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Thursday Morning Brews: The long run

The Wolverines are about to embark on the long run that is Big Ten conference play

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. Michigan football is about to start the conference portion of their schedule. Can they go the distance? We’ll find out, starting this Saturday against Nebraska.

As usual, there is a song referenced in this morning’s article. There are at least two clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or photos, and may reference lyrics, the artist, or the album. If you think you know this morning’s song, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

Michigan’s offense has found it’s identity. That’s what Pep Hamilton says, though I don’t know if I agree with him—or if it has found its identity, I’m not sure that I like it. Hamilton said recently on the Jamie & Stoney show, “I think that coach Harbaugh-coached football teams have always had the philosophy of throwing body punches early in games. I would even dare to say that started when coach Harbaugh played here at Michigan for coach Schembechler. That part of a coach Harbaugh team, I don’t think is going to change.”

Field Hockey stretches win streak to four. Michigan field hockey has won its Big Ten opener and stretched their win streak to four games with wins over No. 17 Rutgers and Central Michigan this past week. First up were the Scarlet Knights, who the Wolverines downed 3-1. Then, the Chippewas came to town and Michigan took care of business, 9-0. The team is now 5-3 (1-0) on the year, and they’ll be back in action tomorrow against No. 6 Penn State.

Women’s volleyball just keeps winning. Volleyball fared better than football against Notre Dame this year; the Wolverines beat the Fighting Irish twice on the hardwood this past weekend. The two wins stretch Michigan’s win streak to 11 games, their first 11 of the season, but their string of sweeps came to an end. The Wolverines won the first match 3-0, but Notre Dame was able to steal the third set in the second match, meaning Michigan only won by the score of 3-1. The Wolverines open their Big Ten season against No. 3 Nebraska tomorrow.

Women’s soccer tops Purdue. On the pitch, women’s soccer has had a mixed start to their Big Ten season. The Wolverines opened conference play with a close loss to Indiana, 2-3 in overtime. This past Sunday, Michigan bounced back with a 1-0 win over Purdue. The team now has a record of 5-4 (1-1). They’ll be back in action this evening against Wisconsin. That game will begin at 6:00 p.m. and can be seen on BTN.

Bud Elliott over at the SB Nation mothership has a way of identifying CFP contenders. He calls it the “Blue-Chip Ratio,” and it identifies teams who have a sufficiently high level of four and five star recruits on their roster (the “blue chips”) to compete at the highest level of college football. Michigan was among the 13 teams Elliott identified this year as CFP contenders, and he updates the outlook of the teams in the above. How is Michigan looking? After the opening loss to Notre Dame (who also made his initial list), Elliott thinks they have to play error free ball the rest of the way.

This one is from Bill Connelly over at the SB Nation mothership, and he’s taking a look at the biggest weaknesses of the top teams in his S&P+ rankings. Among that group of particular interest to Michigan fans? Ohio State. Connelly says of the Buckeyes, “their defense is a mere 24th in Def. S&P+, marred mostly by some spectacular glitches. They are currently 92nd in marginal explosiveness — 102nd against the run and 130th, dead last, on passing downs.” So if Michigan or anyone else is going to be Ohio State this year, they’ll need to break open some big plays.