My predictions were not as accurate as they could have been, so I think it useful to point out the two key criteria I use in all prognostications on the blog.
1. Always go big. Looking at what the assembled media forecast for Saturday, it was like watching contestants on the Price is Right guessing the price of dish detergent – everyone was within a few cents of each other.
The Posse’s only reason for existing is to provide unique insights – the kind of thing you won’t find anywhere else. If we just turn into cut-rate mlive, why bother to visit? Not only do we strive to be creative, but we strive to be bold and fearless in our predictions.
2. The conventional wisdom is always wrong. I’ve noted before that there are matchups where everyone is in agreement and the entire universe of sportswriters thinks a certain thing will happen. Again, what point is there in the Posse repeating that? Who needs to read it?
Thus, seeing the universal view that MSU and Oregon would play close and that the Skunk Bears would vanquish the Purdue of the Pac 12, we went big and against the grain on both.
ABOUT THAT MSU GAME: I stand by my prediction. Looking at the game, it was clear that MSU left a lot of points on the field – points that could easily have been converted by execution. Don’t take my word for it, ask MSU QB Connor Cook.
Had MSU executed (particularly on punt coverage) the game would have blown open. MSU played a brutal, stubborn defense and made Oregon earn every yard.
Many wags have argued that with a couple of extra feet on the pass, Oregon would have won the game.
True, but that ignores the fact that the quarterback was busy pulling grass out of his grill from the previous sack. As the Cotton Bowl demonstrated, one doesn’t have to hit the quarterback on every single play to rattle him and throw off his timing. That’s what happened on that crucial fourth down.
BEAVERS GET STUFFED BY SKUNK BEARS: One of the amusing things about watching the perpetual reboot in Ann Arbor is seeing how low they have set the bar for the Winningest! Program! Ever!
Oregon State is a lackluster team that rises up from time to time to win upset victories. Clearly this was not one of those times. They got rattled and came apart, which is what these teams do.
However, to hear the heralds of the Fighting Harbaughs tell it, this was a win for the ages, a Milestone in the Path of Glory for U-M Football.
This is why the U-M fan base is the laughing stock of college football. They claim wins by non-students before the invention of the forward pass and want to ignore that the same man who brought them their most recent national title also lost to Appalachian State (though at least the Skunk Bears have now tied the series.
This fun article notes that U-M is rather unique among Big Ten teams in this regard. Leaders and the Best indeed.