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Stadium and Main: Looking back, ahead

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Looking back, ahead

Michigan’s 2006 schedule can probably be described, chronologically, as follows:
2 warm-up games against opponents that are better then their records indicate
(Vanderbilt, Central Michigan)
3 games where “we” want to get revenge on “them”
(@ Notre Dame, Wisconsin, @ Minnesota)
3 games where “they” want to get revenge on “us”
(MSU, @ PSU, Iowa)
3 games against really bad teams
(Northwestern, Ball State, @ Indiana)
1 “The Game”
(@ Ohio State)
The win against Notre Dame becomes bigger and bigger, in hindsight. Preseason pessimists, including myself, were all “too many tough road games,” “no chance at ND,” blah, blah, blah. Well, one down, two to go. At Ohio State will be insane, and at PSU will be a huge challenge (even if PSU is down this year). At Minnesota is very winnable, and a distant third “road test” to the OSU and PSU games.

So it is clear that the 5-game stretch that we are about to hit will make or break the season. Nothing profound in that statement – just saying that if we go 3-2, we’re back to “Lllloyd” and all of that crap. One thing I find comforting is that we have 3 of the 5 at home, and one of the road games is ours for the taking. I’m not thinking “National Title or bust,” I’m thinking “BCS game.” In years when we have a roster loaded with talented upperclassmen, a BCS game has to be the minimum goal. Especially considering that (1) the BCS has added a 5th Bowl, starting this year, and (2) the Big Ten doesn’t have to play a Conference Championship Game, and has gotten 2 teams into the BCS multiple times.

Everybody seems to be reevaluating their expectations, and I’m all for that. I’m just not gonna jump on the National Title bandwagon yet. I’ve been burned before, particularly in 1999 and 2003. At least we don’t have to go to Oregon this weekend.

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