You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 6:36 p.m.

Best part about Delaware State win? It's in the rear-view mirror

By Pete Bigelow

This was a bad game.

Rich Rodriguez acknowledged as much Monday, before it was played, when he talked about the difficulties in scheduling a mid-season game when most teams are locked into their conference schedules.

“It’s not as easy to schedule as people would think, particularly when you have to have a home game,” Rodriguez said. “It was a struggle. … We’re lucky we got one.”

Fair points.

They don’t change the fact Michigan’s 63-6 victory over Delaware State was as lopsided as everyone expected. Bad for Wolverines, who stood to gain nothing either way, bad for fans, even bad for scalpers.

And when you feel bad for scalpers…

Suffice to say there were logistical reasons and financial motivations on both sides that are understandable. From here on out, though, Michigan must ensure this sort of scheduling scenario doesn’t happen again.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to say that Michigan (5-2 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) learned much about itself and difficult to gauge whether the Wolverines progressed as a team when their opponent plays on a different stratosphere.

With that in mind, here are a few observations and scribbles from my notebook, which are admittedly hard to read because the ink in my pen froze somewhere in the third quarter.

* * *

Freshman running back Vincent Smith is generously listed as 5-foot-6 on the team’s official roster, and it’d be easy to think he’s on the field purely for his speed. That would be a mistake.

In the first quarter, Smith, who ran for 166 yards Saturday, bowled over a Hornets linebacker who was seemingly twice his size. It was the sort of play that made me believe that Smith, somewhere down the road, could be more than just a third-down back for the Wolverines.

Think Brandon Minor in a 5-6 body.

* * *

Michigan amassed 727 total yards on offense Saturday, a school record. The mark should be noted with an asterisk in the history books.

A much more impressive effort was the game in which the Wolverines set the original record, a 1991 Gator Bowl victory over Mississippi in which they totaled 715.

When comparing statistics, let’s keep them on the Division I-A level, please. This is a fugazy of a record.

* * *

Hard to believe that former Wolverines quarterback Rick Leach’s comments about Lloyd Carr from earlier this week were still a topic of conversation Saturday.

If you missed it, Leach accused Michigan’s former head coach of flipping “a huge middle finger right in our current coach’s face,” because Carr mingled with Iowa officials and sat in an Iowa suite during last week’s game against the Hawkeyes

What Leach failed to acknowledge is that it’s common for high-ranking university officials to host each other when their schools face each other. As an associate director and major player in Michigan’s athletic fund-raising, Carr qualifies as such an ambassador for the university.

There’s a lot of things Carr could rightly be criticized for, but being disloyal to the school’s athletic department isn’t one of them. Not even close.

By loudly voicing such baseless accusations, the only thing Leach did was undermine his own credibility.

* * *

Watching Terrelle Pryor single-handedly implode for the Buckeyes against Purdue on Saturday, I thought back to the drawn-out recruiting saga in which he spurned the Wolverines last year.

Mid-way through the 2009 season, couldn’t help but think that Michigan may have taken its lumps at quarterback last year, but ultimately in the long run, emerges stronger without Pryor.

* * *

In last year’s game against Penn State, the Wolverines got off to a quick first-quarter start. Even after the quick start, the consensus in the press box was that Michigan didn’t stand a chance.

The then-No. 3 Nittany Lions then annihilated Michigan, 46-17, in a game that accentuated all U-M’s weaknesses.

With Penn State on deck next week, I’m thinking Michigan has a chance. Not saying the Wolverines will win, but they’ve got a chance.

And that’s the biggest difference between last year and this year for Michigan. Win or lose, the Wolverines have been competitive in every game.

With the Big Ten ripped wide open by Purdue’s upset of Ohio State, it’s fair to think the Wolverines could finish in the upper tier of the conference if they can beat Purdue, Illinois and win at Wisconsin.

And it’s hard to wonder what might have been had they not benched their better quarterback in the final minutes against Iowa, and escaped with a win over the Hawkeyes.



Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 9:50 a.m.

Here's some advice to all the Michigan sportswriters...Don't bite the hand that feeds you. You wouldn't have had much to write about had Michigan not played Delaware State and instead just taken a bye week.


Sun, Oct 18, 2009 : 8:36 p.m.

A2 Dave--you are right on that Florida should be criticized over its schedule, with Coastal Carolina, College of Weak Sister U, and Eastern Western Idaho (sic). OK, that's all true, but when you schedule Michigan to play Western, Eastern, and the B10 schedule, how do you weaken it more by playing Del State, and then have the gall to say that a Div I team would not come to Ann Arbor for a 1 and done? Of course, those teams should not. Why should TX, OK, Auburn, Kansas, Stanford, etc come to A2 without a return trip? What is Michigan so afraid of by playing real competition? Look at USC--they routinely go anywhere and everywhere to play and they seem to be OK. And tater--you seem to attack anyone who doesn't publicly voraciously defend Rich Rodriguez. Aren't you doing the same thing, constantly or near constantly, to Lloyd Carr? All Carr did was represent his university and team with class, and win most of his games. He could have won more, yes, and did have some unacceptable losses, but nobody should have a quibble with his character.


Sun, Oct 18, 2009 : 8:45 a.m.

