Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wisconsin-Michigan postgame thoughts - hell yeah! (update following OSU loss)

As the tide seemed to be shifting in favor of the Wolverines in the fourth quarter, I started thinking about about what emotion would best fit my mood if we lost. Angry? Disappointed? Indifferent?

Then the defense and running game stepped in and finished things of, and I had to reverse my thinking. What emotion fits this win best? Elation? Relief? Bittersweet?

I'll go for the first. Beating Michigan never feels anything but awesome. Dominating Michigan like we did today? Even better. Forget all those what-might-have-been thoughts I was writing yesterday, it's all about the positive right now:

-Undefeated home record for the second straight year
-Still in the running for a winning conference record and the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl
-Still in the running for a 10-win season
-Could be ranked again
-Some big-time players are playing big-time football
-Michigan has a chance to lose five games this year

And make no mistake, Wisconsin dominated Michigan today. I don't care if Henne and Hart had the sniffles or whatever, we were missing five starters because of injury and didn't have a roster full of Parade All-Americans to step in for them. Consider the stats:

-First downs: UW 24, UM 17
-Rushing yards: UW 232, UM 47
-Total yards: UW 477, UM 320
-Interceptions: UW 3, UM 0
-My favorite - Time of possession: UW 38:15, UM 21:45

The thoughts:

-It was Senior Day, and the relatively small senior class carried the day. Paul Hubbard (right) was huge with seven catches for 134 yards. Tyler Donovan threw for 245 yards and a touchdown, ran for 49 yard and a touchdown, and showed some nice dance moves avoiding sacks.

Taylor Mehlhaff made all three of his field goal attempts. Ken DeBauche average 45 yards per punt with a long of 65, and put four inside the Michigan 20. Marcus Coleman and the interior line handled a damn good defensive tackle in Terrance Taylor, who had a lot of tackles but did not stop the run. Nick Hayden (left) had 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

-Good to see PJ get back in and try to make a go of it. I expect him to play next week, need to take a lot of get-tough pills this week. Hope Donovan is ready to play, would rather not throw Allan Evridge in there at this stage of the season. Looked like a pretty bad bruise on TD's hand.

-What is it about our punt return team at home against Michigan? They're like magnets for the ball. Nice job by the defense to get a three-and-out after that potential disaster.

-I can't get over the ESPN cameras' preoccupation with the couple hundred Michigan fans in attendance, they just kept showing those idiots.

-Shane Carter showed his strengths and weaknesses on back-to-back drives: watching Mario Manningham go right by him on the long TD pass, then making nice play on the ball for his second interception.

-When I saw the shot of what were presumably Chad Henne's parents in the stands, I thought about how pissed I would be if I was them, to come all the way from Pennsylvania to watch tough Chad wear a coat and call signals.

-The personal foul call on Deandre Levy was terrible, he stumbled and grazed Ryan Mallett's helmet. Later Obi Ezeh went helmet-to-helmet with Donovan, knocking TD out of the game, and no penalty.

-Funny to watch Manningham bitching at Mallett on the sideline, who is he, Terrell Freaking Owens? That's the kind of program they have in Ann Arbor, big-time athletes with big-time egos, just a factory churning out NFL players preloaded with NFL attitudes.

-I jotted down "Not Ike's best game," since he gave up some big plays, then look at the stat sheet and see he had an interception and four pass breakups. He also made a nice play downing a punt on the Michigan 3.

-Mallett was resourceful in escaping or almost escaping sacks. That backward shovel to the tight end was almost one of those back breaking plays.

-Mallett will be good in time, but today he was spraying the ball around like Wild Thing Vaughn. The guy was 11-for-36 - Tarvaris Jackson numbers.

-Best shot: The Badger fan wearing the I Heart Appalachian State T-shirt.

-Really nice effort by Zach Brown running for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Still think he's a career backup, a la Eddie Faulkner, but a damn good one. Nice to know we have depth at running back, a necessity in this program.

