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September 14, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-14

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I

8A - Friday, September 14, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Hart's legs
will carry M'

The not-so-classic

By SCOTT BELL and
KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Editors
What's there to say that hasn't
been said? Neither team is good,
both desperately heeds Satur-
day's win. Who has the edge?
Michigan pass offense vs.
Notre Dame pass defense
Is Saturday the first start for a
truefreshman quarterback, orthe
return of a weak secondary that
Michigan torched last season?
Ryan Mallett is making his
first career start in place of an
injured Chad Henne on nation-
al television. But with Mallett
comes Mario Manningham, who
buried the Irish early last year
with three 20-plus-yard touch-
down grabs in the first half.
Whether it's a positive or a
negative, the Irish return all of
their starters from last season's
secondary. A year of experience
makes Notre Dame's back four
respectable - and did you know
Tom Zbikowski is a boxdr? - but
Michigan's weapons at the skill
position are enough to give the
home team a slight edge.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan rush offense vs.
Notre Dame rush defense
Michigan running back Mike
Hart guaranteed victory against
the Irish this week. Though his
teammates have all vowed to
back him up, a good chunk of the
responsibility to win will be left
STAFF PICKS
The Daily football
writers do their best
to predict what happens
in the 2007 college
football season.

up to the senior.
There's nobody else Wolver-
ine fans would want to have that
responsibility.. Hart's been great
in his first two games, playing
through injuries in both to top
300 yards and three scores on
the season. If he can dodge an
injury, expect him to exceed 200
yards while the Wolverines try
to ease Ryan Mallett into college
football with a more conserva-
tive approach.
Edge: Michigan

Freshman Ryan Mallett will quarterback the Michigan offense on Saturday.

it probably won't be picked up on
the ground.
Edge: Michigan

Notre Dame rush offense vs. v
Michigan rush defense Notre Dame pass offense vs.
Michigan pass defense

have to find a way to be consis-
tent if the Wolverines even get
into the red zone.
For the Fighting Irish, fresh-
man Brandon Walker has been
perfect, hitting 2-of-2. Notre
Dame also has safety Tom

Notre Dame's rush offense
had more total yards before the It's hard to imag
season started than it does now. the Wolverine se
It doesn't matter if the Irish are stop right now. O
playing against a middle school Michigan deep on
front four - they won't get the sions last Saturday
edge with negative yards rush- because Ducks qua
ing in the team's first two games. nis Dixon threw da
But things could be turning receivers were w
around. Defenses have stacked matter what sche
the box against Notre Dame coordinator Ron]
because they anticipated Clau- Notre Dame brings
sen wouldn't have a greenlight tional offense, whi
to go downfield. Now, with some ary will appreciat
experience under Clausen's freshman quarterb
belt, expect the playbook to be serfnshould be ablet
opened up, possibly giving Notre Edge: Notre Dar
Dame running backs Armando
Allen, James Aldridge and Tra- Specialteams
vis Thomas more room to run.
But negative eight yards rush- Here's MichigaI
ing in two games? Wow. The Gingell's line so fa
Wolverines' defense has been Two field goals m
atrocious this season, but the number attempts
"strength" of their disappointing one kick that bou
defense has been the front four. upright. So far, C:
The Irish will score Saturday, but the choice, but Gin

ine an offense
econdary can
regon burned
several occa-
, and it wasn't
rterback Den-
arts. The wide
aide open no
me defensive
English used.
s a more tradi-
ch the second-
e, but even a
back like Clau-
to find holes.
Mme
n kicker Jason
ar this season.
ade. An equal
blocked. And
unced off the
arr's stuck by
gell's going to

Zbikowski retur
Carr continuest
returners.
Edge: Notre I
Intangibles

ning kicks, while
to search for his
Dame

By JACKHERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Since 1887, when a team of Michigan
players first taught a group of Notre
Dame students to play the game, the
rivalry between the Wolverines and
the Fighting Irish has evolved into one
of college football's greatest.
It's made players like kicker Remy
Hamilton easy to remember and
- unfortunately for Michigan fans
- losses like 2005 hard to forget.
And tomorrow's game at Michigan
Stadium will add another historic note
to the storied series. For rarely, if ever,
in that 120-year span have the teams
met when they were so, well, bad.
As other fans around the country
cackle in delight, the teams have start-
ed their seasons 0-2 - and an embar-
rassing 0-2 at that. Last weekend, they
lost by a combined 53 points.
Their offenses have looked flat and
their defenses porous; not once in
their last seven non-season-opening
matchups has Michigan or Notre Dame
entered the rivalry game allowing more
points or scoring fewer.
And for the first team since The
Associated Press poll was created, the
teams will square off unranked.
Michigan running back Mike Hart
tried to spice up things up by a guaran-
teeing a win after last week's game. But
even Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis
wasn't biting.
"He probably watched our games
the last two weeks," Weis said at a press
conference this weekend. "If I had
watched our games the past two weeks,
I'd probably make a guarantee myself"
But you don't even need to see the
game tape to know the Irish have
struggled.
Its defense has given up 68 points in
two games. Its offense ranks dead last
in the nation.

