Tag Archives: Michigan Wolverines

Big Ten unveils Leaders and Legends divisions, Stagg-Paterno Trophy


This afternoon, the Big Ten Conference revealed their new logo and the names of the divisions. The Leaders division includes Penn State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Legends division includes Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

There are a whole lot of new trophies too and they all have hyphenated names. The winner of the championship game is awarded the Stagg-Paterno Trophy, named after Chicago coach Amos Alonzo Stagg and Penn State coach Joe Paterno. I find it amusing that the trophy is named after a coach whose school that left the conference over 60 years ago and somebody who entered only 17 years ago.

My initial reaction is that the division names are a little pretentious, but I am okay with them because they are not named after Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler like I thought they would be. Naming divisions after a coach who got fired for hitting an opposing player and folded like Superman on laundry day in bowl games, respectively, would have been embarrassing to anyone not from the so-called “big 2″ of the conference. I am the Ohio State and Michigan fans are upset which is great for the rest of us. I’m disappointed there is a Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year trophy though.

Penn Staters are included in the names of several trophies:

Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year – Courtney Brown
Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year – Ted Kwalick

The linebacker trophy doesn’t include a Penn Stater though which is disappointing. I have no problem with Butkus being on the name, but I’d put several Nittany Lions above Pat Fitzgerald. We’ll just assume the conference needed to meet its Northwestern quota on that one.

The logo proves once again that I need to set up a graphic design firm. The existing Big11Ten logo is clever, this new one is just there.

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PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 41 Michigan Wolverines 31

Okay, Penn Staters, can you remember the last time that watching the Nittany Lions was so much fun? It has been a while. Saturday night’s Penn State victory over Michigan was a shockingly satisfying victory over a long-hated rival. I did not think the Nittany Lions had it in them.

Several performances highlighted the 41-31 win over the Wolverines. Evan Royster ran with determination not seen since last year on the way to nearly 100 yards in the first half, 150 overall and the all-time Penn State rushing record. The offensive line paved the way for only the second time all season. I had not anticipated the line being able to push Michigan around as it did which was why I suggested in my prediction that Penn State would have to throw the ball and hope to keep up with Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson. I am pleasantly surprised to be wrong, the Nittany Lions had the ball for over 37 minutes which kept Robinson off the field. I am thrilled Penn State could execute that strategy.

The other big Nittany Lions storyline was Matt McGloin’s first start. Now, we are all predisposed to like McGloin because he’s a walk-on with spunk and so forth, but I am even more predisposed because he wears my favorite number — 11. Penn State has never had a quarterback in my memory that wore that number, so I was pulling for him there too. My concern was his inexperience and tendency to throw caution to the wind would lead to some poor throws and interceptions. I was proven wrong Saturday night with McGloin playing within himself, making lots of smart decisions (like his scramble for a first down early in the game) and good throws. He did make a few bad throws, but the Wolverines were ill-equipped to capitalize. McGloin further endeared himself during the post-game remarks by mixing humilty and bravado while talking with sideline reporter Holly Rowe. Congratulations McGloin, on the best night of your life, you are now a folk hero.

McGloin’s opposite number, Robinson, came as advertised, an incredible football player. Robinson had an “off” night of running for 191 yards and passing for 190. His completion percentage, over 65% headed into last night, was below 50%. Penn State’s defense has a lot to be proud of in “containing” him. Even with the off-night, Robinson led Michigan to 31 points. He’s scary good and really the only player Michigan has on their roster. Seriously, I should have titled this post Penn State 41 Denard Robinson 31. He’s that good and not having to see him again (in all likelihood) is surely a great relief to the coaching staff. I can only imagine how good he’d be on a team with a real offense or defense. His talent is being actually wasted at Michigan. It is amazing how bad the Wolverines are in every part of the game that does not involve Robinson.

