Monday, October 30, 2006

College Football Thoughts and Musings

Quite a weekend of college football, though Michigan didn't have much to write about. The Trojans were denied by the Beavers, West Virginia and Louisville are looking ahead to Thursday night's showdown, Ohio State rolled on. Some thoughts...

  • West Virginia - yes, I get it. You are now up to number 3 in the BCS with USC's long regular season winning streak snapped. You are playing Louisville in a battle of unbeatens that very well might be a national semifinal of sorts along with the Michigan-Ohio State game. But please, spare me the no respect card. West Virginia just hasn't proven anything this year. They are 7-0 against simply putrid competition. What kind of a non conference schedule is this? Marshall, Eastern Washington, Maryland, Eastern Carolina, and Mississippi State? Yes, Steve Slaton is a phenomenal talent and Pat White can make plays. Do not, however, try to tell me that West Virginia would put up numbers against a team that can stop the run. But what about the Sugar Bowl against Georgia? Yeah, I saw it. I saw WVU get up 28-0 in a hurry and then hang on for dear life only scoring 10 points in the last 44 minutes and 10 seconds of the game against the crappy 52nd ranked rushing defense of Georgia. The Bulldogs rushing D was bad last year and they had a horrible matchup with West Virginia. The Mountaineers exploited it and got a big lead and held on for the W. Congrats. However, that was last year. And as relatively unimpressed as I am, it still counts for squat this year. West Virginia very well could be one of the top five teams in the country. However, they have done nothing that 35 other teams in the country couldn't do against their schedule so far. I'm praying that Michigan meets West Virginia in a bowl game.
  • Michigan - That was one ugly 17-3 win over Northwestern. Do you think Lloyd liked it? Check out this quote from his press conference today: "I love that kind of game Saturday. I love that environment. I think you find out a lot about your team. I'm not concerned in terms of margins, point spreads. In most cases I don't even know them." I swear he's happier playing a close low scoring game against a bad team than he is if they would've won 42-0. And the playcalling shows it when Michigan runs the same play over and over and over and refuses to test the other team deep. Is it that they are saving something for OSU, or do Carr/DeBord just prefer to win a game by running it on nearly every play? I'll bet on the latter.
  • Mike DeBord - hmmm, is he really the brains behind Lloyd Carr's operation? He was offensive coordinator for 1997 to 1999 during which time Michigan went 12-0, 10-3, and 10-2. Now he's back calling the plays this year and Michigan is 9-0 and counting. Some people say he is the beneficiary of having great defenses backing him up (I'm looking at you Brian), but I say no way. Michigan's defense gave up more points in 1999 than they did in 2005, yet Michigan managed to go 10-2 in 1999 compared to 7-5 in 2005. 1998's defense wasn't spectacular either. Michigan with DeBord calling the plays managed to go 20-5 over 1998 and 1999 which is the best two year stretch since the mid 1980s not counting the 1997 season. Doesn't he deserve at least a little credit? I mean his offense is a defense's best friend (not to mention Lloyd's best friend). He emphasizes rushing the football, minimizing turnovers, and time of possession. He makes it easy on a defense by not putting them behind the eight ball. It says something that Michigan is 38-0 when the defense holds the opponent under 30 points with DeBord calling the plays. Any takers on whether Ohio State will be over or under 30 this year? I tend to disagree with some of the boring, predictable methods of DeBord's offense. However, he has shown a willingness to open up the gameplan in big games and is not afraid to do so on the road. Think about it. Over the last decade of Michigan football, which big road games did the offensive gameplan make you go WOW and which ones made you cringe. 1997 Penn State? 1999 Penn State? 2000 Orange Bowl against Alabama? 2006 Notre Dame? Not too shabby in those games. Now how about 2000 Purdue? 2002 or 2004 Notre Dame? 2003 Iowa or Oregon? The more you look at it IMHO, the more DeBord looks like a genius when it comes to winning games. Is he the reason Michigan is 9-0 this year and went 12-0 in 1997? No. But he's a part of it. His offense helps the defense out. And the fact that Michigan had successful seasons in 1998 and 1999 despite defenses that were as bad as anything from 2000-2005 shows me that it isn't just the defense.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one hell of an article. You gotta give some teaching lessons to Brian at mgoblog and the folks at Mzone.

Go Blue!

Tue Oct 31, 01:25:00 AM  

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