Come on in folks, I have a safe haven for you here to escape the dumpster fire that is the Michigan football program. I promise you there will be no mention of concussion protocol, students marching on University president lawns or headset debate. Just like the band from the Catalina Wine Mixer plays strictly 80’s Joel, we will discuss just on the field action football. Nothing more and nothing less.
Last week the state went 1-3, with Michigan State being the sole winner, rolling over Wyoming. The aforementioned Wolverines lost the Little Brown Jug in a show of offensive ineptitude, losing to Minnesota 30-14. The Broncos of Western Michigan tried to make things interesting against Virginia Tech, with super freshman Jarvion Franklin getting my predicted two touchdowns, yet falling to the Hokies 35-17. The Chippewas of Central Michigan opened MAC play with a loss on the road to Toledo 42-28. For my picks last week I went 1-3 against the spread putting my season record at 10-7. This weekend all five Michigan colleges are taking the field, so follow the jump for info on all your favorite teams! (As always games ranked for intrigue/watchability)
#19 Nebraska (5-0, 1-0 B1G) @ #10 Michigan State 3-1 8:00 PM ABC Line: MSU -7
If it wasn’t for the awesome slate of games this weekend (started off great last night with Oregon falling to Arizona), this game would have been a contender for a visit from College Gameday. But with a plethora of great games in the SEC to watch, the Cornhuskers and Spartans prime time game match-up may only be the 4th or 5th best game this weekend. It is a match-up of two high powered offenses this season with Connor Cook and Ameer Abdullah being the tops in the conference at their respective positions. I mean Ameer Abdullah can do this….
The other thing that clip shows, besides an amazing run by Abdullah, is the fact that the Huskers needed an amazing last minute run to avoid overtime against FCS foe Mcneese State. So figuring out this team is not easy, yes they are 5-0 but they haven’t really played anyone of quality outside of a mediocre Miami team starting a freshman quarterback on the road. And even then the Huskers surrendered 31 points and won only by 10. So this game will be by far the first test the Huskers have faced all season and they’ll be doing it on the road against a team needing a win to salvage any College Football Playoff hopes.
Analysis: Last season if it wasn’t for five Nebraska turnovers it is unlikely the Spartans win in Lincoln. The Nebraska game was possibly the first game against a quality opponent where Connor Cook showed some promise, with a strong 4th quarter drive to put the game away, and most importantly zero turnovers. It was the first time the Spartans had ever beaten Nebraska in program history and was revenge for a 2012 home game marred by a phantom holding call on an interception return by Johnny Adams. Last season Ameer Abdullah averaged 5.6 yards per carry finishing with 123 yards on the day. Tommy Armstrong, playing in relief of an injured Taylor Martinez, completed just 9 of 21 passes and did have an interception.
The Cornhuskers will need more from Armstrong this year, as even if Abdullah does get his yards, it is unlikely the Huskers will be able to slow the MSU offense. This game sets up to be a shootout that will be tight going into the fourth quarter. The Spartans will need improved play from RJ Williamson and Kurtis Drummond at the safety positions, as they were gashed a few times by Wyoming last week. Give me Nebraska to cover but the Spartans win. (MSU 38-34).
Toledo 3-2 (2-0 MAC) @ Western Michigan 2-2 7:00 PM ESPN3 Line: Toledo -6
The Broncos welcome in Toledo for their MAC opener, with a 7 PM kickoff at Waldo Stadium. PJ Fleck has reinvigorated this program in his 2nd season, after a just dismal 1-11 season last year. Now if you have been following along, you know I have an absolute mancrush on Bronco freshman running back Jarvion Franklin. Well Franklin made me look like a prophet last week, as he did indeed score the two touchdowns I predicted, but he was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in his career.
The Toledo Rockets come to Kalamazoo fresh off a win over Central Michigan 42-28. In that game the Rockets held Central to just 95 yards rushing, an improvement for a defense ranked 115 in the S&P ratings. For all the struggles the defense may have for the Rockets, their offense has been doing yeoman’s work. The Rockets offense is averaging over 244 yards rushing per game and ranked 40th in S&P nationally. The Rockets lost their staring quarterback in a loss to Missouri, however backup Logan Woodside has stepped in well, throwing for 339 yards against the Chippewas last weekend.
