions.

Illinois is 4-1 straight up at home this season. I think three scores is too much for the Buckeyes to give on the road.

(2) Alabama @ Mississippi St +8 – 5 Units
The second of our road favorites has the surging Tide rolling in to Starksville to take on the Bulldogs and those damn cowbells. I really, really loathe watching Mississippi State games - those damn bells are fucking annoying as hell. I would hate to be a MSU fan.

Anyway, the Bulldogs have been good at home ATS and I think Bama enters with a bit of an LSU hangover in this one. Bama takes home a little-too-close-for-comfort victory.

(1) Clemson @ Syracuse +28 – 5 units
At the moment, Clemson sits atop the college football world while the nation waits for them to Clemson themselves. Will this be the week?

Don’t know and really don’t care. The Carrier Dome is a difficult place to win. Syracuse is 4-1 ATS under the dome, 2-0 as the dog. Clemson is rolling, I get that, but 28 is a lot of points in a game that could turn into a shoot-out.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky – Under 40
Vandy is the only team in FBS to be perfect against the total. Have to ride them until they are not.

The Bob Drake “I need another team for my 21-team teaser” Double Bonus
Clemson @ Syracuse – Over 57.5
Like I said above, the Carrier Dome is a weird place to play. Syracuse is 8-1 against the total but Syracuse isn’t going to cover by shutting down Clemson’s offense. This thing may end up looking more like a Big 12 game than an ACC affair.

The Best Bet of the Week Triple Bonus
(12) Oklahoma +125 @ (6) Baylor
So, this bonus section is going to change a bit as well. I had a system and it was close to identifying a group of teams that were prime for upsets. And for the most part the best bet did show up in the group, I just didn’t always pick it. And that wasn’t as much fun.
Now we’re going to pick the team that is going to shit their chances at the playoff down their leg. It promises to be fun.
This week, Baylor. Oklahoma is rolling and Baylor is about to fall victim. Baylor struggled at K-State, had a hard time stopping the Wildcats’ “we’re going to run QB dives 80% of the game” offense and wasn’t “Baylor-esque” against the Wildcat D. Well guess what? The Sooner defense is much better and their offense is not even in the same category as Bill Snyder’s Purple Cats.

Home or not, Baylor’s playoff dreams end Saturday.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Rutgers

Yes, Rutgers is still a thing we have to care about. Thanks Delany!

Well the Little Brown Jug was safely returned to Ann Arbor last weekend. And while it wasn’t pretty nor was it particularly fun, ultimately the job got done. We have seen plenty of Michigan teams fold in similar situations over the past decade, so that was a nice change.

Progress indeed.

Now the Wolverines are back at home and look to regain momentum against a flailing Rutgers team.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-5, 1-4 B1G) @ (17) Michigan Wolverines (6-2, 3-1 B1G)
Michigan Stadium, Saturday 11/7, Noon ET, BTN

Last week things started out so promising for the offense. Fourteen points in first quarter and a half and it looked like they were en route to an easy victory. And then, weirdness.

This week QB Jake Rudock (yes it looks like he’ll be back in action) and crew line up against a Rutgers defense that is statistically anything but stellar. Holding an FEI+ ranking of 116th, this defense is not good using any metric.

Fully recovered from a season ending knee injury in the last game of 2014, expect to see more of RB Drake Johnson this week as the Wolverines look to get the running game back on track. And with RB De’Veon Smith still nursing an ankle injury, his return will be welcomed.

I’m curious to see if Harbaugh continues to incorporate CB Jabril Peppers into the offense game plan. Or, do they shelve the all-everything red-shirt freshman until the Penn State game? I can’t see a justification for keeping him off the field, especially if the offense starts struggling.

The past two games have seen the previously dominate defense give up a bevy of yards and points. Connor Cook was fantastic in making NFL level throws for Michigan State during the heartbreaker in Ann Arbor, and Minnesota quarterback, Mitch Leider, was granted all the gifts from the football gods last weekend.

Things don’t get much easier for the Michigan secondary this week. Surprisingly, the Rutgers’ passing game is a competent one, ranking 23rd in FEI. Thankfully, senior WR, Leonte Carroo, may not be available this game, which takes away QB Chris Laviano’s main target. I don’t expect a Gary “Super” Nova performance we were treated to last season, but if the secondary continues to miss opportunities, like they did against Minnesota, it could be a long day for the Wolverines.

Special Teams
FEI+ has a special teams ranking. Michigan is number 1 on their board.

When talking about quality special teams that may not be producing points with punt returns, kick returns or blocked kicks you will undoubtedly get into a discussion about “hidden yards”. Hidden yards are yards that do not show up in the stat sheet, but give a field position advantage to a team. Michigan is 4th in starting field position and 3rd in long field drives according to FEI special teams’ rankings.

This means they don’t start drives from inside their own twenty yard line very often which is a product of Jabril Peppers making excellent returns and intelligent fair catches. Those hidden yards are the key to the Wolverines’ success.

I mentioned it above, yet it is worthy of repeating. Rutgers is not a very good football team. This game comes a great time for a Wolverines team looking to build confidence on defense before hitting the road the next two weeks.

Look for the offense to commit to a running the ball successfully and the defense to rebound from their poor performances the last two games.

Jabril Peppers scores in two phases of the game, Drake Johnson rushes for over 100 yards and Jake Rudock doesn’t look quite right yet. A dominant defense returns. Wolverines are playing second stringers by the fourth.

Michigan 42 - 10

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Quick Buck Thursday: Get Ready to Get Pumped

There will be too much good football to be in the gym this month!

This month of College football is going to be Legit-approved by the Legitamaster!

So buckle your seat belts and let’s get it on!

Bank Roll: 90 units
Season record: 20-20
Bonus record: 9-10

Mississippi St @ Missouri –Under 42 – 5 units
Nothing like a little Thursday night SEC action to put you to sleep.

Missouri has yet to go over a total and Mississippi State has done it just three times. Both defenses are pretty good while the offenses range from putrid (Missouri) to mediocre (Mississippi State) so scoring points should come at a premium price. 

Temple -14 @ SMU – 5 units
Hey a Friday night game! I though you deserved a little treat.

The narrative here is the Owls will wither after having their dreams squashed last weekend vs Notre Dame. The thing is, the Owls all but won that game and still remain in contention for a decent bowl. The Mustangs are not in contention for anything other than possibly another head coach. Temple will roll in this bounce-back game.

Akron +2 @ UMASS – 5 units
A week after Akron loss against the spread at home, I’m taking them on the road where they are solid 2-2. This is a game between two terrible teams. I may have a problem.

Bet it, don’t watch it.

Auburn @ Texas A&M -7 – 5 Units
I have a couple SEC night caps for you.

In the first we get to play one of my favorite games this year: Bet against Auburn. The Tigers are just 2-6 ATS in 2015 and this week travel to the home of the 12th man. Texas A&M hasn’t been spectacular this season, but should be able to cover this line at home.

LSU +6.5 @ Alabama – 5 units
Ole Miss is the best team that Bama has played this season and they lost. LSU is light years better than Ole Miss. Can we please put the Bama "greatness" to rest this weekend, Tigers?

Can we? Please?

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Vanderbilt @ Florida – Under 37.5
If this total was 30 I’d still bet the under. Hell if it was 20 I might consider it. This is two teams are built on defense and Vanderbilt has yet to go over in a game this season.

For this week’s “Baylor Over”, take the under.

The Bob Drake “I need another team for my 21-team teaser” Double Bonus
Utah @ Washington – Under 44.5
Yes, I know it’s another under. It’s been cold and rainy in Vegas for two days, I’m depressed.
These two are 5-11 against the total this season. Utah’s offense has been pedestrian the past two weeks. Look for Washington to make this their kind of low scoring game at home.

The Best Bet of the Week Triple Bonus
Syracuse +450 @ Louisville
The Orange haven’t won since September 19th. However, these two teams have gone back and forth the last 5 years and this year is Syracuse’s turn.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Minnesota

Prince is still the best thing to come out of Minnesota.

You may have heard already that Minnesota Head Coach, Jerry Kill, decided to retire earlier this week due to health reasons. Coach Kill built some solid programs through the years and is an outstanding coach. He’ll be missed on the sidelines, but health must come first.

Get well, Coach.

(7) Michigan Wolverines (5-2, 2-1 B1G) @ (12) Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3, 1-2 B1G)
TCF Bank Stadium Saturday, 10/31 7:00 ET, ESPN

What can Harbaugh/Drevno/Fisch do with a bye-week to prepare? I’m giddy at the proposition.

Even with the added time to prep, the Golden Gophers are a top 20 FEI+ rated defense that plays exceptionally well inside TCF Bank Stadium. And, Minnesota is also coming off a bye-week which means they, too, have had time to add some wrinkles for the Michigan offense to worry about.

Big plays have been there for the taking this season, but the Wolverines have yet to capitalize on the majority of them. Jake Rudock’s long ball is far from stellar and the stable of running backs have consistently missed cuts that could have led to big yards. They need to take advantage of those opportunities if they wish to leave Minneapolis with another B1G win.

The key to this game is to not turn the ball over, because Minnesota’s offense is, well…

Minnesota is ranked 108th in offensive FEI so far this season. This puts them in the same discussion as Wyoming, New Mexico State, UNLV and Oregon State.

I’ll save you the trouble of looking up actual stats; they are not good.

