How I Feel About 7-5

How I Feel About 7-5

November 27, 2010

This is about what I expected.  Not that I picked every game correctly, but my prediction for the overall record prior to the season was 7-5.  People who thought Michigan would go 8-4 were a bit optimistic.  I think people underestimated how horrible this defense truly would be, especially absent senior defensive back Troy Woolfolk.  I do not believe this is hyperbole: this year’s defense is the worst defense in Michigan history.

I think fans will be upset about how Michigan lost these last two games, not necessarily that the games were lost.  But ultimately, I’m not sure that it really matters whether the score was 37-7 or 52-42.  In the record books, the “L” will count the same as the 43 other times Ohio State has downed the maize and blue.  I don’t know that Michigan fans would be feeling much better right now if Michigan lost on a last-second field goal.  It’s still nine losses in the last ten games.

As the regular season has come to a close, I think it’s important to look at pre-season expectations.  Many prognosticators expected 7-5.  Even people who predicted an 8-4 season usually seemed to qualify their statement with “I know I’m an optimist, but . . . .”

I understand if people are encouraged by the progress from 3-9 to 5-7 to 7-5.  I also understand if people are discouraged that the program hasn’t progressed more quickly.  What I don’t understand is any vitriol aimed toward Rodriguez that wasn’t present in August 2010.  The offense was explosive.  The defense was atrocious.  The only big surprise this year was the effectiveness of Denard Robinson as a runner and passer, and that development resides on the positive end of the spectrum.

Go Blue!


  1. Comments: 21384
    Nov 27, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Rich Rod = Tim Brewster

    Just look at his conference and overall record while at Minnesota and compare it against Rod's.

    Very similar over a similar time period

    If it wasn't good enough for Minnesota, why should it be good enough for UM??

    Dave Brandon is on the clock…

  2. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    I also spent the summer tempering my expectations, believing that 7-5 would be sufficient progress for the program and RR. After the Purdue game, I seemed to be much more relieved than most Michigan fans because the preseason "goal" had been achieved. And achieving this magic number, I believed, would allow the program to remain on-track to becoming Michigan Football once again.

    But this does not feel right; the W-L record does not seem like a good indicator of progress. Michigan's performances in their 5 losses do not inspire confidence towards the future. We weren't even in those games. It was just more ugly football. Can we really go into next season thinking that competing for a Big 10 championship is in the immediate future? No. And recruits know that too.

    Lastly, I think that there are a couple other "big surprises" this year: most did not expect the defense to be the worst in Michigan history and most did not expect the special teams to be this atrocious. When things have been as ugly as they have been, it just doesn't seem like this is the coach to lead us to a National Championship.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    Agree for the most part, my 8-4 prediction was revised to 7-5 after Woolfolk went down. One thing I disagree with though is that Denard was not the only surprise. I found the special teams catastrophe to be a real surprise and believe it cost this team. No excuse for not being able to find a decent kicking game, and really no excuse for allowing Gallon to average 1 turnover a game on returns the entire season.

  4. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    "What I don't understand is any vitriol aimed toward Rodriguez that wasn't present in August 2010."

    Several things are worse than expected, even at 7-5:
    * Special teams are possibly the worst in UM history. We can't even kick FGs or return kicks w/out fumbling them.
    * Turnover margin is one of the worst in the country again. Why do both our QBs, our KR, and some RBs have problems with turnovers? I don't think it's coincidence.
    * Our defense is getting worse, not better
    * We're not at all competitive with the top conference teams. We have about as much chance against them as UMass had against us. I think most people expected better.

    I disagree that there's no difference between losing to OSU like we did yesterday or in a close game. That might be true most years, but a close game would give us hope that we're competitive.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Marc Shepherd
    Nov 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Actually, I think we WOULD feel better if Michigan had narrowly lost the last two games, rather than getting blown out. While Michigan's record and bowl seeding would have been identical, you could have at least argued that Michigan was "almost there."

    Instead, the overwhelming sense is that Michigan is a very long way from parity with the top of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes will probably be favored again in next year's game. The only reason the Badgers won't be favored is because Michigan doesn't play them.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Twice the officials penalized the Buckeyes with reactionary celebration penalties, forcing Ohio State to kick off from its 20. Against a good team, that sort of field-position slippage would be crippling. Against Michigan, it was amusing. It created a situation like the one in the third quarter, when the field-position game — the only game Michigan was going to win — saw the Buckeyes backed up to their 2.

