Threat Level Doesn’t Begrudge Michigan for Their Big Comfy Schedule

There’s a weird amount of malaise that comes with a lot of these 90’s edutainment kid’s shows. Something about watching them at any age just triggers a very specific feeling of you being just barely sick enough to stay at home from school on a Tuesday afternoon, knowing that you wasted your entire day off already (you’re definitely going to have to go to in tomorrow) and your parents are going to come home in 25 minutes to bug the hell out of you for still being in your pajamas.

The Big Comfy Couch embodied that: a low budget Canadian show about an adult clown who does calisthenics designed for the elderly while living on a sofa adorned with a lace doily. It was the kind of programming old people made for kids with the intent that they’d start to think that clowns and prop comedy and cleaning up after yourselves was cool and fun instead of painfully lame.

But that’s all you get at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon before mom gets back. So you watch it and sigh, annoyed that anything you’d actually want to watch wouldn’t come on until after 10 pm.

That’s where we are with Michigan’s season. They destroyed UConn 59-0, solidifying the Wolverines as a team capable of beating very bad teams very badly. That’s great, but does it mean anything? And will Michigan actually play a game worth watching anytime soon?

THE OFFENSE

The answer to that first question is… kind of. UConn was absolutely incompetent on offense and set up Michigan with multiple short scoring drives in the first half, but if you want a detailed explanation as to why this means that the Wolverine offense is bad, actually, you’re not going to get that here . Quarterback JJ McCarthy played near-flawless football (15/18, 214 yards), as did the other six (yes, really) quarterbacks that eventually got in the game to throw a pass. This included Cade McNamara, who got a little dinged up following some suspect protection by the actually-maybe-not-that-great offensive line.

The running game was similarly solid, if not spectacular. Blake Corum had 12 carries for 71 yards and five total dang touchdowns, as Donovan Edwards sat out with an injury. At receiver, Ronnie Bell and Roman Wilson both continue to be good for at least one big play a game each, and it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship with McCarthy evolves over the course of the season.

Oh, and AJ Henning had a punt return for a touchdown. It was legit.

THE DEFENSE

Uh, well… UConn had 110 total yards of offense. Quarterback Zion Turner went 4/17 for 17 yards passing. Running back Victor Rosa had 14 carries for 23 yards. UConn fumbled the ball three times.

How much of that is attributable to a terrific Michigan defense versus the Huskies simply being absolute ass is in the eye of the beholder. I’d personally split it about 45/55, because while it’s significant that (for instance) a converted wideout like DB Mike Sainristil is making plays and being effective, it should be emphasized that UConn is really and truly absolute ass on offense.

It’s also a little weird that after having seven (!) sacks against Colorado State, the Wolverines only managed one against Hawai’i and UConn combined. Probably something to keep an eye on.

WHAT DID WE LEARN?

There have been a not-insignificant amount of jokes made about Michigan’s now 128th-ranked strength of schedule, but I’ll actually cut them some slack: for one, they beat the hell out of their first three (extremely bad) opponents and showed no obvious weaknesses in doing so. Secondly, even though Harbaugh went ahead with a very dumb and unnecessary quarterback “competition”, it worked out that one of them was clearly much better than the other, making the winner pretty obvious. And lastly, a lot of other highly-ranked teams have fairly garbage strength of schedules right now too: it’s getting harder by the week to be smug about a win against a clearly overrated Notre Dame team.

But what did we actually learn about the Wolverines in their win against the Huskies? Not a ton, except that I’m now extremely invested in the idea that quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and the Maryland Terrapins might force Michigan to answer some interesting questions next week. Until then, the Threat Level remains HIGH.

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