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|College Football 2019: Week 5 Preview||Friday, 2019 September 27 - 9:24 pm|
|Oof. Michigan gets wrecked by Wisconsin; N.C. State struggles to get by Ball State.|
Michigan 14, Wisconsin 35
The chants of "overrated" raining down on Michigan from the Wisconsin fans were entirely deserved. Michigan did not look like a MAC contender, much less a Big Ten or national title contender.
We were promised "speed in space" by the new OC Josh Gattis. There's a line from "White Men Can't Jump" that comes to mind: "There ain't no vista, there ain't no views, and there sure as hell ain't no vista of no views". There's ain't no speed, there ain't no space, and there sure as hell ain't no speed in space.
The game plan left much to be desired. There seemed to be a lot of passing plays where only one person was trying to get open, and the others were standing around doing nothing. Michigan completely abandoned the running game after falling behind early. There were no quick passes to open guys that should be the signature of a Gattis playbook. I just don't understand. We might have to be waking up to the fact that perhaps Gattis isn't the coordinator we'd hoped for.
Or maybe it's quarterback Shea Patterson? He seemed to miss a lot of open reads, and it wasn't always because his offensive line was letting the rush get through to him. But I have to think that even that falls on Gattis: if Patterson doesn't understand his keys (the players he's supposed to be reading before and immediately after the snap), then that's either the fault of the play design or the fault of the quarterback coaching.
The defense was a huge disappointment too. Michigan seemed to be trying to use a slant-heavy alignment on the line in hopes of plugging up the interior of the line. That mostly worked; unfortunately, the guys who were responsible for setting the edge to contain Jonathan Taylor seemed to have forgotten their purpose. This again largely falls on the coaches, though you do have to wonder if Michigan's lack of depth at defensive tackle is just getting exposed.
In the aftermath, what looked like a possible ten to twelve win season now looks like a five to seven win season, and that's jarring. There's still a chance that Michigan can make a remarkable turnaround, but that's slim, considering that a lot of these mistakes are being made by experienced seniors.
Next week is Rutgers, who is extremely bad but at this point could still be worrisome to a floundering and self-doubting Wolverine squad.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Rutgers 17.
N.C. State 34, Ball State 23
Ball State jumped out to an early lead in this game, but N.C. State managed to slog its way to an ugly victory. Ball State had more yards in this game and N.C. State threw two interceptions. In the end the game wasn't quite as close as the score looked, as N.C. State took a significant lead in the second quarter and kinda went on cruise control. But there seemed to be some letdowns as far as effort was concerned, and N.C. State was fortunate to get some big plays on special teams to pull out the win. There's a lot that needs to be fixed here.
Next week N.C. State travels to Florida State, who has their own share of troubles. But this being an away game and N.C. State looking shaky against any kind of real athleticism, and it seems like a dangerous trip.
Prediction: N.C. State 17, Florida State 24.
Penn State: bye
Penn State took a break last week. This week, as I write this, they're dominating Maryland, who looked like a dangerous team early in the year, but that might have been an illusion. It would be a bit disingenuous to post a prediction since the game is already half over, but believe me, I would have predicted a big PSU victory.
Last Week's Big Surprises
A lot of people are talking about the Michigan loss, of course, but can we talk about App State's win over UNC 34-31? On a late blocked field goal? I have no sympathy, UNC.
Meanwhile a suddenly dangerous-looking USC beat Utah 30-23, and that might signal another wacky Pac-12 race to come. That's especially true after hapless UCLA beat #19 Washington in a wild 67-63 game.
Games to Watch on TV
Penn State is on FS1 right now (Friday night on FS1).
On Saturday Michigan plays Rutgers at noon on BTN.
At 3:30 #18 Virginia plays #10 Notre Dame on NBC. I guess I'll call that the Game of the Week. #21 USC plays #17 Washington on Fox.
At 7:30 #5 Ohio State plays Nebraska on ABC. This might be a dangerous game for the Buckeyes.
Posted by Ken in: sports
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