Weekend Roundup, Down by the River Edition: 9/10/12

Here's what happened around the internets over the weekend while you bought porn instead of ice cream...

Goodnight and Good Luck

From RBUAS last year...

He is flawed and yet defiantly indifferent to those flaws. He is not indignant, he just does not care. Restraint is for monks and carpenters and slow-playing a nut hand. He is not a carpenter. He is a blindfolded juggler of flaming chainsaws. Sometimes he completes two passes in an entire half and we run for our lives. But most of the time we watch him and we are cross-eyed buffoons, a stained glass scene in a church window of mortals witnessing the Resurrection.
He runs a bootleg 30 yards just to get to the opposite side of the field. He was running but now he has stopped. He prepares to throw. They know he has not been good at passing tonight and that he should probably be running. He is about to pass anyway. They are chasing you; don’t you see them, Denard? But he is just standing there, completely upright, looking around. Now he is running again. Within the width of five feet he cuts past three people. Left and then right and then left again, hard stomps into the ground. The goal line is right there and he crashes into everyone who is standing in front of it.

He can change this game.  And if we plan to do the impossible, he's going to have to.

All-in.

Foe Info: 'Bama

Transient

Their story: Alabama Crimson Tide Football was established in 1892.  They are 6th all time in winning percentage (.709), one spot behind Ohio.  They are called the Crimson Tide, and yet their logo depicts an elephant.  The former was coined during an Alabama - Auburn game in 1907, a combination of they're original nicknames, the Crimson White (like calling us the Maize and Blue) and Thin Red Line.  Mix that in with a clay filled mud bowl game against their biggest rival, and you've got yourself a nickname...and it stuck.  The elephant comes from a press account of a game that inspired a drunk fan to yell out that "the elephants are coming" referring to the overgrown inbreds that comprised the 'Bama of the 1930's.

Some History: Alabama has a similar football history to Michigan, though they've been chasing the ghost of Bear much longer than we've been chasing the ghost of Bo.  They peaked in the 70's, and while they've had a few more bad seasons than Michigan since then, they've also had a few more amazing ones.  But it all averages out, and though they haven't quite redefined towing the line the way we have, they're in our ballpark as far as maintaining historical significance by not losing more than 3-4 games in a season.  They did bottom out before the arrival of Nick Satan, er, I mean Saban, and the textbook scandal forced them to vacate the 21 wins they had earned between 2005-2007.  Since then they've been hot, losing only six games in the last four years.

Some Comparisons:  Decade by decade, Michigan and Alabama's wins and win %:

  • 1970's:  'Bama: 103-16-1 (.862) - Blue: 96-16-3 (.847)
  • 1980's: 'Bama 85-33-2 (.717) - Blue: 90-29-2 (.752)
  • 1990's: 'Bama 83-40 (.674) - Blue: 93-26-3 (.774)
  • 2000's: 'Bama 58-48 (.547) - Blue: 81-43 (.653)
  • 2010's: 'Bama 22-4 (.846) - Blue: 18-8 (.692)

Returning Starters:  Alabama returns 7 offensive and 4 defensive starters.  

Stat-tastic:  The Crimson Tide defense was #1 against the run AND #1 against the pass...so obviously #1 in total defense.  Oh, and that's nationally.  They allowed 8.15 ppg on average for the season, and they play in the SEC.  In their first 10 games of last season, none of their opponents scored more than 14 points, and those opponents included Arkansas, LSU, and Florida.

'Bama Blogs:  

Game Notes Give You Reasons to Believe

We've experienced enough change in the last 7 seasons to last a lifetime.  2005 ended and 7-5 had you clamoring for Lloyd's resignation.  2006 had us on the verge of the BCS championship.  Then we mourned Bo.  Then we shit the bed, twice.  2007 gave our enemies the ability to make us a punchline for all eternity, yet ended with "the offense you always thought we were capable of" dismantling a Florida team that no one thought we had a chance to beat.  2008-2010 brought the Rich Rod years, where we learned to be humble, where we learned how to lose, lose often, and lose badly.  By 2011, we were numb, and had very little expectations for a team made up of speed re-transitioning to a system of power.  This made each one of the 11 wins feel a little better.  And now?  Now I don't know where we are.  Which is not that different than most other years, and for most other teams.  Such is the case for college football.  Roster turnover is inevitable, new recruiting classes are always TBD, and offseason progression on a player by player basis is impossible to chart.

So here we are, 5 days from gameday.  And there is no pre-season warmup.   We are not playing Directional Michigan at home.  For all intents and purposes, we are in a Bowl Game.  A Bowl Game against an Alabama team that was last seen picking apart #2 LSU en route to a National Championship.  And us?  We were last seen squeaking by an awful Va Tech squad in overtime in New Orleans in one of the worst fundamental college football games in the entire bowl season.  

But like I said, things have changed since then.  It's safe to say, however, that a lot of things would have to change for the worse for Alabama, and a lot of things would have to change for the better for our Wolverines in order for this game to be competitive.  And while that's not so probable, it's certainly possible.  So yes, I'm saying there's a chance.  

The Weekly Release is out, and there's plenty of stuff in there that might help you, blinder wearing Michigan fan,  believe there's a chance too.

The Coach:  Brady Hoke has the greatest all-time winning percentage (.846) as a head coach in Michigan history.  Fielding H. Yost is second at .833.  Who cares about sample size?  Shut up and love your coach.  He's the greatest coach of ALL TIME.

The Quarterback:  Michigan last faced Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl, where Tom Brady led the Wolverines back from a 14-point deficit....twice....on the way to the first overtime game in Michigan history and a 35-34 victory.  Denard Robinson is 420 yards away from passing Tom Brady on the all-time passing yards list.  Therefore, Denard is better than Tom Brady, and Michigan will beat Alabama.  And this 'Bama team doesn't have Shaun Alexander (or Trent Richardson).

The SEC:  Normally, this would be a problem for a Big Ten team, but not for Michigan.  The Wolverines boast a 24-9 record against current members of the SEC, and a 2-1 record all-time against Alabama.  In fact, Michigan has played every team in the SEC, and has a .500 or better record against all of them except Tennessee (0-1...f'n Citrus Bowl) and Mississippi State (0-1...RichRod's Gator Bowl).

September:   Michigan hasn't lost in September since the 2008 loss to Notre Dame.... that's 13 in a row.  Michigan vs. Alabama is on September 1st, which is in September.

Under the Lights:   Michigan was 3-0 last year in games with a starting time after 5pm, and is 25-12 all-time in such contests.   While you ponder when in the hell we played 37 night games (hell if I know), allow me to make the assertion that we have a 2 out of 3 chance of winning this game because it will be dark out.  Wait...what about night games in domes?  Oh well.

Draw your own conclusions by reading the gamenotes yourself.  There's lots of stuff in there, most of which is from the department of "Michigan is the shit," so try to just slowly sip the kool-aid as opposed to guzzling it.