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Posted on Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:30 a.m.

Bob Asmussen defends picking Michigan No. 1 in preseason AP poll

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is "unlike any other player in the country" and helps make the Wolverines the nation's No. 1 team, says Champaign News-Gazette writer Bob Asmussen.

Melanie Maxwell |

The Michigan football team opens the season as a two-touchdown underdog against the defending national champs. It could do so without a suspended starting tailback and defensive end.

It's breaking in new starters at six of the nine line positions.

It must travel to face three teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25, and a fourth -- Notre Dame -- that is one spot outside the poll.

Bob Asmussen knows all of this -- and yet, he believes the Wolverines are the best team in the nation.

Asmussen, an Illinois beat writer and longtime reporter for the Champaign News-Gazette, was the only voter in the country to give Michigan top billing in the preseason AP Top 25. The Wolverines finished No. 8 overall in the poll, which was released Saturday.

Asmussen already is taking heat for it.


Bob Asmussen, Illinois beat writer for the Champaign News-Gazette, was the only voter to select Michigan No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25.

Photo courtesy

A closer look at the AP Top 25

AP Top 25
1. USC (25) 1,445 points
2. Alabama (17) 1,411 points
3. LSU (16) 1,402 points
4. Oklahoma (1) 1,286 points
5. Oregon 1,274 points
6. Georgia 1,107 points
7. Florida State 1,093 points
8. Michigan (1) 1,000 points
9. South Carolina 994 points
10. Arkansas 963 points
11. West Virginia 856 points
12. Wisconsin 838 points
13. Michigan State 742 points
14. Clemson 615 points
15. Texas 569 points
16. Virginia Tech 548 points
17. Nebraska 485 poitns
18. Ohio State 474 points
19. Oklahoma State 430 points
20. TCU 397 points
21. Stanford 383 points
22. Kansas State 300 points
23. Florida 214 points
24. Boise State 212 points
25. Louisville 105 points

Bob Asmussen's ballot:
1. Michigan
2. USC
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Oklahoma
6. Florida State
7. Oregon
8. Georgia
9. South Carolina
10. Oklahoma State
11. Wisconsin
12. West Virginia
13. Arkansas
14. Michigan State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Texas
17. Clemson
18. Nebraska
19. TCU
20. Ohio State
21. Boise State
22. Stanford
23. Kansas State
24. Washington
25. North Carolina

"I don't think I'm famous -- infamous, maybe," Asmussen told by phone, noting he received several emails and tweets within a couple hours of the poll's release and "not of the favorable variety."

"I decided late spring on Michigan, and said, "OK, I'll take the hits.' Up (in Ann Arbor), I'll be fine, but elsewhere, you can imagine the fan reaction to this. Even the Illinois reaction, they don't like Michigan, so they're like, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Michigan has been ranked around No. 8 in most preseason polls, including at No. 8 in the coaches poll. It hasn't been ranked No. 1 by any major national outlets.

Asmussen knows he's in the minority, but is standing behind the pick. Why?

"First of all, Brady Hoke has done a great job," Asmussen said of the second-year Michigan coach. "I think when he came in there, it could have been a disaster. And instead, he managed that season last year. So, I'm impressed with the way he's turned that thing.

"I think they have extreme momentum going into the year, coming off the bowl and they played well down the stretch last year. I like that, and I think that's important to this team because, they obviously lost their way under (Rich Rodriguez).

"I like what he does, I like the staff he has there. So start with the coaching. I think it's fantastic, and everywhere (Hoke's) gone, he's done this. He's been good, and now he actually has the bodies to help him win a national championship."

Michigan is a 12.5-point underdog for its Sept. 1 opener against Alabama, but Asmussen ranks the Crimson Tide No. 3, two spots behind the Wolverines.

And he's taking the Wolverines.

"I think they had all summer to get ready for Alabama, and I think there will be a little bit of a hangover with Alabama," he said. "If you look at their history, (the Crimson Tide) don't win back-to-back titles. They win a title, then they fall back. And nobody talks about this, but their defense got clubbed (by turnover).

