I’ve been reading some opposing viewpoints to try and get a better feel for this game, and stumbled upon a few good reads. Thought I’d pass them along:
Breaks down the matchups. Here’s how he sees it:
UM’s pass protection vs. ND’s pass rush — Edge: ND
ND’s pass protection vs. UM’s pass rush — Edge: UM
UM’s rush offense vs. ND’s rush defense — Edge: UM
ND’s rush offense vs. UM’s rush defense — Edge: Push
UM’s pass offense vs. ND’s pass defense — Edge: ND
ND’s pass offense vs. UM’s pas defense — Edge: UM
UM’s special teams vs. ND’s special teams — Edge UM
UM’s coaching vs. ND’s coaching — Edge: Push
Final score: Notre Dame 28, Michigan 21.
They give us an in-depth positional breakdown as well. I was especially interested in their take on Jon Tenuta replacing Michigan man Corwin Brown.
“So it sort of sucks that TAH-NOO-TAH has bumped aside Judas/mole Corwin
Brown. Brown spent the last two games against Michigan in a cover-two
umbrella and hardly ever blitzed or even put a seventh guy in the box.
If Michigan hadn’t fumbled six times in last year’s game, boy howdy, we
might have come within 18 points thanks to Brown’s never-ending ability
to sit back and calmly consider a situation for three or even four
quarters. Tenuta just blitzes from everywhere.”
Their work with pie charts is equally admirable, and they project a final score of Michigan 27, Notre Dame 23.
“Offensive and defensive lines. No question. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I refuse to believe that offensive linemen who have been around for four or five years suddenly, all at once, in one offseason, go from mediocre to great. It just doesn’t work that way. If the offensive line is consistently average, at least it’s consistent. If it backslides to the way it’s played at times last year and two years ago, it’s going to cost Notre Dame a game it shouldn’t lose.
“The defensive line just has question marks all over, whether it’s because of youth or that they’re generally unproven as performers. And since the Irish haven’t been particularly stellar at stopping the run the past couple seasons as it is, it’s a concern.”
Mike also has a good column about a former Syracuse head coach that we won’t mention who is now in charge of thwarting the Notre Dame offense this week.