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Posted on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan football team all business in Sugar Bowl prep after lacking focus for last year's bowl

By Kyle Meinke


Mike Martin on Michigan playing in the Sugar Bowl: "This is a business trip. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, and do all those fun things with each other and experience it, but we’re going down there to win a football game."

Melanie Maxwell |

Mike Martin has had a year to ruminate on what went so wrong in last year's Gator Bowl, and he's diagnosed several problems.

But there's one that stands out more than any other.

"The focus just wasn’t there," the senior captain said.

The Michigan football team (10-2) is ticketed for the Sugar Bowl this year, where it'll play Virginia Tech (11-2) on Jan. 3, and Martin is determined to drop the curtains on his career without the kind embarrassment that accompanied a 52-14 postseason loss to Mississippi State last year.

That means a change in focus is required, and it appears to be setting in.

Martin, for example: "This is a business trip. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, and do all those fun things with each other and experience it, but we’re going down there to win a football game."

Junior safety Jordan Kovacs didn't sound much different: "Obviously, we want to have a good time, but at the end of the day, it’s a business trip. We're down there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to win."

Senior tight end Kevin Koger, your turn: "I mean, we’ll definitely have a little bit of fun, but the main thing is to go down there and win the football game. ... This is a business trip.”

Got that? This is a business trip.

Friday, players rolled up their sleeves for their first bowl workout. Beforehand, though, Michigan coach Brady Hoke met with his seniors to ensure they would set that tempo heading into the postseason.

"Coach talked about him being with other teams and having experience with other guys that are complacent and are OK with getting 10 wins and getting done with the regular season," Martin said. "It's easy to get caught in that."

Hoke has coached in two bowls. One went well, one did not.

He guided Ball State to the International Bowl in 2007, where the Cardinals were routed 52-30 by Rutgers. He had better postseason success last year with San Diego State, when he beat Navy 35-14 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

What did he learn from those two experiences?

"The one thing, there’s a fine line between trying to outsmart yourself, maybe outpractice yourself a little bit, and the intensity that you want to do things with," Hoke said. "There’s a tendency sometimes to get stale.

"You like the consistency of how you prepare, but at the same time, I think you need to change it up enough."

Hoke said he would vary drills and the lengths of practices to keep things fresh for Michigan, which will go more than five weeks without playing a game.

That game, at least, was a 40-34 win against Ohio State, which gives Michigan the momentum it lacked last year.

When asked about a possible letdown after building up so much for the game against the Buckeyes, Martin responded: "Practice (Friday) was so energetic, guys were out flying around and hitting. This team wants to win football games.

"This is a new year. Everything is just so much different, it’s incomparable to years passed."

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



Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Last season. Those players just wanted the season over with... I know that feeling. This season, you can see those players, just want to keep playing.... I'm looking forward to this bowl game

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

Thanks to those who view the glass half full and say, "Where the hell is the rest of my beer, the second half of the Michigan game is about to start!" It NEVER fails, let some of the naysayers loose for a half a day and what do you get? "Fantasy" football! Rewriting history! Comparing Coach Carr, Hall of Fame Coach at Michigan, to the WCiMFH, Call of Shame coach, to the desert. Really? There is one who was a steadfast fan of the last coach and to make it look better for the WCiMFH he made up all this bad stuff about Coach Carr. Numbers? Not important. Today someone pointed out that the difference between the last six years and the six previous years under Coach Carr was he lost 4 more games during the last 6 years. This is the "Titanic" drop in Coach Carr's teams at the end of his tenure at UM. The other guy going 6-18 in the BT, all Coach Carr's fault. Michigan has a great HC and staff. The players are all together and the defense WILL be ready for VaTech. The defense vs osu was set to take away the run and let the 118th rated passing teaam beat Michigan. The Blue won, and this lady wants to act like the defense is suspect and is running around like Chicken Little. Coaches Mattison and Hoke don't act like that. That was the last guy on the sidelines, remember. Michigan will be ready and she will just have to find something else to make up to complain about. THIS IS MICHIGAN! GO BLUE!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

