Thursday, November 26, 2009

Michigan Football Forecast 2010: Mostly Cloudy With a Chance of Failure...AGAIN

by HD Handshoe

Before the 2009 season, I wrote an article entitled Michigan Football Forecast 2009: Mostly Cloudy With a Chance of Failure, that was met with much resistance and venom from Michigan fans.

I also met the same fate with my Michigan's Tate Forcier: Lofty Expectations Will Lead to Major Letdown article.

I was called idiot, moron, and hater, and those are just the names I can repeat. There were plenty of "R" rated terms tossed my way that are not safe for reposting.

In the Forecast article, I predicted that Michigan would win four games in 2009. In all honesty, I really thought they might win six and maybe even seven games, but as it turned out, they only won five.

They beat a couple teams that I thought they would lose to and they lost to a few teams I thought they could, or would beat, but in the end, my 4-8 prediction was almost exact.

Not to gloat, but who looks like idiots and morons now UM fans? I digress.

Since the Wolverines 2009 season is over and they are not playing in a bowl game for the second straight year, I thought I'd get an early jump on what 2010 will hold for them.

These predictions assume that RichRod will return as head coach, no current players file transfer papers, and that none of the 2010 UM recruits decommit before signing day.

Nothing is written in stone up North and you know what they say happens when you assume too much, so stay tuned...

Game One vs. UCONN

I actually believe UCONN could win this game, but I will give the talent edge to UM and it is in Ann Arbor so for those reasons, I have to go with Michigan in this one, but I do think it will be closer than most UM fans will expect it to be.

Win (1-0)

Game Two @ Notre Dame

I'm sure Charlie Weis, Jimmy Clausen, and Golden Tate will all be gone, but not all is lost at Notre Dame. There's speculation that ND wants to land Brian Kelly, Bob Stoops, Pat Fitzgerald, or Urban Meyer. I think Kelly is the most likely get, but in my opinion any of these coaches might consider taking the job, and any one of them would be able to coach the Irish to a win over UM. The cupboard isn't exactly bare in South Bend either. Dayne Crist was the nations' top QB recruit in 2008 and star-sophomore WR Michael Floyd will return as well.

Loss (1-1)

Game Three vs. UMASS

No disrespect meant, but UMASS is an FCS team, and they are no Richmond or Appalachian State. This game should be a lead-pipe lock for the Wolverines. Think Delaware State from this past year. UM won that game 63-6.

Win (2-1)

Game Four vs. BGSU

Lucky for Michigan that QB Tyler Sheehan and WR Freddie Barnes are both Seniors and won't be on the field for BG in this game. Otherwise, they may have been headed for another loss to a MAC team (see Toledo 2008). Without those two guys, I don't see UM having too much trouble vs. the Falcons.

Win (3-1)

Game Five @ Indiana

The Hoosiers gave UM all they could handle back in September when the Wolverines escaped with a 36-33 home win after a controversial interception call that went against IU. QB Ben Chappell, RB Darius Willis, and WR's Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher, all starters, will each return for Indiana in 2010. This game could go either way, and in toss up games, I almost always go with the home team.

Loss (3-2)

Game Six vs. Michigan State

The Spartans have won the last two meetings and return one of the best starting QB's in the Big Ten in Kirk Cousins, starting RB Larry Caper, and top WR's B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell. Coach Mark Dantonio is 2-1 overall vs. Michigan and 2-0 vs. RichRod. I won't be in shock if Michigan wins, and I believe this one could be close, and a borderline toss up, but I'm taking the Spartans to win their third straight over UM.

Loss (3-3)

Game Seven vs. Iowa

I don't see Kirk Ferentz leaving Iowa City and the Hawkeyes will return QB Ricky Stanzi, RB's Adam Robinson and the 2009 projected starter (before missing the season due to injury) Jewell Hampton, and top wide outs Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt, in addition to another solid defensive unit. I just can't see UM winning this game if Iowa comes into Ann Arbor with all these guys healthy.

Loss (3-4)

Game Eight @ Penn State

Daryll Clark will be gone, but the Big Ten's second leading rusher Evan Royster will likely return. Sophomore QB Kevin Newsome will take over for the Nittany Lions. He has been favorably compared to OSU's Terrelle Pryor. He is also a former 2009 UM commit that decommitted and chose PSU over the Wolverines. He sounds more and more like Pryor, who shunned UM for Ohio State, and is now 2-0 vs. his former suitors. I expect Penn State, led by Newsome, to win their third straight over the Wolverines.

Loss (3-5)

Game Nine vs. Illinois

If a coach's seat was ever hotter than that of Charlie Weis, it would have to be Ron Zook's. I don't think Zook will be back in 2010, and neither will QB Juice Williams. The cupboard is looking bare in Champaign and Illinois could be the worst team in the Big Ten next season. In my estimation, Michigan should win this game easily.

Win (4-5)

Game 10 @ Purdue

Purdue has beaten Michigan in the last two meetings and they have hope, as in Coach Danny Hope, of doing it again in 2010. If they can find a QB to replace Senior Joey Elliott, they just might do it. RB Ralph Boldin returns after a solid year in which he was only out-gained on the ground by PSU's Evan Royster and Wisconsin's John Clay. This game falls under my toss up rule so I am going with the home team Purdue, but Michigan certainly has a shot at winning.

Loss (4-6)

Game 11 vs. Wisconsin

Badger RB John Clay led the Big Ten in rushing in 2009 as a sophomore and will have a legit chance to repeat that feat in 2010. Also returning will be starting QB Scott Tolzien and top WR Nick Toon. UW has won two of the last three vs. UM, and I see that trend continuing in 2010.

Loss (4-7)

Game 12 @ Ohio State

I really don't think I need to say much else here other than Ohio State has now won six in a row over UM, Tressel is 8-1, and Terrelle is 2-0. I know Michigan fans that think UM is getting better believe that UM will start beating the Buckeyes again sooner than later, but I say to them, even if UM gets better, it's not like OSU is getting worse. In terms of quality over quantity, the Bucks are recruiting as well or better than Michigan and the running backs that the Buckeyes are going to have in Pryor's final two years makes USC's recent "stable" of backs look like a bunch of old gray mares. The Buckeyes will make it seven in a row and nine of 10. After their third straight losing season, and assuming RichRod wasn't already fired earlier in the 2010 season, there will be little doubt that his fate is sealed after going 0-3 in THE GAME.

Loss (4-8)

Now, having said everything I said above, there are those three toss up games that I consider swing games (Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue) so ultimately with some lucky breaks going their way, or if UM somehow improves more than I expect, or if a couple of the teams I picked to beat them regress, then Michigan could probably win as many as seven games or eight games, but eight is really super-optimistic.

Let's assume they do win seven games next year.

Will 7-5 be enough to satisfy UM fans, alums, and the new AD?

Will it keep RichRod from losing his job, despite his third loss to the Buckeyes in three attempts?

Even though I feel fairly confident in my projections, these questions really cannot be definitively answered until sometime during the 2010 season so I'll just say it again—stay tuned.

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  1. As a Buckeye fan I see Michigan going 6-6, no worse, no better.
    I see them beating ND (that is assuming Brian Kelly doesn't take the job, if he does then nevermind that), Purdue, and Indiana.
    With yet another year under their belt I believe the Michigan offense will be much improved. Especially with that kid Gardner taking snaps behind Forcier assuming he doesn't transfer.
    Same with their defense, another year of experience and gaining more of the athletes they need they will be much improved.
    other than that I agree with your article.

    Michigan: 6-6 at best.

  2. For a $UCKEYE Blog you guys sure spend a hell of a lot of time worrying about Michigan.

  3. Worrying about Michigan? FUCK NO....why would we worry about your shitty team that can't beat us?

    Now, making fun of your shit team and you fucks that follow them...that's another thing.

    YES. we do enjoy that very much!

  4. Attended that Ann Arbor game, nothing close to the feeling and experiences of the past. Hey Anonymous #1, assuming Kelly stays which seems more likely given his recent comments, I'd like to hear what you guys think about this Wall St Journal article hinting at in the emergence of the Bearcats in replacing TSUN as OSU's most important rival. Perhaps Handshoe could come up with a post about this coming rivalry. As they see it (WSJ) it's not about this year or even next but when the top offensively minded Ohio High School talent start gravitating to this new national powerhouse in Cincinnati with equal facilities and their gifted head coach it will become "the game" most important to Ohio fans that will demand a yearly matchup. Could very well be in the cards, would enjoy your comments.

  5. I didn't know Cincy played O$U every year. Did I miss something?

  6. Yeah buddy, you proably missed some basic reading courses in Michigan grammar schools but that's your problem. As I said "it's not about this year or even next but demand...a yearly matchup." get it now? Were dealing with the Wall Street Journal, goons a lot smarter than sports writers, they get paid for being right years ahead, for seeing why in three or four years the Michigan/OSU game won't mean shit to Buckeye fans the way it once did cause the Buckeye's won't have shit to brag about if they can't beat the Bearcats. Get the drift? Watch it happen dude and remember you read it first on a Buckeye blog.

  7. Lol Cincinatti and Powerhouse in the same sentence, LAUGH! You don't just win your games in the Big East to be considered a powerhouse. They got smacked around in their bowl game by a team that didn't score a passing TD until week 6 last year.

    I pity Cincinatti if they have to play any quality team from anywhere.

  8. Your point is well taken and indeed Cincinnati will have to prove themselves OOC against some major teams to ultimately get some respect, but again I'm just postulating, a hypothetical thought experiment. What others might not see clearly at this point such as in the recruiting war going on in Ohio, remember Tony Pike was not highly recruited QB and the Bearcats lost several top defenders from last years team yet here they are ranked the best team in Ohio. Is it an anomaly or are the Buckeye's facing the once-inconceivable prospect of losing it's monopoly on instate recruits. If your a gifted offensive Ohio High School prospect why wouldn't you rather play for Kelly?

  9. Cincinatti has ZERO players on their team that were recruited by Ohio Sate.

  10. @jimmy J

    hold that thought cause just heard Kelly to interview with ND in New York. Kelly brought that team back in the Pitt game did you see him get in the face of Pike and will that team back? What a coaching job, only if Tressel had that fire inside to light up the Bucks, I saw that Michigan game too and it was just so uninspired. Bucks come out walking out of the tunnel like we don't give a $hit, Tressel shoulds had their a44 for that lasy crap but he's history as a coach.

  11. @Frank
    If it happens that will be a sad day for all of Ohio football. To lose the one coach who had the chance to finally bring the state the rivalry it deserves. We expected the coaching of Kelly to be the equalizer in any matchup between the Bearcats and Buckeyes before Cincinnati was able to recruit players of equal talent. As a fan of Ohio football I'm afraid his departure would more than likely be a huge setback. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

  12. notre dame blows...they wont lose that one. iu will be close but i have them winning.they should have beat msu last year and so at home this year plus a year of experience will help them win this year.they will not lose to purdue again just because of the talent differential. u have to remember that rich rod chased out most of um's talent when he came so he needed a couple recruiting classes to restock the talent pool.he got a few top 15 classes. i know u dont want to hear this but michigan is gonna be ok. i say 8-4 this year


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