"I just have a gut feeling, for no reason, that Michigan wins that game. Then all bets are off at that point. Now, they may lose 38-10 and I'll get ridiculed and that's OK, but I just have a feeling, for whatever reason, they'll be OK in that game."

Asmussen shrugged off concerns about Michigan's revamped defensive line, which will break in new starters at each position against what could be the nation's best offensive line.

"When I look at playing Alabama, I"m not looking at the Alabama offense," he said. "Remember, (tailback) Trent Richardson isn't there. (Quarterback A.J.) McCarron's OK, not great. To me, it's not really a weakness versus a weakness, but the lesser part of the two teams is Michigan's defense and Alabama's offense.

"I mean, Alabama isn't going to score 60 against anybody, and so I think Michigan will hold them off."

Asmussen said he is a firm believer in momentum. He believes the Wolverines' strong finish in 2011 -- when they rocked Nebraska, ended a seven-game skid against Ohio State and then beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl -- will propel them into 2012.

And after a win against Alabama, he sees them being the best in the land.

"People think I did this to cause a stir, and that wasn't it," he said. "I just kind of went with my gut. It's a hunch, and if I'm wrong, I'll know very soon. My email box will be filling up by about midnight Sept. 1."

Other bits from Asmussen:

On quarterback Denard Robinson, another reason he picked Michigan No. 1: "Denard is unlike any other player in the country, in my opinion. I know there's a lot of great quarterbacks, but he has the potential to do kind of what (Baylor's Robert Griffin III) did last year. Maybe not put up the giant numbers in both areas, but if he even gets close to that, he has an offense, he could have a special season.

On Michigan's offensive line, another perceived weakness with new starters at three spots: "Now I know they got hit a little hard on offensive line, but there's probably some offensive linemen lying around. I don't worry about that part. And on defense, I know they got hit a little bit, but I know there's players there."

On picking Michigan over USC, which was tabbed No. 1 overall by voters: "It's a coin toss. I like Southern Cal too. I just think, 'I don't know why I have a feeling on Michigan, but that's the one.' It'd be No. 1 and No. 1a if I could vote them like that. (But) Southern Cal manages to lose a game every year they shouldn't lose, be it to Cal or Oregon State or somebody, and I just have a hunch that'll happen in there somewhere."

On whether he ranks teams based on their current talent, or projected finish at the end of the season: "I'm looking ahead a little bit. ... Honestly, I looked at the returning talent, the coaching staff, and to me, it's important how you finished last year. I do think there's a carryover. ... But you do project a little bit, you look at their schedule a little bit."

On whether the criticism bothers him: "No way. I think if you're a sports writer and criticism bothers you, then you have a real problem. I'm completely immune to it. Now my wife, she's not immune to it, so I got to keep her away from the email and Internet and stuff. ... When the emails come in, not that I have the time, but I'm going to write everybody back and be as kind as humanly possible.

"The preseason ballot is just guesswork, honestly. What I'd say to anyone who is going to be critical of me is, 'Did you think the (Pittsburgh) Pirates would be leading the NL Central this year?' There's all sorts of examples in sports where you think that's impossible, there's no way that team can do this,' and I always say, 'Well we don't know."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

