Great Underground Empire Strikes Back


With Minnesota officially off Double Secret Probation, I need a new victim. 

So I had a conversation with myself.

Grue, what is the worst defense on any campus?

Well that would be hard to say, Grue. They're each pathetic in their own way.

Cut the ****, Grue. I've got their defensive stats right here. Whose corners dropped a whole truckload of passes? Who delivered the opponent's offenses to the end zone? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with the players' underwear.

Every spring, the toilets in the stadium explode.

You're talking about Michigan, Grue.

Of course I'm talking about Michigan, you TWERP!

The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.

I reviewed the season to find the biggest disappointment and the worst performance and the choice was crystal clear.

Michigan's Defensive Coordinator, Greg Robinson  - you are on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION.


Le't look at the evidence:

Total Defense: 445.6 yards per game, 112th in the NCAA

Ponts Allowed: 33.5 points per game, 99th in the NCAA

MR. BLUTARSKY: Zero point zero GPA.

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Mr. Robinson.  Although I cannot say I blame you after this season.  In fact, i would actually offer you that excuse so that God may have mercy on your soul for destroying one of the proudest programs in the nation.

Pre-season discussions with Mr. Robinson revealed that Michgan was switching from a 3-4 defense to a 3-3-5 defense. Robinson and RichRod were excited.

"We got to have enough in our package that it's simple enough for our guys to understand yet have enough schemes to be in the right type of defense to face (a variety) of offenses," Rodriguez said. 

"I think it'll be one of the best defenses for the type of athletes that we have," cornerback Troy Woolfolk said. "It fits us well."

Conceptually, the 3-3-5 emphasizes speed and versatility over strength and power. The fifth defensive back is a hybrid-type player who can play both close to the line of scrimmage for run support and in the secondary for pass coverage.

Your, Honor, I object!

What conference are we in again????  The Big Ten, right?  So Rod & Rob, Dumb and Dumber, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle dipshit, make a conscious decision to move away from NFL-style 3-4 and 4-3 into a speed defense with five defensive backs.  Let's defend John Clay and James White with an extra defensive back!  Awesome.  Daniel Herron, Terrelle Pryor, and Brandon Saine?? No problem, a saftey can handle them in a run gap.  Adam Robinson of Iowa? Evan Royster at PSU?  Mikel LeShoure of Illinois?  Piece of cake - let's take a lineman or linebacker out of the play and put a 220-pounder 5 yards off the line of scrimmage!  Great idea.

Greg Robinson Shows the Michigan Defense Which Way Terrelle Pryor is Running


RichRod, this isn't the Big East where under-sized speedy defensive backs can get by against teams like Louisville, Cinncinnatti, and UConn.  Greg Robinson, you don't have (can't afford) SEC athletes on a Michigan bootser's salary.  If you keep your job, RichRod, you must throw the Defensive Coordinator under the bus.  It has to be done.  Bring in an old school guy to establish a tough, defensive attitude.  You have some offensive pieces in place. Denard Robinson is a talented player that has represented the conference well this year with national attention.

For the sake of the Big Ten, I want Michigan to succeed.   Well, mostly succeed excpet for a couple weeks out of the year.


Season Schedule

Week 13.. the END of the season!  NOOOO!  This is so depressing.


Bowl Projections:

The Big Ten Bowl lineup is quite a bit different this season.  Out is the Alamo Bowl and it is replaced by the Gator Bowl in the lineup.  We now have the Dallas Football Classic (can you be a Classic in your first year?), the Texas Bowl, and the Insight (We're NOT .com) Bowl.  And with one week to go, the selections are surprisingly locked in.

1. Rose Bowl - Wisconsin

1a. BCS At Large: Sugar/Orange - Ohio State

2. Capital One Bowl, Orlando, FL - MIchigan State

As it currently stands, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State are locks for the top 3 spots.  The only trouble would come from two of those three losing (Wisconsin & Ohio State are both playing struggling teams at home).  Let's assume that Wisconsin and Ohio State win - then Michigan State's game is meaningless.  If two teams lose, bye-bye at- large berth and everyone else bumps down a spot.


3. Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL - Iowa

Iowa is at Minnesota and owns a head-to-head win over Penn State.  Virtual lock for the Outback Bowl.


4. Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, FL - Penn State

5. Dallas Football Classic, Dallas, TX - Illinois

If Penn State wins against Michigan State, the Gator Bowl is on the phone to JoePa before the sidleine reporter can reach him.  If PSU loses and Illinois wins against Fresno State, there is a chance the Illini get to fly to Jacksonville instead of Dallas (and send PSU to Dallas). The Illini are done conference play and a half game up on Michgan (vs tOSU) and Northwestern (vs.Wisconsin).  So these two may flip flop.


6. Texas Bowl, Houston, TX - Michigan

7. Insight Bowl, Tempe, AZ - Northwestern

This could get interesting.  Both teams have identical conference records.  Both will probably lose on the road to BCS teams.  They didn't even play head-to-head.  I'm guessing the excitement that Denard Robinson brings will be the deciding factor for the Texas Bowl.


