Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to this morning’s Brews. Hope you all enjoyed the Fourth of July, and the day off work that (hopefully) came with it. I certainly enjoyed the dancing lights against the sky that were the DC fireworks, but I was certainly not looking forward to the break of day. Mid-week federal holidays always seem harder to come back from than long weekends. In this morning’s Brews we take a look at the 2017 Football schedule and check in on the defensive line, plus we see a little bit of Jim Harbaugh’s Fourth of July celebrations.
As promised, we’re back to having a normal dose of music trivia this morning. There are at least five clues contained in this morning’s Brews that combine to reference a song. This one could be a little hard so I will say that the main photo is a clue and that it requires a logical step to arrive at a reference to the song title.
Let’s hit the links:
Ranking Michigan’s 2017 Schedule, Road Tests Loom Large
With fall camp beginning in a couple weeks, my attention (and the attention of other Michigan sports writers) is turning to the 2017 season. A good place to start with any season is the schedule, and that’s just what Mike Bainbridge at Athlon Sports did. Bainbridge (rightly) points out that Michigan’s 2017 schedule is less favorable than 2016, when the Wolverines enjoyed a string of five home games to start the season and didn’t have a difficult road test scheduled until Week 8 at Michigan State. While the Michigan State and Ohio State games will be played in Ann Arbor this year, the 2017 season will still feature its fair share of challenging road games.
The road tests start in Week 1 with the matchup against Florida. Technically not an away game (neutral site), this young Michigan team will still have to travel to Dallas and play a formidable team on unfamiliar turf. In Week 8, Michigan travels to Happy Valley to take on defending B1G Champs, Penn. State. I think most everyone would agree that PSU is better than the whooping they received in the Big House last season, but the question is how much better? With Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley returning, a primetime night game could be trouble. Closing out the tough road challenges is Wisconsin in Week 12. Going into Camp Randall and winning is never easy.
Bainbridge ranks Michigan’s Top-5 toughest games as (in descending order), Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin, Penn St., and Ohio State. Michigan State was ranked at #6. I think Bainbridge largely gets it right, but I would make some changes. I think Florida, being early in the season, should be ahead of Wisconsin and Penn St. - particularly with this young team. By time the trip to Happy Valley rolls around, the Wolverines will be battle tested and that alone should make the PSU matchup more comfortable than Florida. I also disagree with Indiana being ranked so high. Indiana will be a good-not-great team next year that could pose problems for someone, but I don’t think it will be Michigan.
My Top-5 (descending) is Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn St., Florida, and Ohio State. Did I get it right? Weigh in with the poll below and in the comments.
What will be be Michigan’s toughest game in 2017?
This poll is closed
ICYMI: @RashanAGary was named one of college football’s most freakish athletes. @NFL_CFB » https://t.co/JqlvPmh7NF— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) July 3, 2017
Chase Goodbread, a college football writer for NFL.com, recently released a list profiling 17 of the most freakish athletes in college football. Appearing on that list was sophomore sensation Rashan Gary. Of Gary, Goodbread said, “There's a reason Gary was a five-star recruit at the high school level; his athleticism is plenty freakish for a big man, and he showed it off during Michigan's spring testing this year. At 6-foot-5, 287 pounds, Gary turned in a 4.57 40-yard dash -- simply ridiculous for a man of his size -- and a 31-inch vertical jump. He also ran a 6.70 time in the 3-cone drill, which would have led all defensive linemen at this year's NFL Scouting Combine.” The only other B1G player appearing on the list was Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley. For more on the defensive line, check out Will’s piece from yesterday.
We’re going to end Thursday Brews with a bit of levity. In the category of not-sports-related, here’s a reminder that Jim Harbaugh is a normal dad; in addition to coaching Michigan Football. Over the holiday, Harbaugh and family enjoyed some lake time, as evidenced by this youtube video he posted. Harbaugh is being pulled behind a boat on an inflatable with his daughters, Katie and Addie. Things go a bit sideways halfway through the video when one of his daughter’s becomes dislodged and her arm splashes across Harbaugh’s face - knocking him off as well. Check out the video for some laughs.