And Kyle Mienke himself has said on MLive that he thinks Michigan's defense "will get smoked" by Alabama. Do you really think that, Kyle? But I'm afraid I can't agree with Asmussen, either. Yes, the pre-season poll is guesswork, but guesswork with proper research and thought can be quite good. That's no excuse to dismiss it entirely - that poll represents a consensus coming from those who make a living by studying and analyzing college football. So I prefer to agree with the consensus which says Michigan is No. 8 at this point and will lose to 'Bama by about 14 points. That's actually pretty good -- 'Bama beat LSU 13-0 to win the national championship. One could argue that a 13 or 14 point loss would put Michigan in the No. 3 spot (which is held by LSU) - because they didn't have a worse loss than LSU did against 'Bama. Also, statements coming from Hoke and company indicate that they believe that just playing the defending national champion will provide valuable lessons which can be applied in games later in the season. They may be thinking this game will also kickstart some of their freshman players and will be better preparation for them than playing cream puff teams. BTN commentators have said this is the first-ever time that two BCS bowl winners have faced each other in their first game of the season. Which makes this game an historic first. That's a pretty gutsy way to start a season. This Michigan team and these Michigan coaches have true grit. While I definitely don't agree with either Mienke or Asmussen, I still think there's plenty of upside for Michigan in playing against Alabama. I also believe that a second Michigan - Alabama game should be played next season: IN the Big House and IN the month of November. Lets see how the fair weather champions will do when the wind is whippin' and the snow's a-falling on the frozen artificial turf in the Big House! GO BLUE!


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Offense the author really underestimates how dominant this unit will be. The OL, QB, and WR are much better in 2012 than last year's. Maybe no TR at runningback but this is a top 5 backfield in nation, 1-2 punch of rjr Lacy and the super talented FR Yeldon, and fullback/hback/short yardage runner 250lb beast junior fowler who looks great this year, will do a lot of damage. OL with the addition of super soph lt cyrus kouandjio, and sr warmack and rjr fluker taking their development up another level to dominating beast mode, may be best OL college football has seen in a long time. AJ as a graduated rjr that has been through a rookie season as starter where he completed 67% of his passes, great td to int ration, and a NC, looks so much better this offseason. So good that some people wonder if he may enter NFL draft early. The wideouts, as a unit, looks better than any in the Saban era, and great as a unit. FR Amari Cooper, before he got turf toe, looked awesome. Hopefully he is back soon 100%. Soph Christian Jones in the slot has looked great. Rso d.white, rjr kenny bell, and rjr kevin norwood all look like they have arrived. This offense will be scary good. Negative, AJ go down and its a big drop off at QB. Overall I think this team should be the favorites for NC.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

Blah blah blah why don't you write a book David....o wait you don't get paid for your opinion like Bob does...I'm sure he knows what he's talking about, that's why he's a sports writer and your not...


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:20 a.m.

The author thinks the defense will struggle with Saban's complex defense like 2010 with so many new starters, but I am confident he is wrong. The safeties are Lester a 5th year senior 3 yr starter, and soph Sunseri who grew up with this defense as son of Coach Sal. As far as knowledge of defense and getting players in right spots this may be the best Saban has had in a duo. Junior corner Milliner is going into his 3rd year starting. Juco transfer Belue was at Bama this spring and has looked great, Saban has a history of first year prep and juco success at corner with k.jackson and Menzie, and Bellue is further along than either. Nickel safety sophomore Clinton Dix has looked very good. I am very confident starting secondary will be on the same page as well as any Saban secondary. Are the inside linebackers going to be confused? Nico Johnson is a senior, CJ Mosley is a junior, both have started a ton of games and know defense really well. Trey Depriest who will rotate on the inside, like Sunseri, has one of the highest football IQ's on team and has D down so good Saban has him making calls. Rso Adrian Hubbard as outside rusher has two years in Saban system, played a lot last year, and has looked very good. Soph Xavier Dickson the other outside rusher has looked very good also. I am very confident first team linebackers will be on same page. Will the DLine be confused? All the starters are seniors, rsr Dameon Square, sr jessie williams, and sr Dial, 2 out of 3 started last year, and the other played a lot in second rotation. This D is expected by insiders to be in between the 2010 and 2011 units as far as quality. Last year's D may have been best of all time, this year's D may have to settle for best in nation. Special teams should be better than 2011 with better depth of talent on roster to fill out units, punter cody mandel is vastly improved, and Smelley at pk is automatic at inside 40. Very talented fr with big leg for long fg.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

You are wrong to associate 2010 Bama coming off NC with the 2012. Saban didn't like the attitude and leadership of the 2010 team, they've worked extremely hard not to repeat the same mistakes and this 2012 team set fitness records for the Saban era and has the best attitude and leadership of any team of the Saban era according to insiders. I have watched practice video closely over the years and I see the same thing. It's a team with the same carryover from the national title game, which was as perfectly executed of a game I've ever seen by a team. This is also the deepest team of the Saban era. It's the first time Saban has had 6 yrs of recruiting his players. Both the 1st team offense, 1st team defense, and special teams look dominant.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

And GO BLUE!!!!!


