Review of 2010 Season Predictions

Tag: 2010 Predictions

18Feb 2011
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Review of 2010 Season Predictions

Denard Robinson was the star of the show in 2010

One of the reasons I started this blog a couple years ago was to record my thoughts and predictions in order to go back, see what I said, and see if I was right.  With the 2010 season completed, I thought I would go back and check out what I said prior to the year beginning.

First of all, here were my 2010 Season Predictions.

And here’s a rundown of how accurate those were:

Prediction: I said Denard Robinson would start the opener but that Tate Forcier would have an opportunity to take most of the snaps by the end of the season.
Actual: Denard Robinson started the entire season.
Accuracy: 50%

Prediction: Denard Robinson with approximately 800 yards.
Actual: Well, I was right on the player, but wrong on the yardage.  Way wrong.  Robinson ended up wtih 1,702 yards on the ground.
Accuracy: 100%
Prediction: Roy Roundtree with 60 catches for 900 yards
Actual: Roundtree had 72 catches for 935 yards.
Accuracy: 100%

Prediction: Jonas Mouton
Actual: Mouton led the team with 117 tackles, beating out safety Jordan Kovacs by a slim margin.
Accuracy: 100%

Prediction: Ryan Van Bergen with 7.5 sacks
Actual: Van Bergen led the team in sacks, but it was a down year in that category – he ended up with only 4.
Accuracy: 100%

Prediction: J.T. Floyd
Actual: Cornerback James Rogers and safety/linebacker Cam Gordon each had 3.  Floyd only had 1, but he missed half the season with a broken ankle.
Accuracy: Incomplete due to Floyd’s injury

Prediction: Center David Molk and kick returner Darryl Stonum
Actual: Molk was the right choice.  However, the coaches decided to save Stonum for his offensive duties, giving the job to a couple mediocre returners instead.  With a surprisingly good season, Denard Robinson was also named to the first team by the media.
Accuracy: 33%

Prediction: Roy Roundtree
Actual: Running back Michael Shaw scored 9 touchdowns to lead this category.  Roundtree and running back Vincent Smith were second with 7 touchdowns each.
Accuracy: 0%

Prediction: Denard Robinson
Actual: Robinson was definitely the breakout player of the year on offense.  He was in the discussion for the Heisman, was the Big Ten Player of the Year, and generally wowed Michigan fans and college football fans in general.
Accuracy: 100%

Prediction: Ryan Van Bergen
Actual: Well, nobody really expected much from the defense, and that’s what they got – not much.  Van Bergen had a decent season with 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.  But I think the real breakout star was middle linebacker Kenny Demens, who surpassed incumbent Obi Ezeh and finished third on the team with 82 tackles.
Accuracy: 0%

Prediction: Vincent Smith
Actual: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Smith was somewhat less effective than is expected from a starting tailback at Michigan.  He finished the year averaging 4.4 yards per carry and – other than a long run against Indiana – was generally ineffective as a complementary runner to quarterback Denard Robinson.  Roundtree might be an option here because of his play in the final few games of the season, but Smith was ineffective for the majority of the season.
Accuracy: 100%

Prediction: Cameron Gordon
Actual: While Gordon was a disappointment after all the hype he received in the spring and summer, he wasn’t a complete failure.  He actually made some plays from the free safety position (3 interceptions), but he didn’t have the speed or awareness to stay there and moved to outside linebacker.  But the bigger disappointment was Obi Ezeh, the fifth-year senior middle linebacker who lost his job mid-season to redshirt sophomore Kenny Demens.  Ezeh ended the year with 58 tackles, which is exactly 24 fewer than Demens . . . and 8 fewer than J.T. Floyd, the cornerback who missed half the season with a broken ankle.
Accuracy: 0%

Win against UConn
Loss to Notre Dame
Win against UMass
Win against Bowling Green
Loss to Indiana
Loss to Michigan State
Win against Iowa
Win against Penn State
Win against Illinois
Win against Purdue
Loss to Wisconsin
Loss to Ohio State


27Nov 2010
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How I Feel About 7-5

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!

3Sep 2010
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Preview: Michigan vs. UConn

Rush Offense vs. UConn Rush Defense
When Rich Rodriguez was in the Big East, his teams ran all over UConn. Rodriguez knows how to run against a Randy Edsall-coached team, and that should serve him well. Not only will Michigan start the fleet-footed Denard Robinson, but the Wolverines have a solid offensive line and a variety of capable running backs. The Huskies do boast two very good senior linebackers in Lawrence Wilson and Greg Lloyd, but Lloyd is coming off a serious knee injury and probably won’t be up to 100%. Meanwhile, UConn’s defensive line is banged up. This should be a big day for Michigan on the ground.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. UConn Pass Defense
I don’t expect Michigan to go to the air as much as last year, not with Denard Robinson at the helm. Robinson’s passing ability has reportedly improved in the last year, but it had nowhere to go but up. Additionally, Michigan should be able to churn out yards on the ground, which makes the pass merely a distraction. We’ll surely see some short passes on play action, and I think Roy Roundtree and Darryl Stonum will both be targeted deep once or twice. That should keep the defense honest, and at least one big play should occur through the air. However, all bets are off when Forcier enters the game. He had an excellent game in the opener against Western Michigan in 2009, and he’s healthy right now. Michigan should be able to take advantage of a weak secondary without too many turnovers, although I’m guessing they’ll pick off a bad decision or two.
Advantage: Michigan

Rush Defense vs. UConn Rush Offense
Things begin to get iffy for Michigan on defense. UConn has run the ball well in the recent past, and junior Jordan Todman had 14 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards in 2009. Four of UConn’s starting offensive linemen return, and that doesn’t bode well for a Michigan front that includes a converted fullback starting at middle linebacker (Mark Moundros) and a freshman outside linebacker (Carvin Johnson). Michigan’s defensive line should be stout against UConn’s power run game, but the linebackers will probably make some frustrating mistakes. The defensive backfield is young and I have questions about the tackling ability of all four guys on the back end, excluding Jordan Kovacs – who is slow but a good tackler.
Advantage: Connecticut

Pass Defense vs. UConn Pass Offense
Zach Frazer originally committed to Notre Dame, but he couldn’t hack it there. He transferred to Connecticut, and maybe he can’t hack it there, either. If every UConn opponent’s defense is like Michigan’s, though, he’ll have a very solid season. The defensive backfield is very green and – yeah, I’ll say it – not very talented. Michigan has certainly suffered from bad luck regarding injuries and personality problems at those positions, but the coaching and recruiting have to be questioned, too. Regardless, the Wolverines will be playing two former receivers (James Rogers, Cameron Gordon), a former walk-on (Jordan Kovacs), and a guy who should probably be playing safety (J.T. Floyd). Ugh. There will be missed tackles and blown assignments. Tomorrow will be frustrating.
Advantage: Connecticut

Final Predictions

Denard Robinson will rush for 80+ yards.

One Michigan running back will run for 100+ yards.

Robinson will make at least two turnovers.

UConn will have a 40+ yard pass and a 40+ yard run.

Despite the “change” in terminology, Michigan’s defense will look much the same as in 2009.

Final score: Michigan 38, Connecticut 31

2Sep 2010
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2010 Season Predictions

Starting quarterback: Denard Robinson will start the season opener against UConn on Saturday. However, I think his lack of passing ability (although improved) will give Tate Forcier a chance to take the majority of the snaps by the end of the season.

Leading rusher: Denard Robinson. Even if he’s not the starting quarterback for the entire season, he should get enough carries – and enough big plays – to be Michigan’s leading rusher. The team also lacks a clear #1 running back, which means handoffs will be shared amongst Michael Shaw, Vincent Smith, Michael Cox, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Stephen Hopkins. My guess is Robinson will end up with around 800 yards rushing.

Leading receiver: Roy Roundtree. The quarterbacks like to target the slot receivers, and Roundtree caught 30 balls over the last four games last season. The guess here is that Roundtree gets 60 catches and 900 yards this season.

Leading tackler: Last year’s leading tackler was Steve Brown, who played something similar to the Spur position. That will be manned by freshman Carvin Johnson, who will almost surely suffer from brain farts or injury this year and therefore disqualify himself. The second-leading tackler was Jordan Kovacs, who will probably lose some time to freshman Marvin Robinson. The third leading tackler was middle linebacker Obi Ezeh, who seems to have lost his job to a converted fullback. So I’m going with last year’s fourth-leading tackler: Jonas Mouton.

Leading sacker: Redshirt junior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen will edge out sophomore linebacker Craig Roh by the slightest of margins, 7.5 to 7.