GO HOKE GO BLUE!!!! Keep up the focus and pound the hokies.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

Lorain, Tally, et al... Rodriguez did an awful job at UM and will go down in history as our worst coach ever. LC, on the other hand, will go down as an all-time great (Hall of Fame, anyone?) and will probably have buildings named after him at some point. Try as some of you might to re-write the books, RR was a lousy coach all on his own merit. He earned big boy money to do a big boy job, then blamed his failures on the former coach and his players (now "his guys" by the way), and now takes credit for the job Hoke and his staff have done. That's poor character, imo. 50, 100, 150 years from now when people look at the record of UM coaches, RR will be as memorable as Frank Crawford or Elton Wieman (who both had better records, by the way - even 'no coach' in the first few years had a better winning %). So, think and say what you want now, but RR's stature will shrink to being completely forgotten over the years, while Carr's name will forever be linked to greatness at UM and his stature will only grow as time passes. Remember, even some ND fans still blame Weiss' failures on Willingham and some Oklahoma fans think John Blake wasn't given enough time there. You guys should all go form a club.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

All programs will have down times, no matter how storied they are, UM is no exception. And all I'm saying is that UM was going downhill before RR started, hit bottom (3-9), then started back up 5-7, 7-6 then 10-2, so yes, he was also a help. This is typical for most programs going through change. If BH had come in 08, his 1st year would not have been 10-2 and that's not a knock on him, it's just the truth.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

Lorain and I will be at the banquet tonight, but unlike last year, we will not be at table 23. (Our location this year is a secret). Who else is going?

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

Yeah, right. With the mad poet and rightminded, and 240, and my Aunt Jean's 3 legged cat. It doesn't count being down the street, drinking cold coffee in your mom's car as "being there".


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

"Hate him if you like, but in 3 years without much support, RR helped rebuild UM's program and put BH in position to have success (10-2) in his 1st year." Tally10, I completely agree with you, RR helped rebuild UM's program. You are absolutely correct ... if by "rebuild" you mean: * he took over a program where the previous coaches were 194-48-5, 44-13-3, and 122-40 ... and "rebuilt" it to 15-22 * he took over a program where the previous coaches were 143-24-3, 30-8-2, and 81-23 in the B1G ... and "rebuilt" to 6-18 * he took over a program that won 21 B1G titles in the last 39 years ... and "rebuilt it to a BEST finish of 7th in the B1G * he took over a program that finished in the top 20 or better 37 of 39 years ... and "rebuilt" it to being a joke * he took over a program well known for it's tough defenses ... and "rebuilt" it to a bottom 10 defense in the nation And you could go on and on and on about how he "rebuilt" our program.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Tally10 wrote: "LC retires, graduated or lost most key positions' starters, player transfers and poor recruiting." And in response to my post about LC's recruiting they wrote: "That's good stuff which I'm aware of, however, my point was that 2007 & 08 were the most disappointing." If you thought LC closed his career here as a poor recruiter, you apparently were NOT aware of the facts I cited. And, BTW, the WCiMFH's recruiting classes were 2009 -- #8 2009 --#20 The 2011 class was # 21. Of the 20 recruits in that year's class, 10 committed after Hoke became coach. So, whomever one judges most responsible for the 2008 class (Carr or the WCiMFH), the same logic applies to that of 2011. Yeah, so-called "fans" wanted him gone--one of the most successful coaches in the country, a man who never brought anything but honor to the UofM. Tells us more about those "fans" than it does about the man they hated and who they continued to hate. And the WCiMFH was their (and our) comeuppance. GN&GL

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

Ghost don't you see they are right and you and I and the man standing behind the curtain are just making this up? mb does a great job of proven how wrong that thought process is and their response is hey, we're not talking about THAT. It's Coach Carr's fault. Go Blue! This year's team was brought to you by Coach Hoke and staff. Any connection to the WCiMFH is pure chance. TiM Go Blue!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

