North of the Border: Passing Time during Week One

Let me open this with a case study in irony. For the last 13 years of my life, I’ve bled scarlet and gray and conditioned myself to dislike anything associated with Michigan. I told myself I would never live in Michigan. I would never be friends with someone who goes to UM, and the only reason I would ever to go Ann Arbor is to watch Ohio State beat Michigan every other November. Then, I graduated from Ohio State, spent 6 months looking for a job, and ended up getting a fantastic job in the Detroit suburbs, one of my best friends is a student at UM, and I spent most of my Saturday in Ann Arbor playing golf and hanging out.

 

My first few days of this job were the typical on-boarding stuff: setting up accounts for the company software, setting up payroll and HR information, learning the basics of the company, etc. Sometimes you have to pass the time when you’re waiting on another session to start (or until 5:00 rolls around). That’s what this weekend is. It’s the on-boarding. Sure, there’s some interesting things stuff to do, but we’re waiting for 5:00 – or in this case, 8:00 on Monday night. So, let’s examine some things we can do to pass the time.

 

Michigan at Utah, Thursday September 3rd 8:30 – FoxSports1

Besides being the first major game of the season, this one is interesting because of the Harbaugh effect. I know every fan base has its crazy fans (Buck-I-Guy comes to mind within our own ranks), but the crazy Michigan fans are a special kind of crazy. People legitimately think they will win 10 games or even win a national title this season. This game will be very telling about not necessarily the season outlook for Michigan, but at least what kind of progress Harbaugh has made in getting that sinking ship back afloat. Utah will rely heavily on their returning running back, Devontae Booker, the 2014 Pac-12 second leading rusher. Michigan’s defense ranked 7th last season, and held Utah to 81 yards on the ground and no rushing touchdowns in the 2014 edition of this game. Can Utah get the ground game going this year, when the weather won’t create a marsh on the field? I’d like to think so.

 

#2 TCU at Minnesota Thursday September 3rd 9:00 – ESPN

The Horned Frogs are a trendy pick to make the playoffs and potentially win the title this year. With Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin back for his senior season, TCU looks poised to have their best season since winning the 2011 Rose Bowl. While I expect TCU to win in Minnesota, leading receiver Josh Doctson has seen limited action in camp with an unknown injury, and may or may not play in the opener. Doctson caught 65 balls for over 1000 yards last season, and figures to be a key cog in the high-powered TCU offensive attack again this year. Minnesota, on the other hand, has to replace RB David Cobb and TE Maxx Williams, in an offense that relied on them heavily last season. Don’t expect another B1G Coach of the Year award for Jerry Kill this year.

 

#20 Wisconsin vs #3 Alabama Saturday September 5 8:00 – ABC

Will Alabama lose to two B1G teams in a row? Will Wisconsin beat both SEC teams from Alabama in back to back games? Will the SEC declare itself BACK BABY if Alabama wins? No, doubtful, and absolutely. Alabama has a bit of a QB battle on its hands (My guess is that Jacob Coker starts, but I’ve followed that QB battle much less than the one in Columbus). If one of the other signal callers gets the start (redshirt sophomore Cooper Bateman or redshirt junior Alec Morris), I’m inclined to think he’ll have a short leash should things not go well early in the game. However, as is tradition at Alabama, they have a stud running back Derrick Henry, who probably should have gotten the ball 10 more times in the Sugar Bowl if Alabama wanted a shot to beat Ohio State. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has to replace Melvin Gordon. The most likely candidate there is Corey Clement, a junior who had over 900 yards last season. Joel Stave returns at QB for the Badgers. Wisconsin rushed for 400 yards against the last SEC team they faced, but also gave up over 200 yards on the ground their last two games of last season. Wisconsin’s offensive line will have to clear some huge holes for Clement, and their front 7 will have to keep Henry in check. I expect Alabama to win, but I don’t think it will be a blowout.

 

 

So there are a few games to pass the time over the first weekend of college football. Buy your beer, prepare your meats for grilling, and get your couches comfort levels adjusted for the weekend, because it’s football season. Next week, I’ll review these games and look forward to a couple big games for the coming week.

Comments

  1. Great read Chris. I’ll be watching all of these in some capacity, eagerly awaiting Monday night.

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