Partially because I am lazy and partially because this sorta makes sense, I've agreed to swap reciprocal scouting reports with some of Michigan's upcoming opponents prior to game day. So, in an attempt to better know our opponents, Maize n Brew's outreach program has extended a friendly, albeit bloodied, hand to SBNation's fine Oregon Blog, Addicted to Quack. You might remember a few years back it was Michigan, not the Ducks, who were laying an egg in Eugene.
Dave and I put together a "Why My Team Will Win" segment for your entertainment. Dave went the entertaining route with gusto. He's good, funny and sarcastic, but dead on. If we can't contain a D1-AA quarterback I'm petrified of Dixon. Michigan's failures in executing simple things, like field goals, do not bode well either. It's a good and accurate read of what has to go right for Oregon to win. Like all optimists, Dave ignores the downsides, but after Saturday, who can blame him. Enjoy, and don't take it personally. - Management
I like Michigan. I really do. In a part of the country with absolutely horrifying Notre Dame and Ohio State fans, I have always found Michigan fans to be much more, um, civil. Aside from the fan base, there is something about Michigan that just feels so true to college football. The winged helmets. The Big House. Hail to the Victors. The winningest program in the history of college football.
How the hell did you lose to Appalachian freaking State?
See, we had the scenario all planned out. Oregon was supposed to go to Ann Arbor and knock off a highly rated Michigan team. This would firmly entrench us in the national rankings. Your part of the deal was to simply beat the 1-AA opponent that you had in front of us. Damn. That's okay. An Oregon win will still be mighty satisfying. And its going to happen. How can I be so confident of a Duck win on Saturday, you ask? The answer is simple. If Appalachian State provided a blueprint for how to beat the Wolverines, then Oregon can't lose.
Appalachian State beat you running the spread offense. Oregon runs that, too. Only they're bigger, stronger, and faster. Appalachian State's receivers ran about 5'10". Jaison Williams is an all-conference receiver at 6'5". Brian Paysinger is 6'2". Garren Strong is 6'3". Williams will catch first downs all day long over the middle. And, just when you think you've got him covered, Paysinger or Strong will get a bubble screen and blow by your defenders for touchdowns. If Michigan couldn't cover the middle against something called a CoCo Hillary, they're not going to against Jaison Williams. Oregon will nickel and dime you to death--slants, bubble screens, quick outs. And just when you think you have it figured out, they'll go over the top. Oh, yeah. All that, and their passing game is the weakest part of their offense.
I seem to remember something about Appalachian State having a mobile quarterback. Armanti Edwards caused you problems with his mobility. He eluded pressure, and added 62 rushing yards. Dennis Dixon does that, too. In fact, he had 141 rushing yards against Houston, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper in which he blew the defense away. If Armanti Edwards gave you headaches, Dixon will give you nightmares.
To top it all off, Oregon only has one of the best running back duos in the country. Thunder and lightning. Jonathan Stewart is the power runner. Takes three guys to bring him down. Jeremiah Johnson is the burner. They'll both have 1,000 yards this season. Appy State had 160 rushing yards against Michigan. Oregon will have far more than that.
The offense will confuse your defense. This isn't Big Ten three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust football. Everything will be in the shotgun. Everyone will be spread out wide. There will be misdirection. Options. Screens. And more crossing routes than you can shake a stick at. Huddling does not happen here. Its too fast for substitutions, and your defense will tire. This offense put up 48 on Houston, and only played well for about a quarter and a half. If they can play well for even two-and-a-half or three quarters, yikes.
I also heard that the Wolverines had a little problem getting field goals off. Remember, Oregon blocked a field goal to win the Oklahoma game last year. They blocked a punt last Saturday. Some kind of a blocked kick is something Michigan needs to be worried about.
And, of course, there's Lloyd Carr. Remember last time these two teams played. Against the worst passing defense in the history of mankind, Carr decided that he was going to try and pound Oregon with a steady dose of Chris Perry. Never mind that Oregon had one of the best rush defenses in the conference. Carr wanted to get his boy the Heisman. Well, Michigan ended up with -3 rushing yards. Carr finally realized how mind-boggling bad the secondary was in the fourth quarter. And Oregon was giving up touchdowns left and right. But, by then, it was too late. There just wasn't enough time. And Lloyd Carr singlehandedly won Oregon that game. Thanks to Mr. Carr. We're guessing he'll be just as generous this time around.
I'm going to completely ignore everything that could go wrong. Yes, our rushing defense gave up twenty gazillion yards against Houston. Yes, our quarterback has a history of being interception prone. Yes, our defensive coordinator in incompetent. Yes, Mike Hart will run for 200+ yards this game. Its concerning, but it can't defeat destiny. Oregon has to win this game. YOU want Oregon to win this game.
I know it. You're not supposed to lose to teams like Oregon. And Washington. Minnesota. Northwestern. And especially not Appalachian freaking State. You're tired of it. And you want Lloyd Carr gone.
But Lloyd and your AD are buddies. And there's only one way that Lloyd's gone--Michigan needs to lose, and lose spectacularly. Appalachian State has you on the right road, and Oregon will ensure you continue down that path. Oregon will win, and you will like it. You'll be a lot better off for it in the long run.
Best of luck against Notre Dame and Ohio State, though. I'm sure 2-10 will still get Lloyd sacked.
Addicted to Quack
The glove is on the other foot! I have provided Dave with my rationales for a Michigan victory on Saturday. You can find them at Addicted to Quack. Go there! Read!