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Westsider Rider

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Blogpoll Roundtable from Hey Jenny Slater

The latest installment of the roundtable comes to us from Hey Jenny Slater:

1. We're just a few weeks away from the end of the regular season, so everybody should have a pretty good handle on how good their teams are and what sort of records they can expect to finish with. Looking back over the season, which was the game where your team really defined itself in 2006, for good or ill? Or to look at it another way, which game, win or loss, was most representative of your team's attitude and style of play this season?

Coming into this season the road gauntlet at Notre Dame, at Penn State and at Ohio State worried me greatly. Combine that with a team coming off of a 7-5 record and I wasn't the most optimistic fan coming into this season. That all changed on September 16th when Michigan went into South Bend and did something many Michigan teams prior to them could not accomplish. They beat Notre Dame in South Bend, they won a road opener and with the win gave Michigan fans a great feeling knowing that they would probably finish September with an unbeaten record for the first time in 7 years. That win definitely set the tone for the rest of the season. Granted the team hasn't played great as of late, they've done enough to get the job done, which is more than can be said of other Michigan teams in the past that have let a game or two slip away that they should not have. The wins haven't been pretty as of late but we're 10-0 and I'll take that anytime.

2. Are there any teams you think are still hugely overrated? What about underrated?

I don't really see many teams that are hugely overrated. Sure I think Notre Dame and USC are not as good as their rankings are but not by a large amount. Teams 3-12 in the polls right now could be put in pretty much any order as there would be arguments for and against each team.

However, there are a few teams I do think are underrated in Cal, Wisconsin and Arkansas. All teams have one loss but are towards the bottom of the 1 loss teams. It's hard to argue for a top 10 team to be underrated but I really believe Cal is a top 5 team and will be by the end of the year. Wisconsin has only one loss to Michigan and is still outside the top 15. They may not be pretty but they get the job done. Arkansas is in a similar situation to Cal as they have one loss in their first game of the year and have run the table since. People are holding that opening game loss against them and are not looking at what they have done after that.

3. Did your team play any Division I-AA opponents this year? If so, do you think it benefited your team at all? If you were a coach or an NCAA official, what policy would you have toward scheduling D-IAAs?

Nope, Michigan has not and probably will not ever play a D IAA team with the local MAC teams in the area. I think it should be outlawed completely.

4. Which not-a-typical-national-powerhouse team (i.e. no Ohio States or USCs) has played well enough this year to set themselves up for a breakout season in '07?

Wake Forest is a surprising 8-1, only a couple of plays from being 9-0 and poised to keep it up next year as a lot of their contributors are very young. Riley Skinner who stepped in the place of an injured Ben Mauk is a freshman as is the current leading rusher Kevin Harris. Who would've thought that the marquee game this year in the ACC would be Wake Forest-Maryland and no, not in basketball.

5. Take a look at your team's bowl prospects this season. Which bowl(s) do you think you have a reasonable shot of ending up in? Of the teams you might likely face in a bowl, which team would you most want to play and why (maybe you've always wanted to see how your team would match up with them, maybe there's an old score you want to settle, or maybe you just want to finish the season with an easy win)? Conversely, which potential opponent would you really like to avoid in a bowl game?

Who would've thought at this point in the year I could say at worst case scenario Michigan would be in the Rose Bowl, I would take that every season. If Michigan gets to Glendale, I really don't care who we play, I just want to be able to play in that game. Now if Michigan loses it probably means the Rose Bowl and in that case I want to play USC. I have a strong dislike for them ever since I was little growing up around here and I want some payback for the 2004 Rose Bowl. The team I do not want to face if we end up in Pasadena is California. I think they are playing like one of the best teams in the country and would be a very dangerous matchup for us.

6. In a roundtable question during the off-season, we were asked whom you'd pick if your current coach fell deathly ill and you had to select another coach to lead your team to victory. Let's turn this around and imagine that you've somehow schemed your way onto the search committee to select your biggest rival's next head coach. Which rival would that be, and which coaching sooper genius would you try to stick them with?

For most Michigan fans these answers will probably be the same. All we would want is certain coaches of the past brought back, Bobby Williams for Michigan State, Bob Davie for Notre Dame and John Cooper for Ohio State.

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