Many of you have “inquired” why I think Michigan is such a bad football team. Other than the obvious evidence that I could present to you from Saturday, I think a complete answer means I have to answer this question more broadly. The answer isn’t necessarily that Michigan is so bad, but, relative to Alabama, they simply do not hold a candle in talent. In fact, Alabama brings such an elite group of athletes and a brute physicality to the game that very few college football teams can hold up to what the Tide brings to the table. But, for now, and for you folks who want to believe the Wolverines really are good, let’s take a quick look at Michigan, shall we?
Thankfully, I was able to find the Michigan State v Michigan game from last year so I was able to measure Michigan against a team that, believe it or not, is very similar in scheme and approach to Alabama. MSU simply dominated both lines of scrimmage and, knowing Michigan lost their top three defensive tackles from that team, it was obvious Michigan had some interior woes. When you couple that with the visibly slow pursuit from the Michigan linebackers, you quickly knew that Alabama would have their way in the running game, just as MSU did last year. Their front seven is just not very stout.
Further inspection of last year’s Michigan team revealed that mediocre defenses like Iowa and Notre Dame were able to shut down the Wolverine running game and an above average Virginia Tech team outgained them more than 2 to 1 in the Sugar Bowl. Remember, this is the same Va Tech team that was dominated by Clemson in two games last year and that’s the same Clemson that gave up a 70 spot against West Virginia. Are you following me here? Michigan is simply very average at best. They are certainly not worth of a #8 ranking. Sure, they are a tall midget in the Big 10 but, relative to the top teams in the college football world, they are still a midget. You feel me?
The questions concerning Michigan did get me thinking, though. Who is as a worthy opponent for Alabama? Personally, I think there are little more than a handful of teams on the college football landscape who are playing at a very high level and could be invited have their own room in the penthouse, er Lighthouse, of college football. In no particular order, the Lighthouse’s playboy mansion teams appear to be:
In Da House
Alabama – Alabama isn’t in the house. They own it. Four straight years of top 5 recruiting classes combined with an excellent strength and conditioning program and mixed with top flight schemes equals the best program in the country. This is not an exaggeration and my crimson colored glasses are sitting on a table in another room.
LSU – Like it or not, the SEC boasts the top two programs in college football’s pecking order. LSU and Alabama boast athletes that are simply bigger, stronger and faster than their opponents. Alabama and LSU have fully grown men in their uniforms and the NFL has taken notice as evidenced by the number of LSU and Alabama players taken in recent drafts. When you think of LSU and Alabama, you should hear the 2 and a Half Men theme song: “Men, men, men, manly men, men, men….” BTW – there is no truth to the rumor that Les Miles asked that we sod the mansion’s grounds with a hybrid Bermuda grass mixed a material he’ll only refer to as synthetic Honey Badger grass.
USC – I begrudgingly have to list USC here as the Trojans basically have themselves a room reserved in the house of the elite programs. There is no question that their offensive starters deserve a room to themselves but their lack of depth and an OK average defense means we haven’t given them a key to the front door just yet. Security tells me we aren’t giving Lane Kiffin a key because we are afraid he’ll break in and load up a moving truck full of our belongings in the middle of the night. However, we are sizing up a room the rest of the team and alumni complete with a hot tub for Matt Leinart and a trophy case for Reggie Bush. What do you mean he gave it back?
Oregon – Honestly, I like the Ducks to win the Pac 12. Oregon has the best QB they’ve had on campus and they have two absolute burners as their tailbacks. Their Quacky offensive approach presents tremendous problems for other teams and, before you SEC folks poo-poo them, you have to remember that they nearly took down Auburn, Cam and Gene Chizik-Fonzerelli. Like it or not, Oregon is pulling up to the driveway and they are about to check in to the house of the elite. We’ve already built on to the garage to house the Duck’s Harley and we’ve been promised that Bobby Petrino will NOT be allowed to take it for a spin.
On the Guest List
Florida State – I can’t help but notice that Jimbo Fisher’s FSU crew is starting to put it together in Tallahassee. We’ve asked Jimbo & Co to come over to the house and have some tea with us while we discuss the Clemson game that is looming on the horizon. A ton of top recruits, an easy schedule and an easy conference certainly has us contemplating at least giving them a room over the garage but we need more evidence before we give them a key to the main house. It is true that Renegade is looking at some adjacent pasture land and Chief Osceola will have a room dedicated to spear throwing practice. However, we are not committing to a full-time assisted living staff for any former coaches. It’s too expensive, dadgummit!
Georgia – Yeah, I know. Mark Richt is still there. Isaiah Crowell is not. Georgia has consistently fallen short of expectations time and time again and, yes, it’s a mighty miracle that Richt is still in charge. Buffalo didn’t seem to have any trouble with the UGA defense, either, and that has been duly noted. That being said, the Dawgs do have a terrific defense and a top flight QB which should allow them to win ballgames via Stallings ball. There is something telling me that UGA is really close to being a really good team and for some reason I can’t quite poo-poo them like most of you are doing. However, given the recent up and down history of Richt, we are only considering a one year lease on the room and the UGA players will be outfitted with tracking bracelets. We at the Lighthouse want to look out for the future of our student athletes, so we feel the UGA kids may as well get used to what the ankle bracelets feel like.
South Carolina – Ok, now I’ve lost my mind, right? I clearly didn’t see the Vandy game which Vandy would have won had it not been for a blown call. Ok, settle down skippy, I hear ya. First, I did see the game. Second, Vandy didn’t win. Third, Vandy would have only gained 15 yards via the penalty and still had to travel over forty yards to score a TD (not a field goal – they were down 17-13). Earlier, Vandy recovered a Lattimore fumble at the USC 44 yard line, lost nine yards and had to punt. Later, Vandy picked off a pass and had the ball at the USC 21 but still couldn’t score. Face it, the Gamecock D is filthy. Vandy would not have scored had the refs gotten the call right – believe that. South Carolina has a gritty QB and a stud RB to go with a defense that may be, gasp, the best in the SEC. Because of this, I’ve invited Steve Spurrier over to the house and we’ve discussed knocking down a wall so that his ego can have a room of its own. His ego has also requested that we build a golf course replica of Augusta instead of giving the pasture land to Renegade. Depending on how their seasons go, we’ve decided that we’ll have Spurrier and Chief Osceola have a throw off, with the winner getting land. My prediction? Fear the spear, Steve.
Obviously, there is a whole bunch of good football ahead of us but this is how I see it as of today. Agree? Disagree? Who would you add? Who would you subtract? Have I lost my mind????