Leading interceptor: I don’t expect Michigan to grab a lot of picks this year. The Wolverines will probably have a few guys pick off two passes each, and those will be J.T. Floyd, Jordan Kovacs, and Jonas Mouton. But because I don’t want to be wishy-washy like Michael Wilbon, I’ll pick Floyd.

All Big Ten 1st team: Center David Molk. Kick returner Darryl Stonum.

Leading scorer (non-QB, non-kicker): Roy Roundtree.

Breakout offensive player: I don’t see anyone having a monstrous season, and Roy Roundtree was probably 2009’s breakout player, or else I would pick him. So I’ll go with Denard Robinson, who will hopefully be able to pass the ball well enough to qualify in this category.

Breakout defensive player: Ugh, this defense looks bad. I guess I’ll go with Ryan Van Bergen. He won’t be a superstar and he won’t approximate Brandon Graham, but he should be able to get a consistent pass rush.

Most disappointing offensive player: Despite being listed as a co-starter, I think Vincent Smith will be somewhat of a disappointment this year. A lot of people thought he was the heir apparent last year when he seemed to be the primary backup for the senior running backs, but I think he’s just mediocre. He might be consistent, but spectacular plays are outside his reach, in my opinion.

Most disappointing defensive player: Cameron Gordon can’t possibly live up to all the offseason hype, although I hope he can. He’s still going to be raw, and I think he’ll make some frustrating plays. This is a hard category to pick, because not much is expected from anyone on defense, really.

The Big Finish
Sept. 4 vs. Connecticut: WIN. Connecticut is a little banged up, and they will be able to run the ball. But Rodriguez was undefeated against UConn in the Big East, and most of those games were blowouts. He knows how to defeat a Randy Edsall-coached team.

Sept. 11 at Notre Dame: LOSS. Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd will dispatch an overmatched secondary in a shootout.

Sept. 18 vs. UMass: WIN. Something approximating the 63-6 trouncing of Delaware State last year is likely.

Sept. 25 vs. Bowling Green: WIN. Michigan’s high-powered offense and superior athletes should be able to roll past BGSU, and the Falcons lost some significant firepower from last season.

Oct. 2 @ Indiana: LOSS. Remember when I said that Troy Woolfolk’s injury would cost Michigan a game at some point? It’s this one right here.

Oct. 9 vs. Michigan State: LOSS. I’d like to pick a win here, but Michigan isn’t good enough to start 5-1, and Kirk Cousins should be able to throw the ball all over the field.

Oct. 16 vs. Iowa: WIN. Michigan barely lost at Iowa last season, and the Wolverines match up with the Hawkeyes better this year. Iowa has a stout defense, but Michigan’s offense has improved.

Oct. 30 @ Penn State: WIN. Penn State’s quarterback position is in flux, the offensive line is weakened, and the defense suffered from some big losses. They’ll get a bunch of rushing yards, but Michigan should be able to pull it out in the end.

Nov. 6 vs. Illinois: WIN. Illinois sucks. They’ll be able to run the ball, but they won’t score enough.

Nov. 13 @ Purdue: WIN. Purdue has a solid defense and they’ve beaten Michigan a couple years in a row . . . I just can’t imagine the Boilermakers running the streak to three.

Nov. 20 vs. Wisconsin: LOSS. Wisconsin looks good this year. Even though I think they’ll fall short of many people’s expectations, they’re probably better than the Wolverines.

Nov. 27 @ Ohio State: LOSS. Ugh.

Final record: 7-5.

9Aug 2010
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Review: 2009 Season Predictions

Jordan Kovacs went from an afterthought to a Freshman All-American.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to record my predictions, in order to look back on them at a later date. Well, that date has come. It’s a few weeks prior to the 2010 season, and I can’t help but think back on how I did last year (2009 Season Predictions here). I didn’t do too badly, but there were a couple surprises.

Starting Quarterback
Last year’s pick: Tate Forcier. I said he’d start every game.

I should have picked . . . Forcier. He started every game.

Leading Rusher
Last year’s pick: Brandon Minor. I said he’d end the season with about 900 yards.

I should have picked . . . Minor. Minor only had 502 yards, but he missed three full games (plus parts of several others) due to injuries.