That's good stuff which I'm aware of, however, my point was that 2007 & 08 were the most disappointing. A 9-4 record is good but not necessarily a success for a team of that caliper. I went to all but 1 home game that year and believe me, the fans were not very happy with LC's performance, I'm not hatin' on LC, this is just facts, fans wanted him gone, actually, most wanted him gone in 2006. You're supporting my post, look at your post then look at 2007/8, see the downfall?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

BTW, speaking of facts, one could get into LC's last 5 recruiting classes, as well.. According to Rivals: 2004 -- #5 2005 -- #6 2006 -- #13 2007 -- #12 2008 -- #10 Regarding the 2008 class, There were 24 recruits in that class, 16 of whom committed to the UM BEFORE Carr left, which means that, at best, 8 of those recruits were a product of the WCiMFH. Who were the 18? Among them: Demens, Fitzgerald, Floyd, Kouhry, Koger, Martin, Mealer, Shaw, and Stonum. Source: <a href=";_ylt=AnJE7AINELIwo.WA24e_XApJPZB4" rel='nofollow'>;_ylt=AnJE7AINELIwo.WA24e_XApJPZB4</a> And, again, this gives Carr and his staff no credit whatsoever for those who committed after the hiring of the WCiMFH, surely a false presumption. So, only in the imagination of those who cannot get over the WCiMFH did the quality of Michigan's recruiting go down in Carr's last years. Pure fiction. GN&amp;GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

There you go again, Mission, applying facts to the question. How dare you!! GN&amp;GL

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

Wow, the last few posts is like lemmings to the sea. How old are you guys? This is like a bunch of today's teenages complaining about having to work and not being able to text all the time. When you get to the point that you are rationalizing that a Michigan Hall of Fame coach is equal to the WCiMFH it's time to shut down the Koolaid factory. Everybody knows that she from o lie o never misses a chance to blame the last three years on Coach Carr. As alway, I DARE her to say a word against him in a room full of his players. Michigan just had a comeback year on the football field and some of you want to rewrite history. I would rather hand feed a wolverine than try to have a reasonable, fact based conversation with some of you. Geez, put it to rest. TiM Go Blue!

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

Tally10. Excellent post. Let's face it, over ten years, UM lost NINE times to osu. While it is true, that 3 of those losses were on RR's watch, fully 6 of them, were under LC's watch, and with much better talent. And yes, I would not have hired RR. But once here, he had a Block M on his hat, and as such, deserved to be supported. All he asked, was the next three years, on his contract. To his credit, RR left BH with some great kids, (eg) DRob, and while inexperienced talent, they formed the basis for Hoke and Co. to build upon. I completely support Hoke now, but also feel we should support RR, as a Michigan man, as he moves on to Arizona, and tries to rebuild that program.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

RR will get what he needs -- craves -- which is adulation bordering on idolatry when he takes Arizona to 9-3 at some point in the next few years. My guess is he'll settle in into a pattern of 8-4 and 9-3 seasons with the occasional 10-2. People will worship him. He'll be happy ... until he gets the itch for more. Then some big school like Tennessee or some SEC school will come calling. And he'll step out of his happy cocoon and repeat the Michigan fiasco somewhere else.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

@chiro19, No, LC's last year, 2007, and RR's 1st year were the most disappointing and the downfall of UM football. Why: all the talent and experience on the 07 team, preseason #5. Yet, started out 0 -2 ( with a combined score of 73-39 ), finished 9-4 but without a quality win ( only Florida? ), lost to OSU for the 4th time in a row, 1 for 4 in bowl games in that same stretch, and no BT championships. LC retires, graduated or lost most key positions' starters, player transfers and poor recruiting. 2008, new coach and system, no returning key starters, inexperience young team and no support. Rebuild year. Hate him if you like, but in 3 years without much support, RR helped rebuild UM's program and put BH in position to have success (10-2) in his 1st year. Neither BH or LC started their coaching career at UM in the same position that RR did, LC inherited a strong team and program, and BH inherited a young but experienced and talented team that returned 16 of 22 starters, neither had to build from ground up. My questions are, where were all the Michigan Men when UM needed rebuilding? And why blame RR only?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