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

For all you non believers We are the greatest team in ALL of NCAA history...and history repeats itself...its time!!! best winning percentage and most wins in NCAA history!!! most televised games! Only NCAA team to win 4 consecutive National Championships....11 National Championships...Yes the maizeNblue!!! Watch out world because its our turn....AGAIN!!!


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:38 a.m.

I don't understand why this prediction is earth shattering news. College football has so many peaks and valleys throughout the season that I predict anything is possible. Take out a QB with an injury and the whole season changes. One running back gets a drunk driving, gets suspended, 2nd string RB comes in and runs all over everyone. In the minds of most folks outside Ann Arbor most folks favor Alabama with a smile and that in itself could be a disadvantage to the kids actually playing the game. You can't just show up and win in college sports, your heart and head have to be totally into the contest. Should be an entertaining game and I think Alabama has the better talent but I think Mich. has an edge in this one due to the coaching staff at Michigan and some underrated talent and an explosive QB.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 9:22 a.m.

Maybe Alabama should have run Saban off in 2011 after his loss to LSU ?


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

Al Borges, huh. Didn't they run this cat off from Auburn after a big UA win? Want to get into playing guys charged with DUI and or felonies?


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

It's interesting to me how many people rip apart this man's analysis like they're somehow more qualified. Remind me again which of the people involved are good enough at this type of thing to get paid for it.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Him being the only guy to vote UM #1 puts him in the dingy all by himself. The rest of us just stand on the deck of the ship and watch him flail the oars as the rising tide sweeps him out to sea.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

You know I dont say this very often to you, but I agree wholeheartedly. Well said.

Nathan Parke

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

When trying to predict a winner in the Bama game you need to look at Matchups. Above all else CFB is a game of positional matchups and Unit matchups. Michigan O vs Bama D: Michigan's offensive line did lose a couple of key players especially Molk but Barnum is a very capable and smart Center. The Offensive line should matchup well with a depleted bama front seven. The Michigan running game is one of the most effective in the nation and we should expect a totall shutdown by the Tides Defense. Denard and Fitz/Rawls is very adequate to move the ball. The passing game should be mediocre at best but there is a chance that with Gardner playing the WR position that it can have a good game. DRob should be more adjusted to Borgess' system and the trick plays, options, and screens will keep the Bama D honest. This Michigan offense will not be completely shut down no matter what Sept 1st. Bama O vs Michigan D. They lost Richardson and Lacey might not be 100% by game time. The Michigan Defensive line is going to get pushed around a little bit in this game by a beast Oline. But last years Defense in the bend but dont break mode should be even more effective this year as Mattisons blitz packages and coverage packages open up and get more advanced. Even by last years standard. The Michigan Defensive backfield has a lot of experience finally and 2 NFL CBs. The DBs should be able to hold every bit of there own against McCarron and his WR's. So moving the ball through the air is not going to be easy for the Bama O. But the run game will get some production. . I'll make a very bold prediction and say Michigan does win this game in very close fashion. Something like 24-21. The difference is going to be what team can get a big play on special teams. Either way it comes out I dont see either team winning by more than 10 on Sept 1st.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Lol at Bama's depleted front 7 and UM holding Bama's passing in check with 2 NFL CBs. How are you going to cover the PA pass with the RB and TE sliding out for receptions? Any player on Bama's offense is subject to score on any given play. You won't even see it coming. Bama is as good as it gets at reading blitzes and hitting the open man.

david mallory

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

i hope bob is right everybody else"s opinion doesn't matter. GOBLUE


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

One man's opinion who happens to be an AP voter. Hope he's right but let's see how well Michigan is doing in November.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 10:21 a.m.