Leading Receiver
Last year’s pick: Greg Mathews. I said he’d catch 50 balls for 650 yards.

I should have picked . . . Roy Roundtree. Mathews only caught 29 passes as the coaching staff continues to de-emphasize outside wide receivers. The leading receiver was slot receiver Roundtree, who caught 32 balls for 434 yards.

Leading Tackler
Last year’s pick: Obi Ezeh.

I should have picked . . . Steve Brown. Middle linebacker Ezeh fought through a back injury and inconsistency to finish third with 69 tackles. SAM linebacker Brown brought down 80 ballcarriers, while redshirt freshman safety Jordan Kovacs made 75 stops.

Leading Sacker
Last year’s pick: Brandon Graham. I said he’d finish at 10 sacks.

I should have picked . . . Graham. The obvious choice was obvious. Graham ended the season with 10.5 sacks, or 1/2 more of a sack than I thought. Damn half sacks!

Leading Interceptor
Last year’s pick: Donovan Warren. I said he’d snatch 3 errant passes.

I should have picked . . . Warren. He actually picked off 4 passes, so once again, I overestimated. If he had only picked off 3 like I told him to, then maybe he’d have stuck around for an extra year! Then again, that pick-off against Indiana really saved Michigan’s ass.

All-Big Ten First Team
Last year’s picks: Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko.

I should have picked . . . Graham, Mesko, and Donovan Warren. Graham and Mesko were voted All-Big Ten first team by the coaches. Those two plus Warren were chosen for the first team by the media. Two for three isn’t bad.

Leading Scorer (non-QB, non-kicker)
Last year’s pick: Brandon Minor.

I should have picked . . . Minor. He scored 8 rushing touchdowns (48 points). The next closest scorer was Carlos Brown with 5 touchdowns (30 points). Placekicker Jason Olesnavage scored 75 points, but kickers are almost always the leading scorers, which is why I didn’t allow myself to pick him.

Breakout Offensive Player
Last year’s pick: Junior Hemingway.

I should have picked . . . Roy Roundtree. Hemingway only caught 16 passes, while Roundtree emerged as the go-to receiver late in the season and perhaps the front-runner for the next wearer of the coveted #1 jersey.

Breakout Defensive Player
Last year’s pick: Troy Woolfolk.

I should have picked . . . Jordan Kovacs. I don’t feel bad about the Woolfolk pick. He made 46 tackles and I think he surprised a lot of people with his solid play at both deep safety and cornerback. Despite switching to cornerback halfway through the season, it seemed that opponents targeted Donovan Warren more often than Woolfolk. Still, Kovacs was a Freshman All-American, started eight games, and finished second on the team with 75 tackles.

Most Disappointing Offensive Player
Last year’s pick: Kevin Koger. I said he wouldn’t catch any more than 15 passes.

I should have picked . . . I’m not sure. Greg Mathews? Maybe Koger was the right pick. I said he’d catch 15 passes or less, and the spiteful bastard caught 16 just to piss me off. Regardless, he dropped a lot of passes in the second half of the season and got phased out of the offense a bit. It’s arguable who was the most disappointing, but I’m satisfied with my pick. I think most Michigan fans expected more production from the tight end spot.

Most Disappointing Defensive Player
Last year’s pick: Ryan Van Bergen. I said he’d end up with about 20 tackles and a couple sacks.

I should have picked . . . Obi Ezeh. Maybe Jonas Mouton. Those inside linebackers made a lot of Michigan fans sad. It might be a little harsh to put Ezeh here, since he had a bad back and everything. But it’s one of the two. Both were benched at various points, and Mouton had the same number of tackles as cornerback Donovan Warren. That’s not good. Meanwhile, Van Bergen basically doubled my predictions – he had 40 tackles and 5 sacks. Good for him.

In Summary . . .
Well, the results are a mixed bag. Out of twelve predictions, six of them were spot-on. That’s 50% (I’d like to thank my 4th grade teacher for the math skills). Technically, I guess I should get a slight deduction for only picking Graham and Mesko as All-Big Ten First Team; the coaches agreed with me, but the media added Warren. That’s 49%. But I think I should get a few points for Koger as Most Disappointing Offensive Player, as well as a slight bump for Woolfolk as Breakout Defensive Player. That puts me at right around 55%.

So . . . 55% of the time, I’m right every time. Perhaps I should not be trusted.

Go blue!