At the Michigan Wolverines’ annual team awards banquet on Thursday, several of the 21 departing seniors stood up to say a few words for the hundreds in attendance.
And while head coach Rich Rodriguez, with scorching gluteus etching closer to combustion, shared some emotional words while drawing from Hebrew bible verses and a Josh Groban song, tight end Martell Webb cut straight to the heart of it.
“I’d like to thank Denard, because we have one game left,” Webb said.
That’s Denard Robinson. As in Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Denard. As in most rushing yards in a season by a college quarterback, Denard. As in, only guy to ever rush and throw for over 1,500 yards in a season, Denard.
Yeah, that Denard.
Well, if you transplant the word “game” for “season” in Webb’s speech, then Rich Rod might be repeating the exact same sentiment very soon.
The controversial coach of the Maize and Blue fought back tears several times during the banquet and talked about how much he loves being in Ann Arbor. It’s hard to say whether that meant he knows he’s a goner or whether he’s making his final plea for his job.
What is certain is that if he is fortunate enough to be granted one more year, the only reason is Robinson. Michigan earned a bowl berth with seven wins this year, but it needed at least six touchdowns in four of those games just to earn the ‘W’.
The defense stunk, in other words.
If you think the flash of Rich Rod’s offense is more than enough though, consider this: Michigan went 3-9 against the spread this year and 2-10 ATS last year.
No matter how you break down all the rest, the guys who donate the biggest bucks to the program like to be able to bet on their own team once in awhile.
Rodriguez is 11-24 against the number in his three years at Michigan and I’m not sure all the Denard numbers in all the boxscores are enough to overshadow that statistic.
But enough with the melancholy. This is Championship Week and we have games to pick.
Last week I went 3-1 to bring me to 26-25-1 on the season heading into the final week. Let’s finish things off on a winning note.
Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with my annual bowl picks column in a couple weeks. Nevada vs. Louisiana Tech (+8, 69.5)
This is an example of how educated the betting public is these days.
Most books opened this line with Nevada being favored by 12 points. And maybe in a normal week, they deserve to be favored by 12.
But in a week following Nevada’s biggest win in school history that rocked the BCS landscape, that’s too many points.
Louisiana Tech hasn’t beaten Nevada in its last five tries and the Bulldogs need one more win to get in on some bowl action. Pick:
La Tech +8
Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (-4, 52)
Most folks penciled the Hokies into the ACC’s AQ slot a long time ago. But an impressive season is all down the tubes if they don’t beat Florida State. That’s pressure.
The Noles, on the other hand, can turn a 9-3 season into the greatest in the Jimbo Fisher Era just by winning Saturday.
I know which side of the pressure cooker I’d rather be on. Pick:
Florida State +4Auburn vs. South Carolina (+5.5, 61.5)
I am 3-0 over the past three weeks in games in which I’ve faded myself. That makes me awesome by sucking.
I’m gonna do it again. Pick:
Auburn -5.5 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma (-4.5, 53)
I really want to take the Corncobs here, but the quarterback situation is too dicey with Taylor Martinez (ankle, turf toe) and Zac Lee (wrist) both suffering from injuries. Pick: