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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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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2014 Recruiting – What’s Next? (Offense)

Michigan inked a very impressive 2013 recruiting class and the 2014 class in starting to take shape as well. So far the Maize and Blue have verbal commitments from Wilton Speight (3* QB – Virginia), Drake Harris (5* WR – Michigan), Maurice Ways (3* WR – Michigan), Ian Bunting (4* TE – Illinois), Mason Cole (4* OG – Florida), Michael Ferns (4* LB – Ohio) and Brian Mone (4* DT – Utah). The Wolverines also picked-up Brady Pallante (NR DT – Florida), who received a greyshirt offer, which means he’ll count against either the 2014 class or the 2015 class depending on how the numbers shake out. NOTE: Juwan Bushell-Beatty (3* OL – New Jersey) committed on 4/29.

Quarterback (1)

Wilton Speight – 6’6” 220lbs. Richmond, VA.Wilton Speight - Richmond Times-Dispatch

Running Backs (1)

Talented depth is being built, but it is also young and unproven depth at this point. I could see the staff taking one RB in this class, but it wouldn’t be all bad if they missed out mainly because the 2015 has a few big time prospects that love Michigan.

Dravon Henry – 5’11” 180 lbs. Aliquippa, PA. Dravon is a longish shot at this point and has a top 4 schools of Ohio State, Pitt, PSU and West Virginia. He did however say that this list could change and is somewhat fluid. IF he visits UM there’s a shot there, but I just don’t see it at this point.

Jonathan Hilliman – 6’1” 210lbs. Jersey City, NJ. Hilliman just released his list of top 10 schools, with a top 3(in order) of Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. He had planned on visiting in the spring, but nothing has been set in stone yet. If he does indeed visit, Michigan should be there until the end.

Joe Mixon – 6’0” 195lbs. Oakley, CA. Mixon is one of the most heavily recruited kids in the country regardless of position with somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 offers. He recently cut that list to a more convenient 16 which includes Michigan. He will likely take all of his officials and wait until the all-star games in January to decide. Michigan’s chances in snagging Mixon will again come down to whether or not he makes it to Ann Arbor.

Continue reading “2014 Recruiting – What’s Next? (Offense)”

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The Game Prediction

THE game. The greatest rivalry in all of sport. Whether 0-11 or 11-0, this game is one where you can throw the records out.

Looking at the trends, both teams are trending up. Michigan is on a 3 game winning streak, and frankly, their offense has taken enormous strides during those 3 weeks. Granted one can look at the opponents and make an argument that part of their success can be attributed to that. But last week showed what could truly be a special performance in the Snakepit Saturday, with Denard playing all over the field, and Devin Gardner being as special through the air as Denard can be on the ground.

If there is one thing to look for, its how Michigan chooses to attack a Buckeye defense which has been suspect much of the year. Do they try to run to set up play action and other passes, or pass to pull the safeties back and give Denard, Thomas Rawls and others more running room? My guess is you’ll see a more wide open look similar to what you saw in the ND game at the start. Like ND, Ohio’s secondary is suspect, and ranks 11th in the B1G in passing yards allowed.

Braxton Miller poses quite the threat to a Michigan defense which has been stout for the majority of the season. The 3 games that Michigan struggled the most defensively were Alabama (with an O-line like I’ve not seen since the 2000 UM line), and Air Force/Northwestern, which attacked the edges with the option, and had the speed to make that difficult. Ohio, while it has the speed in Miller, doesn’t really have a back fast enough to really attack the edges with the option on a consistent basis.

The Snakepit is by far the most difficult venue in the B1G to play in. Its fans have no issue showing their class (or lack thereof). That said, I think Michigan will be able to move the ball as much as they need to, and will be able to get enough stops to pull the game out.

Michigan 42, OSU 34.

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Big Ten Week 7 Pickoff

The staff weighs in:

 RecordWisconsin @ IndianaPurdue @ IowaPenn State @ NebraskaMinnesota @ IllinoisNorthwestern @ Michigan
Ryan Callihan25-6WisconsinIowa2PSUMinnesotamichigan logo
Matt Brinkman23-8WisconsinIowa2LogoMinnesotamichigan logo
Joseph Boyd23-8WisconsinIowa2LogoIllinoismichigan logo
Jon Jennings22-9WisconsinIowa2LogoMinnesotamichigan logo
Clint Derringer22-9WisconsinIowa2PSUMinnesotamichigan logo
Sean O’Connell22-9WisconsinIowa2PSUMinnesotamichigan logo
Lance Callihan21-10WisconsinIowa2PSUMinnesotamichigan logo
Todd Male21-10IndianaIowa2PSUMinnesotamichigan logo

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