Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mike Hart Stays in School. Kevin Grady's "Fumblemania Tour" Pushed Back to 2008

"8 home games and a reloading Ohio State? Hell yeah I'm coming back!"

It almost feels like forever since I wrote something about Michigan football, but since the Rose Bowl is on the horizon (full preview coming tomorrow) I figure it might be time to start warming up a bit.

Today's news in case you haven't heard is that Mike Hart has announced that he is coming back for his Senior season and ready to lay a path of destruction over what could be the best set up schedule in Michigan history. That now makes three stud offensive players that have announced their return (Henne, Hart, and Long) and with Manningham and Arrington also still around it pretty much means that the Michigan offense will only get better next season. Plus that also means Kevin Grady won't be thrust into the starting role when it's obvious that he can't hold onto a football. One thing Hart does REALLY well is not fumble, which is good because if Grady were around to fumble every 10-15 carries I think I may get an ulcer....

On the defensive side there are a bunch of big losses (Woodley, Hall) but if Alan Branch forgoes HUGE money by staying in school (he says he's thinking about staying, but I still don't see it) then the defense may just lose a small step next season.

But even if the defense loses a bit next season, I don't think it's really going to matter. Michigan's schedule sets up better then I've seen in a long time. Take a look....

(Home in CAPS)

at Northwestern
at Illinois
at Michigan State
at Wisconsin

Can you believe that schedule? It's a thing of beauty! That TBD will probably be filled with a home game against a MAC school or possibly the dregs of some BCS conference (PAC 10 I'm looking your way) Either way they really don't have a "tough" game on the road until Wisconsin (sorry're still terrible) and with Notre Dame and Ohio State losing the majority of their talent to the NFL, the 2007 season is setting up quite nicely for the Wolverines. That being said I could totally see Michigan returning to the "blow a game they shouldn't" mentality that has plagued them in the past and dropping one of these games, but the optimist in me sees and undefeated season heading into Madison in November. That Wisconsin game could be a stumbling block especially when you consider it will be at night and will be Michigan's first real road test of the season. Then of course you have Ohio State and the Sweater Vest will probably open up the check book err...recruit some more talent to replace all that he's lost. I still think Michigan wins that game next year and books their trip to New Orleans...but for now the focus is on Pasadena and the "Battle for Pre-season Number One" against Southern Cal. Check back tomorrow for my preview and prediction (hint: Michigan wins)

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