Mr. Bigelow, I respectfully disagree with you, but do agree w/Tater about Carr's silence. Afterall, Bump Elliot did first year head coach Bo a huge favor when players were told by Bump that he didn't have a shoulder for them to cry on. Oh, I have to ask, did L.C. sit with top Ohio State brass in a suite at last year's UofM - Ohio State game? I'm thinking not.


Sun, Oct 18, 2009 : 6:13 a.m.

Bigelow, When you put an asterisk next to the yardage record, put one next to the Appalachian State game too. Oh, and write a column in a Gainesville paper about how awful Florida is for playing Charleston Southern. The reality is, most top BCS teams had to schedule a clunker when the season was expanded, and most did. Check out OSU's and PSU's schedules and you see similar games. At least Michigan didn't go oper 70 points like some of its peers.


Sun, Oct 18, 2009 : 4:07 a.m.

This is one of the worst pieces of reporting that I've ever read! This guy must sweat negativity, WOW! What does Bigelow have against RR. I understand the reasoning behind scheduling this team. M won the game playing most of it's first year players! Lord knows that the defense needs as many reps as possible. What about the performance of all of those FRESHMAN rb's. The future of M's ground game looks great! Finally got Denard some quality reps. RR has stated many times that this is one of the smallest senior classes he's ever coached. He's trying to build depth at all positions while trying to build confidence at the same time. Who cares that it was against Del. St. It was only two years ago that lowly App. St. upset M!


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 11:14 p.m.

I echo the part about Pryor. I also used to think that U-M would be reeling for years without him, but now think that U-M not getting him was a blessing in disguise. He has not lived up to his #1 prospect hype yet and has underperformed as a whole so far. Today versus Purdue was another example of that. I think Michigan is better off in the long run with Forcier and Robinson.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 10:43 p.m.

Thank goodness for some folks with perspective! This whole conspiracy theory is, as Bigelow says, just plain silly. It's beyond silly...almost to the point of paranoia. Yeah to the chorus...also, very well put, teldar.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 9:36 p.m.

Lloyd Carr is doing what he feels is right.He understands that he wouldn't want a retired coach all in his coaching business and I think,last we've checked,RR is a big boy! I would think he can handle is own business.Tater,how do you know Bo would ask/say those things to Carr(you assume that he would like/approve of the new coach at Michigan),nobody knows how he would feel about the new look/spread Wolverines!?So,again,Lloyd Carr is only doing what HE feels is right(for Michigan)and since he is a grown man,he is entitled to do/feel that way!!Respect your Past guys,Please,respect your past!!!All In....GO BLUE!!!


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 9:07 p.m.

Best Part of Bigelow's Article? Reporting on Today's Game but Still Looking in the Rearview Mirror. Why is the Leach-Carr fiasco even in this article? Doesn't it seem a little out of place with the rest of TODAY'S activities? I've noticed AA writers have this wonderful ability to reflect back instead of moving forward. And to me, this is your site and some of your bloggers biggest problem---the ability to adapt to change. Some of you need to come join us in the "now." Bigelow, it's only ironic that you placed a POSITIVE experience today in the "rearview mirror" and chose to revive a NEGATIVE remark from this past week as newsworthy. Somehow, you and the rest of the writers at AA should be better than this.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 9:03 p.m.

Tater, I have to chime in with the chorus. I had my reasons for not liking Carr as the HC, but it wasn't for personal reasons. That said, silence generally assumes consent. In this case, one can only assume that Carr agrees with RR and his program. As for speaking out about not being part of a faction, you're asking that Carr prove a negative. And since you are, I'm confident nothing he might say would ever sit well with you.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 8:56 p.m.

Rodriguez said Carr has been supportive without being intrusive since Rodriguez took over following Carr's retirement after the 2007 season. This is an excerpt from an MLive article from a while back. What makes you think that Lloyd wants to air the AD's dirty laundry IF there is any. IF there are problems Lloyd would want it handled in-house. The guy only led M to a NC, 5 BT titles, and a 75% win percentage in 13 years. What makes you think he hates the University, the football program, and the new coach? Do YOU have inside info stating that Lloyd hates RR?


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 8:19 p.m.

interesting correlation between football and basketball teams..both happened against Iowa on the player benched at the end of the game due to not playing well and lack of focus to teach a lesson for future games and let other players know nobody is above the team yet the coach gets ridiculed for it...worked out for Manny Harris and the basketball will it go for Tate and the football team????

Pete Bigelow

Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 7:44 p.m.

Respectfully disagree, Tater. Carr's hardly part of an anti-RR faction. In fact, he's out trying to raise money for the athletic department and the football program in his role as an associate athletic director. When Rich was hired, Carr was there at the press conference to congratulate him, and then said he was going to step into the shadows and stay out of the spotlight, i.e. get out of Rich Rod's way. He's stayed true to those words. The fact that some small faction of conspiracy theorists believe Carr's silence is part of some sort of vindictive rebuke of Rodriguez is just plain silly. (No offense).


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 7:33 p.m.

tater, how can you say no one individual is not more important than the University of Michigan? everyone knows that RR is far more important than the football team, the university, and really, the city of Ann Arbor, as a whole.


Sat, Oct 17, 2009 : 6:40 p.m.

Jeez, Buzz Killington, way to ignore the positives or paint them in a negative light, and bring up week-old negative stuff.