Good read, nice to see the guy sticking to his guns, I remember when I first saw the AP poll I wondered who it was that voted Michigan #1. Now I know. Good stuff.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

Because Alabama doesn't win back to back championships (actually they have in the past, and are 2 of 3 now), UM will win it???? Where is the logic in that?


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

When did Bama last win back to back? When did ANY team last win back to back? They lost THREE games the year after losing ZERO. That would be 100 winning %, while 10-3 is 76.9%. That by ANY measurement is a dramatic drop off. Your silly argument that they only lost by 4 points is rationalization. I do not remember anybody ever offering a prize for keeping games close. The trend has been consistent since Nick Saban has been coach. Every other year they are better..


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

@1998pa - All I can say is WOW. If you read the original comment, BamaJoe asks, "Where's the logic in that?" I tried to point out the logic, which you attacked. And to your point regarding faulty logic - that was my point all along. You have to understand someone's logic before you can point out its flaws, and thus establish it as faulty. Thanks for reiterating my point, however s l o w l y it took you to "give it some thought," and however painful it was.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

I never even mentioned the word "logic" in my comment, edjasbord. But if you want to argue semantics, fine. Asmussen uses extremely faulty logic in his analysis. Which is exactly what others seem to be implying. It's pretty obvious "if you give it some thought."


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

@Mass - you are confusing logic with likelihood or correctness. It seems that you dont really understand logic. Its a way of formulating an opinion or gaining an understanding in order to take action - it may be misguided, but still is a system for understanding, predicting, and acting. Think about that before you come here characterizing people as "fooling themselves" and then handing out downvotes to someone who is simply trying to understand.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Bama Joe, Don't bother looking, there is no logic in his thought process. Natioinal Championships have nothing to do with how a team will play in the season after. For anyone to try to say they can see his logic is totally fooling themselves.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

1998pa - Um, I didnt say the logic was a rule, and logic is just that - logic. It is separated from actually events, but it helps us understand actual events. What I did was try to find the logic underlying Asmussen's statement. There will obviously be exceptions, and many of them. But you can also look to Auburn's post National Championship team for a counter-example, and many others as well. Michigan's 1998 team is one that flies to mind. Your answer is obvious. I never said I agree with Asmussen, I said I see the logic he was employing. which is a first requirement if you wish to rationally debate a point.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:52 a.m.

edjasbord, Bama's 2010 team went 10-3 with two losses by a total of four points. The Tide lost to the eventual national champion (Auburn) by a single point in the SEC champ game, then OBLITERATED a solid MSU team. That's not a hangover. That's not suffering from losing seniors. It's a still-impressive season sandwiched between national titles.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

The logic is obvious if you give it some thought. The logic is that it tends to take a lot of talented seniors to win a national title. Thus, Alabama typically will lose a lot of the talent that it took to get them to the previous national championship. There is that league called the NFL, and players on national championship teams tend to go to the NFL after they win the national title. Its not much of a stretch.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

I've been waiting on this game since it was announced! Let me try and be the voice of reason and not sound like some SEC nutcase like the one who is just here to jerk your chain. I'm an SEC football fan who has always like the Maize and BLue. In fact i coached youth football for years and my team was dress in the uniform from head to toe! And, i hate OSU as much at you do! LOL!!! That being said, I see no way this game is close for four quarters. Michigan has recruited well and will be a national championship contender in 2013 and 14. I respect Brady Hoge and what he has done but this years team is too thin, undersized and limited on both sides of ball to even slow Alabama down. This years Alabama running attack will be lethal with what is arguably the best offensive line in the country and is touted here as being possibly the best Alabama has ever fielded. Not good, but the best. Your defensive front will not stand up for four quarters. In fact this game could get ugly early. One point i've read in post here is that Alabama's offense is not potent; don't fool yourselves. Defensively, though Alabama has lost a lot of talent Saban's method of heavy rotation is why his defenses are so good. Don't get caught up in the losses because most have played a lot and are not some wide eyed freshmen.They are 5 star athletes who were MEN when they stepped on campus. The chance you have is to score a quick one early and get these new guys to second guess themselves. But, you will have to score early and often to keep up. Finally, you guys are still glowing from the Virginia Tech game which is normal. But, if you think that Alabama is Virginia Tech you are foolish. Alabama 38- Michigan 17


