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Posted on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

ESPN analysts predict Michigan won't win Big Ten championship

By Kyle Meinke


ESPN's Todd Blackledge says Brady Hoke has done a "marvelous" job at Michigan, but picked Michigan State to win the Big Ten Legends Division.

Jeff Sainlar |

The Michigan football team is ranked among the top 10 in both major preseason polls. It even received a first-place vote in the AP poll.

It is the media's preseason favorite to win the Big Ten.

ESPN college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Todd Blackledge aren't buying into the hype, and neither picked Michigan to win the Big Ten championship.

"I think at this stage, they lost a lot from last year," Herbstreit said during a segment previewing the Big Ten. "Junior Hemingway seemed to bail out that passing game very often last year. Mike Martin on the defensive side kind of anchored the defensive line. You take him out of the mix.

"I think there are some questions on this team, not to mention not only do they open up with Alabama, but you start to go through their schedule, this is a nasty schedule that they're going to have to be able to get through."

Michigan opens the season Sept. 1 against the defending national champs, and also must face Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State on the road.

"I still have some major questions about them," Blackledge said in the segment. "I think Brady Hoke and his staff have done a marvelous job. But my two biggest questions about Michigan: Denard Robinson still has to prove himself as a passer in a more consistent way.

"(Second), there were three senior defensive linemen who anchored that defense who are all gone, who have to be replaced, and that will be tough to do."

Herbstreit picked Michigan State to win the league, while Blackledge thinks Wisconsin will repeat as champion.

But Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback, sees the tide shifting in Michigan's favor in the future due to strong recruiting. Ditto for the Buckeyes, who now are helmed by Urban Meyer.

"I think you would have them in that (national championship) discussion this year, if they were eligible," Herbstreit said of the Buckeyes. "I think he inherits a team that has some talent, I think he has a quarterback who plays his system.

"Within a year, Ohio State is going to be shooting for goals of trying to compete not just for Big Ten championships, but national championships. And with the way he's recruiting -- and you mentioned Brady Hoke -- I think we're getting ready to go back to the old days with Woody and Bo, the 'Big Two, Little Eight' they used to say? I think both of those coaches are really shooting for bigger goals than just a Big Ten championship."

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



Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Herbstreit has been in shock ever since Florida pounded Ohio State in Arizona a few years ago. There is absolutely no way msu will win the Big Ten because they cannot win the Legends division with a loss in Ann Arbor. Bring it on msu, we are anxiously awaiting Oct. 20th.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

Just like the last couple years it will come down to Wisconsin and Michigan State. Although, Hoke has done a marvelous job.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Blackstreit and Herbledge are the ultimate HOMERS. They would pick any team over Michigan. There bias is so openly disgusting. I chaulk them up as not possessing any degree of credibility at all.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

Bringing up osu during the pre-season conversation about this year's conference champion and saying anything other than osu isn't eligible is being a "Homer". Going on about them being a national player next year makes him a "Super Homer". KH does say some things that give the appearance of being balanced but if you listen to him he never goes against osu for the big games. IMHO.

Blue Marker

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

@Dennis, Do you really believe your own post? I can't think of a single incident where either of these guys was bias, let alone "openly disgustingly" bias. They're paid to give their opinions on football teams across the country and I think they do a fine job of it. That doesn't mean I agree with everything they say, but I do believe they have complete integrity. Every fan thinks "the media" is against their team at some point but it's actually you being the homer.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.

This dude said osu would be in the national championship conversation THIS YEAR if they weren't ineligible!!! Interesting. Also, I'm very happy ESPN did not pick our Wolverines.

