My prediction for the Michigan game will be short for a number of reasons:
- Everyone knows the task facing UMass;
- I just got off a 12-hour shift, and most importantly;
- I have to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch a red-eye flight to beautiful Detroit.
To put it plainly, Michigan is just flat-out better than UMass in every aspect of the game. I’m not going to pile on, and I’m not going attack the Minutemen for their obvious deficiencies. I’m simply stating what every college football fan already knows.
Back in 2010, UMass was able to keep it close. However, that was a team fully committed to a system (for better or worse), had depth on both offense and defense, and had a quarterback in Kyle Havens that was adequate enough to keep the Minutemen in games (again, for better or worse). That UMass team also played a Rich Rodriguez-led Wolverines squad that didn’t focus on defense and was still taking baby steps toward his vision.
Michigan won that day because it was led by a young and undeveloped Denard Robinson. He’s coming back for a second helping – this time as a seasoned veteran.
UMass returns to the Big House surrounded by so much newness that comparing it to the 2010 squad would be comparable to standing two completely different football programs side-by-side. It has a new quarterback, a new coaching staff, a new look, a new stadium and fresh faces at nearly every unit. It is a program seeking a new identity, fan base and place in the college football world.
As it drags itself through the awkward phase of all the new, it will take its beatings, much like anyone else venturing on a brave campaign into the unknown.
Michigan represents a pre-graded failing test, if indeed passing requires victory. If passing means progress on offense and stemming the imminent tide – if even for a few possessions – on defense, UMass has every chance to pass.
Passing requires UMass to play its best game as an FBS program. While the Minutemen may take a step forward, they are likely far from putting anything above an F on the refrigerator.
- Michigan: 56
- UMass: 10