The 3-9 record in 2008 *was* excused, but I do not believe it due to some well-known &quot;empty cupboard syndrome.&quot; It was due to this belief that a spread option was the key to the future and a year of retooling was to be tolerated. As MRunner73 says, the 2009 collapse after the 4-0 start is what got people wondering what in the world was going on. Still, many people (including me) gritted their teeth and waited for 2010. By the end of 2010 I'd lost all confidence in the Michigan team to stop a 3rd down let alone with a game. Truly ... they looked HORRIBLE against Ohio State and Mississippi State. That's when the floor fell out from under RR.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Very good points; my take is the Rich Rod was excused in some way for going 3 and 9 his first season (2008) because of what you bring up. As for LC, remember that Michigan lost the last two games of 2006 then the first two in '07 for a 4 game losing streak and the fans were furious at that point. They certainly wanted LC gone early on in 2007. The fan divide got going in 2009 after the 4 and 0 start then go 1 and 7 with that lone win against Deleware State. Last season saw another collpase in the final three games with big losses against WI, OSU and MS State. I hung with Rich Rod until the Gator Bowl because the players were doing their best and still believed in Rich Rod and that was good enough for me. The answer to your question is &quot;some&quot; Michigan Men were there for Rich Rod until the end but the numbers were rapidly shrinking. It was and still is unfortunate.

jeff blue

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

Hate to say this, but last year we were not a good team. We should never have been matched against Mississippi State -- it was a very bad game. There are a few SEC teams in 2011 that would pound any Big Ten team this year and we are lucky to be matched against VT. No comparison along the line! I will pull for ALL B10 teams to win their Bowl Games this season -- no sour grapes. But the B10 is down and it is NOT going to happen. We will see that Oregon runs right around a slow Wisconsin team........ GO BLUE


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

If Wisconsin chooses to play Wisconsin football, they might win that game. If they choose to try to play hurry-up run-and-gun with Oregon, they lose.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

This is the time of year where we are supposed to root for the conference. Bah humbug! I hope msu and ohio get blown out in their bowl games and UM gets a solid victory and propells us to a top ten ranking coming into next year's opening showdown with bama. Go Blue!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

Right there with you. I'll cheer for Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and, of course, for Michigan, but I'd rather see MSU choke again, as usual, and see Ohio continue its non-winning streak agains the SEC (officially, they didn't lose the Sugar Bowl, you know, the one played with the ineligible players, but it didn't count as a win either). When was the last time Ohio had a win over an SEC team?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

It is the head coach's job to make sure that your team is focused and ready to play. Obviously that did not happen (in a big way) in our last bowl game. It is unthinkable that the previous HC did not have his team focused on a big bowl game, especially when he knew his job was on the line. He was given every opportunity to step up , turn the season around, and keep his job. He failed miserably, and lost his last 3 games by a total of 88 points. Had those games gone differently, he could have probably saved his job. Losing your last 3 games by an average of 30 points per game = FAIL ! Thank God we have Coach Hoke now !