Chad Williams

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

I think unlike most Michigan doesnt have 8 cupcakes at home this year. Thats cause to think this team will be better with different win/loss total. Last year the only tough games u saw on the road was msu and iowa. Both losses. They did not leave the big house til the 6th week of the season. Results were 5-0. Away from home michigan struggled. Yeah they beat ND and Neb but do it in a hostile in environment at night. Not so easy. For those of you who think Michigan will just roll through 12-0 and play Wisconsin and win are crazy. I dont think any team in the nation could go undefeated with 6 games at home and @ND @Neb @Osu. Not including the big one in dallas.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Everyone, What the ESPN analysts think does not matter. They are not in the Michigan locker room. Not one of them has seen Team 133 practice. Not one knows or understands how Hoke and co. run the team. So they don't know Michigan will do. If they did, than they would know who could step up. Its not about what you've lost, its about moving forward and keeping the momentum. That's how Michigan was successful under Bo, Gary, and Lloyd, and that's how they will be successful under Brady Hoke. The coaches don't get caught up in what "analysts" think, neither do the players. None of them know what's going on in the Michigan lockeroom, so everything they say is based on just opinion, and that's let. Don't get caught up in preseason hype. Its about how you do on the field, what others think. Remember, we weren't expect to win more than 8 games by some, and we end up winning 11. Back in 1997, some said Michigan was done and they ended up going 12-0 and winning the National Championship. So what the media predicts means absolutlely nothing. Its about production on the football field that matters the most. Trust in the coaching staff. They know what they are doing. Be positive and be encouraged. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, all things are possible. God bless you all my friends :). Love you all :).


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

@SEC Fan: Exactly. @Tom: Exactly. @AJ1980: Thank you Tim Tebow. You tipped me off to your "secret identity" there at the end of your otherwise inspirational post.

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:56 a.m.

Michigan is #1 in all time wins. #1 in all time winning percentage. #2 all time in the AP Poll rankings. Eat that Tom.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

First 1/2 since 1948. Impressive...LOL!


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

shared a national championship.

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

with osu recruiting the way they are they will be in trouble with the ncaa again.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Kyle, Please refrain from showing any pix with these oh so ugly little brother uniforms. Thank you :) GO BLUE!

Terry Star21

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

D....can we keep the saying though; "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee (thugs beware).

Steve McQueen

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

2007 Herbstreit "This is a bad matchup for Michigan....they will not be able to match Florida's speed and will fall behind by a few scores early" uh huh... keep poppin that Just for Men burnt orange tint Kirk...a face lift will be coming soon as well.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Tom see above. You are on here so much I answered the post. I was there and Florida wanted to win. Didn't MSU play in the Chump bowl in Orlando the day after Christmas that year. How did you do?

Terry Star21

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

Steve......good memory, now I also remember that quote (sounds like something Thugtonio said, that comes back to haunt him forever). I liked your post about your old football injury still hurting. Mine's a knee, and it still bothers me as well.

Steve McQueen

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Im sorry.. did someone say something? apparently not...only intelligent responses register in this mind. Go Blue.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

That game meant nothing to Florida coming off of their national championship season. It was a big game for Michigan's 3 star seniors who fell on their faces against App State. Your team hasn't won a game of any consequence since. How's the wait? Where's the threat?

Steve McQueen

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

typical sparty leading with the crown of his helmet above...

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Tom, I was there with 65,000 Florida fans and they wanted to win that game. I remember the ESPN fan poll that was 91% Florida. Heck if Mike Hart doesn't drop the ball inside the 5 yd line twice, it would have been a rout, 50+ points for Michigan. Where's the threat? His name is Brady HOKE and as you already know, he is no joke. Three of your glorious 4 wins were vs the WCiMFH so enjoy. Those days are over!


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

@ Tom I agree with you, Michigan did suck that day. While I don't agree with everything you say on here, this I do agree with you on. To be honest I'm glad it was so windy last year otherwise I think Cousins would have put up huge numbers and would have blown Michigan out of the water


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

This looks like the defining "Flight of the Bumblebee" scramble by Gardner in the closing minutes. You team sucked that day.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

I think this craziness, combined with the same craziness of the one pollster who voted UM #1, combined with SI putting UM ranked behind MSU, etc. etc etc.... only means one thing. Well ok, two. 1. These guys are all talking out of their tuckus. 2. Since none of them agree, looks like we're in for a great and fun season!


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Yep, let's play football. Let the game begin. Reading all these predicitions are amusing. Where's the truth when one pundit says Michigan will win the B10 or should be the top rated team in nation, etc. All they have are a few clue at this point. Scaps of facts, figures and history. Kirk Herbstreit made some good points but will his opinion may or may not come true about Michigan Team 133. Go Blue!!

Terry Star21

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Seriously ? Herstreit; a former buckeye QB that never could beat Michigan and Blackledge; born in ohio and graduated HS in ohio was a former nittany QB who never beat Michigan as well, not giving due to the nations best football team ? Imagine that ! MgoBlueForTim...jealousy, fear and threat causes blindness.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Terry - Herbie and Todd attended OSU to and PSU and played the game. You have no ties to the Amazed and Blew other than to like their football team. Clueless in Flint!

