Irrational Exuberance

Supernichol_medium

Keith Nichol, apparently

 

Angelique Chengelis, the excellent U-M reporter* for the Detroit News, has a very early season preview up, with game-by-game predictions for both MSU and our friends in Ann Arbor.  Normally, this is unremarkable, except that she has MSU going 10-2 this season.  Woah.

*and thus, perhaps the title of this post is fail-ish.

The last time we went 10-2, Saban was on our sideline, Bill Burke was throwing to Plaxico Burress, and the below-mentioned Julian Peterson was being generally beast-like on defense, among other goodness.  Is our current team that good?

I guess my preliminary answer to that question is no, but the Big Ten is meh and we miss Ohio State, so we might not have to be.  Implicit in Chengelis's prediction is that we've got a fairly manageable schedule.  I think that's true, but it's crazy to look at our schedule and not see difficulty lurking all over the freakin' place:

  • After warming up cupcake-style against Montana State, we jump right in against a good Central team, led by the quarterback who spawned a million played-out Blue Oyster Cult jokes.  (I've got a LeFevour . . . get it??!  LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!1)  This is the most dangerous MAC team we've played in years, IMO.
  • @ Notre Dame, a game which is, incredibly, considered an auto-win as a matter of faith by some of the particularly, uh, optimistic segments of the SpartanNation (TM).  ND ain't great by any means, but they may be the best passing offense we see all year.  (I do think Chengelis is right in that it's essential that our pass rushers show up that day.)
  • @Wisconsin.  We haven't won there since 2001 (although we've only played there twice since then), and they'll be on a revenge mission after last year's meltdown in EL.
  • vs. Michigan.  Yeah.
  • @Illinois.  Chengelis has us losing this game.  Truthfully, I think this is a game we'll win -- our rush defense is our biggest question, IMO, and Illinois doesn't have the RB or the line to hurt us there.
  • vs. Northwestern.  Fitzgerald's a great coach, their new quarterback worries me quite a bit, and they ripped us in half the last time they came to EL.  Each season, I have a bad feeling about a mid-season game against a less talented team.  This year, this is it.
  • vs. Iowa.  I'm even more concerned about this game.  Their line play, as always, will be absurd, and I think Stanzi will have a big year.  Thankyouthankyouthankyou for the bizarre B10 scheduling which results in getting Iowa at home two years in a row.
  • @Minnesota.  Long trip, haven't played them in several years, new stadium . . . I think we're a substantially better team, but there's enough uncertainty here to make me a little nervous.
  • vs. Western.  Glad that this game's at home instead of in Detroit.  They return most of the players from a team which went 9-4 last season.  I doubt they're as good as Central, but no MACrifices this season, sadly.
  • vs. PSU.  They're good.

The obvious bit of good news is that we're missing OSU for the next two seasons (hallelujah!), but I don't see that many gimmes in there.  10-2 isn't out of the realm of possibility, but nearly everything would need to go right for that to happen.

It's very early, but what games scare you the most?  Is Chengelis crazy, or crazy like a fox?

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