Friday, October 17, 2008

Up North, the Wolverines

It's been awhile-work tends to pile up when you are away on road trips. And slack off. And have unlimited computer access at work and are easily distracted by shiny objects and a Phillies' playoff run. So yeah, I've been busy. Moving on....

So this week the Wolverines (2.0) come into town. They bring with them baggage and failure, which is fine with me. The problem is, as a whole, I just can't hate Michigan. I don't know why; maybe it's because they are traditional rivals to Notre Dame. Or their fans were incredibly nice to us on our road trip last year.

What I do not like about Michigan is the little things. Let's start with the stadium:

1)Michigan Stadium
  • Their seats are small for most of our American fatasses. Not mine tho', which comes in handy when your chubby friends sit in your row, but I digress. Thus, the traditional nomenclature of the "Big House" has been attached to said stadium since they can compress more fans into the bleachers. And here comes the PSU inferiority complex:

  • It's quiet, even when at capacity. You can literally feel the sound being sucked up into the void.
  • Their student section blows. Jingle your keys all you want, but it's gay.
  • The visitor's section is at the top of the stadium, and wraps around the corner of the endzone. That's just rude.

2) Dick Honig

  • 2002. Johnson was clearly in, asshat.
  • 2005, 2 seconds.
  • 2005, Avant was out.
  • 2005, Hart fumbled.
  • F#$king DICK HONIG

Other than that, I really don't have a problem with their fans, except for item #2 above. I have never noticed the arrogance theory other blogs ascribe to.

That being said, I hope we stomp them new mudholes this year. Eleven years is a tough run for any team. Trust me, I have a vested interest in Philadelphia sports.

PSU On Defense

Michigan is in a transition year offensively. They have no QB to run RichRod's spread attack, new RBs, and an entire set of inexperienced WRs (which is going to look somewhat familiar to us next year). I fully expect Michigan to come in and run the offense we saw vs. Notre Dame last year, or Wiscy last week. Nothing flashy, just short passes and vanilla running to avoid potential screw-ups. I fully expect PSU to rush 5 or 6, with blitzing LBs providing different looks. Maybin will again act thussly:

PSU On Offense

Michigan does not have a bad defense. In fact, they have a very underrated defensive front seven. What frightens me, and consequently could be the only thing keeping Michigan in this game, is forced turnovers. I take solace in our starters' past few games performance. Clark has shown almost preternatural decision making and accuracy. Royster knows Lawlor and the O-Line will provide the running lane needed, and the starting WRs all have veteran experience.

PSU Special Teams

We have Williams and Kelly, the latter being an asset this year. Emporer Zoltan might be one of the best punters in the universe, but he doesn't kick field goals or act as a return man. Provided Boone is marginal, PSU maintains a clear advantage. Unless Williams loses a fumble.

All signs point to PSU blowing out this Michigan team. How can Michigan possibly win?

  • We go into offensive "sphincter mode". I don't see this happening at home against a team that is down.
  • Royster's hand injury flares up and he fumbles the ball more than once.
  • PSU has an eleven year flashback/panic attack.
  • We play "bend don't break". I don't like defenses tired late in the game because they were on the field too much in the first half.
  • Michigan is within 14 by the fourth. WE CANNOT LET THIS MICHIGAN TEAM HANG AROUND.

All the above seem improbable. Still, I will not signal victory until the clock runs down.

Final Thoughts

We should have won last year but failed. We better win this year, because Michigan will not be down for long.

Michigan: 6
PSU: 51

EDIT: Most PSU and Michigan blogs have that fateful final play in the 2005 game. That clip will never be posted here. EVER. I can't look at that clip without that feeling of despair and loathing over what could have been. If I were to post it, I would most likely blackout and wake up in a prison cell covered in blood and confusion.

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