ASK CFN - Can Michigan Turn the Corner?
Can Michigan turn the corner ... does it need to? Why doesn't CFN give enough respect to Florida? Should there be a super-conference between the WAC and Mountain West? These and more in the latest ASK CFN.
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Geez, can you
ever write an article when you don’t rip on Florida? You must live in
Columbus or something cause you just can’t seem to handle that we’re
winning at EVERYTHING. We were dominant last year in the national
championship and made all you Buckeye lovers foolish when we showed too
much SEC speed and talent. You must have been one of those Big Ten
lovers who wanted a Michigan – OSU rematch. Get over it and accept
how much we dominate! Your pathetic. -
A: We? I must have missed it. Were you the one wearing No. 12 or the one
blanketing Anthony Gonzalez?
First of all, I was adamantly against a Michigan – Ohio State rematch to
the point of getting e-mail bombed by Wolverine fans (still to this day)
about a supposed bias against the Maize and Blue (of course, I also
would’ve been against a rematch if Michigan had beaten OSU). Secondly,
while I picked OSU to beat Florida, I was in the rare
minority of those who said the Gator defense was going to shut down Troy
Smith and the Buckeye attack. I thought it was going to be a defensive
slugfest with OSU pulling it out because of a better kicking game, but I
gave full credit to that Florida D from the start. Finally, let’s not
rewrite history here.
Yeah, Florida whupped up on the Buckeyes, but it’s incredibly
conveeeeeeeeenient how many Gator fans completely forgot just how much
of a struggle it was just to get to 11-1 before taking things to
another level in the SEC and BCS title games. There was the close call
against a very good, but not elite, Tennessee, there was the loss to a
very good, but not elite, Auburn, Vanderbilt almost pulled off the
upset, a mediocre Florida State team gave a push, and had South
Carolina’s special teams been able to block Jarvis Moss, Ol’ Ball Coach
would’ve won two in a row against his alma mater. Don’t get me wrong,
Florida was absolutely worthy of playing for, and winning, the national
title, but there was a reason why it took a loss from USC to get in. By
the way, replace the Florida with Ohio State in the first sentence of
your question and that's what I had to deal with over and over again
Ok, we've gone over the scenario of college football and basketball
against the pros but what about baseball? I believe the NCAA baseball
champs or maybe an All Star team could win several games against the
worst team in MLB. - WP, New Orleans
A: Several games if the MLB team is trying, no. A few here and there,
yes. It’s all about the pitching. The college baseball lineup can eke
out four hits and two runs and get a brilliant pitching day to pull off
an upset in a one game shot, but no way could it win a seven game
series. The key to all these scenarios is want-to. If the star college
team is playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a one-game mid-August
exhibition, it would have a
chance. If there was some major incentive for the winner, the college
team would get destroyed. Always remember in these scenarios, even the
best college teams would have no more than a few future pros going against a
team of pros.
For my variation of a question you probably get 20 times a day: How
does Michigan finally turn the corner? I know you'll want to quote
stats showing how the maize and blue faithful shouldn't be disappointed,
but, come on, it's pretty much national consensus that this team is
consistently underachieving. – Matt
A: (Heavy sigh) “Consistently underachieving?!” Turn what corner? Your
Wolverines went 11-0, played the number one team in the nation almost
dead-even on its turf, and would’ve gotten a rematch had Arkansas won
the SEC title or if Florida looked lousy in the win over the Hogs.
Forgetting how things turned out after the Rose Bowl, Michigan was
this close to playing for the national title, and it underachieved?
116 teams, USC and LSU included, would’ve killed to have been in that
With that said, you are right in a way and I’ll quote stats to prove it.
Since winning the 1997 national title, Michigan has gone 3-6 against
Ohio State. Quick, name the three biggest wins over a non-Buckeye team
since the national title? I’ll help you out: 1) The 35-34 2000 classic
Orange Bowl win over Alabama, 2) the 2005 27-25 last-second win over a
Penn State team that finished 11-1 with an Orange Bowl win, and 3) the
1998 27-10 win over a Wisconsin team that went 11-1 and won the Rose
Bowl. Good wins all, and the Wolverine got another win over a great
Badger team in 1999 and gave out the only regular season loss to
Illinois in 2001. Where are the Rose Bowl wins? Where are the big bowl
victories? Where are the signature key wins that prove the program
deserves to call itself the leader and best?
To actually get to the national title game, Michigan needs luck;
every top team, for the most part, does. There’s an old adage that college basketball coaches like
to use that applies here. Keep cranking out great team after great team
and get into a position to be in the national title hunt,
and eventually it’ll be your turn.
What is the one position (besides
kicker/punter) that a team would be most likely to get an immediate
impact through recruiting in a BCS conference? What position in easiest
to transition from high school to college? Is it the same? –Garett
A: Whoever’s the NFL caliber player. It’s different in the pros where,
according to theory, it's easiest to go outside in. Wide receivers and
corners can step in and play right away, quarterbacks and middle
linebackers tend to need longer. Once again, in theory. Since there’s such a greater
in college, you can have a guy who’ll make $2 million a year in
the NFL playing next to a guy who’ll be making shakes at Sonic, so the
true star always stands out. In general, a freshman running back can
likely make the biggest impact as long as he’s not required to be a key
blocker, but once again, anyone at any position can rock right away if
he's a next-level talent.
