Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

I don't understand why everyone seems to think the SEC is all that great. Every time we play them we win (13-4-1 all time now, including 7-3 in bowl games) Don't know why the Buckeyes seem to have so much trouble;-)

All kidding aside, what a great win against a very dangerous offensive team. The coaching staff gets all the credit in the world for coming out swinging, and not letting up on the offense all game. While fans around the country might think this was something radically different for Michigan, this is actually something that Michigan fans recognize. For a long time Michigan fans have lamented Lloyd Carr's "two offenses" philosophy. Carr has admitted in the past that the offense has two purposes, one is to score, the other is to possess the ball to keep it away from the other team. This philosophy manifests itself most of the time in a conservative, run or die trying offense that is the dinosaur that most fans associate with Michigan. But sometimes when Michigan gets down big, or needs to score late in a game, they will come out in four or five wide and will throw the ball all over the field. The difference in this game is that they played the entire game as if they were down 14 midway through the fourth quarter.
-They also added a number of trick plays, or variations of things that they normally don't run. The attempted a pass to tackle Jake Long. They ran a number of WR sweeps to Manningham. They ran a throw back pass where Manningham threw it back to Henne who threw it down field. They ran a beautiful throw back screen to TE Carson Butler that went for big yards. Basically they left no stone unturned, and tried everything but the kitchen sink. It was a thing of beauty, and something Michigan fans have been clamoring for for a long time. I wonder if Rich Rod offered any help with the game plan.
-Henne and Arrington probably made themselves a bunch of money today. There will be other QBs taken ahead of Henne, but he could be a real steal for some team. His performance today was the best by a Michigan QB since Tom Brady's 3-TD, 369 yard game against Alabama in the 2000 Orange bowl. Hopefully Arrington will be back next year, but he looked like the next great Michigan receiver. It would be a huge plus for us if Rich Rod can convince him and Super Mario to return.
-I think today's game, and the preparation leading up to demonstrate why Scott Loeffler and Erik Campbell should be rehired.
-If anyone tries to tell you that this was a win for midwest muscle over southern speed, tell them to go back and check the tape. Michigan was the faster team. Yes, Harvin is very fast, but Michigan's receivers ran circles around the Florida DBs. The Michigan Dline dominated the Florida offensive line by stunting and blitzing them to death.
-So what does this win mean in the grand scheme of things? They broke their bowl losing streak, showed an exciting, dynamic offense, and beat one of college football's "golden boys" in Urban Meyer. It means that we aren't as stuck in the stone ages as had been talked about. The transition to Rich Rod might not be as painful as we thought. The Michigan personnel isn't as incompatible with the spread as some in the media suggested. The next month or so should be very interesting, with new coaches, and new recruiting news almost every day.
-Finally, this win just feels right because of Lloyd's departure. He's a real mensch who always cared about developing men as much as developing players. It just wouldn't have been right for him to leave with a three game losing streak.

Other Stuff:
-Memo to the *uckeye fans who were congratulating Michigan fans on the win Thanks, but don't go thinking that our win tells us anything about your game with LSU. The team that played today was totally different than the one you beat in November: focused, healthy, and loose. If they played against you the way they did today, you'd have lost to Florida today, while we would have been subjected to another loss to USC in the Rose Bowl. And of course, LSU doesn't the same weaknesses Florida does on defense.
-Too bad the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl couldn't have switched opponents to create USC-Georgia and Illinois-Hawaii match-ups. Those would have been a lot more compelling. I like that the lower conferences have a shot at the BCS now (albeit a slim one). Hawaii deserved a BCS bid, just like the champion of the Atlantic Sun deserves a spot in the Big Dance. The fact that they were blown out doesn't change that. Illinois, on the other hand, didn't belong in the Rose Bowl. Certainly not when Missouri was available. I wouldn't be surprised if they a big disappointment next year and miss a bowl game.
-As an outsider, I like the Neuheisel hire by UCLA. Despite his past transgressions, he will bring a an excitement to the program, and might be just the guy to match Pete Carroll's youthful exuberance. If he gets Norm Chow as his OC, things could get real exciting in the City of Angels.