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

The 5-week Gap: This could be almost eliminated by the simple method of having Michigan play MSU and Iowa again - just to correct any false impressions left over from the first time. I'm sure Dave Brandon wouldn't mind having his quarter-billion dollar stadium put to use during this long down time. This would give Michigan a 12-2 record, that's better than 10-2, isn't it? The Michigan Difference: naturally, I'm as pleased as anyone by not having to worry about how big an embarrassment we'll get in the next post season bowl game - one which was barely earned with a 7-5 season. Brady Hoke and his staff have done a great job all year with restoring player focus and establishing a firm fundamental coaching program. These players have all responded wonderfully and they are, in fact, a different team than we saw last year. Go Blue! Go for broke, do it for yourselves, for the team and Hoke.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

Lorraine, there is no question that over the last 120 some odd years of Michigan football there have been disappointments in almost all but 11 seasons. That does not mean that the season was a disappointment. From 02'-07' Michigan went a combined 56-20. Now that is not as good Lloyd's first 6 years where he went 58-16. But are you honestly trying to make a comparison between Lloyd and RR? If you are you lose that argument 100% of the time! The disappointment is of the last 3 years under RR not the last 10 period!!!! Under RR the defense was giving 378 points per year and went 15-22 (thats more losses in 3 years than the previous 6 under Lloyd). Under Lloyd they gave up 228 per year. That is night and day. Lorraine, you make good points but you lose sight of the big picture. Michigan will be reloading next year not struggling because of losses up front. It is a difficult game to start but Bama has the potential to lose 7-9 guys on Defense in this years draft and through eligibility!. If you go through guy by guy the biggest loss is Molk! Martin, Woolfolk, Heinenger, Van Bergen were non factors for the first 6 games! Woolfolk in particular is a good loss because you get another roster spot from a mediocre at best player. The biggest issue is not the talent being lost, it is the cohesiveness upfront that you lose. Fortunately with added practices and the rotation of multiple Dlineman through out the year this will come faster than most think next year! Add in another 320 lbs. Freshman in Pipkins and the Dline actually looks stronger next year than this year. The Oline is reloading and the loss of Molk hurts but Huyge is not a huge issue. Hemingway is a good player but with Stonum back for next year it wont hurt as much as if Stonum played this year! Only a FEW of you have been let down with Lloyd from 02'-07', MOST have been frustrated, disappointed, ashamed and mad because of the last 3 years!!! Go Blue!!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

chiro, I agree and I think that you speak for the VAST majority of UM fans.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

Chiro, I agree with your assessment 100%. Carr did well until the very end. Lorraine, as for losing to OSU, sure that was a huge disappointment. However, UM dominated MSU, PSU, and the rest of the B10 while Tressel was out cheating to get recruits. Perhaps that swung things (unfairly) in his favor? Further, UM was in all of those losses and the outcome was not a foregone conclusion like the past 3 years when everyone already KNEW we were going to lose. Unlike Carr where all the games were competitive, UM was obliterated and humiliated by an average score of 32-8! While it was disappointing to lose close, hard fought and evenly matched games to our arch rival under Carr, the embarrassment did not start until RR took over.

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

Chiro, Lotsa statistics, but in the end, one simple string of data says it all, about the job Carr did, and the state of the program. UM vs. osu .....2001, loss Um vs osu ......2002, loss Um vs osu ......2004, loss Um vs osu ......2005, loss Um vs osu ......2006, loss Um vs osu ......2007, loss And that is just NOT acceptable.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Great points made on the 02 to 07 seasons Chiro. Not to mention the 2006 season where we were 1 bone headed late hit and ultimately 3 points away from going to the NC game. That in my opinion was a game we could have won as I believe we matched up better against Florida than did OSU as proven by our victory in the following years bowl game.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

Listen, this Michigan team is a pretty decent football team, and will probably beat VT pretty handily. These are not the days where FSU and the U were players in college football and you had a strong Boston College team come at you from the other side. The Hokies were manhandled twice by Clemson. All things considered, I don't see the Hokies being much better than maybe Purdue or Iowa if they played in our conference. The bowl sets up really nice for Michigan, compared to some of the other teams they could have played. I think the good majority of people expect Michigan to roll and not have too much issue beating this team.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:07 a.m.

