by Mark Edwards
It’s time for the Little Brown Jug. Actually, it’s time for Goldie the Gopher to Row the Boat with the Little Brown Jug into the Big House with Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network channel changers. Truth be told, it’s a football game between two long-gone-by rivals that has been flexed into a night game that should be a noon kickoff.
Has Michigan every played in a game that had two more charismatic head coaches going against each other? I can’t remember one. Here’s the deal on P.J. Fleck: He’s going to do a good job at Minnesota and I think he’ll qualify for the B1G Ten title game in the years to come. However, the Minnesota teach he has inherited just isn’t there. In Fleck’s words, “We are in year zero.” Hmmm, zero as in the number of points your offense should score? Correct. I swear I saw Fleck on the People’s Court when I used to watch that show when I skipped classes in college. But PJ Fleck is too young for me to be in college with him on the show. With his new look, he has the aura of a “Joe Dirt” supporting actor.
Peters, Peters, Peters. That’s what the 110,000+ will want to see. Is he what he was vs. Rutgers? Is there some movement back to the mean? I think Peters plays well again. I did note that Don Brown bragged up Dylan McCaffery yesterday. What does all of that mean? You’ve most likely seen the end of the John O’Korn days. Michigan will attempt to employ the power running game with Higdon and Evans. I expect a nice diet of Collins, Peoples-Jones and McDoom with some new wrinkles to free up the tight ends.
This is the game that we see the defense “recover” from the Penn State whipping. I expect misdirection from the Gophers and trickery. However, the longest run for Minnesota will be Fleck’s sprint after the first and third quarters. I’m expecting some moderate length drives to start the game but you’ll see Michigan’s best pass rush in the last decade. Minnesota is scrappy and won’t be the 2016 Rutgers but their lack of firepower is going to be noticeable as this plays out.
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 34, Minnesota 14
PICKS TO CLICK: Offense – Brandon Peters, Defense – Lavert Hill
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 18
ONE THING THAT MAY SURPRISE: Michigan will score a special teams touchdown.
ONE THING THAT MAY DISAPPOINT: Brandon Peters will throw his first interception.