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

SEC rules allow 25 players to be signed a year. If you lose a few Juniors to the NFL and have attrition because 4 & 5* players are buried on the depth chart you can easily sign a full class.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Ill root for you guys in every other game than this one! LOL!!!! I think with the talent you have coming in you will be the team to beat in the BIG.

Blue Marker

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Interesting post with good information. I guess when you can sign 33 guys every recruiting class you can build some depth. I'm glad the SEC has made some rule changes regarding over-signing. It's still not enough but it helps.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Let all the haters keep opening their mouths. We will shut them up and put them in their rightful spot come the end of sep 1st. Go blue. All you haters, hail!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

which is why he is a "beat reporter"...

Chad Williams

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

The 12.5 underdog thing is a bit crazy. I respect Alabama but i think its a slap in the face to Michigan. Mcarron is a solid guy he is more of a manager than and playmaker. He has the protection that warrants no real need to make plays. Expect a heavy dose of power football from them. Michigan is thin on the d line and they will be tested the very first play. There will be no gimmicks from this team. Michigan will be able to move the ball between the 20s but redzone efficiency will be key in every game. Michigan will need a big play or defense or specials teams to really break through. Turnovers will be key and when they happen. Field position will be key as well. Your not going to have many 12complete play 80 scoring drives.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:47 a.m.

the thing about spreads is it has everything to do with money. while individuals may bet on bias, real bettors are not taking into consideration whether they love or hate Michigan or Alabama. I can understand that you're surprised by the line, but I wouldn't call it "crazy." I do think you're right about Michigan needing a big play on defense or special teams, but the simplest answer is the biggest playmaker on the field is Denard. The question is can he break free against a quality defense. MSU's is the best defense he's consistently faced, and he's been held in check quite well.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

So based on a hunch a sportswriter could say they would vote EMU number 1 in the country as well. THIS is everything that is wrong with college football. Polls should be banned until after 5 weeks of the season


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

thank you BCS...and Welcome Playoff System! not perfect, but oh so much better than the stupid polls.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

Hey, Ike! Take a hike! LOL.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

I think I'll do that, with the exception of a couple of you the rest are apparently panzies. Good luck in Dallas, hoping for a great game.

Theo's Brother

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Thanks Asmussen. As a fan, I'm flattered. But you're nuts! With that being said, it's something that is attainable and for our boys to shoot for. GO BLUE!

Terry Star21

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

I read everything this writer said and he is correct in his analysis - a genius so to speak. It is tough as I know very well, to be right all the time - painfully honest to be. Yes, it is painful to the outsiders, as their small minds, full of hatred for the nations best team refuse to hear or believe the truth. They chose to berate such authoritarians like myself and Bob the genius, and instead strive to show their lack of football knowledge and intelligence woes. Bob is correct in his verbal illustrations, but is Michigan a number one team ? It is true, they are capable of beating any team, anywhere at any time - so the answer is always yes ! MgoBlueForTiM....Bob the Genius, looking good Sept. 1


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

tell that to Appalachian State! or MSU for that matter...


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

I need a laugh today, you have provided that. Thank you sir. I hope you're being sarcastic anyway????


