This week's questions are presented by Burnt Orange Nation. Feel free to leave your own responses in the comments.
1. Handicap your team's chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?
Michigan's chances of winning the Big Ten are tough to predict based on their first three games. They were torched by rushing quarterbacks but pummeled a pocket quarterback. Thankfully, only Illinois features a quarterback capable of rushing like either ASU or Oregon.
The remaining schedule and chances of winning:
Penn State: 50%
@ Northwestern: 75%
Eastern Michigan (non conference): 80%
@ llinois: 50%
@ Michigan State: 50%
@ Wisconsin: 40%
Ohio State: 40%
Looking at the schedule there's a realistic chance of 5 losses in there, and that means a 4-4 Big Ten Season. That ain't gonna do it. To win the Big Ten this year, 6-2 might equal co-champions, but someone will go 7-1 and win it outright. At this point Ohio State's the only team with enough of the pieces to do it.
I'd put Michigan's Big Ten Championship hopes around 40%.
2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.
Best Case: Michigan shows the first to games were a fluke. It goes 2-2 out of conference with a win over EMU. Michigan is defensively better against pocket passers than scramblers. Illinois is a trap, but Zook self destructs and Michigan wins. A loss between PSU, Wisconsin or OSU, leaves Michigan a 7-1 in conference and finishes 9-3 in the Citrus Bowl with an outside chance at an undeserved BCS berth.
Worst Case: Michigan shows the first to games were not a fluke. It goes 2-2 out of conference with a win over EMU. Michigan proves equally useless against decent offensive lines as it did against mobile quarterbacks. Illinois tops Michigan and so does Michigan State. Michigan wins one game out of their ranked opponents. This leaves Michigan at 5-7 and hanging its head in shame.
3. We're only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children's tale.
The Book of Joab.
4. Imagine you're the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you'd implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.
A. Abandon the soft zone Michigan has been playing this year, and every year since the dawn of time. Morgan Trent and Donovan Warren are capable of playing bump/press coverage. Let them. Start Jonathan Stewart play over the third wide out, Harrison's coverage hasn't been anything to write home about.
B. Stop playing Carlos Brown at running back until his hand heals.
C. To steal blatantly from Brian:
5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?
West Fuckin' Virginia. For shame, Peter Bean, not including them in the four above. West Virginia demolished a decent Maryland team. On Offense the Mountaineers are as good or better than any team in the "Bowl Subdivision." On Defense they're better than anyone is giving them credit for. Looking at their remaining schedule they have games against ranked Louisville and Rutgers, plus potentially dangerous match ups against USF and my team du jour, Cincinnati.
Speeeeeeeeaking of which, in terms of a pure party crasher, Cincinnati has to be within legitimate consideration. Their destruction of what was considered a decent Pac10 team was impressive, and with Brian Kelly at the helm they've got the coaching to make some noise and WIN the Big East.
Out west, Oregon and Cal get the nods as potential Pac 10 crashers. Both offenses look outstanding. Cal's probably better on defense, Oregon gives up a TON of yards, but offensively, if Dixon keeps it up, Oregon's the better point scorer.
In the mid-west, fear Ohio State. They proved they can take their show on the road against a tough team. If the offense the Buckeyes displayed against the Huskies is legit, OSU has the defense to compete in a BCS game. If Penn State beats Michigan, they make the list too.
Out East, the OBC has South Carolina positioned for a SEC run unheard of prior to his arrival. They've got a nasty defense and the offense will improve as the season goes on. It's the OBC's calling card. South Carolina is has the potential to crash the party too.