Ah, Brent. You sound like a Sparty. Let's tell everyone how bad Va Tech is so that, as a fan, you can put Michigan in a lose-lose situation. If Michigan wins, big deal, Va Tech sucked. If Michigan loses, Michigan sucks. Truth be told, Va Tech would be a pretty darn good program and team in any conference. They went 11-2 and, true, both losses were blowouts, but the same can be said of MSU. They were blown off the field two times as well (by two teams UM beat, by the way). So, MSU was very similar to Va Tech this season...both lost two blowout and lost their conference championship game to go 11-2. Oh wait, Sparty went 10-3...I guess in the end Va Tech is actually better.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Errrrr...? Seem to hear this every time Michigan is headed to a bowl. Granted the ACC sucks, but so did the B1G. Clemson found something in Tech's D to exploit, but Tech won 11 games and are always well coached. I think Michigan fans will be surprised how physical Tech will be.

Theo's Brother

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Last years bowl game was embarrassing. I now live in MS and rode to and fro the game with MS State students. A perennial SEC bottom-feeder gave college football's greatest program it's most embarrassing loss. And my friends on the team think they own the University of Michigan now. Never again. There's a new sheriff in AA and the Dawgs are average again. Go BLUE! P.S. Theo, have you picked up the ham yet?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

&quot;Thanks for living in AZ and helping out with Our King!&quot; My pleasure! I passed along to him your idea of getting rid of the offensive line, have 10 wide-outs and having the QB snap the ball to himself. The King's response: &quot;Brilliant! That Theo is a GENIUS!&quot; You should be proud!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

I'll be right there, Don! (Just a matter of finishing my dessert first, mac + cheese!!!!) Thanks for living in AZ and helping out with Our King!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

@Theo212 - &quot;I can't go outside till I've eaten all my Pop-Tarts&quot; What kind of kid doesn't gobble down Pop-Tarts? What are you ... a communist? :-) Now eat your Pop-Tarts and come out and play football with me. I've got this new play I want to show you. It involves quantum physics ... I transport the football to a receiver I have sitting in the endzone. It's SO fast I figure we can run up scores into the thousands of points per game!!

Theo's Brother

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Guess I will have to squeeze it in today. But this is the last time I'm covering for you!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

I woulda, but Ma says I can't go outside till I've eaten all my Pop-Tarts. Can you do it?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Last year's team was unfocused? Hard to imagine that last year's coaching staff let that happen. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

If it's not The Crystal Bowl, why bother? Now, on to more important news. If any of you saw the Heisman show (Meangoblue was there in the front row), we can all rejoice in the fact that it was awarded to a guy from a REAL football team. Way to go, RGIII!! I hope you all realize now that the Crystal Bowl should pit Oregon vs Baylor. LSU vs Alabama has now been re-named the Lunesta Boring Bowl and will be shown on community access channel 916. Again, thank you Heisman voters!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

Lunesta Boring Bowl? you Big 10 folk sure live in a dream world. Consider LSU's average margin of victory (including against 8 ranked teams) was 28 points. They averaged 39 points a game (including the game against Alabama). Bama's average margin of victory was 30 points (obviously not including the one loss). They averaged 36 points a game (including the one loss). You honestly think anyone else in the nation has a chance at beating either of these two teams? you big 10 fans have no idea what it's like to actually have to compete against a real football team. No, you'd rather watch Michigan play Appalachian State...of course, only during daylight hours and when it's not raining, VT is gonna embarrass you guys just like MS State did last year. You keep forgetting they only lost to 1 team (2 losses) and played 4 times against ranked teams. Of course, they did play almost as many Away games (7) as Michigan played Home (8)...but we all know how that home-field advantage is overrated...


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

LSU or Alabama would *kill* Baylor ... Baylor doesn't have much of a defense. I liked the choice of Robert Griffin III for Heisman.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Perhaps the main reason why there was a lack of focus in last year's team prepping for the Gator Bowl was the swirl of Rich Rod's job. This fact emerged well after the game. It is not an excuse but let us all remember what the headlines were one year ago. It seems not only the players were distracted but the entire coaching staff as well. The annual football bust is tonight, and remember what happened at that event one year ago? Rich Rod turned it into a job saving sing along to a certain tune. Maybe that derailed all the prep work that followed. This year is the total opposite: three game winning streak, a win over OSU, a 10 win season so everybody's got the confidence and swagger in all of Schembechler Hall. GO BLUE!!!