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Asmussen make a strong point about bama's offense. I can't figure out how Michigan is a 12.5 pt. dog in this game. Plus bama's defense is going to have a lot to figure out in that first game. I'm starting to feel real good about this game for Blue. Even if they lose a close game they still have a chance for a strong season................................. And if they win.....................look out.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

@PAL. Michigan scored an average of 33.3 points per game. 1.5 points per game less than Alabama. So what was your point? That Alabama has Superman size NFL offensive linemen that can only score 1.5 points per game more than Michigan's weak little Rich Rod guys? Seems like a weak argument.

Terry Star21

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

bigblue.....feel good, real good about this game for blue !


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Yes go ahead and dismiss the Alabama offense that returns the best offensive line in the country with a stable of quality backs and receivers. Alabama averaged 35 points a game in 2011 and that includes the regular season game with LSU. They have a very capable pro style offense and they can score when they need to. It's obvious some of you guys including AP writers have a limited knowledge of the technical aspects of the game. By the way, how many points per game did Michigan average for 2011?


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 5:21 p.m. If this is what a hangover feels like sign me up! Saban has been recruiting on a 3 year cycle for awhile now. Losing quality players to the Pros in 3 years is expected. I love how this guy likes to look at what Alabama lost rather than what we have returning and dismisses Alabama's offense. I respect his right to rank the teams how he sees fit, but I'm laughing at his rationale.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

I don't respect him, he hasn't earned it with his rationale


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

I like D Rob but he might need to lace up his cleats for this one. :D


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

It's all about depth, if a team can't get the score out of reach so backups can play then it actually is inexperiened players coming in. The players are given as much of the complex playbook as they can handle, no more and no less. Please explain to me how replacing 3 of 5 offensive lineman is going to stack up agianst ALA's D lineman, they'll be in the backfield all game long.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Issac, you won't get an arguement from anyone with a lick of common sense. I feel that many of our fans are drunken with excitement from last season, so I understand their optimism but it has gotten flat out foolish. I'm not saying that we should bow down to Saban and the Tide, damn it I want to win as much as the rest of us. But some of us aren't realistic about who we are as a team and whom we are facing. I hear of all of this talk about catching Bama early, well they have a new QB or PSU hung in there so shall we. But that is pure mularkey, PSU played well but they didn't have a QB that could move the ball effectively. I seriously doubt that we couldv'e beat PSU last season as they were more talented than us too. We were pretty damn lucky to have such a great record last season, but with missing our stars from last year, we'll struggle to get 9 wins.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

So nobody wants to give an opinion on how these lineman will stack up? Just gonna vote the post down? Nothing to add? Come on guys, the season is drawing near, I've been waiting to argue over some football. haha


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

How ignorant can a beat writer be? Mich couldn't put any big opponents away last season for their backups to get any meaningful playing time. ALA did, they replace NFL caliber players with more NFL caliber players. Whoever Mich has "laying around" isn't going to cut it versus SEC caliber lineman. ALA has THE BEST offensive line in college football hands down so even if AJ is just "OK, not great" he'll still be plenty successful against Mich defense. Afterall I think he did just fine vs LSU's defense in January. Mich doesn't know what relentless hard-nosed football is. It's laughable that anyone with any actual football knowledge would vote Mich #1 unless they just have that ole "gut" feeling. What a joke this guy is. Mich won't get out of Dallas Sept. 1st with a win, they'll leave with their tail between their legs.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Michigan may lose the game, but they're certainly not leaving with "their tail (sic) between their legs".


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

So the guy went with his gut. So do a lot of the other sportswriters who vote. A lot of people thought Jerry Palm was out of his mind when he predicted Michigan would play in a BCS bowl game last year. And his prediction was even more unbelievable considering how poor Michigan's defense was the year prior. Alabama's getting a lot of respect based on being the defending national champions and overall reputation. However, they have some questions regarding personnel just like we do. I don't care how talented they are, replacing the number of experienced players on defense that Alabama does will present some challenges--at least in the early games. And Nick Saban is known for running a complex defense. That will be an added challenge for the new starters. Having a reputation is nice, but there's a reason why they play the games.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

Going from an abomination to the college football world to a BCS game is easier than taking the step to the national title the following year. That's a lot to ask of any team, let alone one that has the serious questions the Wolverines have.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Alabama faces a better team than UM in practice every day.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

"(Hoke's) been good, and now he actually has the bodies to help him win a national championship." Well that's a question mark there. I do think it's possible that Bama's defense won't be all together like they will be later in the year. They do have very good athletic ability still, but not exerienced as a unit. Michigan may indeed surprise them.