8. Little Cesar's Bowl, Detroit, MI

No more bowl eligible Big Ten teams.


I've rambled long enough, I'll keep the picks mercifully short.


Double Secret Probation

Greg Robinson




Illinois over Fresno State (Dec 3)

Let's get this out of the way.  Mikel Leshoure is making a late season push with games of 23, 120, 141, and 300 yards in his last three.  Using an parabolic projection, Leshoure will run for 1,456 yards next weekend.


The Meaningless

Pudue over Indiana

These two bottom-feeders look to put the season to bed with a moral victory and a positive step towards the new year.  No Bowl Bids for the holidays, and the state of Indiana is already fully invested emotionally in the Colts and college basketball.  

Iowa over Minnesota

Iowa's bowl game pretty much decided.  Minnesota is playing for pride, but still is not a very good football team.


The BCS Games

Wisconsin over Northwestern

The Big Ten's best team over an inconsistent team without their starting quarteback.  No brainer.

Ohio State over Michigan

Ummm.  Yea.


Game of the Week

Penn State over Michigan State

Michigan State badly needs a Michigan win to go to the Rose Bowl.  I think the Spartans deliberately lose to spite the Wolverines and deprive them of the opportunity to keep MSU out of Pasedena.  Losing at PSU is better than the alternative; rooting for the Wolverines.  As we saw from the Bowl projections, there isn't a lot at stake in this game.  Penn State has won 5 of the last six in the series and all 8 home games since joining the Big Ten.  This is also the Final game in the annual Land Grant Trophy series, since PSU picks up Nebraska next season.


The Next Best Three

I feel like I'm in the audience on Oprah's Favorite things episode.  Too many to chose from for the non-Big Ten games.  But I'll take the three ranked-matchups that impact the National Championship.


No. 1 Oregon over No. 21 Arizona

Cal held Oregon back with shennaigans (fake cramps) and an effective 3-3-5 defensive zone underneath and man to man on the corners.  Cal used a strong front three to occupy the offensive lineman and three fast linebackers to zero-in on LaMichael James and Darron Thomas.  This effectively took away Oregon's big-play ability and the zone defense meant no missed assignments - because there weren't any.  Oregon was able to execute effectively underneath for short gains and Cal could not stop them on the final drive.  So people look at the 15-13 score and think Oregon is beatable.  I see the 15-13 score, watched some of the highlights, and see that Oregon got a lead, took the underneath stuff, and slowed the game down to get out with a win.

The Wildcats enter the game with two straight losses and struggling a bit to stop the run.  USC ran for 209 yars (4.9 average) and chewed up 37 minutes on offense last week.  Standford needed a little bit of Luck abut still ran for 166 yards (5.4 average).  When you're giving up 5 yards per carry to Stanford and USC, I expect you'll struggle just a little to contain Oregon.

Now who will the Ducks play for the National Championship?


No. 11 Alabama over No. 2 Auburn

Auburn has had 9 lives this year.  I give them all of the credit in the world for winning numerous close games.  However, this Alabama squad has had recent success with another, better, dual-threat, Heisman-winning, God-fearing, NFL-playing Quarterback.    I just have a feeling that Auburn is going to encounter an extremely stout defense in combination with an offense capable of scoring big points on their defense.  the Tigers have been a 4-beer, perfect 10 so far this season.  Great from far, but far from great.  If you watch the highlight reels of Cam Newton and the Sportcenter Highlights of he comebacks, this team impresses the heck out of you.  If you watch the play-by-play results and the periodic defensive struggles, you see that there are flaws.  Auburn is facing their most-complete opponent this year.  A better offense than LSU.  A better defense than Arkansas and Georgia.  And better coaching than any of them.  Nick Saban will have a plan in place to slow down Cam Newton, and make room for TCU or Boise State in the National Championship game.

Which brings me to...


No. 4 Boise State over No. 19 Nevada

First, I don't think Nevada has enough firepower to hang with Boise State.  They certainly don't have a comparable defense.  Boise wins this fairly easily so here is why I'm analyzing the game in teh Next Best 3.

TCU: 0.8895

Boise State: 0.8860

That's 0.0135 points difference between Boise State and TCU.  Here's why: 

* Both human polls have Boise State ahead of TCU. 

* Five of the 6 computer polls have TCU two spots ahead of Boise State.   Sometimes it is 1-3, others 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, even 5-7 - for an average of 3-5.  Boise State has not made up the gap because of the computers. 

Why is this significant? Because in each of these polls, LSU is between Boise State and TCU. Louisiana State University is the reason Boise State has not passed Texas Christian University. If Louisiana State University defeats a quality oipponent in Arkansas, then even with a defeat of Nevada, Boise State still will NOT pass LSU in the computer order.

* So if LSU wins, they MAY jump TCU in the computers (but not the human polls). Then one spot separates Boise & TCU in the computers - Boise will jump TCU in the BCS.