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

MRunner, I think its' safe to say that the coaches knew last year, that they would all be gone. The kids did as well. We all would agree that Hoke has been an improvement, but that the U treatedits' own coaches very poorly, from the jump. And that falls on Carr and Bill Martin, particularly in the first two years..


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

The last 3 years as fans we came to expect Michigan not only to lose but to get blown out and be humilated because of the poor coaching and execution! This year we expect Michigan not only to win every game (Michigan is 21 points away from a national title shot!!! Just think about that for a second)but dominate every game. As a fan early we thought this team would win 7-8 games (some RR hold outs where saying 2-4). So 10 possibly 11 wins, should be 11 is such a nice relief it really gets rid of a lot of frustration that fans had built up over the last 3 years. A win at the Sugar bowl sets the stage for the off season and the start of next season against Bama. It is critical that every player is more focused then they have ever been and does every thing they can to win this upcoming game. It is important for recruiting, for the big ten's reputation, and for Michigans reputation to go out and man handle Vtech! It is important for seniors who have a chance of being drafted to go out and increase their draft stock! Great year so far but the job is not over! Go Blue!!!

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Chiro, no real surprises for me. I had predicted that UM would win 10 to 11 games, this year,IF, they we able to stay reasonably healthy. I felt that the msu game would be the most difficult challenge, given the time of the game, in the season, and the fact that it was on the road. Looking back at the season, DRob was dealing with health problems at mid season, and of course, Martin was knicked up during the first few. Jordon Kovachs was hobbled in mid season as well. All this was well hidden by the coaches. The bowl practices will give some of the younger players some extra reps, that will obviously help for next year, BUT losing Martin, Koger, Molk, Huyge, VanBergen, Heininger, Woolfolk, and Hemingway, WILL HURT for next year. Throw in road games vs Alabama, ND, Nebraska, and ohio, and 2012, WILL be a very severe challenge! Maybe YOUR frustration has been only 3 years, but a lot of us have been very disappointed in UM, since 2002. That's ten seasons, Chiro, NOT three seasons!


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

The primary difference in game preparation this year fom last year is the teamwork and coaching. Brady Hoke will have them ready and they should Hoke the Hokies in NO. Go Blue.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

V-Tech's two losses were blowouts. This is probably a good sign. Question is: who do they compare with in the Big Ten? If Michigan truly has a real tough defense (rather than a puppy dog kind that compares with last year's team) things are looking good for a win. Greg Mattison and his squad had a hard time keeping OSU out of the end zone. Can we expect more of the same in this one? Or will the Wolverine defense finally prove that they are ready for a stiff bowl challenge? If the Michigan offense can put up 35 points or more -they should win. If V-Tech has a great game on the defensive side - I see the Wolverines failing to reach a milestone victory. What it really comes down to is... WHO WANTS TO WIN THE GAME MORE?


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

They're probably most like Michigan State, but with a 1,500 yard rusher. Good solid team as usual. Got to stop their run and make them beat you with the pass. Obviously Clemson found their D susceptible to something but I didn't see either of those games.


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

is it possible to trade the U-M Alumni Association-organized prize package valued at approximately $4,200 for a trip to the Heisman ceremony??


Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

What the heck are you talking about. First of all, no, your crazy idea is not possible. Second, the heisman was already awarded. Stop being weird already.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

&quot;This is a new year. Everything is just so much different, it's incomparable to years passed.&quot; Yeah, the last 3 years past! Mike Martin wins the best summary statement for this year's Michigan football team and season. Not judgemental, just telling it like it is. Mike Martin is Michigan! This is Michigan! Go Blue!