Analysis: This game has potential to be a track meet, just like the Michigan State game. Toledo looks to be in the top class of the MAC West division, likely battling it out with Northern Illinois for the top spot this season. It will be interesting to see Woodside and how he competes on the road in what could be a hostile nighttime environment. The Broncos have taken noticeable steps under Fleck this season but are just too prone on defense for the win this week. F/+ actually gives the Broncos the edge, with a 56% chance of winning and a .2 point spread. So this game is essentially a toss-up. I’ll say that Franklin gets over 100 yards again and gets back to his 3 touchdown standard but the Rockets are just too much octane. (Toledo 35-24)
Ohio 3-2 (1-0 MAC) @ Central Michigan 2-3 (0-1 MAC) 3:30 PM ESPN3 Line: CMU -4
Central Michigan is really starting to disappoint me. After looking like world beaters on the road against Purdont, the Chippewas have dropped three straight, and never looked competitive in any of those losses. Even with the return of Thomas Rawls this past weekend, the Chippewa defense failed to show up, to the tune of 42 points allowed against Toledo. Dan Enos, head coach, has to be feeling some heat to turn this thing around if he wants to maintain his position.
Ohio has looked equally unimpressive this season. They have the 88th ranked offense in S&P (CMU is 97) and have been undecided on their quarterback rotating between Derrius Vick and JD Sprague. Their decision has been made for them this week, with Vick injured Sprague will get the call and look to throw for 200 yards for the first time in his career, Without Vick at quarterback, the Bobcats’ rushing attack will take a hit and will rely on freshman AJ Ouellette, who has been coming on strong the past two weeks.
Analysis: F/+ has this game as a Central win by 7.4 and gives them a 67.7% chance of winning. So the advanced statistics seem to point to a CMU win more than the boys in Vegas. With the loss of a running quarterback and a more predictable offense for Ohio I’ll agree with the stats. I think Rawls gets over 150 yards on the ground and Central puts this one away in the 2nd half. If they don’t look out, as things could get warm quick for Enos with Northern Illinois looming large next week. (CMU 27-20)
Michigan 2-3 (0-1 B1G) @ Rutgers 4-1 (0-1 B1G) 7:00 PM BTN Line: Rutgers -2
The boys in Vegas must be Michigan fans I’ll tell you, This line actually opened up as Michigan favored by one but was pulled down from the Wynn book after it swung to Rutgers -3 in minutes. I just don’t get why this line is so low. Have people not been watching the absolute dumpster fire that is Michigan offense on the field, let alone the mushroom cloud off of the field?!? I was really close to tanking this game behind Eastern Michigan fergawdsakes, just to prove a point.
Well let’s not waste much time on the Wolverines. The coaches probably proved a point to all you Rivals leg humpers out there drooling over Shane Morris, as the kid looked absolutely dreadful last week, throwing for 49 yards against Minnesota. He will be out this game and the better option, Devin Gardner returns to quarterback. Maybe a fire was lit under DG, but he’s shown me nothing in 2 years to really value outside of the OSU game last season, so let’s wait and see.
Michigan will win this game or lose this game based on one guy, Rutgers QB Gary Nova. Nova is either really good or just dreadful, almost 5* because I’m committing to Michigan dreadful. Nova threw for 5 interceptions against Penn State this year but also has two games where he has thrown 4 touchdowns. Oh and he also can do this:
Ahhhh, the ole run 5 yards past the line of scrimmage and throw play. Can’t believe that one didn’t work Gary!
Analysis: What are you doing? Why are you watching this game? Do you know Nebraska and MSU is on? Get beer and be home by 8 but for the mother of all that is Holy do not subject yourself to this garbage. I’m done picking any team by Brady Hoke to do anything but possibly get permanent brain damage, even though I think Michigan probably wins this game. #FireEverybody (Rutgers 21-17)
Eastern Michigan 1-3 (0-0 MAC) @ Akron 2-2 (0-0 MAC) 2:00 PM ESPN3 Line: Akron -25
Do I have to preview EMU? Is anyone reading this far? If you’re reading this far tell me so on twitter and I’ll tell you you’re lying. Can’t I just insert the dumpster fire from Michigan minus an inept medical staff at THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN. YOU HAVE AN AMAZING HEALTH PROGRAM ANDYOUR TRAINERS CAN’T RECOGNIZE A CONSU–oh right Eastern Michigan, not Michigan (pops a Xanax).
OK so the Eagles are beginning MAC play this week on the road against an Akron team that just pulled a big upset over Pittsburgh. The Zips have the 81st ranked offense in S&P and rely heavily on the passing game, with their best rusher on the season being under 200 yards. Eastern has been off since losing big to Michigan State a couple of weeks ago and at least seem to have solidified their QB with former Penn State player Rob Bolden.
Analysis: F/+ has Akron winning by 24.7 and 86.7% chance of winning. I still like coach Creighton at Eastern to find a way to get them to respectful but they are just going to take a while to recover. I believe Bolden throws for 200 yards and 2 scores in this game but that is far from enough. Give me Akron and the 25 easy. (Akron 52-21)