A Slightly More Rational Projection of Michigan's 2009 Season

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A Slightly More Rational Projection of Michigan's 2009 Season

In case you're severely inebriated or a Kobe Bryant fan, you are incapable of rational thought and can't tell from the title, this is my attempt at a more realistic outcome for Michigan's football season this year. 

MY EXPECTATIONS

I honestly think Michigan will field one of the better offenses in the conference (this may be an irrational thought, but throw me a fricken' bone—I'm a fan for Pete's sake).  They should field one of the best, if not THE best, wide receiving corps in the conference. 

They should also field one of the deepest backfields in the conference.  Their offensive line should be much better, if not very good, and I really think the quarterback situation will be like night and day from last year. 

Conversely, I think Michigan's defense will be quite average.  They'll have above average corners, but below average safeties.  Average linebackers, but little muscle in the heart of the defensive line. 

They should have a decent pass rush off the ends, though.  The defense is thin, and what they field isn't great.  Make no mistake, good offenses will exploit this defense to no end.

I believe the special teams will surprise people and turn some borderline games into Michigan wins.  I think the Wolverines will have a good-very good return game, and one of the best, if not THE best, punter in the country. 

Field position is HUGE in College football, and if Michigan moves the ball with a good offense, which I think they'll do, even if they don't score, opposing offenses are going to have to move the ball almost the length of the field every possession.

 

THE BIG TEN (AS I SEE IT)

This is the worst Big Ten in recent memory for me.  I think the offenses (in general) are extremely subpar, while the defenses should be solid.  The average/mediocre teams from last year seem to be getting better (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan State), and the elite teams are getting worst (Penn State and Ohio State). 

I expect this to be a very competitive Big Ten, with no team going unscathed, as there is more disparity in the league than perhaps ever before.  Iowa and Ohio State appear to be the class of the Big Ten, while Penn State, Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State look to make noise and surprise some people. 

Make no mistake, EVERY Big Ten team appears at this point to be extremely flawed in some way.  That means anyone can be exploited and lose to anyone else.

THE PREDICTIONS

Western Michigan @ Michigan

This one MIGHT be close for a half if the Broncos come out inspired, which I think they will, but the lack of defense and holes on offense is too much for them as they eventually succumb to Michigan.

Michigan 49, Western Michigan 17

Notre Dame @ Michigan

Michigan plays well in a game of offenses, but eventually the better offense wins out.

Notre Dame 38, Michigan 27

Eastern Michigan @ Michigan

Eastern plays especially well in the first half confusing Forcier, but in the end are still Eastern Michigan.

Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 14

Indiana @ Michigan

Indiana is awful.  This homecoming game for the Maize and Blue is a cakewalk.

Michigan 42, Indiana 12

Michigan @ Michigan State

In a rivalry game of offense versus defense, the advantage goes to the home team as the Spartans squeak out a victory holding the Michigan offense to its lowest production of the season. 

Michigan State 14, Michigan 10

Michigan @ Iowa

As much as I would like Michigan to win this game of foes unbeaten in conference play, Iowa's lines dominate the game and Iowa wins big.

Iowa 35, Michigan 17

Delaware State @ Michigan

Michigan responds to the Iowa loss big against an FCS opponent.

Penn State @ Michigan

Despite the great year last year and all the preseason hype this year, everyone ignores all the things Penn State lost from their conference championship team last year.  JoePa loses another heart breaker in Ann Arbor again as the Penn State secondary gives up a ton of yards through the air.

Michigan 31, Penn State 28

Michigan @ Illinois

Just as Michigan looks to build off their upset win against Penn State, Illinois brings them back to earth with some of the most talented and entertaining players to watch in the conference.

Illinois 42, Michigan 21

Purdue @ Michigan

Purdue is arguably the worst team in the Big Ten and is going to struggle winning ANY conference games.  Michigan responds from the loss to Illinois big.

Michigan 50, Purdue 20

Michigan @ Wisconsin

In a battle of who can hold the ball longer, Wisconsin running back John Clay looks great and piles on the yards against an exhausted Wolverine defensive front.  The more balanced Wolverine attack prove to be too much, though as Wisconsin is unable to find a competent quarterback.

Michigan 28, Wisconsin 24

Ohio State @ Michigan

I really think the Wolverines have a decent shot at Ohio State this year.  After not being as good as projected last year, the Buckeyes lost most of their star power from last year's team. 

While the Buckeyes don't have many glaring weaknesses, they don't appear to have many strengths either and depend too much on Pryor's legs.  Ohio State struggles with Michigan's spread, and loses for the first time in six years.

Michigan 35, Ohio State 31

Michigan moves on to a decent bowl game, probably the Outback Bowl.

CONCLUSIONS

If you read my somewhat (but not much) more irrational prediction, you'll note that I really only changed two games.  I honestly believe it's impossible to not let one's "fandom" affect his/her predictions/expectations.

I expect both Ohio State and Penn State to be much more beatable than they were last year, especially Penn State. 

Ohio State probably has a better chance of beating Michigan than vice versa, but the disparity between the two is not as much as everyone currently thinks and Ohio State will likely be very one-dimensional this year, as well as being typically predictable. 

If you want to mock me, feel free, but this is the equation I used:

(Assumed) Radically improved offense+Crappy OOC opponents+Crappy Big Ten+8 home games=8 wins. 

That's just how it is.  The Big Ten is down, Michigan's schedule is borderline embarrassingly easy, and they play winnable games against two of their toughest opponents (Penn State, Ohio State) at home (really three, if I was to include Notre Dame).

I am officially going on record as making this my official prediction for the season (as opposed to my last prediction). 

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