Friday, September 14, 2012

Can Michigan beat UMass?

Michigan began this year with high hopes.  A potential Heisman Candidate in Denard Robinson.  The Wolverines preseason ranking was eighth, a rare top ten ranking, getting the hopes of their faithful up and stirring up a little cockiness.  Michigan fans began strutting their stuff on facebook and twitter, as if an undefeated season was in their near future.  Then the season began.

After falling to Alabama in the season opener 41-14, Michigan fell to nineteenth in the rankings.  Michigan looked unimpressive, as if they didn't realize the game was for real.  The Crimson Tide looked as if they were in mid-season form.  Michigan looked more like they were playing a Spring Game.  The game against Alabama confirmed that the better teams in the SEC are far superior than the top teams in the Big Ten.

Last Saturday Michigan faced off against Air Force.  The only other meeting against the Falcons was in 1964, in which Michigan won 24-7.  Well, they didn't win that handily Saturday.  Michigan squeaked out a pathetic 31-25 stinker of a home opener.  Against Air Force of the Mountain West conference.  It appears that Michigan is playing like a top tier MAC team not a dominant Big Ten team.  Michigan has moved up in the rankings to seventeenth, but not because of their victory over Air Force it is the direct result of Nebraska and Oklahoma State falling down out of the top 25.

This week Michigan will host UMass.  The Minutemen have played the Wolverines only once, in 2010.  In that game Michigan got off to a good start, then they stuttered and almost gave up the lead to a less talented team.  Michigan pulled off the victory, barely, 42-37.  With the way they have been playing an upset is very possible but not probable.  UMass lost their season opener to UConn 37-0, then they lost their home opener to Indiana 45-6.  This is the first year for UMass in FBS.  Their running back, Mike Cox graduated from Michigan las spring after playing for them from 2008-2011 as a back-up.  UMass's quarterback Mike Wegzyn is originally from the Detroit area.

Expect Denard Robinson to light up UMass for over 200 passing yards and 200 running yards as he did against Air Force, just don't expect the Michigan defense to put up much of a fight against the stagnant offense of UMass.

MAC teams always pose a threat to Big Ten teams as they play bigger and better in the lop-sided match-ups.  Look no further than Michigan's loss to Toledo in 2008 and Penn State's loss to Ohio University in week one this year.

If Michigan continues to play at the level in which they have in their first two games in 2012, then it will be a long season with a lot of losses and more disappointment for fans of the Maize and Blue.

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