Teams: there are a lot of them. In our effort to bring you the finest "bullshit" coverage of college football, our Visiting Lecturer Series today welcomes Maize 'n Brew Dave of Maize N Brew, yet another witty, well-read, funny, and utterly obsessed Michigan blog. Enjoy.
One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
Teal. Is it blue? Is it green? Who knows? Is it new and exciting or is it just ugly? Every new sports team, it appears, is required by law to include the color in their uniform and no one is sure whether this is a good idea or not. Seriously. What is Teal? Teal is not traditional. Teal spits in the eye of traditional. Haha, you ran a pro-style, two back set? Teal says screw you, the quarterback will be running draws! No one really seems to know what to make of Teal or Michigan right now.
Teal could be hot and new or it could be flashy crap that makes us look back ten years from now and wonder why on God's Green Earth "Flock of Seagulls" were ever popular.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
Post WWI Germany. Not really defeated. Not really entirely whole. Other than Germany's penchant for fascism a decade later, the parrallels here are startling. In the 1910's the AustroHungarian empire was a power in severe decline. While it wasn't turning in 3-9 seasons, it wasn't winning Rose Bowls either. During WWI, the Germans continued to attempt to overrun entrenched Allied positions by running straight at gunfire or a stacked defensive line. The theory being if you ran hard enough, the bullet or defender will bounce off of you. In essence you out execute the bullet. If you've watched any game during Michigan's last four seasons, well, you know what I'm getting at.
The end of the war marked the changing of the German leadership and the final breakup of an Empire that seemed to predate most nations or athletic programs. Out were the last of the Hapsburg/Schembechler dynasty, in was this new fangled idea called democracy. Unfortunately, it took the Germans a while to figure this one out (you know, a swing and miss here and there [fine, four decades to figure it out]), so we're hoping Michigan watches a little bit of the History Channel and learns from their mistakes.
Schembechler, center, plots troop advances in southern France, running game versus Ohio State.
Like post WWI Germany Michigan is currently short capable men.
Things may be down for a while, but down only in the sense that Michigan is not ruling its little corner of the world, but is still a nation to be reckoned with. Michigan possesses a powerful industrial/recruiting engine that should strike fear into everyone, and if they get this new fangled spread-option-whachahavit right on the first try you bitches better start installing speed bumps to slow down the Panzers.
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Brandon Graham, Defensive End - Graham was only a sophomore last year when he posted a team high 8.5 sacks. People inside and out of Schembechler Hall have been raving about Graham's performance since the kidnapping arrival of Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Barwis (eeeeeeee!). He showed some tantalizing flashes of being Woodley-esque, but seemed to run out of steam as the season progressed. If the video below is any indication of what he's capable of this year, someone's going to die.
Brandon Minor, Running Back - Minor was another sophomore playing significant minutes last year. He's got quick feet, and unlike Mike Hart is big and has break away speed. He got lost in the "zone running game" that could only function effectively with Mike Hart. Defenders knew exactly what we we running every down, and only Hart's magical little feet could evade 10 tacklers behind the line of scrimage before being pulled down from behind by a Defensive tackle for a 5 yard gain. Minor will thrive in the spread as it gives him definitive assignments and running lanes for him to hit hard and exploit. When you score two TD's against the above you get props.
Steven Threet, Quarterback - Congratulations, you've just won a new car! It's a '57 Edsel and gas costs $4.95. Good luck. Threet is a standard Michigan quarterback. Six foot Six, 230, cannon arm, and as mobile as office building. In Carr's old system Threet would've thrived. However, the former Georgia Tech QB must now learn a new system and take the helm of one of the nation's most heavily scrutinized football programs. Oh yeah, and he'll be asked to run. A lot. Reports out of camp were Threet was the better quarterback and better leader than his competition and seems to have a lock on the initial starting job. However, incoming freshman QB recruit Justin Feagin, a fleet of feet Florida kid, and healing running back slash former high school QB Carlos Brown (pure burner, baby) will see time under center.
Obi Ezeh, Linebacker - Ezeh is Michigan's only returning starter at Linebacker. For most programs that would be cause for panic. At Michigan it's cause for a celebration. Last year's linebacking corps were tres terrible. You honestly have to use a foreign language to describe the awfulness. Ezeh is a former fullback turned middle linebacker and slowly started to show he could actually play the position toward the end of 2007. His presence will be critical for the defense this year. If he regresses, a good defense could turn very bad in a hurry. If he improves, this unit could be muy bueno.
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
Two rival games, and not the one you're thinking of:
1. Michigan - Michigan State: This will be a blood bath. If there was ever a year for the Spartans to step up an beat their older brother, it's this year. The game's got all the plot lines necessary for a day time Emmy. Families torn apart. Bitter recriminations. Psychological meltdowns. Incest (well, just at MSU). Michigan State returns more starters than Michigan. Actually does have talent and a decent quarterback, and may actually play with a chip on its shoulder. However, the game's in Ann Arbor and Michigan should be used to its offense by that point. Points. More points. Perhaps a FIU-Miami style brawl. I can only hope. My seats are right by the field and I'm aching to choke a bitch.
2. Michigan - Notre Dame: This used to be a battle of man boobies extraordinaire, but with Carr's retirement it will be a referendum on Charlie Weis. According to Phil Steele, Notre Dame should be one of the more improved teams in the nation this year. Last year's 38-0 drubbing will be fresh in the minds of the plentiful returning Notre Dame talent. Both teams have sufficient talent for this to be an excellent game. Neither team is a world better. Neither team has it totally together. But this is going to be another bitter, bitter drag out fight. Also, tailgating wise, it's a can't miss event.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we're better off NOT watching:
1. Michigan - Miami (Ohio): Uh. Yeah. Not so much.
2. Michigan - Toledo: see above.
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
Offense. Michigan's defense should be one of the better units in the Big Ten this year, but three returning starters (and only one of then on the offensive line) scares the bejeezus out of me. This year the defense will have to carry the load, at least until mid season, because its going to take the Offense a while to learn the system and execute it without spearing themselves. We've got speed, running backs, a top notch receiver (Greg Matthews), and all the parts to be decent. But until Michigan shows it can put points on the board with regularity, it's not just the media wondering if the Wolverines will be able to operate anything close to a college level offense.
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we're serious-do it.
"Pencil Thin Mustache" - You can't break gentlemen's agreements, tie tradition to a railroad track, or sell snake oil without one!
For the rest of the team, perhaps the "Desperation Samba (Halloween in Tijuana)" might also work.
Pretty girls they beckon
From their rooms above
Skeletons are dancing
in the name of love
Don't know where I'm going
Don't like where I've been
There may be no exit
But hell I'm going in
Yo quiero a bailar en Mexico
Do the desperation samba con nos amigos
Yo quiero a bailer en Mexico
Do the desperation samba con nos amigos
Seven: We're master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
Michigan's bowl streak remains intact, Motor City bowl or not.
If you wish to know more about Michigan football, please feel free to check out Maize 'n Brew. If you are interested in serving as a visiting lecturer for our series, email us at harumphharumph of the gmail variety type email address.