Michigan hasn't fared much better.
Both its offense and its defense sit at
the bottom of the Big Ten. Turnovers
have killed the Wolverines offense
against Oregon, and their defense has
failed to stop a spread offense in two
straight games.
Along the way, Michigan also man-
aged to lose in the greatest upset in col-
lege football history.
In addition, both teams willhand the
ball to freshmen quarterbacks - one
out of necessity, the other by choice.
With Chad Henne injured, Ryan
Mallett will run the Michigan offense
after a 6-for-17 performance last week-
end.
Although a week of preparation will
surely help, the rocket-armed freshman
will need to show better touch than he
did last week.
Coming off a 17-for-32 showing
against Penn State, the much-hyped
Jimmy Clausen will lead Notre Dame.
He'll need better protection than the
NotreDame offensivelinehasbeengiv-
ing him - its 15 sacks allowed is more
than any other team in the nation.
Despite the so-far subpar play, the
game still has one thinggoingfor it: It's
Michiganvs. Notre Dame.
The players insist that's all that mat-
ters come Saturday.
"It's a huge game, a huge rivalry. I
love playing in this game," Michigan
captain Jake Long said. "Just two great
storied programs going at it. It's just a
lot of history. Its a lot of fun to play in."
And although Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr might not have been thrilled by
Hart's guarantee, it didn't stop him
from making one of his own.
"I think (the series is) a great thing
forcollege football," Carrsaid."Iguar-
antee you, it's something the play-
ers don't forget. You don't forget that
game, because you know it's a special
game."

I
I

This is hard to call. Michi-
gan's 0-2, and so is Notre Dame.
Lloyd Carr has taken consistent
heat during the current winless
streak, and many of the players
are sick of hearing about how
bad they are.
Still, some might have thought
losing to Appalachian State
would have been enough of a
wake-up call. On the other hand,
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis
doesn't want to turn into the
second coming of Tyrone Will-
ingham.
Edge: push
Michigan 17, Notre Dame
10.

4

Scott Daniel
Bell Bromwich

Han Wrgevm
Herman Wright

Kaa
Karazim

MICHIGAN (-7.5) vs. Notre Dame
Southen Cal (10) vs. NEBRASKA
LSU (-40) vs. Mid. Tenn. State
OKLAHOMA (-46) vs. Utah State
West Virginia (-16.5) vs. Maryland
FLORIDA (-8) vs. Tennessee
Texas(-8) vs. CENTRAL FLORIDA
WISCONSIN (No Line) vs,,TheCitadel
CALIFORNIA (-33,5)vs La Tech
Louisville (-6.5) vs. KENTUCKY
Ohio State (-4)vs. WASHINGTON
Ucla (-14) vs. UTAH
PtNN STATt(34.5) v. Buffalo
RUTGERS (-53.5) vs. Norfolk St.
GA TECH (-6.5) vs. Boston College
Arkansas (+3) vs. ALABAMA
SO. CAROLINA (No Line) vs. S.C. State!
VA TECH (-21) vs. Ohio
OREGON (-16.5) vs. Fresno State
CLtMSON (-28) vs. Furman
GEORGIA (-43) vs. West. Carolina
Hawaii(-17)vs. UNLV
TEXAS A&M (-23.5) L.a-Monroe
NORTHWESTERN (-16.5) vs Duke
INDIANA (-13) vs. Akron
MICHIGAN STATE (-11) vs. Pittsburgh
Iowa (-17.5) vs. IOWA STATE
PURDUE (-21) vs. Central Michigan
Minnesota (-7) vs. FLORIDA ATL.
Illinois (-12.5) vs. SYRACUSE
Best Bet
Overall Record

Michigan
Southern Cal
Middle Tennessee State
Oklahoma
West Virginia
Florida
Texas
.Wisconsin
California
Louisville
Ohio State
UCLA
Penn State
Norfolk State
Boston College
Arkansas
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Fresno State
Clemson
Western Carolina
UNLV
Texas A&M
Duke
Indiana
Pittsburgh
Iowa
Purdue
Minnesota
Illinois
Purdue

Michigan
Southern Cal
Middle Tennessee State
Utah State
West Virginia
Tennessee
Texas
Wisconsrn
Louisiana Tech
Louisville
Washington.
Utah
Penn State
Norfolk State
Georgia Tech
Alabama
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Fresno State
Clemson
Western Carolina
Hawaii
Texas A&M
Northwestern
Indiana
Michigan State
Iowa
Purdue
Minnesota
Illinois
Southern Cal
17-11-1 (1-0)

Michigan
Southern Cal
Louisiana State
Utah State
West Virginia
Florida
Texas
Wisconsin
Louisiana Tech
Lousiville
Washington
UCLA
Penn State
Norfolk State
Georgia Tech
Alabama.
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Oregon
Clemson
Westen Carolina
UNLV
Texas A&M
Northwestern
Indiana
Michigan State
Iowa
Purdue
Minnesota
Illinois
Norfolk State
7-10 (-0)

Notre Dame
Nebraska
Middle Tennessee State
Oklahoma.
West.Virginia.
Florida
Central Florida
Wisconsin
Louisiana Tech
Louisville.
Ohio State
UCLA
Buffalo.
Norfolk State
Georgia Tech
Alabama
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Oregon
Clemson
Western Carolina
UNLV
Louisiana-Monroe
Northwestern
Indiana
Michigan State
Iowa State
Central Michigan
Minnesota
llinois .
Illinois
16-12-1 co-it

Michigan
Nebraska
LSU
Oklahoma
West Virgini
Florida
Texas
Wisconsin
Louisiana.Tech
..Kentucky.
.Washington.
UCL A
Penn State
Rutgers
Georgia Tech
Arkansas
South Carolina
Ohio
Fresno State
Clemson .......
Georgia
Hawaii
Louisiana-Monroe
Duke
Indiana
Michigan State
Iowa
Central Michigan
Florida Atlantic
Illinois
Michigan
19-9-1 (1-0)

-.

.. t

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