    First play from scrimmage, Daniel Herron ran 98 yards for a touchdown.

    Near the end zone, 89 yards down the field, Herron picked up a block from receiver Dane Sanzenbacher against a Michigan safety who responded by yanking Sanzenbacher's facemask. A flag flew. Against Ohio State, naturally. Holding, presumably. No touchdown, and the Buckeyes eventually had to settle for a field goal.

    And still they won by 30.


  7. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    In Ann Arbor is Rodriguez, Rich,
    Too bad he can't find his niche,
    Screams night and day,
    When things don't go his way,
    Not beating the Bucks is a bitch.

  8. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    im surprised that so many of you(mich fans) are looking upon this game so negatively. wat were ur realistic expectations going into the game? i would not be disappointed with the defense. u expected them to be bad. i would b extremely disappointed with the offense, scoring only 7 points and not being able to finish drives. the defense also forced 2(3?) 3 and outs to START the game, and the offense could not capitalize on either. im not saying ur defense was good or remotely good im just surprised that so much is being blamed on them. also that ur so damn pessimistic. at least ur going bowling…..=(


  9. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    @ Anonymous 6:39 p.m.

    Well, I guess if you weigh the team's record in 2008 as heavily as the team's 2010 record, then maybe you're right. But that doesn't seem to make sense.

  10. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    @ Andrew 8:12 p.m.

    I guess I'm going to have to disagree with you on several of those points.

    Now, you are correct that we weren't in the game (for the most part) in this 5 losses. However, there's a reason that people say "defense wins championships." Against good teams, this defense just isn't going to cut it.

    However, people DID expect that this defense was going to be horrible. We KNEW that the defense was going to be littered with freshmen. In my pre-season countdown of the most important players, the #2 guy (Troy Woolfolk) missed the entire season, the #4 guy (Mike Martin) missed significant time with ankle injuries, and the #7 guy (JT Floyd) missed half the season.

    As for special teams, the returns were surprisingly bad, but they weren't awful. There's some fair criticism to be given for leaving Jeremy Gallon in to return so many punts and kicks; I'll give you that. But were we surprised that the kickers were bad? I sure wasn't. I mean, Brendan Gibbons didn't sniff the field when kickoffs and field goals were questionable in 2009, and he redshirted. I didn't expect him to light the world on fire, and I certainly didn't expect much from Seth Broekhuizen, either.

  11. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    @ Anonymous 12:49 a.m.

    You're right. The team hasn't improved at all. We went from 3-9 to 5-7 to 7-5.

    Oh, wait…that's actually the definition of improvement. Oops.

  12. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Anonymous 12:49 a.m.'s post looked familiar to me. He copied and pasted it directly from this article!

  13. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Very much agree with the big-picture view expressed here. Denard was the only big surprise for this season and that's a positive one.

    I disagree that how we lost doesn't matter to people. I think if we had lost competitive games to MSU, Wisc, OSU, people would feel a lot better and have more confidence about the team progressing towards next year. Some people will hate RR no matter what, but going toe-to-toe with those 3 teams would have helped with others.

  14. Comments: 21384
    Nov 28, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    " things are worse than expected, even at 7-5"

    1.Special teams are possibly the worst in UM history. We can't even kick FGs or return kicks w/out fumbling them.

    Gibbons was expected to be bad in August. Gallon was disappointing but he's a RS freshman — keep in mind this is a young team and there are still way too many walk-ons dominating the special teams unit. Until the roster fills out with recruited scholarship players (next year) thats a problem.

    2. Turnover margin is one of the worst in the country again.

    Turnover margin is bad because the D created so few. Bad D – expected in August. As for offense, fumbles are an ongoing problem but again, these are freshman and sophomores. In most cases they should be red-shirting or playing back-up minutes. I'm not even sure Michigan on a per-possession or per-carry basis has a high fumble rate.

    3. Our defense is getting worse, not better

    This was expected in August. Furthermore, it was inevitable given personnel.

    4. We're not at all competitive with the top conference teams.

    Getting dominated by Wisc, OSU, and MSU were disappointing but you saw flashes of competitiveness (e.g. dominating the 1st quarter of OSU game).

    Ask yourself this: If UM had beaten Wisconsin but blown the game against Purdue would you really feel that much better about this team? Probably not. They won some games they maybe shouldn't have (Notre Dame, UConn, Illinois), which was an encouraging sign, but they made big mistakes early to take themselves out of their 5 losses.

    Things aren't great but you knew they weren't great in August. Things look much much much better for 2011.

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