Thursday, September 2, 2010
2010 Season Predictions
Starting quarterback: Denard Robinson will start the season opener against UConn on Saturday. However, I think his lack of passing ability (although improved) will give Tate Forcier a chance to take the majority of the snaps by the end of the season.
Leading rusher: Denard Robinson. Even if he's not the starting quarterback for the entire season, he should get enough carries - and enough big plays - to be Michigan's leading rusher. The team also lacks a clear #1 running back, which means handoffs will be shared amongst Michael Shaw, Vincent Smith, Michael Cox, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Stephen Hopkins. My guess is Robinson will end up with around 800 yards rushing.
Leading receiver: Roy Roundtree. The quarterbacks like to target the slot receivers, and Roundtree caught 30 balls over the last four games last season. The guess here is that Roundtree gets 60 catches and 900 yards this season.
Leading tackler: Last year's leading tackler was Steve Brown, who played something similar to the Spur position. That will be manned by freshman Carvin Johnson, who will almost surely suffer from brain farts or injury this year and therefore disqualify himself. The second-leading tackler was Jordan Kovacs, who will probably lose some time to freshman Marvin Robinson. The third leading tackler was middle linebacker Obi Ezeh, who seems to have lost his job to a converted fullback. So I'm going with last year's fourth-leading tackler: Jonas Mouton.
Leading sacker: Redshirt junior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen will edge out sophomore linebacker Craig Roh by the slightest of margins, 7.5 to 7.
Leading interceptor: I don't expect Michigan to grab a lot of picks this year. The Wolverines will probably have a few guys pick off two passes each, and those will be J.T. Floyd, Jordan Kovacs, and Jonas Mouton. But because I don't want to be wishy-washy like Michael Wilbon, I'll pick Floyd.
All Big Ten 1st team: Center David Molk. Kick returner Darryl Stonum.
Leading scorer (non-QB, non-kicker): Roy Roundtree.
Breakout offensive player: I don't see anyone having a monstrous season, and Roy Roundtree was probably 2009's breakout player, or else I would pick him. So I'll go with Denard Robinson, who will hopefully be able to pass the ball well enough to qualify in this category.
Breakout defensive player: Ugh, this defense looks bad. I guess I'll go with Ryan Van Bergen. He won't be a superstar and he won't approximate Brandon Graham, but he should be able to get a consistent pass rush.
Most disappointing offensive player: Despite being listed as a co-starter, I think Vincent Smith will be somewhat of a disappointment this year. A lot of people thought he was the heir apparent last year when he seemed to be the primary backup for the senior running backs, but I think he's just mediocre. He might be consistent, but spectacular plays are outside his reach, in my opinion.
Most disappointing defensive player: Cameron Gordon can't possibly live up to all the offseason hype, although I hope he can. He's still going to be raw, and I think he'll make some frustrating plays. This is a hard category to pick, because not much is expected from anyone on defense, really.
The Big Finish
Sept. 4 vs. Connecticut: WIN. Connecticut is a little banged up, and they will be able to run the ball. But Rodriguez was undefeated against UConn in the Big East, and most of those games were blowouts. He knows how to defeat a Randy Edsall-coached team.
Sept. 11 at Notre Dame: LOSS. Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd will dispatch an overmatched secondary in a shootout.
Sept. 18 vs. UMass: WIN. Something approximating the 63-6 trouncing of Delaware State last year is likely.
Sept. 25 vs. Bowling Green: WIN. Michigan's high-powered offense and superior athletes should be able to roll past BGSU, and the Falcons lost some significant firepower from last season.
Oct. 2 @ Indiana: LOSS. Remember when I said that Troy Woolfolk's injury would cost Michigan a game at some point? It's this one right here.
Oct. 9 vs. Michigan State: LOSS. I'd like to pick a win here, but Michigan isn't good enough to start 5-1, and Kirk Cousins should be able to throw the ball all over the field.
Oct. 16 vs. Iowa: WIN. Michigan barely lost at Iowa last season, and the Wolverines match up with the Hawkeyes better this year. Iowa has a stout defense, but Michigan's offense has improved.
Oct. 30 @ Penn State: WIN. Penn State's quarterback position is in flux, the offensive line is weakened, and the defense suffered from some big losses. They'll get a bunch of rushing yards, but Michigan should be able to pull it out in the end.
Nov. 6 vs. Illinois: WIN. Illinois sucks. They'll be able to run the ball, but they won't score enough.
Nov. 13 @ Purdue: WIN. Purdue has a solid defense and they've beaten Michigan a couple years in a row . . . I just can't imagine the Boilermakers running the streak to three.
Nov. 20 vs. Wisconsin: LOSS. Wisconsin looks good this year. Even though I think they'll fall short of many people's expectations, they're probably better than the Wolverines.
Nov. 27 @ Ohio State: LOSS. Ugh.
Final record: 7-5.
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3 more rivalry game losses plus a loss to Indiana? Even at 7-5, with that scenario, I don't think RR would be the head coach in 2011.ReplyDelete
I'm certainly hoping that I'm wrong about some of those rivalry losses . . . but I'm trying to be objective.
