Look menacing if you are excited to meet Denard Robinson in the backfield on Saturday. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
What's that you say, this looks suspiciously like BHGP's "Top Ten Reasons Why Iowa Will Lose to ______" weekly post? Well first, I have no idea what you are talking about. Second, to quote The Simpsons:
"Your honor, if you take away our right to steal ideas,where are they gonna come from? Her?"[points at Marge]
Stealing ideas is as American as apple pie, as is slightly altering those ideas to avoid a lawsuit.
With that stirring argument for the liberal use of other people's intellectual property in the back of your mind, I present you the abridged list of 83 reasons why Michigan has no chance of beating Wisconsin. It isn't a list of ten because that is a direct ripoff, it is a list of 83 in honor of the fighting Bielemas plea to the BCS, and it is abridged because you want to read that many snarky stat based jokes about as much as I want to write that many. Enjoy.
The 83 reasons why Michigan has no chance of beating Wisconsin on Saturday:
83 - The number of Wisconsin jersey numbers below that of the man who is going to torment the hapless Wolverine linebacking corp, number 84 Lance Kendricks. Kendricks has been a very productive receiver for the Badgers so far this year (31 receptions, 473 yards, 4 TDs) and is a finalist for the John Mackey Award for the nation's top tight end. Look for him to have a statement game in the Big House.
80 - The number of the top Wolverine tight end, Martell Webb. Webb has been a punishing blocker so far this year, but his career receiving stats (8 receptions, 102 yards, 2 TDs) are paltry compared to the numbers Kendricks has put up this year. "This isn't fantasy football," you say? Tell that to Bret Bielema. If the matchup comes down to who has the more statistically productive tight end (isn't this always the case?) look for Kendricks and the Badgers to run away with it.
77 - No, not the 77 you are thinking of. Jake Long is long gone, and in his place is Taylor Lewan. Lewan has loads of potential, but always seems to make one or two costly mistakes per game. Against a team like Wisconsin you can't afford to give away yardage. If Lewan jumps or holds, look for the Wolverine offense to grind to a halt.
75 - Michigan's rank nationally in rush defense allowing 163 yards a game (remember this for later).
74 - Wisconsin's rank in passing offense. Illinois is 105th and Michigan allowed 246 yards and three touchdowns passing from the Freshman Nathan Scheelhaasse. Do you think RS-Sr Scott Tolzien will need three overtimes to put up even better numbers than that?
68 - The number of Wisconsin starting LT Gabe Camiri, a returning all-Big Ten selection who is 6'7 327 lbs. That is two inches and 76 pounds larger than Michigan soph DE Craig Roh. Better work on that crazy crab stance young man. If you get too high big Camiri will have you planted in the third row before James White crosses the goal line.
This is also the number of the Wolverine's best defensive lineman, Mike Martin. If Martin isn't back to 100% look for the Badgers to have even more success on the ground.
57.0 - The YPG average of Montee Ball, the third highest rushing YPG average on the team. Remember reason 75?
53 - Number of Mike Taylor, the soph LB for Wisconsin who started 7 games as a freshman before an injury sidelined him for the season. He still made the Big Ten all-freshman team. He is back this year and has put up the 6th most tackles on the team as well as being 2nd in TFLs. You can bet he is looking forward to introducing himself to Vincent Smith and the rest of the Wolverine running backs. They'll become quite close over the next three years.
52 - Number of touchdowns scored this year by both Wisconsin and Michigan. However the Badgers have only allowed 23 touchdowns by opposing teams, almost half of the 40 Michigan has allowed.
49 - The longest FG for Badger kicker Philip Welch who is 13-17 on the season. Advantage Wisconsin (but you knew that already).
44, 40 - The amount which Wisconsin has outscored the Wolverines in the 3rd and 2nd quarter respectively this year. If Michigan can't find a way to keep up with the Badgers in the middle two quarters the game could well be out of hand before the 4th quarter rolls around.
32 - Number of Wisconsin's top running back, John Clay. He might be out on Saturday but don't worry, there are two very capable backups in Montee Ball and James White. Just ask the rest of the Badgers opponents who have yielded an average of almost 140 yards to these two so far this year. Remember reason 75?
31 - Number of points that the Badgers scored on both OSU (#2 nationally in total defense) and Iowa (#16 nationally in total defense). Where is Michigan on the list? Try triple digits (#100 out of 120).
26 - The number of Wisconsin DB Antonio Fenelus, the team leader in interceptions and 3rd on the tackle list with 50 on the season. He has seen film of some of Robinson's poor reads the past few weeks and is looking forward to seeing those bad reads in person.
25 - National ranking of Wisconsin's rush defense that is giving up 125 yards per game. With the Wolverine rush offense gaining an average of 266 yards per game, something has to give.
20 - National rank of the Badgers in turnover margin. Look for that ranking to go up even higher against a Michigan team that cannot hold on to the ball in Big Ten play (18 giveaways, 10 in the last two games).
19 - Point lead the Badgers had in 2008 before giving up 27 points to the hapless Wolverines in the second half, thereby sealing another loss in the Big House. You can bet the Badgers haven't forgotten about that.
18 - TFL's that J.J. Watt has recorded on the year. I heard he is a big Denard Robinson fan and really wants to get a chance to meet the dynamic Wolverine quarterback. Saturday they should have plenty of opportunities to get acquainted in the backfield.
16 - Yards that Tate Forcier lost on the ground last year as the starter. If he sees the field---and let's face it, he will---look for the Wolverines to kick the offense into reverse.
15 - Total number of sacks the Wolverines have recorded this year. Good for 91st in the nation (1.5 sacks per game). Facing the 8th rated passer in the nation, Scott Tolzien, the Wolverines had better bring those numbers up or the 114th rated pass defense will have a hard time keeping up with Wisconsin's receivers on their way to the endzone.
13, 11, 9 - Rushing touchdown totals for Clay, White, and Ball respectively. Remember reason 75?
8 - National rank of Wisconsin's scoring average of 40 points per game.
6 - Number of freshmen that have been getting playing time at corner or safety the past few games for Michigan.
5.4 - Wisconsin's average yards per carry. Remember reason 75?
3 - Kickoffs that have gone out of bounds for the Wolverines this year giving the other team excellent starting field position.
2 - Special teams touchdowns the Badgers have scored this year. Maybe kicking the ball out of bounds isn't a terrible idea after all.
1 - Games the Badgers have lost this year in the state of Michigan. They don't plan on making it two.
Did I miss any reasons? Put them in the comments section below.