Friday, November 06, 2009
GBMW: Michigan Football -- Purdue at Michigan -- Preview
Well this is it. Can Michigan reach the magical six win mark to become bowl eligible? With wins against Western Michigan (4-5), Notre Dame (6-2), Eastern Michigan (0-9), Indiana (4-5), and Delaware State (2-5 FCS), and a loss against Illinois, the resume is not glowing, but the embers are not yet extinguished.
Could this be Michigan’s last chance?
The contributors are not saying UM cannot beat Wisconsin or Ohio State, but playing Wisconsin at Camp Randall is a tough place to play and earn a win. And the way Ohio State has had Michigan's number lately; optimism is not running amuck in the streets. Also, everyone needs to ask the age-old question: which team will show up for these last three games. In our opinion this is clearly the best chance (unless a reader may wish to insert last week retroactively) to make that must win six games standard to become bowl eligible so that the rewards of bowl participation can be reaped. Weather-wise all should be very happy, especially for the first week of November, with around 60 degrees for a high and little chance for rain (assuming meteorology excellence).
Purdue is hanging on by a thread to have a chance at becoming bowl eligible. They have to win the last three games for this desired outcome to happen and quite frankly the Boilers could with Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana left on their schedule.
So for both Purdue and Michigan this is a must win game. Now the starting spot for this discussion hinges on which team comes out hungry and which plays solid football. The two points above called into question are not mutually inclusive; fans may get one, both, or none of the above.
Football games are usually about match-ups, but this one is about team psyche. Which Michigan team shows up, the team that beat Notre Dame, or the team that got embarrassed against Illinois?
In the end, we believe the team that runs the ball best will win. Playing in Ann Arbor is a big plus for Michigan, but can this team overcome the associated adversity and negativity of the last couple of weeks to become bowl eligible?
Purdue was terrible last week with lots of turnovers and tons of dropped passes. Yes, we also are thinking the same thing as all of you: the Boilers will probably play lights out this week against Michigan.
Purdue is just as Jekyll and Hyde as Michigan is this year, so to try and predict a winner is very difficult. Which Purdue team shows up at Michigan stadium? The one that got smacked in the mouth against Wisconsin or the one that played well at Oregon and lost 38-36, and played well and lost to Notre Dame 24-21 and the one that beat Ohio State 26-18, along with beating Illinois 24-14?
GBMW will say with certainty the following: Purdue is a much better football team than the record indicates. As stated, this team beat Ohio State and played others close. The question of whether or not Purdue can play with Michigan is a non-question. It is the answer to the question (yes) that needs to be addressed by the players and coaches.
This sounds like a broken record, but if Brandon Minor can go for four quarters then we see this as a very close game.
The Michigan psyche is very bad right now so anything that goes wrong could really hurt this team. So the most important thing this week is Michigan getting off to a great start in both halves.
In addition, priority 1B this week is limiting or eliminating turnovers. The team that does this will most likely win the game.
If Michigan can win the turnover battle and out-rush Purdue we like Michigan 's chances, especially at home.
However, if they start kicking it around and giving up big plays (again), then UM will need a lot of reciprocal help from Purdue to avoid losing again.
We need the Michigan team from the Iowa game to show up (minus the turnovers and big plays on defense). Putting the above thoughts together in familiar but truthful football talk, UM needs to be a tough, hard running team that wins the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball.
If Minor is healthy, and plays, look for a little more I-Formation stuff. He is just a great down hill runner (that is why he runs the inside zone so well). It makes perfect sense for the blast and iso’s to come out of the closet.
Until Michigan proves the current team can get it done against a decent opponent, several of the GBMW staff are picking against them.
Again, in closure, the bottom line is what team shows up in this game, Jekyll or Hyde? Many of you will agree this game is too close to call and really difficult to predict. Unlike last week, one fortunate bounce may (or may not) be the difference maker.
Come back later today to see GBMW predictions.
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Written by CoachBt, Coach Webb, and ErocWolverine