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.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Week 11 B1G Ten Picks

 Lance CallihanSean O’ConnellRyan CallihanMatt BrinkmanClint DerringerJon JenningsDrew MontagTodd MaleLuke D’MelloJoseph Boyd
Last Week5-35-35-35-34-46-27-15-35-35-3

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

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

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Penn State Game Prediction

While nobody in Fort Schembechler will ever apologize for a 5-0 start, few outside it will concede that their record has been indicative of their play.

Look no further than Vegas opening the line in Saturday’s game with Michigan as a one point favorite in Happy Valley against a Penn State team with even more youth than Michigan, and depth issues due to their NCAA restrictions.

Michigan did themselves no favors with poor efforts in games against Akron and UConn, and while last week’s game against Minnesota was an improvement, there are still several issues to work on.

In the 2+ year stint of Brady Hoke, Michigan is a .500 team, going 6-6 in the 12 games away from Michigan stadium.

Penn State licks it’s wounds after its routing at the hands of a potent Indiana Offense which put up 44 on them last week.

All these things factor into many thinking this game will be much closer than it probably should be.

There are other factors that lead me to believe it won’t be that close, however. First, the changing up along the offensive line proved to be effective, in spite of still having great room for improvement. Chris Bryant looked good at times, lost at others, but undoubtedly is talented, and big, and has a nasty streak.

Secondly, moving Funchess to WR was a great move. With Jake Butt needing reps and AJ Williams having the injury bug, they had no choice but to keep him at TE.  But with Funchess out wide, putting bracket coverage on Gallon, and putting 8 in the box like teams have shown won’t work, without giving a 6’5, 235 pound super athlete in single coverage. It should prove to not only open things up for Gallon and the run game, but also should give Devin Gardner more time in the backfield.

On defense, Jake Ryan has been cleared to play, and expect him to take some snaps this week and next, utilize the bye week before MSU to get into total game shape, and be ready for the Spartans.

One comes back, and one leaves, with Soph NT Ondre Pipkins being out for the year with an ACL injury sustained in the Minnesota game. A loss of course, but I expect Quintin Washington to take more of the starter snaps, and Willie Henry to continue to get snaps.

Having experienced Happy Valley first hand for the 2006 UM game, it can be electric. But they also are very similar to Michigan Stadium. When things aren’t going as planned, a pin drop can be heard in spite of 100,000+ people being there.  Take care of the ball, keep the playbook simple, and pound the rock. On defense, we won’t like watching the bend but don’t break, but making a freshman quarterback beat you is just what makes Greg Mattison happy. Expecting him to nickel and dime you without making any mistakes is unlikely and I like Michigan’s chances to keep PSU in check for the most part.

Michigan, 34, PSU 23

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Adversary Update: Penn State Nittany Lions

4-Star QB Recruit Michael O’Connor committed to Penn State Tuesday. In an interview with Black Shoe Diaries, he had the following to say on playing alongside Christian Hackenberg:

“Yes it will be great getting to know him and work with him, he’s a great quarterback. I haven’t got to meet him yet though.”

The Associated Press reports that the trustees at the school are hard at work to lower the sanctions levied against the school.

In an interview, AD David Joyner says he expects current football head coach Bill O’Brien will stay in Happy Valley for a long time.

The University is exploring having a hockey game played at Beaver Stadium in 2014.

The season opener at Syracuse is scheduled to kickoff at 3:30 on August 31st at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Scout previews the 2013 Nittany Lions and ranks the top ten players with Frosh Hackenberg ranked second.

Christian Hackenberg -

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post