It is quite satisfying to see Michigan this bad. The followers of Wolverine football will never admit it, but their coach Rich Rodriguez is just a perfect Michigan man. He’s all hype and arrogance, but his resume is hollow as a sewer main, just like Michigan. What better for a program that brags about their all time wins constantly, but lacks national championships? Half a national championship in 50 years is something the world is supposed to be awed by? Really Michigan, BYU has twice as many national championships as you! Winning the Big Ten and losing the Rose Bowl every other year for 30 years is not nearly as special as you think. You deserve such a poor tactician and leader as RichRod. Oh and by the way, ESPN really should have put a camera just on RichRod’s face for the whole game. Every time he saw him in the first half, he looked utterly defeated or as if his cat just died. In the second half he started yelling all the time, probably at the poor officiating, but it should have been directed at himself for running a football team so poorly. Just a joy for this Penn Stater to watch!

Next week, Penn State plays Northwestern at 3:30 on ABC or ESPN2 (depending on where you live) as Joe Paterno goes for his 400 career win. Few were as fun as his 399th.

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Penn State vs. Michigan prediction

Last week, I correctly predicted Penn State would score 33 points and was within 3 points of Minnesota’s total. Not bad (the Redskins vs. Bears pick was even better).

This week, the hated Michigan Wolverines come to Happy Valley as a terrible team that is bailed out by its all world quarterback Denard Robinson. Robins has something like 2,500 yards of total offense in something like 5 games. He can run and throw well and is overall just scary. A stout Nittany Lions defense would have trouble with Robinson and this defense is more Coors Light than Guinness. Did you like the beer reference their everybody?

Penn State counters with Matt McGloin, a former walk-on from Scranton, in place of recently concussed Rob Bolden. He wears #11 (which makes him quite likable) and plays a reckless style of quarterback more befitting a backyard than a 100,000 seat stadium. That being said, the Wolverines defense, especially against the pass, is terrible. I saw, damn the torpedoes and give Mac lots of deep throws. He has tall wideouts that may be able to help him get away with some dangerous passes. I think Penn State’s best hope is for a WAC style shootout. I don’t think they can do it though because the defense just isn’t good enough.

Michigan 41
PENN STATE 33

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Michigan

Devon from NittanyWhiteOut.com has the questions this week:

1. Was Penn State’s win over Minnesota a step in the right direction, or are any feelings of goodwill overshadowed by the fact that, well, Minnesota is just really, really bad?

The only thing that matters in this world is number in the column with the W. ZUG! Put. that. Gatorade. down.

GATORADE IS FOR PLAYMAKERS.

It is a step in the right direction and Minnesota is that bad. I don’t know why I channeled Glengary Glen Ross there.

2. From all indications, it appears that Rob Bolden is out. If you were Joe Paterno, which QB would be the starter, and what would the offensive gameplan look like?

Matt McGloin will be the starter because he is apparently further along as passer than Kevin Newsome and Michigan’s weakness is the pass defense, so throw a lot and hope for the best. Brett Brackett and Derrick Moye has been solid at times, but Graham Zug is really overdue for a decent game, so I want to see something from him. Mix it up with Silas Redd and Stephfon Green running draw plays. Throw in Royster if the line can make any holes since he sees them so well. Probably not a bad idea to pray the rosary as well, because McGloin will probably throw some interceptions. I think this will be shootout.

3. Penn State’s defense has had trouble wrapping up, and Denard Robinson is the kind of player who can make one guy miss and wind up in the end zone. How can Penn State try and contain the Wolverines’ star quarterback?

I think the best thing Penn State can do is make Robinson throw the ball, rather than run it. How, I’m not sure, but go easy on the blitzes and try to confuse him with coverage. I don’t have a lot of confidence that the Nittany Lions can control the clock on offense to keep Robinson off the field.

4. On a scale of Indiana to Pitt, how much do you hate Michigan? Use examples to support your argument.

That scale is broken, because in terms of hate, Indiana and Pitt are about the same for me. Pitt is Temple West and Indiana is Temple Midwest, though perhaps that is not fair to the current Temple program. Does anybody from east of say, Johnstown still care about Pitt?