Howard the Duck

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

This is a perfect example of why polls of any kind ... coaches, experts or writers, should not be used to determine any BCS or playoff rankings. "I just kind of went with my gut. It's a hunch, and if I'm wrong, I'll know very soon." Not quite the unbiased assessment is it?


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:39 a.m.

Going with one's gut isn't biased, Howard. Anyone who fills out a top 25 is "going with their gut" from time to time. After all, there's no way you can find definitive edges between all 25 teams. So I wouldn't categorize it as biased. But his analysis and reasoning prove he's got little else to go on but "a hunch." And that's pretty pitiful.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

You will never spot an unbiased assessment in a coaches poll, as long as coaches are human.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Here's a tissue, dry your eye howard


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

If Michigan were to pull off a big time shocker against a hung over Alabama?....then maybe, just maybe there is a shot. You still have to go @ND, @Nebraska for night games. You still have MSU, probably the best team they will play outside of Bama. Then you have @OSU where they will be treating the game like there own personal Rose Bowl. That is a lot to ask from a team that lost a Molk, a Martin, a Hemingway, and a Vanburgen, with no real experience to back them up. I'll be pretty impressed if they beat two of the above mentioned teams.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:34 a.m.

Nice analysis, michboy40. But you seem to be forgetting they have replacement linemen for Martin and Molk just lying around.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Lame analysis: "I don't worry about that, there's players laying around." Regarding the O-line, there are definitely not a lot of players laying around, nor is there on the D-line. No one wants us to be #1 more than I do, but I think 9-3 is way more reasonable a choice.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

this guy is proof that both the AP and Coach's Polls are pointless.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

I agree, Brian. There's no question prognosticators are proven wrong all the time in sports, a la Asmussen's Pittsburgh Pirates reference, but this was amateur analysis, at best. "Eh, it was a hunch." What the heck is that? "I think they had all summer to get ready for Alabama, and I think there will be a little bit of a hangover with Alabama," he said. "If you look at their history, (the Crimson Tide) don't win back-to-back titles. They win a title, then they fall back. And nobody talks about this, but their defense got clubbed (by turnover)." In order: Alabama had all summer to get ready for Michigan, as well. The Tide win back-to-back titles? Yeah, I guess. Then again, they won in 2009, had their "fallback" (10-3, including two losses by a combined four points), then won the national title again last year. Boy, that's some big inconsistency. Beyond it being a bad point, Asmussen would be wise to heed the seven most important words in investing: past performance does not guarantee future results. Finally, Bob must have been out of country for the summer because any reputable analysis of the Crimson Tide mentions four of last year's defensive starters went in the top 35 picks of the NFL draft. That gets us back to the quote Brian used. For Alabama, this spells trouble. For Michigan, "eh, I'm sure they have some linemen lying around." Ultimately, Asmussen could wind up correct. We'll know soon enough. Regardless, though, his analysis (at this point) is flawed and the attempted defense of his "reasoning" is full of holes.

Wally the Wolverine

Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

Tru Dat!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Bob Asmussen and I share the same hunches. Michigan will be very good. One question is the D line but Mattison and Hoke are all star coaches and will manage it well. The other question mark is wide receiver. Michigan is still a running spread team with a bit of pass mixed in. As a result, we don't need game-breaking WRs this season. We only need a couple possession receivers.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Keep drinking that Blue & Yellow Kool-Ade! Michigan will be lucky to win their division!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Love the smell of fear coming from east Lansing


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

You can see the fear in lil bro.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Michigan WON'T win their division. Where's the threat?


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Sparty troll....