-Love how the line kept pounding Michigan - they wore down at the end and paved the way for Brown's scoring runs. That's Wisconsin football. For all the things that haven't gone as planned this year, our time of possession has still been stellar, a testament to the offensive line. The depleted defensive line played very well too, with three sacks and five TFLs.

Great win, really looking forward to Minnesota next week. The Gophers have to be the worst Big Ten team in recent memory and we should score 50 on them, but we've been upset there before and they run that damn spread offense, so anything's possible.

**ADD, 5:41 p.m. - Wow, Ohio State loses at home to Illinois. Didn't think it was impossible, but unlikely. Huge win for that program - the sleeping giant is waking up. What does it mean? Need to think about it a bit, but on first blush:

-Ohio State probably beats Michigan next week and "settles" for the Rose Bowl, not the BCS title game ... although who knows?
-Michigan goes Cap One Bowl, which is fitting, they didn't deserve the Rose Bowl with the lackluster year they've had.
-Ironically, beating Ohio State may push the Illini down to the Outback Bowl. Is my thinking right on this?
-Now it's between us and Penn State for the Alamo and Champs Sports bowls. New Year's Day seems unlikely. Wouldn't mind mixing things up and playing an ACC or Big 12 team in a bowl.

All this could change if Ohio State only falls a few spots in the BCS standings, since conference championship games, especially the Big 12 and SEC, could knock a couple high-ranking one-loss teams down a peg. We might have to wait until the first weekend in December to know our bowl fate, thanks to the domino effect of all these other teams.

More thoughts on this Monday when the updated BCS standings come out. #1 Kansas anybody?


mjschwal said...

You always have to love beating Michigan.

Is it just me or is Ryan Mallett going to be yet another guy that's going to be easy to hate for then next three years?

Something about him that bugs me. Maybe it's the way it appears he yells at everyone. Maybe it's that lame attempt at a goatee. Whatever it is, I can tell I already don't like him.

Jim Polzin said...

I'm really not sure how this all would play out, but I'm pretty sure the Big Ten bowl selections are based on overall records.

So if Michigan drops to 8-4 with a loss next week, then Wisconsin, Illinois and Penn State could jump over them in the process if they win to go 9-3. I think Penn State might lose at Michigan State, which could lead to this scenario:

Rose: Ohio State
Cap One: Illinois (beat UW and, quite frankly, Orlando doesn't want Badgers again and Badgers don't want to go there again)
Outback: UW
Alamo: Michigan
Champs: Penn State
Insight: Purdue
Motor City: Michigan State
Other: Iowa; Indiana; Northwestern

Personally, I'm rooting for the Alamo Bowl. In some ways, that'd be better for UW as well because they'd have a lesser opponent and a better chance to reach 10 wins for the third straight year.

Scott Tappa said...

That's interesting, Jim, I was under the assumption that conference record decided who went where. I also can't imagine the Cap One Bowl is a fit for either the bowl or UW - but does Illinois travel for football? They sure as hell did for basketball two years ago.

Totally agree that a lesser bowl and a better chance at 10 wins is better, although it wouldn't be bad to play a different SEC team like South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, etc. Diversifies the program's resume in a region where we pulled some recruits from this year.

I saw on the BTN last night that there are now 10 bowl-eligible teams in the conference, that's amazing. It's the NFLization of the conference - abundant mediocrity.

Jim Polzin said...

One add to my previous post: Bowls could take an 8-4 Michigan over a 9-3 Illinois or UW, and that very well may happen because it's, well, Michigan.

So UW could drop to the Alamo, which would be just fine with me.

Jim Polzin said...

One more add: UW-Minnesota is a 2:30 game. That's an extra three hours of pre-game drinking, so there's no chance Toohey makes it to halftime without passing out.

Toohey said...

Hey Now. Easy on the MN/Toohey bashing. Tarvaris Jackson? Why don't you kick a guy while he's down Tappa.

As far as you previous comments about Childress? He's a coordinator at best, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's gone next year.

Mallett is a total Dbag and like Schwalbach said, it's going to be easy to hate him for the next 3yrs.

There's no WAY I pass out before halftime this year. It's go time.

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