NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Over the next few weeks, I plan on doing Q-and-A's with opposing bloggers about Northwestern's football season. The only problem is that the questions I ask are generally different from those normal people ask, and then one question about football.
SoP: Assuming we're in an alternate universe, could Pat Fitzgerald be a Michigan Man? Why or why not? What characteristics of Michigan Manhood does he or does he not possess?
MnB: Could Pat Fitzgerald be a Michigan man? What is a Michigan man? Is it just a man from Michigan or could he be from Ohio (no, but surprisingly that helps)? Let's look at the evidence:
He has a terrible record in bowl games. (check)
He used to play defense, a trait that makes Michigan fans swoon. (check)
Look at that jawline. And those eyes. He's a dreamboat, just like Brady Hoke and Bo Schembechler (right? They were handsome men, weren't they?). (check)
He already coaches at a school that actually holds its athletes to a significantly higher academic standard, so moving to a program that purports to shouldn't be much of a hard transition. (check)
As a player he lost a Rose Bowl (to USC!). (double check)
He doesn't refer to himself as a Michigan man. (check)
He runs the spread offe---scratch that. A true Michigan man is disdainful of offense and believes it only exists to punt (or score) quickly so that the defense can get back on the field.
So yeah, Pat Fitzgerald sounds like a Michigan man alright.
Q: Do you willingly associate with any Ohio State fans, and if so, do you objectively consider them reprehensible human beings? If not, do you subjectively consider them reprehensible human beings?
A: I don't associate with any of them, mostly because I don't spend a whole lot of time hanging out in truck stops and Golden Corrals across the Midwest. The closest I get to Ohio State fans is swerving out of the way when they cut me off on the freeway while driving their decades old Chevy Astros with OSU plates and bumper stickers. Seeing as you can tell a lot about a person's character by his driving habits, I would say that "reprehensible human beings" about sums it up. I hate those guys.
Q: Which Michigan player, either current or historic, most resembles the comic book character Wolverine? Which Michigan player, either current or historic, most resembles an actual wolverine?
If we are going by looks, then Craig Roh had a bit of a "Wolverine" phase before he decided to go for the Chippendales-feathered-80's-
As for an actual wolverine, I've got nothing. Although senior O-lineman Elliott Mealer is beginning to look like the kind of guy that would seriously keep a wolverine as a pet.
Q: Northwestern hasn't played in the Big House since 2008, when the Wildcats beat Rich Rodriguez in his first year as Michigan's coach. Everything's pretty much the same, right?
A: Two-thousand and eight? I'm pretty sure that was the year that college football was suspended and nobody played a game. You're going to have to recheck the record books on that one.
Also, is this Rick Rodriquez guy the one that was coaching at West Virginia before being kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel that held him hostage deep in the heart of Mexico City for four years before releasing him drugged and naked at the Arizona border?
Q: THE ONE QUESTION ABOUT FOOTBALL: How do you feel about a Northwestern-Michigan matchup? Can Michigan work its way into a BCS bowl again this season? What do you expect from Denard Robinson's final year?
A: I was told there would be no football on this exam.
The Michigan-Northwestern matchup always worries me. I can still vividly remember listening to the end of the 2000 game in the car on the way home from something stupid I didn't want to be at -- because Michigan was playing, obvi -- and being absolutely heartbroken when that game ended. That is Northwestern. The Wildcats aren't going to win the conference, but mark it down: they will have a hand in one of the favorites losing the conference. It is either going to be Michigan, Michigan State, or Nebraska (again). One of those teams will walk into a game against the Wildcats and walk out dazed, shaking uncontrollably. I'm just hoping Michigan dodges that bullet again.
Michigan can work its way into a BCS bowl game, but given the schedule there is only one route: right in through the front door. If Michigan doesn't win the conference and get to the Rose Bowl there is little chance that it can repeat as the conference's second bid. The non-conference schedule is too hard. Alabama is almost assuredly a loss, and Notre Dame is no picnic. Michigan will have to win the conference. This isn't out of the question by any means.
As for Denard, I don't really know what to expect. He has been alternatingly phenomenal and frustrating over the course of the last three years. I think that with another full off season to hone his skills in Al Borges' offense that he should take a step forward, but at the same time the turnover issue has been there for a while and it is hard to imagine there being a big drop in giveaways. Most likely Robinson is going to have a very good season with a few moments that make me shake my head out of frustration. However, there are going to be more moments where I shake my head out of disbelief at just how silly he is able to make a defense look. As I wrote earlier in the week (shameless plug alert) I'm done trying to figure out Denard. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy watching him as long as I can.