Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts on Notre Dame vs Michigan

Notre Dame 24 - Michigan 28

Congratulations goes out to Michigan on another win I guess. Denard Robinson is definitely a playmaker who is a mismatch for any team in college football. He's got a bright college career in front of him.

The main reason Notre Dame lost is obvious... Dayne Crist was out for almost two full quarters. It isn't making excuses for them, its a fact. Even Michigan fans must admit it. When Crist was in the game, Notre Dame outscored Michigan 24-7. When he wasn't in the game, Michigan outscored Notre Dame 21-0. Watching Kyle Rees and Nate Montana play gave me the same feeling I got when I witnessed Curtis Painter destroy the Colts' perfect season last year. Absolutely gut wrenching seeing an offense so ineffective when Dayne's offense essentially scored at will.

I saw a comment on facebook saying, "It wouldn't matter if Crist was in the game or not, he can't help the defense tackle better." Quotes like this are fairly silly and reveal that the person who said it doesn't really know how football works. A good offense can help the defense out tremendously, just like a bad offense can hinder it. When an offense sputters and doesn't produce long drives, the defense is on the field longer, wearing them out. Also, there is this thing called leadership and momentum which Crist brings to the game. Dayne Crist clearly inspires his team as the leader. When he was in the game, the defense simply played better football. They had a hop in their step and a little extra punch in their hits. You have to acknowledge this. I'll say it again... 24-7 when Crist was in the game.

Overall it was an entertaining game. I wish Dayne could have played the full game, so there would at least be no "what ifs" to think about all year. I'm left with the feeling that Notre Dame is still the superior team. If Crist would have been in the game the whole time and we still would have lost, I would at least be able to say we lost to the better team. But unfortunately I don't really believe Michigan is the better team.

What Impressed Me

Armando Allen: How much of a stud is Armando Allen? The dude is lightning quick and has good power as well. My mind keeps coming back to the play when he dropped the pitch behind the line of scrimmage, picked it up, and gained 5 yards on the play by plowing through a Michigan defender. He was lightning every time he touched the ball. He has definitely come a long way since his earlier years when he was constantly going down on the first hit. He's developed into a very balanced running back.

What I Found Unimpressive

Dayne Crist: I know, after I just got done pumping him up, he is the player that I was unimpressed with? Yep. He is deadly when throwing from 10-15 yards. He is absolutely dreadful throwing the deep ball though. That is one thing that Jimmy Clausen excelled at when he was at Notre Dame. He always gave his playmakers a shot at catching the ball. Crist needs to learn how to keep the ball in play, instead of constantly launching the ball over his target's head. That last play of the game, for example, was just awful. There was no reason to not give his players a chance to catch it, but he overthrew them by a mile. He needs to learn how to get some more touch on his deep balls if he wants to become an elite quarterback.

That's all I got on college football for now. I'm definitely looking forward to a full slate of NFL games tomorrow though.

My next posts will be:
1. Thoughts on the Colts/Texans game
2. My playoff predictions after seeing teams play their first games


  1. I just felt disappointed. It was a win that slipped away. Our defense isn't great, but it seems to be better. Notre Dame had some sloppy defensive series though. Especially the one that gave up the 90+ yard run by Robinson.

  2. I love your posts and breakdowns of the game. This rocks!

    In being at the game I will concede with you about your point of Crist being in the game and the likely hood of Notre Dame winning is far more probable. However, I feel that has so much more to do with the emotion and environment of college football.

    Since you opened the door of hypothetical questions and for the sake of philosophical discussion, I would like to pose the suggestion that perhaps Michigan also took their foot off the gas and played with less urgency. I've seen this many times before with Michigan football (especially during the Bo and Lloyd eras)...they simply play with their competition and it bites them in the butt. I would like to point you to the fact that once Michigan got down and the clock was within 3 minutes, Michigan's intensity increased and Robinson suddenly leads them on a winning 80+ yard drive.

    To say that Notre Dame was the better of the two teams is simply an unfair statement. Consider this:
    -Michigan was on the road in a hostile environment and on a slow field.
    -Michigan upgraded it's quarterback play this year from last year.
    -ND downgraded its quarterback & WR play (according to you) from last year as they lost Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen.
    -This means that Michigan is more likely a stronger squad this year than last year and Notre Dame is likely a less strong squad from a year ago. Yet Michigan won both years back to back. ND is the better team???

    Now you will point out the Charlie Weiss factor and I will point out to you that Rich Rodriguez remains undefeated against coach Kelly (going back to the Big East days) so we might as well toss the coaching aspect out the window.

    Pretty hard to make an objective statement about ND being a better team than Michigan especially this year, while there are some other details to consider to get the full picture. Nevertheless, Notre Dame looked very good, but I still think Michigan is a better team all in all. If these two teams play 10 times on a neutral field, I believe Michigan wins more than they lose…especially with an even amount of fans and a fast field.

    Now I actually have to take issue with your assessment of Dayne Crist's ability to throw the deep ball. If I may quote you, you said, Dayne Crist is "absolutely dreadful throwing the deep ball." First can we all admit that the odds of completing a deep ball go down significantly the farther one throws the ball? Additionally, Crist is young and will continue to improve. But to say that he is "absolutely dreadful" is just inaccurate. He completed 63% of his passes (granted many of those were 15-20 yard passes but again any quarterback throwing deep is less accurate…that’s why it’s called “the Hail Mary” or “Throwing up a prayer”). Let me ask you, did you forget that two of his touchdown strikes were deep balls? He threw a perfect strike to Rudolf for a 95 yard touchdown standing in his own end zone (the ball was in the air for 50 of those yards). Additionally, he throws a 50+ yard perfect deep ball touchdown, right over a defender to TJ Jones (that ball was in the air for at least 30 yards).

    Granted I'll give it to you that perhaps Jimmy Clausen threw a better deep ball his senior year compared to Dayne Crist now, but I hardly think that Dayne Crist is "dreadful" at the deep ball. His arm strength is very strong and he will continue to refine his accuracy touch with experience...but he's still pretty good right now. Furthermore, I already think that all in all, Dayne Crist is a better leader/quarterback than Jimmy Clausen but I know most people wont agree with that. Notre Dame has two amazing leaders in their coach and their quarterback. Good days are ahead for Notre Dame and I believe that they will start those good days as early as next week by getting a big win over MSU.

    Those are my two cents. Thanks for letting me rant.