Friday, September 26, 2014

Know Your Enemy Week 5: Michigan Wolverines

Well, we are where we thought we'd be, right?  I mean both of us here at SGH? correctly predicted the winner of each of the first four games and Tuffy Rhodes Scholars, we are not.

Except, of course, all of the death.  The universe is Carl Spackler and he's been blowing up Gophers by the handful.
Sandy: I want you to kill every gopher on the course!  
Carl Spackler: Check me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key...   
Sandy: Gophers, ya great git! The gophers! The little brown furry rodents!  
Carl Spackler: We can do that; we don't even have to have a reason. 
Mitch Leidner and Maxx Williams remain questionable for Saturday, but both have practiced the last couple of days.  Maxx of course would be a great help in the passing game, as anemic as it is.  It would be good to have Mitch back too, but you already know my feelings if you read my post from the other day on Chris Streveler.

What's happening in Michigan these days seems nothing short of implosion.  Brady Hoke's neck is in the noose and at least half of the Big House is willing to pull the lever at this point.  Utah beat them at home.  Notre Dame gave them a little how's-your-father as a send of to that great rivalry.  Their wins have come against Appalachian St and Miami OH.

Michigan is a team divided.  The defense is good, maybe great and features linebackers Jake Ryan and Joe Bolden or Joe Ryan and Jake Bolden...I forget.  These two guys each have twice as many tackles as the #3 tackler on the team.  Defensive ends Frank Clark and Brennen Beyer are also very disruptive.

The offense on the other hand has been very turnover prone.  It's like they all have Daunte Culpepper mini-hands.  Devin Gardner doesn't look the same this year.  He's thrown 6 interceptions and has been sacked 9 times.  He doesn't even run that much anymore, its pretty weird.  Michigan isn't without playmakers though on offense.  Running back Derrick Green has 391 yards rushing in 4 games, which is a pretty big accomplishment when the team is constantly turning the ball over and getting blown out by Utah and the Irish.  Devin Funchess is another in a long line of big time Wolverines wide receivers.

I've heard a lot of internet "experts" and even some of my non Gopher-fan friends picking Minnesota to at least cover in this match-up. has it at 51% picking Minnesota and the points.  Jim Souhan's crazy ass thinks the Gophers will win outright.

Three things probably need to happen for the Gophers to win:

1.  The Gophers are able to run it well despite Michigan's stout front 7.
2.  Michigan's offense continues to sputter and the ball-hawking Gophers continue to screech.
3.  The Gophers complete more passes than those old-timey leather helmet teams.

Speaking of that, check out this smarmy headline: Gophers look to join 21st century, complete multiple passes against Michigan.

Also, if the Gophers have been holding some secret plays in their pocket like many are saying/hoping, now is the week to show some of it.  It would be especially juicy if those plays could involve Michigan snub, Berkley Edwards.

Let's take a look at the Michigan Roster for some All Namers:

Drake Harris/Drake Johnson, WR/RB - recruit all Drake strategy
Freddy Canteen, WR - keeps being forced to be water boy
Jack Wangler, WR - Letter R the difference between pervert and cowboy
Taco Charlton, DE - Fuck yes.
Jake Butt, TE - Subject of my "Gardner finds Butt" caption from a couple weeks ago
Ondre Pipkins, DT - Don't laugh, he's 6'3", 306 lbs

TRE's Prediction

I think all of these narratives that have the general public hankerin' for an upset might play if this game wasn't in the Big House.  Despite Brady Hoke's best efforts, they still have a ton of talent on this team and I'm not ready to write of Devin Gardner after a couple of sucky performances.  You may recall a little game last year where he threw for 235 (13-17) in an absolute stomping of our heroes.  Prove me wrong, Gophers.  Please?  Gophers 13, Michigan 34

Frothy's Prediction

I agree with TRE, as much as it pains me to admit it. I'll write more about this later, probably at length, but Michigan is our nemesis. I'd really like to think we can take advantage of a Michigan squad with a dysfunctional offense and a head coach on the ropes; but the winged helmets have effectively meant auto-defeat for Minnesota for the last 50 years. Hoke might not survive this season, but we won't be able to contribute to his ouster. Gophers 10, Michigan 28

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