Game Time: Noon EST | Zips vs Wolverines coverage
Television: Big Ten Network
Opponent Blog: The Hustle Belt
Series History: First meeting
It has to be hard to focus through the week after such a supercharged victory on national television. It's hard for me to do anything but think about that game for a few days and I wasn't even playing. Devin Gardner showed us that the 'ol 98 jersey belongs on his back, moments after making us think he had doomed his team with one poor decision. There was a lot going on before, during, and after that game, from a flyover squadron to Agent Gibbs to a laser show with Beyonce, and an enraged Brian Kelly hurling words even Eminem would cringe at. Brady Hoke, Greg Mattison and Al Borges mind-melded their way to an exceptional game plan, and Jeremy Gallon once again reminded Notre Dame that he is worth covering. And tackling.
The Akron Zips come to Ann Arbor with a 1-1 record, a second-year coach, and the scheme to catch Michigan slumbering from that late-night bonanza. Terry Bowden used to coach in the SEC but now finds himself at a MAC school surrounded by bigger and stronger programs, but hey, Frank Solich made Ohio into a competitor. Bowden got only one win his first season, and the only way Akron can possibly compete with Michigan is if Michigan self-destructs over and over again and gives the game away. When Michigan lost to Toledo in 2008 it was because Toledo had some talent on the field, and Michigan didn't. That is reversed this time, as it should be, and Michigan isn't going to score only 10 points. Panic only if the score isn't 40-0 by the fourth quarter.
A game like this serves only one purpose: to rest the first-team starters. Michigan has many running backs and a capable backup quarterback. Akron has a weak defense, no sure quarterback, and few play makers. The strategy for Michigan is to get the starters to the sidelines before halftime. I suspect Hoke will work on strengthening the O-line blocking, getting more receivers not named Gallon involved, and testing his young safeties.
This is the type of game to be viewed while cleaning the house or paying bills, and after 60 minutes of football the only concern among Michigan fans should be, "what time is the UConn game?"