The "Boils Down To": field position. We have to assume 12 hours before game time that Hart will not be a factor in the game tonight (what difference does sitting-out vs 6-carrries-for-10-yards make? ... IMO it DO-MAKE-A-DIF if the 6 carries sets the ankle back again ...). Hart WANTS to go, but this is a miserable situation ... if he plays and gets 100 they should award an Honorary Hero Heisman on the spot.) Where was I? Oh yes, field position. With Hart not effective U-M could well be in for a long day-er-night if they are starting their drives inside their own 30 all day-er-night, where the Wolverine offensive gets conservative and where this time the grind-it-guy isn't there ... remember even WITH Mike the best games this year - ND, PSU, PUR - were where U-M had field position due to opposition turnovers, many caused by the U-M defense.
The "Hits the Fan": ergo, this game rides on the backs of the defense and special teams to get 'said' field position. Can the defense contain a spread -- that hitting-the-fan causes a mess! But they have to ... and Zoltan has to be The Magnificant and Lopata hasta hitda Jackpota.
Now, if the field position is there (like last week) and Henne-Mario-Arringdon connect for 3 TD's everyone will be hyping THEM (like last week) ... but it'll be field position my friends, field position.
Caveat - if not field position, then Big Plays ... but to me it's the same thing: the BOTTOM LINE: "saving U-M from having to go 80 yards in 12+ plays for their scores." It'd sure be nice to see Carlos break a long one ... but the Illinois defense does tackle well so this justt isn't so likely.
Prediction: 18-17 Michigan
I think Carlos Brown becomes the workhorse and Brandon Minor will be available to play. I don't think we'll see Mike Hart, but Chad Henne and the passing attack has enough fire power to bring Michigan out on top against the 10th-ranked pass defense in the Big 10.
Prediction: 35-31 Michigan
Juice Williams will give the Michigan defense fits as they try and solve their woes against the spread offense. Chad Henne will have to be on his game as he battles the crowd in a game that should wind up a high-scoring shootout.
Prediction: 31-29 Michigan
Predictions: Week Eight
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