Just wondering why you think Notre Dame belongs in the Big Ten? –
A: Geography and history. South Bend might as well be a way-south suburb of Chicago.
There are also the natural ties considering the yearly battles with Michigan,
Michigan State and Purdue to ease the program into the misnamed
conference. It just makes sense.
After seeing Utah's schedule I have a few
questions. 1) Will Utah have to go 12-0 to get an at large BCS bid, 2)
Should Utah have to go 12-0 to get an at large BCS bid. 3) How would
Notre Dame do with Utah's schedule and would it be good enough to get
them an at large BCS bid and finally 4) How many teams do you think
would have a legitimate chance of going 12-0 with Utah's schedule?
A: Utah’s schedule: at Oregon State, Air Force, UCLA, at UNLV, Utah
State, at Louisville, San Diego State, at TCU, at Colorado State,
Wyoming, New Mexico, at BYU. To answer your questions: 1) Maybe not. If
everything breaks the right way and if the Utes beat the big boys like
UCLA, Louisville and TCU, and gets tripped up in a close loss at
Colorado State, that might still be good enough. Or if they go 11-1 with
a tight loss at Louisville, who would then go on to win the Big East,
might get it done. 2) No, but it might get in like Boise State
did last year and finish high enough to get an automatic bid even if it
11-1. 3) I think the Irish will stink this year, so I’d say they’d go
8-4, 7-5 at worst. The top-to-bottom schedule’s not that nasty. 4) Not many.
The road trip to Louisville alone would be a killer, playing at TCU will
also be nasty, and UCLA is going to be one of the 10-15 best teams.
Maybe the top five teams can go unbeaten with this slate, but most of
the elite would go 11-1.
What does Boise State have to do to get national respect for
the off-season. It seems like every year, with the exception of the 05
campaign they do great they get ranked in the top 5 or top 25 at least
but then the football brains talk about BYU, Utah, and TCU. Why not BSU
being the mid-major to beat again? – Chris
A: Losing the starting quarterback and several key defenders would be
the main reason this year. Look, Boise State can play, but it’ll have to beat
Washington in Seattle to kickoff the national love again. Even with all
the team’s holes to fill, it’ll likely go 10-1 at worst (the
schedule isn't bad) before going to
Hawaii to close things out. This might not be one of the 25 best teams
to start the season, but it’ll end up being ranked there on record
What would you say a better non-conference schedule would be; one
game against a top team and the rest chumps, or playing two or
three good solid teams but no one real special? I'm asking this
wondering which one would be better for the BCS. – Paul
A: Always the interesting theoretical question. It depends on the team. If it’s a BCS caliber program, the better schedule, at least for the fans, would
be against one great team and a bunch of chumps. That’ll be the better
indicator of how good it is when trying to put together the whole
puzzle. If you’re a mid-range team shooting for a BCS spot, it’s
probably better to play the solid teams as long as there’s not a truly
bad game to worry about. In general, I always want to see the killer
teams play big games, even if that means a few dogs to deal with.
Why are some teams over-rated year in and year out (Notre Dame, for
example), while other teams are under-rated year in and year out (GA
Tech, for example). The ratings that I am referring to are both the
media voters and the coach voters. Let's take Notre Dame for an
example: every year, the "voters" vote Notre Dame as one of the top
teams, usually in the top 10; but more often than not they drop
throughout the season in the polls. Why do the voters do this to
teams? Is it really that hard to remove emotion and to vote on reality?
A: The pollsters go with what they know. They know Notre Dame, they
don’t know the ins and outs of, say, Oregon State or Maryland. You’re
also assuming the voters know the reality. Since most don’t watch enough
college football to have an informed opinion on all the teams (I
guarantee you the Fiesta Bowl was the first time roughly 75% of the
pollsters had actually watched Boise State play), they go with the flash
and the big names. I always get punchy around pollsters and ask them to
name the starting quarterback for teams like (for this year) Georgia
Tech or Wisconsin. If you can't name the quarterback for a top ten team,
how are you going to know if TCU is any good or not?
What if the WAC and Mountain West combined to form "super conference"
for BCS purposes only. Each league would remain as it is today, but at
the end of the season, the champs of each league would play each other
in a championship game. Good enough to earn a BCS auto-bid for the
winner, or just another chance to knock a good mid-major out of the
running? – Ed
A: The Mountain West would get the raw end of that stick. Stick perennial
Mountain West also-ran Wyoming in the WAC and it probably finishes in the top three or
four every year. Instead, I’d take the 18 teams combined in the two
leagues, throw out six, and create a super-conference worthy of an
automatic BCS bid. Imagine this for a 12-team league leaving out Air
Force, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah
NORTH: Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Fresno State, Utah, Wyoming
SOUTH: Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV