Red Letter Games

When Dave Brandon fired Rich Rod, he laid out his measures for evaluating coaches. One of those measures was the coach’s record in “red letter games.”

“If you want to be successful at Michigan, you better win more than your share of those ‘red-letter games.’”

Brandon identified the follow opponents as red letter games*:

Notre DameWisconsin
Michigan StatePenn State
Any Bowl Opponents 

*Nebraska wasn’t in the conference at the time he made his comments but I can guarantee they would have been included in the list of schools if they were.Brady Hoke

Michigan has yet to play its bowl game but Brady Hoke’s 3 year record in "red letter games”, including Nebraska, stands at 7-11 (3-9 the over the last 2 seasons). Now that’s certainly better than the 3-15 record posted by Rodriguez but significantly below Brandon’s standard. As we sit at the end of year 3, the measures of success move from individual season analysis to multi-year, trend analysis.

Does that mean it’s time to fire Hoke? Not necessarily, and based on Brandon’s press release earlier in the week it does not sound like that’s going to happen anytime soon. What it does mean is that Brady Hoke, and by extension Michigan, is failing at one of the key trend measures in evaluating success.

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Nebraska Game Prediction

Anyone not still stinging from last week’s brutal beat down by the Spartans in East Lansing must have been on a coma this week. DGreenEvery fear fans had, other than turning the ball over, was experienced time and time again. We’ve known for several weeks that Michigan had issues on the interior of its offensive line and we all hoped that they would gel. Well the doors got blown off t hat one last week.

All is not lost however, Wolverine faithful. Nobody will argue against the fact that MSU has one of the very best, elite defenses in the nation. And also the toughest one Michigan has faced or will face, the duration of the season. What better to come to town after getting your ass kicked? A team that this year is softer than Kleenex. Who is also missing their best offensive player in QB Taylor Martinez and others on both sides of the ball. Nobody confused them with a tough team when they weren’t banged up all over the place, but even more so now.

Now that hopes of a B1G Championship game appearance are doused and on life support at best, it’s time to get other players some snaps. Shane Morris, Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith, Ben Braden, Taco Charlton, and several others need reps. All are talented, and many have as good or more potential than those starting in front of them. Fitz Toussaint has done some very good things for U of M, but few will stand up to say they don’t want others to get some snaps. Nows is the time to see what you’ve got, both for the last 4+ games of the season, and beyond.

We will find out whether Michigan has the fortitude to bounce back, and I think they will. In fact in a big way.

Michigan 44, Nebraska 21

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Nebraska Preview

What to watch on offense

Bo Pelini is in his 7th year at Nebraska and the natives are growing restless. Despite bringing a level of stability to the Huskers, Pelini has lost at least 4 games in each of his 6 seasons at the helm. Off Coor. Tim Beck enters his 3rd year after serving as the RB coach at Nebraska the period 3 years. Thanks to the presence of Taylor Martinez, Nebraska has mainly employed pistol based spread attacBPelini - ES k offensively. Injuries to Martinez have allowed the Huskers to experiment with pro-style schemes and plays that were previously unavailable.

Taylor Martinez has been the face of the Nebraska offense for going on 4 seasons. By virtue of sheer number of starts Martinez was already Nebraska’s career leader in passing yards heading into the season. Martinez has experienced an injury plagued season, missing 4 of the team’s 9 games so far. Redshirt freshmen Tommy Armstrong has done an admirable job filling in, going 4-0 as a starter but does have more interceptions than TDs.

Ameer Abdullah rushed for 1,100 yards a year ago and returns to lead a rushing attacked that is ranked in the top 15 in the country. The Huskers lost longtime stud Rex Burkhead but haven’t lost a beat with Abdullah and the powerful Imani Cross. At 6’1 225 cross brings an added power dimension to an offense that is built on moving the pile and between the tackle runs.

The Huskers return their top two receivers in Kenny Bell and Quincy Enuwa, both of whom are now upperclassmen. Bell led the team in receptions, yards, and TDs a year ago though Enunwa has emerged as the go to WR so far this season. Redshirt freshmen Jordan Westerkamp is average 13yds per reception this season, though he only has 14 catches on the year.

Nebraska has made its reputation based on the play of its offensive line and takes great pride in the unit. The Huskers lose LG Seung Hoon Choi and center Justin Jackson but return as many as 8 players with game experience. Tackle Jeremiah Sirles was 2nd time All-Big 10 a year ago and returns to lead a unit that is while plagued with injuries, has been very effective so far this season.

Best Offensive Player

Ameer Abdullah- Abdullah is the player that makes the Husker offense go. While not the biggest player at 5’9 190, Abdullah is adept at finding holes and has surprising inside running power to go along with his outside and break away speed. Abdullah has already gone over the 1,000yd mark and is on pace to finish with well over 1,500yds.

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Week Ten B1G Picks

Lance CallihanSean O’ConnellRyan CallihanMatt BrinkmanClint DerringerJon JenningsDrew MontagTodd MaleLuke D’MelloJoseph Boyd
OKST/TTTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas TechTexas Tech
Last Week6-27-15-35-35-36-25-35-35-33-5

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Final 2013 B1G Recruiting Rankings

Note: As usual we include Notre Dame in B1G Rankings as they recruit same area and are a common opponent.

1. Ohio

Biggest Get – Jalin Marshall (ATH-WR). MarshaJalin Marshallll is a special, explosive athlete who will thrive in Urban Meyer’s offense.

Biggest Miss – James Quick (WR). Quick is one of the most explosive receivers in the country and ended up choosing the hometown Louisville Cardinals over the Bucks.

Sleeper – Jayme Thompson (S). It’s hard to call a borderline 4 star kid a sleeper, but in a class full of highly rated DB’s Thompson is exactly that. While a bit raw, his athleticism makes his ceiling very high.

2. Michigan

Biggest Get – Shane Morris (QB). Any time you can get a five star talent at quarterback you are doing very well. Morris has the biggest arm in the country and was an exceptional recruiter for Michigan.

Biggest Miss – Laquon Treadwell (WR). During the summer it seemed as if Treadwell was a near certainty to commit to Michigan, but in the end he chose to go elsewhere. Treadwell would’ve filled a pretty big need.

Sleeper – Channing Stribling (CB). A virtual unknown, Stribling came to Michigan’s camp this summer and completely shut down the competition over a five day period and earned an offer.

3. Notre Dame

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