No Sleep Till Football

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Phil Steele & I disagree on Michigan

I thought Mr. Steele & I would be done disagreeing for a bit as he reveals his top-4o teams in the nation, but lo and behold, he clocks the Michigan Wolverines in at #22 while I have the maize & blue at #8! I made sure I read what Steele had to say about Michigan and while he’s actually suggesting the Wolverines will win the Big 10’s “Legends” division, he does site some difficult road contests against Nebraska, Ohio St. and Notre Dame along with a neutral site game against Alabama. My initial thoughts on Michigan was to project them out to an 11-1 or a 10-2 record which is why I have them at #8 early on. I have them losing to Alabama and Notre Dame when they are pegged at 10-2. My 11-1 record has the only loss coming to Alabama. My only problem with Steele’s analysis is that you almost get the feeling he’s projecting Michigan out to an 8-4 record which would mean a 6-2 conference slate. Would that be good enough to win the *Legends* division?

My guess is probably. A 6-2 conference record with a win over Michigan St. probably gives the Wolverines the tiebreaker over Sparty. The tricky part for me is where Nebraska comes in. If the Cornhuskers beat Michigan in Lincoln, then I’m not sure Nebraska has 3 conference losses on their schedule unless they lose road games to Iowa, Ohio St. and Michigan St. Or they lose 2 of those 3 games and drop a home game to Wisconsin. If Nebraska can beat Michigan at home, I don’t think they lose any home games. Interestingly enough, Mr. Steele is now through #19 on his top-40 list and this is interesting because Nebraska hasn’t shown up yet and Michigan St. clocks in at #19. Iowa is #38 which means Minnesota & Northwestern didn’t make the top-40. We haven’t seen Nebraska yet so they have to be at least top-18. If you go by Steele’s pre-season top-40, then Michigan must be the 3rd best team in the division behind the Spartans & Cornhuskers!

What’s very intriguing about this from a storyline perspective is that Steele is a little bearish on both West Virginia & Michigan. This could mean that these two teams are going to be the odd examples of Steele being wrong, or it could mean these two fanbases are in for some disappointing times in 2012. From my perspective I think Steele is a little bit off, but the more I think about his reasoning, the more I think he makes some pretty solid appeals as to why both squads won’t be as dominating as I perceive them to be in late May. I also think it’s interesting too that Rich Rodriguez coached both of these teams. Rodriguez had WVU at “ELITE” status before bolting to Ann Arbor. Bill Stewart let the Mountaineers slide a bit, but Dana Holgorsen had them right back in the BCS in his first season at 10-3. Remember too that last season was supposed to be RichRod’s coming out part in Ann Arbor. He never made it, but Brady Hoke essentially took Rodriguez’s team to an 11-2 record and a BCS bowl win. What does this mean? It means you better start worrying about Arizona 3-4 years from now.

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May 25, 2012 - Posted by | Michigan

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