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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

@ Burnt Orange Nation. Feel free to proffer your own responses in the comments.

1. Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?

Well... it's not the favorite anymore, that's for damn sure. With Michigan's collapse there appears to be no true front-runner in the Big Ten. Penn State has looked good against Buffalo, FIU, and Notre Dame; Wisconsin looked good against Washington State, bad against UNLV, and then nearly got Michiganed versus the Citadel. Michigan did get Michiganed. Purdue's played no one, and Ohio State was up 3-2 at halftime versus Akron. Iowa lost to Iowa State but misses Michigan and OSU. So... yeah. Any of those six teams looks like a realistic bet but until the games actually get underway you may as well throw all these crappy cats in a bag and pick one at random. Hell, Illinois could make a run. I don't have any idea how the conference race will shake out... this looks like a three-way 6-2 co-champs year.

2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.

Best case: No one on the schedule except Illinois has the sort of spread option run attack that killed Michigan in the first two games and it turns out that's just some sort of weird achilles heel. Zook blows the Illinois game somehow; Michigan turns into a rushing juggernaut that runs over the Big Ten. The defense still blows a game; 9-3 and a BCS berth against a team that will kill us.

Worst case: Well, they aren't losing to Eastern or Minnesota. Probably. You really want me to give a worst case scenario for a team that lost to a I-AA team and then could have given up 80 to Oregon? Uh... in the worst case they're still 38 points better than Notre Dame.

3. We're only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children's tale.

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall.

4. Imagine you're the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you'd implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.

  1. Wake up and smell the Romer. No more punts from inside the opponent's 40. Ever. Unless it's like 15 yards to go.
  2. Stop doing the stupid things that are stupid. A fullback shuffle has been a guaranteed zone run to the direction of the shuffle all year. Any freshman wide receiver in the game == auto-run. Play action has been virtually nonexistent even though we run constantly. Many of Michigan's playcalls are predictable based on presnap motion.
  3. Let Zoltan play cornerback.
5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?

With the Big Ten all set to serve up a heaping helping of crap this year, this is an opportunity for the Pac-10 to get two teams in. The winner of Oregon-Cal will probably play in a BCS game. Likewise, Texas, even though it's looked crappy, will probably face little competition outside of Oklahoma and finish 10-2. This will be good enough. And Hawaii will make it in for no reason whatsoever.