The defense will need to contain QB Mitch Leidner’s running option when passing options are not available. Control that and Michigan should easily dominate the Gopher offense.

Special Teams
If you fumble the punt snap late in a game, fall on it.

Sorry, it had to be said.

I’m not sure what the emotional state of the Gophers will be for this game. When Coach Kill missed last year’s game they came into Ann Arbor and took the Little Brown Jug home with them. His retirement could be the emotional kick this team needs, but I’m not sure if that will be enough.

Barring a turnover fest by the offense, I can’t see Michigan losing this game. Minnesota’s offense is so atrocious it wouldn’t surprise me if they only managed only a handful of first downs, forget any actual scoring drives.

De’Veon Smith has a nice little game, Rudock hits a couple wide open receivers down field as a result of good play design and the Little Brown Jug safely returns home.

Michigan 33 - 3

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quick Buck Thursday: Getting Freaky

Alright, class, get out your pencils and put away your books. We’re going to take a quiz.

I took last week off because:

a) My college football guts were ripped out by a failed punt
b) Michigan had a Bye
c) I was at a BBQ competition and otherwise busy at work
d) All of the above

Regardless, I am back and ready once more to give you the insight and advice you have come to trust and rely on.

Bank Roll: 70 units
Season record: 16-19
Bonus record: 8-9

USF @ Navy -7.5 – 5 units
There is no better way to get back on track than betting on a service academy. In this case it’s more than just the fact Navy is one of our nation’s military institutions of higher learning. The Midshipmen are undefeated at home and 3-0 ATS when favored by less than 8 points. Plus, Navy.

Western Kentucky -24 @ Old Dominion – 5 units
Did you know that ODU is 0-7 ATS?

I did. Now you do, too.

You’re welcome.

Central Michigan -3 @ Akron – 5 units
I went back and forth on this game because Akron has been a thorn in my side at home over the past couple years. But CMU is 7-1 ATS and Akron is 1-2 ATS at home this season. If for no other reason, I like only giving 3 points.

Clemson -10.5 @ NC State – 5 Units
I keep waiting for Clemson to do some “Clemson-y” thing but it just doesn’t happen. Dabo has his Tigers playing well and looking back I see Clemson has covered the last two years again the Pack. I’m in.

Oregon State @ Utah -24 – 5 units
I got to see both these teams play against the Maize and Blue this year. Utah should be fine.

The Baylor Bears Bonus Over of the Week
Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan – Over 64
MACtion at its finest. Two teams that combine to go 11-3 for the over playing on a Thursday night. There won’t be a lot of defense being played.

The Bob Drake “I need another team for my 21-team teaser” Double Bonus
Maryland @ Iowa – Over 53.5
Iowa in an over?
Yep, they are 5-1 for the over this season. The offense has blossomed under CJ Bethard and Maryland won’t put up much of a fight yet will score a couple garbage time touchdowns to put this one over.

The Best Bet of the Week Triple Bonus
Vanderbilt +350 @ Houston
We were oh so close with Mizzou two weeks ago; 6-9 was a real football score.
This week the darling Cougars go up against a staunch Vanderbilt defense. Vandy turns this into a slog-fest the Cougars can’t quite escape.

Answer to the Quiz
Just like Digital Underground says, the answer is d) All of the above

Monday, October 19, 2015

Las Cosas Que Vi Este Fin De Semana: Week 7

It’s early Sunday morning as I write this and through a hazy fog of whiskey remnants I’m still not quite certain I have emotionally recovered from the final ten seconds of Michigan’s loss.

My earliest memory of College Football is one New Year’s Day at my Aunt and Uncle’s place, watching the Rose Bowl. I don’t recall who was playing in that game, but it was the early 80’s so it was Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois or Iowa verses UCLA, USC or Washington. What I do recall is a very emotionally invested uncle, glued to the television as his feet combed through the green shag carpeting.

We’re an Italian family so loud outbursts of emotion are commonplace during family gatherings. When gathered at the dinner table, and you want to make a point, you simply talk louder than any other person talking at that moment. There isn’t a lot of listening happening, it’s more a group of people talking at each other. At some point it sounds as if people are shouting at one another and emotions are at a peak, but really we’re just talking.

Which is why that game stands out in my mind. My Uncle’s yelling wasn’t simply talking over someone else, it was something more.

At halftime of the Michigan/Michigan State game my nine-year old step-son asked me if college football was more important than the NFL.  He and his younger brother both play football, basketball and baseball, so sports are a thing at our house and he’s at an age where he’s paying more attention to games on TV. Which is great because it’s given me an avenue to connect with them, something I know is often the biggest challenge for a step-parent.

His question seemed odd to me at first. He knows that the NFL is the pros and the best players from college move up to the pros. So I asked him what he meant.