Blue Marker

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

I don't think there is any conspiracy here. Both of these guys have proven (to me at least) that they're about the game and not hidden agendas. Honestly, I think they are two of the best in the business. As for what Michigan does or doesn't do only time will tell. Has 11 days ever taken so long?


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Blindness? You think Michigan is winning the Super Bowl this year, and you're calling those two blind...

Terry Star21

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.



Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

I disagree. I think Nebraska will beat Wisconsin to win the Big10, but only because Ohio St. isn't eligible. Of course I know way better than all these analysts...


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Shocking, former OSU QB doesn't buy Michigan hype....


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Yup Garrison, that is how it happened. I don't know if Herbstreit ever named his source. Here is an article and it reports Herbie reported his story was "inaccurate." Still I think making such an announcement on the day of the game is a real low blow and created some turmoil, both to LSU and possibly to Michigan is Miles was the first choice and was at least considering the move. I really think ESPN should have fired him. Even if he was considering himself a journalist, had he knew anything about the profession he would have known he should have gotten a second confirmation. That is fairly standard especially if your original (one) source is anonymous.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

Mick52, I didn't know about all that.... interesting indeed. I do remember, though, when Stanford won their bowl when there was all that speculation that Harbaugh would be on his way back to Ann Arbor, or possibly San Francisco, and whoever was interviewing him after the victory, in front of his team and the whole nation, asked him what his plans were for the upcoming season. I remember thinking how ridiculous that was, and if my memory serves me well, I think Harbaugh went out of his way to put that guy in his place.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Hersstreit should have been fired for his behavior over the coach succeeding Coach Carr. On the day of the national championship he announced that his "confidential sources" told him Les Miles was coming to Michigan which resulted in LSU demanding Miles decide before game time. What a crappy thing to do to a whole team (LSU) the day of the game. Not to mention screwing up Michigan's (and Miles) plans if it were true. Herbstreit should have kept his big mouth shut. Had he revealed his source or some proof that was true, that might lessen my anger, but still, he is an announcer, not a news reporter and should not have said anything.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Agree 1998 - Buckeye fans often complain about Herbie. I find him to be very objective. PS. He picked Michigan in the 10/15/11 beat down but not gonna hold it against him. It is clear that until further notice MSU and the BADgers are the teams to beat in the BIG. I am also very confident that OSU is going to beat Hokie's Jokie's in C'bus in 2012. Where's the threat?


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8 p.m.

I think you're seeing what you want to. Herbstreit is an outstanding analyst, and he does a great job of remaining objective. I've heard him say MANY complimentary things about Michigan throughout his career.

Howard the Duck

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

You can fool the media but you can't fool a player and Herbstreit and Blackledge see the obvious flaws that those wearing blue glasses ignore.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Michigan does not need a Hemingway this year as Denard should be improved. Moll could be missed, but I think Barnum should fill that role nicely. Sure we lost Martin and Van Bergen (not sure why they include Heininger in the mix but whatever), but if Will Campbell proves himself, which I think he can with the offseason he has had, I don't think our defense misses a step from last year. After all this Year 2 under Hoke and staff. I think ESPN analysts and MSU fans alike are too much into the hype of MSU's success. Same could be said of MSU losing star studded players such as Cousins, Cunningham, Martin, Baker, and Worthy. For them to say MSU won't have any drop off is just being naive.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

"Blah, blah, blah." - Billions of college football analysts. Let the real season begin please!


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Second that. I am getting tired of these pre season predictions, polls., etc. that seem to be coming out daily. None of them really matter. With nearly every team there are a few players, who if injured and have to sit out one or more game can result in a loss and poof goes the season. Or just an upset.

Kyle Meinke

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

garrisondyer ... amen man.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

They certainly are giving a lot of credit to that new QB at Michigan State...


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Let's stop worrying about State. Where has our ego gone? As far as I'm concerned this is the Big Two and MSU is just a fish. And always will be. This is the Michigan way!


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

ANYBODY who watched MSU football realizes that Le'Veon Bell is a MUCH BETTER player than Baker...and that's why he bolted for the NFL. Where's the threat?