* If LSU wins, but does NOT jump TCU in the computers, then Boise probably will not catch TCU.

* If LSU loses, they will drop way below Boise State in the computers. Boise WILL jump TCU in the BCS.


Other amazing games - sorry, too many to review.

No. 5 LSU at No. 12 Arkansas

Oregon State at No. 6 Stanford

No. 13 Oklahoma at No. 9 Oklahoma State

Kansas vs. No. 14 Missouri

Brigham Young at No. 20 Utah

No. 18 South Carolina at Clemson

Florida at No. 22 Florida State

No. 25 Mississippi State at Mississippi


For the unranked rivalries:

West Virginia at Pittsburgh

Georgia Tech at Georgia

Notre Dame at USC


Enjoy your Thanksgiving, your family and friends, and the full, heaping plate of College Football.    I'm thankful you stopped by to read my blog over your holiday.

Save the Gizzard for the  Guide Bear:

Save the Oranges for Offensively Minded: Luck.  The Heisman would be Gravy:

And, save the neck for me, Clark.

November 24, 2010  01:00 PM ET

You forgot about Robinson's destruction of the Syracuse program

November 24, 2010  01:02 PM ET

You forgot about Robinson's destruction of the Syracuse program

We're not here to talk about the past. Syracuse is... is bad.

November 24, 2010  01:15 PM ET

Minnesota will finish with a winning streak!

November 24, 2010  01:19 PM ET

Minnesota will finish with a winning streak!

As a fan, i can wish you the best of luck.

November 24, 2010  01:19 PM ET

This is going to be a great Saturday to just sit on the couch and watch football. Plenty of games on. Friday will be a great day for football as well, with the Iron Bowl, Oregon-Arizona and even Boise State-Nevada.

November 24, 2010  01:20 PM ET

Great as always.

And I've officially given up all hope for IU football with Bill Lynch at the helm

November 24, 2010  01:36 PM ET

Have I mentioned lately how awesome you are? Brilliant blog, Grue. The caption to the photo is priceless...

November 24, 2010  01:46 PM ET

The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.

I LOL'd!

Nice read, Grue. I particularly like the breakdown on Oregon (of course). Not a Duck fan, but I do agree that their low scoring win over Cal was just an anomaly. The team this year is solid.

November 24, 2010  01:50 PM ET

Have I mentioned lately how awesome you are? Brilliant blog, Grue. The caption to the photo is priceless...

<sigh> I never get tired of it. ;-)

November 24, 2010  01:54 PM ET

Nice read, Grue. I particularly like the breakdown on Oregon (of course). Not a Duck fan, but I do agree that their low scoring win over Cal was just an anomaly. The team this year is solid.

I will give credit to a film breakdown by ESPN that I found during the research. Very informative. And all of the 3-3-5 research from Michgan paid unexpected dividends since I could tie the two together.

The 3-3-5 is effective against a team like Oregon. Ohio State had Rose Bowl success in the 4-3 simply because the linebackers were so talented and they have an NFL-stud at tackle.

But it certainly does no good against Iowa and Wisconsin who run right at you.

November 24, 2010  02:53 PM ET

<sigh> I never get tired of it. ;-)

You are awesome.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Bucks! Go Lions!

November 24, 2010  02:53 PM ET

Boise uses a 3-3-5, but they play a lot of "spread" offenses. Maybe Robinson should watch some tape of them before his next gig.

November 24, 2010  04:07 PM ET

Great as always.And I've officially given up all hope for IU football with Bill Lynch at the helm

You're giving up on a lot of coaches these days, Rudedoggy

November 24, 2010  07:48 PM ET

I am back after 6 weeks working on the new house with only one paw (long explanation). I did get to take a break to visit The Big House on Oct. 6th, we all know what happened that day, if your only going to go to 1 game that one was it.
The half-time show had the band doing a Wizard of Oz take off.
They had the 'cowardly Nittany Lion' along with Dorothy's Munchkin friends "you Munchkins remind me of our little friends in East Lansing". They also had a buckeye running around for his life being tackled for some unknown reason.

Walking around in a sea of Michigan fans was the best part, that and the fact the site lines in The Big House are fantastic, our seats were in row 84 in the endzone, still able to watch and enjoy every play.

I will be back, no scratching The Big House off the bucket list yet!

and the Craziest game ever made the trip worth it, we were able to get into a Flemings Steak House in Livonia on Saturday Night, the day may have started at McDonalds but it could not have been better after that, Hollywood could not have scripted it any better (for me) Illini fans did not have it so good.

Grue you are so correct, after sitting through 65 points Greg needs to go, we'll keep Denard.

Comment #17 has been removed
November 26, 2010  04:16 PM ET

Very well done Grue.

Now about this: "The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me."

I suddenly had a vision of Monty Python, with a giant cartoon foot descending from the clouds to squash Greg Robinson. "And there was much rejoicing..."

November 27, 2010  07:27 PM ET


November 27, 2010  10:43 PM ET

Wow, those were some crappy picks.

November 28, 2010  02:56 PM ET



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