Being the astute observer that all kids that age are he says, “Well, it seems like people who watch college get way more crazy than people watching NFL. Like they yell more or they cheer more, I don’t know.”

He’s right. I mean he’s seen me watch Michigan games for that past three years. He knows that Sundays are chore days. He’s been to two college games this year at Oregon and at Arizona and he’s seen how people are more emotional about college than they are NFL.

After a good minute and a half I said, “You know I think it’s because in college the players are playing for pride, for their school, for each other. And in the pros it’s their job.”

Now I know that’s a Pollyanna view of college sports but on a certain level there is truth to it. At least that is how it is for me. I am a Steelers fan but if I had Sophie’s Choice, Roethlisberger is the daughter and Jake Rudock is the son.

There is just something about college sports that takes an emotional hold on you. I have never quite been able to understand or explain it, that just the way it is. And I’ve accepted it.

So here I sit early Sunday morning and as the rest of the family sleeps I am dealing with the soreness from the gigantic gut punch that was yesterday’s Michigan game.

Will it be okay? Of course. I understand it’s only a game at the end of the day.

That doesn’t change the fact that, emotionally, I’m still a little tender.

Pongamonos en marcha!

Week 7

The Tigers keep rolling and showed us once again that we as a collective group over-hype the SEC.

Utah State
The Aggies took full advantage of six Boise State turnovers, taking control of the Mountain West from the Broncos in the process.

Tom Hermann
With three jobs already available at Power 5 schools there is really no chance he’s at Houston next season. Here’s hoping he doesn’t take an offer from one of the B1G schools.

B1G officiating
Holy hell that crew doing the Michigan/Michigan State game was atrocious. Now before you go all “quit whining” I had this cued up regardless of the outcome. Not only was the on-field crew awful, the review booth was equally bad. The targeting penalty on LB Joe Bolden should have been overturned by the replay official. And the three touchdown review sequences made the field crew look incompetent.

Shout Outs
Sparty – They came to play. They looked the best they have all season.

Bob Stoops – The guy does not lose back-to-back games. And a shut-out on the road in Manhattan, where the Wildcats had not gone scoreless since 1991, to boot. Nice job coach.

Alan Burbridge and Jourdan Lewis – Watching the MSU receiver and Mich cornerback battle each other all game yesterday was an absolute treat. These two will be playing on Sundays in the future.

Bet of the week: 
Georgia State

Georgia State went on the road and stole one from Ball State paying bettors a nice +450.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Michigan State

Here's to hoping I'm laughing like this big brother come Saturday afternoon

Reece, Dez, Head Gear and Herbie are coming to our city this weekend for the Wolverines’ biggest game so far this year.

(7) Michigan State Spartans (6-0, 2-0 B1G) @ (12) Michigan Wolverines (5-1, 2-0 B1G)
Michigan Stadium Saturday, 10/17 3:30 ET, ABC

Michigan State has been led by their defense the past few seasons. However, this year’s edition of the Spartan D is not quite up to the same level of previous years. Attrition and injuries have left this defense a bit pedestrian and Michigan State has been outgained by their opponents in half of their games this season.

Michigan faced an aggressive 4-3 defense last Saturday against Northwestern. They put up 38 points before stashing the offensive machine in the garage for the second half.

The Wolverines will use its power run attack to establish the tone of this game. Seeing the success of a similar strategy from Rutgers, running back De’Veon Smith should have a very good game. Once Smith softens up the defense, look for Rudock to take advantage of a shaky Spartan secondary with one or two deep passes for big gains.

Michigan State quarterback, Connor Cook, is a legitimate NFL quarterback - he can make all the throws, as they say. Michigan’s outstanding defensive line will try to neutralize Cook by taking advantage of an injury riddled Spartan offensive line. Michigan will continue to use the combination of press man coverage and defensive line pressure to dominate the Michigan State offense.

This should be a good measuring stick for the Wolverine’s secondary. I look for Jourdan Lewis and company to win the battle over Cook and his receivers.

Special Teams
Well, all that’s left now is a punt return for TD and Jabril Peppers has been close a couple times.

Anything the special teams units can give in the game will be icing on the cake.

Michigan State has dominated this match-up over the past decade. They’ve simply been the better team.

This year, that domination discontinues.

Michigan State is beat up on both sides of the ball. I also think the loss of D-Coordinator Pat Narduzzi is hurting more than everyone initially thought it might. All that said; I still think Michigan is the better team with Harbaugh taking full advantage of the talent he has on this roster. The Defense is dominating and the Offense is humming.

Still, there are two questions rattling around in my head:

1) Will this defense post a 4th straight shut out?
2) If the Wolverines are up big early will Harbaugh do what he’s done all year and go vanilla or will he keep the peddle down to make a statement?

Tomorrow, we find out.

Michigan 38 - 6