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

JamesF: MSU played games aside from that against UM. And Bell is a far superior RB to Baker. That's not even an argument. As far as Maxwell, you don't have to be sold. I'm not sold either. But he's in his fourth year in the system. Is that meaningless to you? If the O Line is all it's cracked up to be, all Maxwell has to be is solid for the Spartans to excel. It's a little funny to me how people don't just question Maxwell, rather they point out negatives, as if they have more reason to be certain about him playing poorly as optimists do about him playing well. I'm sure it all has to do with the school name on your diploma...


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

They sure are. Not sold on that MSU won't have any drop off. Losing a starting QB such as Cousins and losing 2 of your most productive WRs Martin and Cunningham is huge. Not to mention losing their anchor on defense with Worthy and their offense workhorse RB of Baker. Not sold on Bell like they say. He wasn't productive against Michigan last year (7 attempts for 20yards, 2.9 YPC with his longest of 8 yards...Take away that one run and his YPC drops to 2). In my opinion, Michigan is in a far better situation than MSU.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

Notre Dame does not deserve to be on the "tough schedule" listed by these writers. Nebraska maybe: but Michigan handled them well when Team 132 still had only a junior at QB and the team was under brand new coaching. Denard is a senior this year and so are many others on both sides of the ball - we expect higher level of performance from this year's seniors and I think we're going to get it. Ohio and MSU: sure, I think it may be true that Michigan is a season away from being close to championship level. But again: this team is now matured and this team is being coached by some of the best in the business. I'd say Sparty may have a lot more to handle this year than they did last year- and they still have no claim to consistency even after four good years. Lets see MSU put up a 25 year streak like Michigan has before admitting them to the Club of Champions. Leaving: Urban's 2012 Buckeyes. We can only wait and see what happens. But I for one am not giving up my Michigan Fan status any more than I'm forgetting: this IS Michigan.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

aarox You know it was selecting only sec teams, teams that had already played each other, that led to changing the format don't you? (Remember it was the reason given for not allowing osu and Michigan a rematch for the NC a few years ago.)


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

You do know that our selection along with Wva is widely regarded as the final nail in the BCS, don't you?

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

Tom, Michigan went to a BCS bowl game and won. Where did your team go again? Didn't MSU give a game, or two, to ND over the last few years? Come on, you know that had to hurt! It wouldn't be 4 games if it wasn't for the WCiMFH so count your blessing and enjoy it because you know it's going to be few and far between for MSU from now on. It's a good thing your only 4 years old (it's the only time frame you use so I'm guessing) otherwise you might know what the overall record is between UM and MSU.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Handled them well? it took a miracle finish for "M" to win that game at home. The ND QB was "only a soph"...and a they had a second year coach. Club of champions? Michigan hasn't tasted a championship since 2004. Dantonio would be 5-0 vs. your team had MSU not blow a 10 point 4th quarter lead in '07. Your team hasn't done SQUAT since Mike Hart walked out the door. You gained 170 yards and beat VT! Big deal! LOL! Where's the threat?

Blue Marker

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Dude! Michigan beat ND in the closing seconds of a game with some of the luckiest plays I've ever seen. (The fumble that lands in DR's hands and he runs in for a TD or Reese just flat out dropping a ball while trying to make a pass come to mind). Let's be honest and say things went our way last year, not say we "handled" them. A night game in South Bend will be a very stiff challenge.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

I think those are all fair points. It's not far-fetched to think we won't win it this year. That said, I think we have as good of a chance as any, and we'll see where the cards fall.

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

Blackledge once proclaimed Michigan losing to Penn State, FSU winning at NC and Nebraska beating up on Mizzu all in the same minute. Although that was 1997 he hasn't been right much since then so let him and KH pose for the camera. Did you notice how he worked ohio into the championship conversation even though they aren't even eligible? Homer!

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

To clarify, TB was wrong on all his picks that day, and was removed from the studio after that year. (He picked Michigan to lose a close game vs PSU that day. Michigan won, I think the score was 35 to 8, and it wasn't that close! KH bringing up NEXT year so he could talk about ohio is so unprofessional it border's on "advanced homerism". The article is about winning the BT conference title this year. ohio can't so why mention it? 'Cuz he can! He gets to keep his parking place outside woody's slum.


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

i thought blackledge said michigan would make it, but not win it over wisc.