I think Indiana will not be an easy win by any means, but I think it's extremely improbable that we lose to IU and beat Iowa and Penn State. I do agree with the rest though, 6-6 IMO.ReplyDelete
First Woolfolk at #2 and now predicted losses to ND and MSU? Magnus, you're the worst.ReplyDelete
Just to clarify, that's said lovingly.ReplyDelete
Sadly Magnus, I think you ARE being objective. Unfortunately, I think there's very few scenarios where Michigan finishes 6-6 (only one in fact that I can think of) and RR keeps his job. Even 7-5 is dicey depending on who the losses are to.ReplyDelete
I think we will at least split IU and MSU, but I'm much less hopeful about sweeping Iowa and PSU.ReplyDelete
My heart says 9-3 with losses to PSU, Wisky, and OSU.
My brain says 7-5 with losses to ND, Iowa, PSU, Wisky, and OSU.
I guess a combination of the two sees us also beat PSU, so 8-4.
"not much is expected from anyone on defense" You must not read the MGoBlog message boards...but something about the Magnus point total tells me you do.... many people's expectations there are pretty outside of the more cautious objective view. Gordon especially, but nearly every defender has seen unreasonable hype with the possible exception of Mouton, who everyone has already been burned by expecting too much out of. Seriously though, people think Christian is going to be good Big 10 caliber corner right off the bat. They think Moundros won't kill some games (when almost certainly he'll get burned for massive plays at some point). They're buying into the Gordon/Floyd hype. They're ignoring that Kovacs is still a walk on. That Roh is still just a true soph. That Martin isn't yet an all-conference "monster". etc. etc. etc. If 20% of the risk-hype scenarios pan out in our favor we'll be fortunate.ReplyDelete
As for the predictions, those match my own with one exception. I could see UofM splitting the Iowa/PSU games, but winning both seems optimistic. 6-6. One loss between Purdue/Indiana and UConn/ND seems right. I don't expect to beat MSU. I certainly don't expect to hold any team to 6 points, even UMass.
My prediction up until Woolfolk went down was anything from 5-7 to 7-5. Once Troy was hurt, I think it'll be 6-6 at best. I think we have an 8-win offense, but a 4-win defense.ReplyDelete
I'll leave it to others to determine whether they believe David Brandon's statements about RR's situation, but his most recent words were very supportive of Rodriguez. He has a high regard for him as a coach, and has on more than one occasion ridiculed the notion of a specific number of wins as being the sole determinant of whether he stays.
What I don't understand is that so many people seem to think that all 6-6 records are alike. It doesn't take more than a tiny amount of imagination to conjure up two very different scenarios ending at that record, and Brandon has made it clear that the totality of the season will enter into his deliberations. If the six losses are hard-fought, close, spirited affairs that go down to the wire against our best opponents, with our team playing together with heart and intensity, with the crucial mistakes being made by our youngest players, that's one. If the six losses are dismal blowouts where our team is undisciplined and/or uninterested in competing, and our older players are making all the serious mistakes, and the coaching staff seems to be at odds with itself on and off the field, that's a completely different deal. Nobody should be happy with 6-6, but I can easily see Brandon accepting the first, and making a coaching move if the second happens. — Don
Thank you for pointing out the importance and difficulty of the Indiana game. While I don't think it's the most crucial game of the year (MSU, followed by UConn), it's going to really indicate where the defense is. Indiana's pretty bad on defense, but they're solidly middle of the league on offense, Chappell and those receivers are good. Even a shoot out win does not bode especially well (as we saw last year.)ReplyDelete
Indiana? Jinkies... they were outgained by Towson last night:ReplyDelete
Towson also threw three picks. I realize that the score wasn't close, but I still like Michigan's chances of scoring on IU frequently. More than they score on us... hopefully.
Aside: Where's your #1, Molk? Does he get his own separate countdown profile? Whatever the case, great job with the countdown. It has been enjoyable reading the past couple of months.
I just have to throw this out there Magnus. If we're going 7-5, you need to adjust your stat predictions for Denard and Tate. If our QB's combine for 2,600 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing, there's no way we go 7-5. Those are numbers Pat White didn't approach during the WVU hayday.ReplyDelete
@ Anonymous 10:58 a.m.ReplyDelete
I had to do this quickly, so my stats might be a tiny bit off...
...but White/Brown combined for about 2,100 yards passing and 1300-1400 yards rushing in 2007. That's about 3,400 yards total. So that's not far off my 3,600 yard prediction.
And we're going to put up a lot of yards, IMO, because our defense will require it. We won't just get a big lead and then sit on it. We'll have to keep going hard the entire game.
Indiana looked pretty slow last night.ReplyDelete
Right, but that's my point (I didn't make it clear I realize). That WVU team was what, 11-2? You put up those kind of numbers you're not going 7-5.
@ Anonymous 11:51 a.m.ReplyDelete
I understand what you were saying about a team putting up all kinds of offensive numbers and going 7-5. However, WVU's defense wasn't as horrible as Michigan 2010 will be. Like I said, we'll be in all kinds of shootouts.
WVU's average score in 2007 was 39.6 ppg to 18.1 ppg. They were on cruise control most of the time. That will not be the case with Michigan. We might score 39 points, but we'll give up 30-35 ppg, too.
Towson ran for 227 against IndianaReplyDelete
Some of you are saying that Indiana didn't look great last night, but they won 51-17. I'm not saying Indiana is great, but when they won by 34 points, it's hard to say "Yeah, but."ReplyDelete
They won. By a lot. And they gave Michigan a tough run last year. It's not a gimme.