I am more baffled by Michigan than anything else. Their partisans go on and on about their tradition and history of winning, but the last time I checked the Wolverines have won exactly half a national championship in the last 50 years. Having the all-times wins record must be nice, but having 2 national championships in our lifetime is a lot better than say, winning the Big Ten when it was the Big Two and Little Eight every other year, and then losing in the Rose Bowl. Talk about BOverated! Schembechler was only won about 1/3 of his bowl games, yet they think of he should be on the coaches Mt. Rushmore.

Oh and the Big House? That’s great you have 110,000 stadium too, but having a few extra thousand seats than Beaver Stadium isn’t that big a deal. Getting 100,000 fans to show up three hours from a metropolitan are when they have to drive on two-lane roads for the last 15 miles (since corrected to some degree) impresses me a little bit more. Actually, a lot more.

5. The mystique of the White Out is sometimes overstated, but what impact do you think the night game and the crowd will have on Saturday’s game?

The White Out mystique is sometimes overrated? I think it is almost always overrated. It helped in 2005 against Ohio State and that was it. Penn State is 2-3 in White Outs! They are only 4-4 at night in Beaver Stadium in the 21st century. Just because Guido D’Elia says its great and helps Penn State doesn’t mean it does.

Quick Hits:

1. Combined yardage for Denard Robinson?

350 yards

2. Who runs for more yards, Evan Royster or Silas Redd?

Redd

3. At kickoff, what percentage of the student section is full?

Over 90% the night game combined with the false mystique of the fans intimidation of the opposition will lead to a pretty good

4. What’s your prediction for the final score?

That gets its own post

The Roundtable

Linebacker-U
JoePa’s Doghouse

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Big Ten: Let’s have a Charlie Bauman division

The Big Ten Conference new divisions don’t have names yet and it is not a reach to think they will be named the Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler divisions. That is only acceptable to me Ohio State is in the Bo division and Michigan is in the Woody division.

Of course there is something to be said for calling the division that Penn State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Purdue is in the Charlie Bauman (ESPN Classic) division.

As for Schembechler, has their ever been a more overrated college football coach? He never won a national title or went undefeated. Joe Paterno went undefeated in his second Big Ten season and won the Rose Bowl. Some say he won a national championship too. Schembechler lost twice as many bowl games as he won too. I’d rather see a Barry Alvarez division than a Bo Schembechler division. We know there won’t be a Joe Paterno division though.

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A Penn State grad’s view on Big Ten divisions and Ohio State vs. Michigan

I have been pretty nonchalant about the divisional alignment that the Big Ten will rollout for 2012 now that Nebraska is in the conference. I would like to see geography-based divisions, mostly so Penn State would have fewer chances of playing early games in the Central Time Zone. So, here is what it should look like to me:

DIVISION A
PENN STATE
Indiana
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Purdue

DIVISION B
Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Nebraska
Northwestern
Wisconsin

Off the top of my head, that breaks them down by time zone which would be too easy I guess. I am not going to get worked up about it though if they do something else. I’d also make Penn State and Nebraska protected interdivisional rivals. Oh and my trophy idea for that game: a two-sided Interstate 80 shield. One side with have Pennsylvania, the other will have Nebraska. I-80 is about 12 miles way from Happy Valley and goes right through Lincoln.

Of late though, there has been a great deal of anxiety in the Michigan and Ohio State fanbases about their rivalry. They have played each other at the end of the season since before the world turned from black and white to color. I have even dealt with it in my professional life. I remember in 2007 spending 8 days working on a special Web section at work for that game. About half an hour before I wrapped up, I got the call that “Bo Schembelcher just collapsed” and my wind-down was postponed. I got to post the news that Schembelcher had died.

I get the rivalry and while I don’t particularly care for either program, I would occasionally turn on that game if The Game, Yale vs. Harvard was at the half or something. The Buckeyes vs. Wolverines had its appeal back in the day — gray skies with maybe some flurries, grass and mud, plus great contrasting uniforms and Keith Jackson doing the play by play. Of course, the grass at both stadiums was replaced with rugs and Jackson retired so that fun is not what it was. I’d still like to see it played at the end of the season, but the more I see the reaction of both of those fanbases, as seen on Slow States, the more sympathetic/enthasiastic I am to moving it around.

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